“We’re abusing our planet as if we have a spare one”-UN Secretary General

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***calls for adequate finance on adaptation to climate change impacts

By:Oluwatosin Iyun

“While we have been abusing our planet as if we had a spare one, ‘nature is striking back’, with record-high temperatures and collapsing biodiversity,” the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, António Guterres on Monday says.

This was even as he called for adequate finance to adapt to the impacts of climate change, which include more frequent and more severe incidents of drought, flooding and fires.

Guterres stated this in his virtual address at the ‘One Planet Summit’ for biodiversity hosted by the French government in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Bank.

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While declaring 2021 as “the year to reconcile humanity with nature,” he stressed the need to reach net zero carbon emissions.

According to him, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, however, provides an opportunity to change course: “With smart policies and the right investments, we can chart a path that brings health to all, revives economies, builds resilience and rescues biodiversity.”

While also citing nature-based solutions such as Africa’s Great Green Wall as being especially promising, he said the main goal of the United Nations in 2021, is to build a truly global coalition for carbon neutrality.

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The UN chief underscored the urgent need to address the lack of adequate funding to help the most vulnerable adapt to the effects of climate change, with adaptation efforts currently accounting for only 20% of climate finance, and only 14% of climate finance dedicated to the least developed countries.

Guterres also spoke of a global survey conducted by the UN last year where more than 1.5 milliond people in 195 countries shared their short- and long-term priorities.

The Survey showed that respondents in all regions identified climate change and environmental issues as the number one long-term global challenge.

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