By Janet Ekstract
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Each year, September 20 is designated as Peace Day but the year 2019 has become a year of urgency and one where urgent peace is needed -United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cautioned.
Guterres, who hosts the annual Peace Day ceremony at the UN, gave special priority to climate change as a wedge that severely affects peace and economic stability.
The UN chief chose “Climate Action for Peace” as this year’s theme not only because the UN is hosting the upcoming Climate Action Summit -also to make the point that climate change is a powerful portent of disaster and political as well as economic instability.
As Guterres emphasized: “Climate change threatens world peace.”
The UN chief explained in his remarks on Peace Day that climate change has had a direct effect on peace worldwide through a number of events. As he explained: “Natural disasters and extreme weather events – many a direct consequence of climate change – are displacing three times as many people as conflicts.”
Guterres warned: “The competition for resources is creating tensions between people and countries.” He also added: ” It is no coincidence that the countries most vulnerable to climate change are often those most vulnerable to conflict and fragility.”
The UN chief emphasized that it’s necessary to address the factors that drive climate change in order to create a “culture of prevention.” Guterres sounded a further alarm when he said: “We are in a race for time.” He stressed that more than ever before in history, the time to urgently address climate change is now.
Secretary-General Guterres said this is the reason he is convening the Climate Action Summit next Monday and that he expects world leaders to get involved on a large scale to help create change.
To that end, the Secretary-General explained: “I have told world leaders to come with concrete and bold plans that will help us to keep the rise of temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius to the end of the century, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and cut carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030.”
Guterres reminded everyone that the dire effects of climate change have been documented by scientists, climatologists and a number of international experts. He warned that climate change has had deleterious effects on political stability globally as evidenced he said from: “Central Asia to the Lake Chad Basin, from the Middle East to the Sahel to the Horn of Africa and beyond.”
“Raising ambition and taking climate action is crucial if we are to live in peace and build a world of resilience and prosperity for all,” the UN chief concluded as he once again sounded the call for peace and a day of non-violence as he began the traditional moment of silence.