Il Consiglio di sicurezza delle Nazioni Unite ha prorogato fino all’agosto 2022 il mandato della missione delle Nazioni Unite in Libano (UNIFIL), composta da circa 12mila caschi blu e della quale fa parte anche un contingente italiano di 1.100 militari.
U.N. agencies are appealing for nearly $300 million in preparation for the possible exodus of hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees, seeking safety and protection from conflict and persecution under Taliban rule.
The U.N. refugee agency and partners are planning for what they call a worst-case scenario of more than 515,000 newly displaced refugees fleeing to countries neighboring Afghanistan.
Al Jazeera writes: Nearly 2,400 Afghan civilians have been killed or injured in May and June as fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces escalated, the highest number for those two months since records started in 2009, the United Nations said on Monday. The UN’s Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report it had documented 5,183 civilian casualties between January and June, of which 1,659 were deaths. The number was up 47 percent from the same period last year.
Egypt has so far played the Nile Dam dispute with Ethiopia straight by the diplomatic book, seeking a solution via mediated negotiation, working with and through trusted partners and institutions such as the United States, the World Bank and the African Union.
– EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images
- The UN’s climate chief has said a “significant amount of work” remains to be done ahead of November’s COP26 summit.
- The COP26 summit is tasked with finalising rules for the 2015 Paris Agreement.
- Emissions reductions by governments are still a long way off of the Paris goals, which limit global warming to below 2C.
- Rich nations have also come under fire for not yet meeting a promise to raise $100 billion a year from 2020 to help poorer countries tackle climate change.
The United Nations climate chief said on June 17 a “significant amount of work” remains to be done ahead of November’s COP26 summit in Britain, with developing nations warning issues of finance and vaccine inequity could derail a successful outcome.
At the end of three weeks of mid-year climate talks, held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Patricia Espinosa called on countries to overcome their differences and work together in the remaining months before the key COP26 negotiations in Glasgow.
She said governments had “engaged effectively”, despite the challenges of virtual working, and made advances in several areas, including common time-frames for emissions-cutting goals and transparency in how countries report their climate action.
There are still divisions on the rules governing how global carbon markets will work, the U.N. climate body noted – and higher-level political guidance will be needed, Espinosa said.
Efforts would continue to “ensure maximum progress before COP26”, she added.
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“So much is at stake,” said the top U.N. official. “I urge us to rise to the challenge of our time, to get the job done, to overcome our differences, to fulfill our promises.”
The June talks were the first official U.N. climate negotiations to be held since the end of 2019, due to delays caused by the pandemic.
The COP26 summit is tasked with finalising rules for the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change so that the pact can be fully implemented, U.N. officials have said.
“We must achieve success at COP26,” Espinosa told journalists on Thursday.
“It is a credibility test for our fight against the climate emergency – it is central to a green recovery and it is an affirmation of multilateralism when the world needs it most.”
Many nations have yet to submit stronger climate action plans that were due last year under the Paris accord but thrown off course due to the pandemic.
Emissions reductions promised by governments are still a long way from what is needed to meet the Paris goals of limiting global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and ideally to 1.5C above preindustrial times, the United Nations has said.
But a failure by wealthy nations to deliver on longstanding climate finance pledges to help poorer, vulnerable countries shift to renewable energy and adapt to climate change impacts are casting a shadow over the U.N.-led process.
The pandemic has also thrown another spanner in the works with many developing nations struggling to secure access to vaccines, after supplies were mostly bought up by rich countries.
That means many delegates do not know whether they will be able to attend the COP26 summit in person.
As the conference host, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this month his government was exploring with the United Nations how to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to accredited delegations who would be unable to get them otherwise.
“The road to COP 26 remains nebulous – COVID-19 remains a serious concern for many of us,” Diann Black-Layne of Antigua and Barbuda, representing the 44-member Alliance of Small Island States, told the closing session of the June talks.
The group is also still waiting for major progress on climate finance, she added, calling for a “new, scaled-up finance goal” at COP26 for climate-vulnerable nations.
Sonam P. Wangdi of Bhutan, who chairs the 46-member group of least developed countries at the U.N. talks, agreed that delivering on climate finance is “critical” to ensure success.
G7 leaders were criticised for not offering a clear roadmap on how that pledge would be met at a summit last weekend, although Germany and Canada committed fresh money.
This month’s U.N. climate talks did not produce formal decisions because of their virtual nature, with some delegates struggling with technical difficulties.
To push the work forward faster, Alok Sharma, the UK official who will preside over COP26, plans to bring ministers from more than 40 countries together in London in late July.
Archie Young, Britain’s lead climate negotiator, said he had heard “very clearly the desire for more clarity” on issues around vaccinations and logistical arrangements for COP26.
Sharma said London was working with partners on a plan to offer vaccines to all accredited COP26 delegates – including government officials, representatives of green groups and media – and he hoped to set out the details “shortly”.
The United Nations is preparing for the expected displacement of more civilians in Afghanistan after troops belonging to the US and other nations leave the country in September, the global body’s refugee agency chief has told Reuters news agency.
Violence has been rising as foreign forces begin withdrawing and efforts to broker a peace settlement between the Afghan government and Taliban slow.
UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi pointed to a deadly attack last week on an international demining organisation in northern Afghanistan, which killed 10 people.
“This is a tragic indicator of the type of violence that may be resurfacing in Afghanistan and, with the withdrawal of the international troops, this is possibly or likely going to become worse,” Grandi said on Monday.
“Therefore we are doing contingency planning inside the country for further displacement, in the neighbouring countries in case people might cross borders,” he said, without offering details of those plans.
Twenty years after invading the country, the US has started withdrawing its remaining 2,500 troops and aims to be completely out of Afghanistan by September 11. Some 7,000 non-US forces from mainly NATO countries – along with Australia, New Zealand and Georgia – are also planning to leave by that date.
US-led forces toppled the Taliban in late 2001 for refusing to hand over al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.
Grandi said strong international support was needed for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
“It’s political action that should substitute conflict but, of course, the risk (of further displacement) is there and we need to be prepared,” he said.
“What’s needed is a high level of economic support for Afghanistan humanitarian assistance to maximise the chance the Afghan authorities have to stabilise the situation,” UN aid chief Mark Lowcock told Reuters on Monday.
Earlier this month, the US announced more than $266m in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, bringing to nearly $3.9bn the total amount of such aid it has provided since 2002.
Some 18.4 million people, almost half the country’s population, need humanitarian help, according to the UN, which has appealed for $1.3bn in funding for 2021. So far, it has only received about 23 percent of that.
Lowcock said that until a few years ago there had been a lot of international attention on Afghanistan. That has “dissipated and weakened and that is a sort of problem when it comes to drawing attention to the needs of Afghanistan and getting support for them”.
Human Rights Watch says the UN improperly collected and shared data from more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees with their host country Bangladesh, which passed it on to Myanmar, the country they fled, and is calling for an investigation.
Over the past three years, the UN refugee agency has registered hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladeshi camps, enabling Dhaka to provide them with identity cards needed to access essential aid and services.
But according to a new HRW report, the refugees were generally not made aware that the data they were providing would also be used by the Bangladeshi government to submit details about them to authorities in neighbouring Myanmar, with a view to possible repatriation.
“The UN refugee agency’s data collection practices with Rohingya in Bangladesh were contrary to the agency’s own policies and exposed refugees to further risk,” Lama Fakih, HRW’s crisis and conflict director, said in a statement.
The UNHCR refuted this, with spokesman Andrej Mahecic telling AFP news agency that the refugee agency has “clear policies in place to ensure the safeguarding of the data we collect when registering refugees all over the world”.
Rohingya not asked for ‘informed consent’
The HRW, however, said the refugees often likely did not understand that the data being collected, including photographs, fingerprints and biographic data, could be shared with Myanmar.
This, the report said, was particularly concerning in the case of the approximately 880,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, many of whom fled a 2017 crackdown in Myanmar that UN investigators say amounted to genocide.
The global rights group interviewed 24 Rohingya refugees between September 2020 and March 2021 about their experience registering with UNHCR in Cox’s Bazar, along with aid workers and others who witnessed or participated in the registration.
The UN agency insisted its staff asked Rohingya for permission to share their data for repatriation eligibility assessments, and explained that the so-called Smart Card needed to access aid would be issued regardless of whether they agreed to sharing the information.
It also said it had provided individual advice to ensure refugees “fully understood the purpose of the exercise”.
But all but one of the 24 refugees told HRW they were never informed the data would be used for anything beyond establishing aid access.
They were given a receipt with a box ticked stating they had agreed to the data being shared with Myanmar – but it was provided only in English, which only three of them could read.
She urged the UNHCR to conduct “an investigation to look carefully at why the decisions at the time were made the way they were”.
But she pointed to reports that Bangladesh had submitted data on at least 830,000 Rohingya to Myanmar – nearly every Rohingya refugee in the country.
“It is hard to imagine that every single one would have agreed,” she said.
Myanmar has meanwhile used that data to reportedly greenlight some 42,000 Rohingya for return.
They include 21 of the refugees interviewed by HRW, who all said they only learned their data had been shared when they were informed they had been approved to return to Myanmar.
Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya as citizens, but has said it will welcome back those agreeing to a bureaucratic status below full citizenship.
The UNHCR stressed that any returns to Myanmar would be “based on the individual and voluntary choice of refugees”.
Wille also highlighted that Bangladesh had so far not forced any refugees to go back.
“But they are on lists and now Myanmar authorities know that they’re sitting in Bangladesh, so if the situation changes, that risk has been opened up effectively,” she said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed veteran British diplomat Martin Griffiths as the world body’s new aid chief on Wednesday, and said Griffiths would continue as the UN Yemen mediator “until a transition has been announced.”
Human rights office calls for thorough investigation into ‘violent repression’ of peaceful sit-in at Jau prison by police special forces.