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India reiterates its pledge to climate change agreement

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United Nation: Speaking at the General Assembly on Thursday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said “India has always been and is a willing partner in global efforts towards the goal of limiting greenhouse gases”.

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“We will play our due role in reaching a meaningful, equitable and effective agreement in Paris,” she added.

India is expected to release on Friday its much anticipated commitments on combating climate change known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The document was due on Thursday, but India got an extension so it can be released on Gandhi Jayanti, that falls on October 2.

“Our future must rest on building a sustainable planet for our children and our children’s children,” she said.

“As we prepare to meet in two months time in Paris, the world expects us to deliver an ambitious and credible agreement on climate change. We have a duty for common action but in doing so we must keep in mind the larger historical contribution of some and the differentiated responsibility of others.”

Stressing India’s emphasis on equity in climate change negotiations, she said: “If today Mahatma Gandhi was among us, he would ask if we have used the resources of the planet for our needs or for our greed?”

“Also, if adapting our lifestyle choices and reducing extravagant consumption would help us correct the course. For this reason, the agreement in Paris needs to be comprehensive and equitable, while delivering concrete action.”

She said developed nations should provide developing countries finance, technology transfer and capacity building support for dealing with climate change.

“India’s reverence for the environment is based on our traditions that have always held nature as sacred,” she said.

“The health of the planet is tied to our own well-being and it is this holistic approach that guided us in our call for the First International Day of Yoga, celebrated with much fervor in 192 countries of the world — indeed in this very hallowed institution.”

For global development Swaraj invoked girl power: “As a woman and an elected Member of Parliament, it has been my firm conviction that there is a shortcut to real social change – empowering the girl child.”

“Our Government’s policy of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (Educate the Girl Child, Empower

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her) was conceived with this vision,” she said.

She further said in her speech that as a nuclear weapon state, India is aware of its responsibility and its support for global, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament has not diminished.

India remains committed to continue supporting the UN Peacekeeping Operations and enhance contributions, as announced by Modi at the Peace Keeping Operations Summit. India calls for the Security Council to formulate its peacekeeping mandates in consultation with troop-providing countries.

Since Prime Minister Modi’s election, India has undergone a renewal that has enabled it to “play its rightful role in international affairs while also becoming the fastest growing major economy in the world”.

Noting that the world has eradicated small pox and, nearly, polio and curbed HIV/AIDS and Ebola she said “we are proud that India played its due part in these efforts. But we must … redouble our efforts at eradicating other health crises, whether it be tuberculosis or malaria.”

Mentioning India’s speedy response to humanitarian crises in its neighborhood she further said, “whether it was (earthquake in) Nepal or (civil war in) Yemen, India has emerged as a net security provider, assisting not only our nationals but those of other countries that sought our help”.

India has reached out to its extended neighborhood as well. The Act East policy has replaced the Look East one, “with more vigorous and proactive engagement with an economically vibrant region”. Recently, India held a Summit with 14 Pacific Island nations. This complements the Link West engagement, Swaraj mentioned.

Expressing India’s commitment to the Middle East Peace Process she said, “curbing the terrorism is the key to prevent further radicalization of the region”.

Later this month, India will host the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit, the first time that the leaders of all 54 countries of the continent have been invited.

(Arul Louis, IANS)

 

 

 

 

Next Story

WHO Committee Warns About Ebola Outbreak in Congo

Ebola in Eastern DRC Remains Global Health Threat

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Medical workers lead a young girl with suspected Ebola into the unconfirmed Ebola patients ward run by The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA). VOA

A World Health Organization Emergency Committee warns the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo remains a global health threat despite significant progress in containing the spread of this deadly virus.   WHO reports a total of 3,431 cases of Ebola, including 2,253 deaths in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

The Emergency Committee declared the outbreak in DRC a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, or PHEIC, last July.  In reviewing the current situation, members of the Committee decided it was premature to declare the global threat over.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says he accepts the Committee’s advice.

“As long as there is a single case of Ebola in an area as insecure and unstable as eastern DRC, the potential remains for a much larger epidemic,” he said.

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Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference after a meeting of the Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland. VOA

WHO has revised its risk assessment from very high to high at national and regional levels, and low at the global level.  Last week, it reports only three new cases of the disease in North Kivu’s Beni Health Zone.  Tedros calls these signs extremely positive.

“But even as we near the end of this outbreak, we must act now to prevent the next one…Only half of health facilities have access to water.  Strengthening a health system may not be as sexy as responding to an outbreak, but it is equally important,” he said.

Tedros is traveling to DRC’s capital Kinshasa on Thursday.  The WHO chief says he will meet President Felix Tshisekedi and other senior ministers to explore ways to strengthen DRC’s health system.

Chair of the Emergency Committee, Robert Steffen explains why the group decided to maintain the PHEIC despite cautious optimism that the Ebola epidemic was winding down.

Also Read- US Health Officials Prepare to Battle Flu Season as Coronavirus Fear Rises

“We do see a risk of some resurgence and also a risk of complacency if we would now suddenly abandon this PHEIC despite of the fact that we still occasionally still see new cases,” he said.

Another problem, Steffen says, is lack of money.  He says WHO needs $83 million to carry out its Ebola operation until June.  So far, less than half of the required amount has been received. (VOA)