Despite the devastating consequences of the war in Ukraine, the Secretary General of the United Nations recalled this Wednesday in Vienna that we cannot neglect the “existential threat” that climate change poses to the entire world.
“We can see its impacts everywhere, including right here in the Austrian Alps, where glaciers are receding and ice and snow bridges are disappearing”warned António Guterres after having recently traveled to the Sahel.
The head of the UN stressed that, in order to limit the increase in global temperatures to a maximum of 1.5ºC, as established by the Paris Agreement, “we must reduce global emissions by 45% this decade”, a scenario that seems complicated since “the current climate treaties would mean a 14% increase in emissions.”
Food production in Ukraine and Russia must be restored
Regarding the conflict in Ukraine, he stressed that it has triggered a triple crisis: food, energy and financial that is having “devastating effects” both for people and for the most vulnerable countries and economies. “This senseless war must stop,” he reiterated.
For Guterres, the consequent food crisis caused by the war calls for “rapid and forceful action” that guarantees a constant supply of food and energy to the markets, “eliminating export restrictions, allocating surpluses and reserves to those who they need them, and attending to the increase in food prices to calm the volatility of the market”.
However, he recognized that, despite the war, a solution to global food insecurity It involves restoring both agricultural production in Ukraine and food and fertilizer production in Russia and Belarus.
“I am working hard to help facilitate the dialogue to make this a reality,” he said.
Guterres deepened his response in statements to the press and indicated that hostilities will stop at some point since the war “will not last forever.”
“There will be a time when peace negotiations will be on the table, there will be a time when I hope it will be possible to have, in line with the UN Charter and international law, a solution to the problem. And of course, as I’ve mentioned, my good offices are fully available, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be able to cooperate when we seize that moment. But it’s not on the immediate horizon,” he explained.
Busy institutional schedule
The Secretary General later met with the Austrian Foreign Minister, Karl Nehammer, to whom he expressed his special concern about the continuing air strikes against urban centers in Ukraine; and with the president of the National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka, with whom he also exchanged views on the conflict.
In the afternoon, he went to the Vienna International Center, which houses the main UN agencies in the Austrian capital, where he met with the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, and later held a meeting with the staff of the Organization in that city.
Tomorrow will open the meeting of the United Nations Chief Executives Board, organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).