Monday December 16, 2019

UN Chief Encourages Donors to Honor Pledges They have Made to Combat Ebola

Guterres told reporters Monday in Kinshasa that the United Nations has received only 15% of what it needs to fight the Ebola epidemic

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UN, Ebola, Donors
FILE - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, hands a diploma to an Ebola survivor during a visit to an Ebola treatment center in Mangina, North Kivu province, Sept. 1, 2019. VOA

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres encouraged donors to honor the pledges they have made to combat Ebola as he visited the Democratic Republic of Congo to offer support in fighting the outbreak.

Guterres told reporters Monday in Kinshasa that the United Nations has received only 15% of what it needs to fight the Ebola epidemic for the remainder of the year. He said further delays in receiving donor funding could mean ”we lose the war against Ebola.”

The U.N. head later met with DRC President Felix Tshisekedi.

On Sunday, Guterres traveled to the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak, visiting a treatment center in the eastern city of Beni.

UN, Ebola, Donors
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres encouraged donors to honor the pledges they have made to combat Ebola as he visited the Democratic Republic of Congo. Pixabay

“I could not go to the DRC without coming to meet the brave inhabitants of this beautiful territory,” he said.

The current Ebola outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people and infected 1,000 others.

In another development Monday, Congo’s former health minister, Oly Ilunga, was questioned by police over his management of funds to fight the Ebola epidemic, according to his lawyers.

Ilunga resigned from his position in July, after overseeing the government response to the Ebola outbreak for nearly a year.
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Lawyers for Ilunga say he has been questioned about payments his office made to village chiefs to help spread information about Ebola, as well as bonuses distributed to members of his staff.

The lawyers denied Illunga was involved in any wrongdoing. (VOA)

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EU Leaders Agree Making the 28-member Bloc Carbon Neutral by 2050

EU agrees to become carbon neutral by 2050

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EU carbon
EU aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. Wikimedia Commons

BY VISHAL GULATI

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have agreed to make the 28-member bloc carbon neutral by 2050.

However, coal-reliant Poland has been given time until June to fully endorse the commitment to implement the agreed EU objective.

Climate experts told IANS for the first time the EU leaders, who met in Brussels on Thursday, came out with a time-frame by agreeing to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050, thereby opening the way to start a discussion on raising the EU’s 2030 climate target as soon as possible.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is at the UN climate change conference (COP25), said on Friday that he was encouraged by the fact that the European Union decided to move ahead with its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050.

“This example of #ClimateAction needs to be followed worldwide,” he tweeted.

Carbon Neutral
EU’s top priority is to reduce Carbon Emissions. Pixabay

In November last year the European Commission put forward a proposal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a much needed long-term goal to bring the EU closer to meeting the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement goal and keeping temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Wednesday’s European Green Deal communication indicates that the European Commission will propose a new, substantially increased 2030 climate target by summer 2020.

Now that the net-zero emission goal is endorsed, the EU’s top priority is to adopt a new, increased climate target for 2030 well before next year’s UN Climate Summit, COP 26, in November.

EU leaders invited the European Commission to present a proposal for a new EU 2030 climate target in good time ahead of the UN Climate Conference.

COP26, taking place in Glasgow, is the international deadline by which all parties to the Paris Agreement must submit new and far more ambitious greenhouse gas emission reductions targets for 2030.

However, say climate experts, a couple of concessions were negotiated.

Poland has not been ready to fully commit to the implementation of the objective, but has also not blocked the collective endorsement of climate neutrality by 2050.

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Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe Director Wendel Trio told IANS: “Setting a target of net zero emissions by 2050 is a vital and necessary first step to limit the escalating climate crisis.”

“But to jump-start climate action now in line with the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal, the EU needs to increase its target for 2030, not just for 2050.” (IANS)