UN urges tasks world leaders to tackle climate change challenges




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ABUJA – As the global community celebrated the World Environment Day (WED) on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged world leaders to make efforts to address climate change challenges and work for a sustainable future.
Ban made the call in his message posted on the UN website.
The theme of the WED is: “Raise your voice, not the sea level”.
The WED is being celebrated against the backdrop of the UN declaration of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States.
Ban urged everyone to think about the plight of Small Island Developing States and to take inspiration from efforts to address climate change, strengthen resilience and work for a sustainable future.
“Small island nations share a common understanding that we need to our planet on a sustainable path.
“This demands the engagement of all sectors of society in all countries.
“On World Environment Day, millions of individuals, community groups and businesses from around the world, take part in local projects – from clean-up campaigns, to art exhibits, to tree-planting drives.
“Raise your voice, not the sea level.  Planet Earth is our shared island.  Let us join forces to protect it,’’ he said.
According to him, the world’s small island nations, which are collectively home to more than 63 million people, are renowned as prized destinations.
Ban said the destinations were outstanding for natural beauty, vibrant culture and music appreciated around the globe.
“While small in total, the land size of small island nations does not reflect importance as stewards of nature’s wealth on land and sea.
“They play an important role in protecting the oceans and many are biodiversity hotspots, containing some of the richest reservoirs of plants and animals on the planet.
“Despite these assets, Small Island Developing States face numerous challenges.
“For a significant number, remoteness affects their ability to be part of the global supply chain, increases import costs – especially for energy – and limits their competitiveness in the tourism industry.
“ Many are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – from devastating storms, to the threat of sea level rise, ’’he said.
The UN chief noted that small island developing states contribute in a little way to climate change.
Ban noted that annual output of greenhouse gaseswas less than one per cent of total global emissions.
“But, position on the frontlines has projected many to the fore in negotiations for a universal legal climate agreement in 2015.
“Others are leaders in disaster preparedness and prevention or are working to achieve climate neutrality through the use of and other approaches,’’ he said.
 WED is celebrated globally on June 5, in accordance with the UN Assembly declaration, to raise global and take positive action on contemporary environmental issues.  (NAN)