UN General Assembly spotlights refugees and migrant crisis and climate change

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for members of the United Nations as the 71st General Assembly required their undivided attention. The decision-making body gathers every September to hold a week-long debate over pressing global issues that they will address for the coming year.. For the first of our special Up close report on the UN…

Oh Soo-young has the highlights of the discussions which ended this week,… Renewing global commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals was at the heart of the 71st General Assembly’s annual debate that wrapped up this week. Government officials and leaders from 193 member states gathered at the UN Headquarters in New York to review progress on the 17 “global goals” adopted last year. They aim to achieve peace and prosperity across the world by 2030 through economic growth, improvements in health, education, and social protection as well as tackling climate change.

During the week-long debate, officials discussed a slew of global issues that hinder the fulfillment of those goals. One focus was tackling the most severe and widespread refugee crisis since World War 2, with 244 million migrants and 65 million people currently displaced in the world. “Refugees and migrants are not to be seen a burden. They offer a great potential if only we unlock it. We must press all human rights of all refugees and migrants at the heart of our commitment.” The delegations adopted the New York Declaration which pledges to protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of their status. It also aims to protect women and girls from gender-based violence as well as end xenophobia.

The debate also addressed millions of migrants and refugees forced to leave their homes due to climate change. That was one of the reasons why UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pushed for the speedy implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement adopted last December, which aims to tackle global warming by limiting the rise of global temperatures to below two degrees Celsius. During the week, 31 countries, including Brazil, Mexico and India ratified the deal, raising the number of countries and percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions closer to the threshold required to put the mechanism into force. If the 28 EU member countries soon ratify the deal as anticipated,… the Paris Agreement could enter into effect before the annual UN climate conference in November. Oh Soo-young, Arirang News..