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Lajčák in New York on climate change challenges

Lajčák in New York on climate change challenges

23.3.2017 | Aktivity ministra | Slovensko a OSN |

Supporting the work of and contributing to the solutions set forth by the UN General Assembly in core issues like climate change and its impact on the environment, economy and security dominated the address given by Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák at the High-level Action Event on climate change at the UN in New York today (23 March). The event, organized by Chairman of the 71st UN General Assembly Peter Thomson, serves to reinforce synergies between the two mutually interlinked topics: climate change and sustainable development.

 

Climate change has a devastating impact not only on the environment but it directly increases development, humanitarian and security risks: the loss of fertile land due to floods or extreme drought, lack of drinking water resources, access to mineral resources and so on. These elements, multiplied by bad economic and social situation of the population in some regions, represents a serious threat to peace and security globally. Last but not least, according to the predictions of expert organizations, by 2050 migration will have significantly increased as the number of people forced to abandon their homes due to climate changes can reach as much as a billion.

 

All of us must be a part of the solution. We must understand and explain to citizens the importance of climate change and urge so that they come to better understand the challenges it poses and to adapt their lives accordingly. If we do not act today vis-à-vis global warming, it will be a catastrophe for future generations. Our efforts must be detached from who is currently in power – and must be based on scientific data,” said Lajčák in his address. He also pointed to the need to help the most vulnerable developing countries in building capacities, implementing new technologies and creating partnerships in addressing the negative impacts of climate change.

 

During its Presidency in the Council of the European Union in the latter half of 2016, the Slovak Republic promoted finalization of the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change for all EU countries, thus having significantly contributed to the validity and effectivity of the Agreement in record time – in fact, a year since its adoption. Slovakia ratified the Agreement as the fifth EU country. The Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016 following extensive talks. However, its adoption serves up another task – implementation of the agreed commitments in practice.

 

In New York, the Minister also met with Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus, with whom he talked about current developments in this divided island. As Lajčák recalled, we have put much efforts and hopes recently into the reconciliation process and solution of the stalemate in the talks between Cypriot Greeks and Cypriot Turks. “We were especially pleased to see proposals and drafts of possible federal formation in Cyprus in January of this year.  However, now it seems that the whole process is stuck again, which helps nobody. The opinion differences must be addressed at a round table, pragmatically and cold-headedly,” said Minister Lajčák, reiterating that positive results would be great news not only for Cypriots but also for the EU and the region as a whole.

 

On the eve of the event on climate change, Lajčák also met with President of the 71st UN General Assembly Peter Thomson, with whom he talked about the greatest challenges currently facing this global organization. In the afternoon, the Minister also talked with Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, with whom he delved into international policy issues including Syria and the Near East Peace Process and their links to the UN political agenda.