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Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appoints Indian Ovais Sarmad to high-level UN climate change post

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Antonio Guterres, Source: UN Foundation (Twitter)
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United Nations, May 16, 2017: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Ovais Sarmad of India as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the forum where the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change was negotiated.

Sarmad’s appointment comes as the Paris Agreement faces a potential crisis if the US goes through with President Donald Trump’s threat to disown it.

Stephane Djuarric, the spokesperson for Guterres, said Monday that Sarmad’s position will be at the Assistant Secretary-General level.

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The highest ranking Indian in the UN bureaucracy is Atul Khare, the Under-Secretary-General, Department of Field Support, who plays a crucial role in the peacekeeping operations.

Sarmad is currently the Chief of Staff to the Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the UN body that deals with international international migration issues and assists migrants as well as governments.

Djuarric said that Sarmad “was a key team member negotiating the agreement” that led to the US joining the IOM.

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Now Sarmad’s diplomatic skills may be called upon as the landmark Paris Agreement is at risk of being reneged by its most important party, the US, which is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

A 1982 commerce graduate of Osmania University in Hyderabad, he has a chartered management accountancy qualification from London and is an expert in finance and management.

After a career in public and private sectors in London, Sarmad joined IOM in Geneva in 1990.

During his 27-year career at the IOM, he has also worked as Chief of Budget, Director of Resource Management, Director of the Global Administrative Centre and Chief of Mission to the Philippines.

He succeeds Richard Kinley of Canada. The UNFCC is headed by Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Director appointed by then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last year. (IANS)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)

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