Wednesday January 16, 2019
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190 Countries Meet To Resume Sessions On the Paris Climate Change Agreement

The Paris Agreement is critical to driving trillion-dollar investment into the global low carbon economy.

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Developed countries are being urged to honour Paris Agreement. Flickr

Negotiators from nearly 190 countries, including India, gathered here on Tuesday for the six-day resumed sessions of the UNFCCC’s subsidiary bodies and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement amid strong calls for progress.

At the resumed session, the countries will focus on developing the implementation guidelines of the Paris agreement.

The guidelines in a ‘rulebook’ are needed to provide guidance on how to implement the agreement and to see transparently how countries are progressing in their actions.

The opening of the session saw a brief addresses by Prime Minister of Fiji Bainimarama, who is currently presiding over the climate change negotiations, as well as the Polish in-coming COP President Michal Kurtyka, who will preside over the negotiations at this year’s climate change conference or COP24 to be held in Katowice in Poland in December.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohammed, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand Surasak Karnjanarat and Executive Secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Patricia Espinosa also addressed the opening.

 

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The implementation guidelines will unlock practical actions.Flickr

 

All speakers strongly urged negotiators to step up the pace of their work and to move towards negotiating texts that capture clear options on the implementation guidelines that can swiftly be finalized and adopted in Katowice.

This is crucial given the deadline that countries set for themselves to complete this work at COP24 this year.

Executive Secretary Espinosa said COP24 was now right around the corner.

“We are working against the clock. We must now complete the heavy lifting and we must do it rapidly. UN Climate Change stands ready to assist countries,” she said.

Current COP President Bainimarama impressed upon delegates that the six-day Bangkok talks were urgent.

“In these few days, we have the opportunity to put the Paris Agreement on a path from words to action,” he said.

The implementation guidelines will unlock practical actions and bring the agreement’s institutions to life.

 

Paris Agreement
The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference Paris will bring together leaders with the goal of creating a universal climate agreement that will keep global warming down. Flickr

 

This is vital for all aspects of climate action, including enabling ambitious global and national adaptation action and emission reductions, developing fair transparency and compliance arrangements and mobilizing means of implementation, especially with respect to finance, to support developing country action.

In-coming COP President Kurtyka said non-state actors were steaming ahead and that governments had to keep up with that pace by putting in place the implementation guidelines.

He urged delegates to craft clear texts in Bangkok that they could work with at COP24.

“Clarity and a streamlined text is my request,” he said.

Global investors are closely watching and formulating their expectations for this round of negotiations.

Aviva Investors Chief Responsible Investment Officer Steve Waygood said: “After a summer of extreme weather events across the globe, the risk that unchecked climate change poses has never been clearer.

Paris Agreement
Education – along with training and public awareness – plays a key role in the global response to climate change, as recognized by Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement. Flickr

“It’s time for country delegates at UN climate talks this week to agree on ambitious and robust rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. As a global insurer and investor, we rely on a transparent and consistent regime to deliver the essential global transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Also Read: Asia’s Increase In Consumption of Meat to Cause Environmental Problems: Researchers

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, said: “The Paris Agreement is critical to driving trillion-dollar investment into the global low carbon economy.

“An ambitious and transparent implementation rulebook, holding countries to account for delivering and scaling-up their commitments on climate change, will lock in policy certainty and underpin investor confidence.” (IANS)

Next Story

Major Breakthrough Made In The Treatment Of Ebola Virus

The treatment may not be ready to help those with Ebola in the Congo outbreak, but the promise is that countries affected by the virus could have the treatment

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Ebola, pregnant women
A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a woman who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 18, 2018. VOA

In northeastern Congo, more than 600 people have fallen ill with the Ebola virus, and at least 368 people have died from the disease. It’s been difficult to contain the virus because of conflict in the region, despite medical advances, including a vaccine.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is where Ebola was first discovered in 1976, when the country was called Zaire. The disease was named after the Ebola River where the virus was spreading. Between then and 2013, there was no treatment or a vaccine. The outbreak ran its course in quarantined communities.

Scientists started studying the virus, however, trying to come up with better ways to handle its various deadly strains. They succeeded in producing a vaccine to help end the Ebola epidemic that swept through three West African countries between 2013 and 2016. More than 11,000 people died in that outbreak.

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Tom Geisbert, right, a professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch, explains to Texas Gov. Rick Perry the work researchers are conducting in a Bio Safety Level 4 lab in the Galveston National Laboratory, Oct. VOA

Treatment found

At that time, treatment for the Zaire strain of Ebola was developed. It was costly to produce and didn’t work on two other lethal strains, the Sudan and Bundibugyo viruses.

But now scientists have found one. Their research produced a drug cocktail called MBP134 that helped monkeys infected with three deadly strains of Ebola recover from the disease.

What’s more, the treatment requires a single intravenous injection.

Thomas Geisbert, Ph.D., led the research at the University of Texas Medical Branch, part of a public-private partnership that also included Mapp Biopharmaceutical, the U.S. Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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Medical staff are sterilized before entering the isolation unit at a hospital in Bundibugyo, western Uganda, on Aug. 17, 2018, where there is one suspected case of Ebola. VOA

Must treat all strains

In an interview with VOA, Geisbert stressed the need for a treatment that would be effective against all strains of Ebola.

“When an outbreak occurs, we really don’t know which one of those three strains, species, we call them, is the cause of that particular episode,” Geisbert said.

He added that the treatments available have been effective only against the Zaire species, which leaves people infected with the other species unprotected.

“Our goal was to develop a treatment that would work regardless of the particular strain of Ebola that was causing it,” Geisbert said.

“If I have to make a drug that only works against Zaire, and another drug that only works against Sudan and another drug that only works against the Bundibugyo species, that is extremely expensive,” he added.

Geisbert said the treatment will save valuable time in determining which strain of Ebola is circulating in a particular outbreak. It will save lives because people can be treated immediately, and it will also save money.

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Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) workers talk to a worker at an isolation facility, prepared to receive suspected Ebola cases, at the Mbandaka General Hospital, in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 20, 2018. VOA

No profit

There’s no profit for the pharmaceutical companies that produce the drugs.

“It’s not like you’re making up vaccine for flu where companies [are] going to make a profit. There’s really a small global market for Ebola so it really has to be sponsored by the government,” he said.

In addition to the U.S. Army and the Canadian government, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has supported much of this research.

Geisbert said the work ahead involves tweaking the dose to its lowest possible amount, making it easier to distribute — again to reduce costs — and conducting clinical trials in humans to ensure the treatment is safe and effective.

Geisbert is confident it will work in humans, although he cautioned that in science, nothing is certain.

Ebola, Baby, fighting
A health care worker carries a cross next to a coffin with a baby suspected of dying of Ebola in Beni, North Kivu Province of Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 13, 2018. VOA

The treatment may not be ready to help those with Ebola in the Congo outbreak, but the promise is that countries affected by the virus could have the treatment at the ready to stop future Ebola outbreaks.

Also Read: Congo’s President Challenges Election Result In High Court

It also means that should someone with Ebola walk into a hospital outside of Africa, as happened in Texas when a Liberian man sought treatment, the patient can be cured, and health care workers can be protected. (VOA)