U.N. Sec Gen visits Barbuda, calls for greater climate change commitment

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“We need an enhanced engagement of the international community in order to be able to dominate climate change and to avoid the dramatic multiplication of disasters we are seeing.”
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres made the statement while speaking to local, regional and international media practitioners on Saturday during a visit to hurricane ravaged Barbuda to get a first-hand look at the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma on September 5 and 6.
“There is a collective responsibility of the international community to stop this suicidal development,” the UN Secretary General said as he urged the international community to increase its commitment to combat climate change.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne along with Minister of Health and the Environment Molwyn Joseph and other senior government officials accompanied the U.N. Secretary General on his tour of the island.
“I have been in areas torn by conflict in my own country. I have seen earthquakes. I’ve seen storms. I have never seen such a high-level of devastation like the one that I have witnessed in Barbuda,” said the Portuguese national, who has claimed that having witnessed the suffering of the most vulnerable people on earth, in refugee camps and in war zones, he is determined to make human dignity the core of his work, and to serve as a peace broker, a bridge-builder and a promoter of reform and innovation.
His visit to Barbuda and other islands that have been recently ravaged by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria could be seen as an expression of his commitment to appeasing the sufferings of earth’s vulnerable peoples.
The entire Barbuda population of 1800 people had to be evacuated to Antigua in the immediate wake of Hurricane Irma, leaving the island without human habitation for the first time in over 200 years.
Guterres emphasised that human activity and recent natural extremities are “obviously linked.”
He elaborated that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the increased warmth of oceanic waters are increasing the intensity of hurricanes experienced in the region.
Prime Minister Gaston Brown expressed gratitude to Guterres and the United Nations for the assistance and the appeal to the international community. According to Brown, “we have a friend in Secretary-General Antonio Guterres”.
Antigua and Barbuda is a signatory among 167 countries of the Paris Agreement of December 12, 2015, on the need to lessen the effects of human influenced climate change. The first conference of the involved countries took place in Marrakech, Morocco on November 15, 2016
The U.N. released a statement of the progress made on March 31, 2017, observing “that some parties [countries] feel that we ought to accelerate the pace of work, and ensure more focused outcomes”.
Guterres has expressed the view that the commitment of the international community is not enough.

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