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Modi, Ban discuss trust issues in climate change negotiations

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

United Nations: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon met in order to discuss issues regarding building trust in climate change negotiations, which emerged as a dominant concern for achieving the anti-global warming component of the UN sustainable development goals (SDG).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of India, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of India, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Modi raised the issue of “trust deficit” with developed countries. He pointed out the fact that these countries appear to use the climate issue to keep the developing countries from improving their living standards under the pretext of controlling carbon emissions, according to Vikas Swarup, the External Affairs Ministry spokesman.

Making a call for climate justice, Modi said that developing countries should be allowed to develop and condemn placing restrictions and controls on development.

Positive measures like concessional financing of climate change projects and transfer of technology were needed to promote sustainable development instead of negative ones that focus on capping carbon emissions, he said.

Ban appeared to recognise these concerns. “The Secretary-General emphasised the need for climate change finance as a key to building trust between developed and developing countries,” according to a statement by Ban’s spokesperson.

He spoke of the tremendous importance of India’s role in renewable energy, and urged Modi to continue to show strong global leadership on this issue, the statement said.

Modi spoke of the goal of developing 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022.

UN peacekeeping operations in which India was historically the largest troop contributor was another important topic in their discussions. While Ban “commended India for its indispensable contribution to UN peacekeeping,” Modi said the manner in which the Security Council operated in mandating missions should be changed and it should consult the troop contributing countries.

Ban commended India’s “influential role” supporting the democratic transitions in Sri Lanka and Nepal, the UN statement said.

During his meeting with Ban that preceded his speech to the summit on sustainable development, Modi presented Ban with a book– ‘India and the United Nations: A Photo Journey, 1945 to 2015’ edited by Asoke Kumar Mukerjee, India’s Permanent Representative.

Climate change also featured in Modi’s meeting with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim when they discussed the UN sustainable development goals.

Modi said that the 17 sustainable development goals matched programmes already launced in India, Swarup said. Modi cited the plan for 175 gigawatts of renewable energy, the massive programme for sanitation and cleaning the Ganga as examples of matches with the SDG.

Jim said that Modi’s reforms had an impact on India and the nation’s strong performance was very different from that of many countries, according to Swarup.

Modi said that the governance of global organisations like the World Bank have to be strengthened and made more representative.

India was not adequately represented in the governance of the World Bank, Modi told him.

 

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Clash at UN with Russia, Syria over Syria Hospital Attacks

The United Nations said on Friday at least 18 health centers have been attacked in the past three weeks in northwestern Syria

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The destroyed building of Nabd Al-Hayat hospital that was hit by an air strike is seen in Hass, Idlib province, Syria, May 6, 2019 in this still image taken from a video on May 9, 2019. VOA

The United Nations said on Friday at least 18 health centers have been attacked in the past three weeks in northwestern Syria, prompting a confrontation between western powers and Russia and Syria at the Security Council over who is to blame.

While the area is nominally protected by a Russian-Turkish deal agreed in September to avert a new battle, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces — backed by Russians — have launched an offensive on the last major insurgent stronghold. Some three million civilians are at risk, the United Nations said.

“Since we know that Russia and Syria are the only countries that fly planes in the area, is the answer … the Russian and Syrian air forces?” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce said to the 15-member council on where the blame lay.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen said Russia and Syria were responsible for the attacks on the health centers. He said it was “most alarming” that several of the centers attacked were on a list created by Russia and the United Nations in an attempt to protect them.

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United Kingdom Ambassador Karen Pierce address a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Yemen, Oct. 23, 2018 at UN headquarters. VOA

Pierce said it would be “absolutely grotesque” if health facilities that provided their locations were “finding themselves being the authors of their own destruction because of deliberated targeting by the regime.”

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the Syrian and Russian forces were not targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure and questioned the sources used by the United Nations to verify attacks on health centers.

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U. N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA) Mark Lowcock attends a news conference for the launch of the “Global Humanitarian Overview 2019” at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 4, 2018. VOA

“We categorically reject accusations of violations of international humanitarian law,” Nebenzia told the council. “Our goal is the terrorists.”

An array of insurgents have a foothold in northwestern Syria – Idlib province and a belt of territory around it. The most powerful is the jihadist Tahrir al-Sham, the latest incarnation of the former Nusra Front which was part of al Qaeda until 2016.

Also Read- US Embassy in Jakarta Presents Security Warning for Americans in Indonesia

U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council he did not know who was responsible, but “at least some of these attacks are clearly organized by people with access to sophisticated weapons including a modern air force and so called smart or precision weapons.”

Lowcock said 49 health centers had partially or totally suspended activities, some for fear of being attacked, while 17 schools have been damaged or destroyed and many more closed. He said that in the past three weeks up to 160 people have been killed and at least 180,000 people displaced.

U.N. political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo warned the Security Council: “If the escalation continues and the offensive pushes forward, we risk catastrophic humanitarian fallout and threats to international peace and security.” (VOA)