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World shares common obligations to address climate change: Kuwait

NEW YORK: Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah speaks at a United Nations Security Council meeting, addressing the impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and security, on Friday at the United Nations in New York. – AFP

NEW YORK: Kuwait said Friday that the world shares common but variable obligations to address climate change, which required a political will and an international solidarity to tackle impacts of this change. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah called for protecting earth from further deterioration of climate change. Speaking in a UN Security Council’s session on addressing impacts of climate-related disasters on international peace and security, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said studies showed deterioration was faster than ‘our steps to protect and preserve environment.’ “We can see negative impacts of climate change by our own eyes, from which millions of people suffer … like lack of food security, scarcity of water and other risks on health of humans and other living creatures,” he said.

Floods, hurricanes, desertification, rising temperature, and rising levels of seas and oceans were threatening Island Countries in the Pacific, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said. He added that international efforts contributed to the 2015 agreement in Paris on climate change, but the world needed to do more in order to maintain this accord in order to keep temperature of earth before two or 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2020.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, who voiced concern over World Meteorological Organization’s reports that years 2015-17 witnessed unprecedented high temperatures, expressed hope world climate summit, due next September, would follow up outcome of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) meeting held in Poland late last year. The UNFCCC member countries agreed to boost transparency in information sharing over plans regarding reduction of emissions, increasing support for developing countries to help them overcome climate change’s impacts as well as implementing the Paris agreement, which would enter force in 2020. The natural disasters, stemming from climate change, continued to grow in intensity and accounted for 77 percent of the overall natural disasters in the last two decades, the minister said, citing UN estimates.

“The international community faces formidable challenges in responding to the emergencies caused by these disasters, which claim more than three million lives a year in addition to countless wounded and displaced people,” he said. “Africa, particularly the Lake Chad Basin region and the Sahel region, took the brunt of the phenomenon of climate change which exacerbated the economic and social problems in the continent and fueled armed conflicts and struggle for the limited natural resources,” he explained.

The State of Kuwait shares the global concern over this phenomenon and joins the efforts of the international community to curb this problem. “Since the launch of the climate change talks, we have spared no effort to contribute to mitigating the impacts of climate change on the local, regional or international scales. We attached great importance to the negotiating process, which led to the historic Paris Agreement. The State of Kuwait prioritized the initiatives to tape into the resources of renewable energy, including the solar and wind energies, which are expected to cover 15 percent of the country’s needs by 2020,” Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled revealed.

Similarly, the oil sector has adopted strategies to reduce carbon dioxide gas emissions with a view to attaining green economy and maximizing use of environment-friendly energy, he went on. The State of Kuwait works for deeper cooperation and collective action with other countries of the world on the government and popular levels to ensure effective and timely response to emergencies and help people hit by natural or man-made disasters. In doing so, Kuwait continues to shoulder its international humanitarian responsibility for alleviating the impacts of climate changes on social peace, food security, biodiversity, sustainable development, he went on.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled highlighted the need to leverage modern technologies of environment protection and change the human behavior in order to realize the 13th Sustainable Development Goal that is ‘take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.’ Concluding, the minister renewed Kuwait’s resolve to prioritize contributing to the international collective efforts in this regard, through backing the UN agencies concerned with conflict prevention, crisis management, peace building, climate change curbing, and realizing the SDGs.

Women’s role

Meanwhile, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said that support for the role of women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region requires international collaboration. Speaking at a UN Security Council session on the potential of national action plans for advancing Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda in the MENA region in New York late Thursday, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said that the session is vital and underlines UNSC’s – in addition to GCC, Arab League and IOC – keenness and awareness of women’s ‘pivotal’ role, especially in relation to resolution 1325.

The resolution acknowledges the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and girls. It calls for the adoption of a gender perspective to consider the special needs of women and girls during conflict, repatriation and resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration, and post-conflict reconstruction. Shedding light on the matter, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled branded as ‘genuine’ women partnership in achieving stability, safety and advancement on political, economic and social scales. In this vein, he pointed to Kuwait’s commitment to fulfill international requirements to provide women with the equal and decent living standards enjoyed by men.

The meeting was convened by members of the Security Council: Germany, Peru, and the United Kingdom, and presided over by Heiko Mass, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany. Kuwait has a non-permanent seat in the council and continues its membership throughout 2019. Voicing support to efforts aiming at preventing conflicts, the Kuwaiti top diplomat also welcomed endeavors to involve women in resolving crises in the MENA region, especially the ones in Syria and Yemen. The meeting also featured panelists from Iraq and Lebanon, who provided insights on common barriers to implementing the WPS agenda in the Middle East, and their efforts to overcome these challenges.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled’s delegation to the meetings consisted of Assistant Minister for the Affairs of the Foreign Minister’s office Ambassador Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Permanent Representative at the UN headquarters in New York Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi and a number of senior officials at the Foreign Ministry. – KUNA

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