World leaders attending the ongoing General Debate of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 74) have continued to call for international cooperation on tackling global warming.
According to Zambian president Edgar Lungu “Climate change is frustrating efforts to raise the standard of living for the world’s poor. Scientists have spoken, and we have seen with our own eyes, the devastating impact that climate change has had on our environment,” .
Recalling early this year, three of Zambia’s neighboring countries – Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe were affected by cyclones, Lungu said that not far away, half of Zambia experienced a severe drought which has resulted in low crop productivity, and low water levels for hydroelectricity generation.
Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili said “we are already feeling directly climate change’s effects and understand our responsibility to act and preserve our planet so that our children have a place to live.
There are territories turning into deserts or flooded by rising seas, or destroyed by hurricanes like we have just witnessed in the Bahamas or by fires like in Amazonia,”.
The president commended the UN Climate Action Summit held two days ago, which demonstrated the momentum and showed the potential to leap forward by giving the climate community more ambitious measures for implementing the Paris Agreement.
“In the Horn of Africa region, a complexity of factors has, in the last three or so decades, led to multi-layered threats to peace. These are exacerbated by disruptive effects of climate change, introducing ecological vulnerabilities to a delicate security context,” said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
He voiced his support for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, which points to “the urgent actions” needed to avert catastrophic global climate change.
The president said that Kenya has embarked on programs for sustainable pro-active climate action.
Speaking of development financing, the president said that Kenya needs an estimated 2.5 trillion to 3 trillion U.S. dollars annually to finance sustainable development goals and climate action and target the critical needs of its people.
A lengthy part of Irish President Michael D. Higgins’ speech was dedicated to climate change.
He said that the cost of inaction is catastrophic, far greater than what it will cost us to set out on a truly meaningful, corrective path. With the Paris Agreement, we have both the framework and the foundations to move forward.
The president said he agreed with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the view that schoolchildren have grasped the urgency of climate action better than some global leaders.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo called on the international community to work hards towards mitigating the effects of climate change.
The General Debate of UNGA 74 opened Tuesday at the UN headquarters in New York with the theme of “Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion.”
UN Climate Action Summit opened Monday prior to the UNGA 74 General Debate, serving as a forum to hold countries accountable to the international commitments they made to cut global warming as part of the Paris Agreement.