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Central African Republic at ‘Risk of Being Forgotten’ ; President Touadera Appeals to UN for Help

Thousands have already died and a fifth of Central Africans have fled a conflict that broke out in 2013

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Central African Republic
Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadera addressing the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2016 (VOA)

Geneva, September 20, 2017 : The president of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadera, on Tuesday pleaded with the world to not forget his country and urged the U.N. to bolster its peace-keeping force amid growing violence that threatens to spin the country out of control.

Thousands have died and a fifth of Central African Republic nationals have fled a conflict that broke out after mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in 2013, provoking a backlash from Christian anti-balaka (anti-machete) militias.

Fighting on the increase

Although unrest has since subsided, fighting has spiked this year and the United Nations warned this month that ethnic fighting could descend again into a much larger conflict if combatants are not disarmed.

“Central African Republic is at a critical moment in its history. We need the support of our friends; there are risks that we’ll be forgotten,” Touadera told a news conference ahead of a high-level meeting at the U.N. General Assembly.

Violence has escalated since former colonial power France last year ended its peacekeeping mission in the country, which once had as many as 2,000 soldiers. France has grown concerned by events, although officials say Paris is unlikely to return to Central Africa unless the capital were under threat.

The violence continues despite a peace deal signed between the government and rival factions in Rome last month and a 13,000-strong U.N. mission (MINUSCA), which will see its mandate renewed in November.

“The only force capable of ensuring security is the United Nations,” Touadera said. “The capacities of MINUSCA in terms of men and equipment have to be strengthened.”

Weak security forces

National security forces are too weak to tackle a multitude of armed groups and counter the spillover from conflicts in neighboring countries. Diplomats have also said that Touadera does not have the political strength to impose central government rule.

Touadera bemoaned the departure of France’s Operation Sangaris, but also the withdrawal of about 2,000 American and Uganda forces that were fighting the Ugandan rebel group The Lord’s Resistance Army and the withdrawal of MINUSCA’s Congolese battalion in the west.

“All of this has created a vacuum that the MINUSCA must fill,” he said. (VOA)

 

 

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UN Urges Asian Countries to Make Transition to Clean Energy to Curb Global Climate Crisis

There is an extraordinary global focus in what is going on in Southeast Asia, and Asia more broadly, and it really is in this region where we will succeed

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Rachel Kyte, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Sustainable Energy and head of Sustainable Energy for All, and Luis Alfonso de Alba, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit, made this request in a video conference with journalists from Indonesia. Pixabay

The UN on Friday urged Asian countries, which have more than two-thirds of the world’s 2,400 coal plants, to make a transition to clean energy to curb the global climate crisis.

Rachel Kyte, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy and head of Sustainable Energy for All, and Luis Alfonso de Alba, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit, made this request in a video conference with journalists from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea.

“There is an extraordinary global focus in what is going on in Southeast Asia, and Asia more broadly, and it really is in this region where we will succeed or failed in the energy transition” from fossil fuels to renewable energy, Kyte was quoted as saying by Efe news.

Kyte defended the financial viability, even for developing nations, of ceasing the construction of new coal-based plants by 2020, as urged by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

UN, Asian Countries, Clean Energy
The UN on Friday urged Asian countries, which have more than two-thirds of the world’s 2,400 coal plants, to make a transition to clean energy to curb the global climate crisis. Pixabay

“There is really no future for coal, it is not competitive by price over the life cycle or an investment in power generation and it has such an extreme impact in human health as well as in the planet,” the UN expert said.

China tops the list of countries in the world with the highest number of coal-based plants under construction with 132, followed by India (with 33) Indonesia (23), Japan (15), Vietnam (9) and the Philippines (8), according to watchdog group Global Energy Monitor.

China also has 1,032 coal-fired power plants in operation, followed by the US with 296 and India with 291, the report said.

Kyte said that coal financing has become increasingly difficult due to opposition from international development banks and some private banks, which has led to the construction of many power plant projects being cancelled, although there are still others planned.

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The expert also stressed the need to invest in more efficient energy systems as 40 per cent of emissions can be prevented through appropriate technology and advocated an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

Meanwhile, Luis de Alba said he was working on financing packages to support the energy transition.

The UN representatives also invited governments to present concrete and long-term energy proposals during the climate summit in New York on September 23. (IANS)