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COP26: UNGA president to boost more confidence in climate action

President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Abdulla Shahid, has expressed his intention to boost more confidence in climate action.

Abdulla Shahid
President of the 76th session of UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid

Shahid said that boost was prior to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow slated for next month.

“We need to do something, and that something I believe, is to give confidence to our people that it is possible to have a better tomorrow,’’ said the UNGA president during a recent interview with Xinhua.

The president was to convene a high-level meeting themed “Delivering Climate Action: for People, for Planet and for Prosperity” on Tuesday.

Before moving to Glasgow, Shahid said that efforts must be made to ensure that the United Nations, composed of 193 countries, gives itself one last chance “a push” to make sure that “we go to Glasgow united.”

“We go to Glasgow knowing that we have the courage to take that important step to correct our path. And that is why I’m convening this event on 26th of October.

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“That together, humanity has the capacity to rise from this,” the president said, noting that his presidency is the “presidency of hope.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has really taken a toll on all of us. We have all lost loved ones within family, friends, coworkers. People have lost their jobs,” he said.

However, Shahid said that “we have to celebrate the fact that we have been able to achieve a vaccine in record time. Humanity has today launched the largest ever vaccine rollout in human history.

Therefore, the international community should do more and “we should communicate this to our people, give people the confidence that together humanity has the capacity to deal with this situation facing all countries.

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By displaying the success of developing COVID-19 vaccines in a very short period, the president expressed the hope that countries, if united closely, could also find good solutions to the deteriorating climate change situation.

“We are seeing the devastation, the wrath of nature, unleashed on us, like it has never before. We are seeing floods. We are seeing forest fires. We are seeing you name it. We need to face this,” he said.

“Once again, as I have been saying, humanity has the scientific knowledge, has the technology,” he said, noting the only problem was the lack of courage.

He pointed out that he was expecting that there would be a great number of countries represented, a great number of heads of state and government “joining us virtually” at the coming high-level event.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the General Debate of the 76th UNGA that China would not build new coal-fired power projects abroad.

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Last year, Xi said that China would achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060.

Shahid warmly welcomed China’s pledges.  “China, as one of the largest countries, the largest economies in the world, is ready to step up to the plate,’’ he said.

He added that “the fact that President Xi came out with this commitment is encouraging.’’

According to Monica Grayley, the UNGA president’s spokesperson, Tuesday’s meeting will focus on the gap between current and required technical and financial capacities to achieve the 1.5-degree Celsius target and how that gap can be met through showcasing best practices.

The meeting would also take stock of the ambition-raising initiatives from member states and stakeholders.

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