Failure to get Syria cease-fire stole spotlight at UN
Sept.27, Geneva: The failed attempt by the U.S. and Russia to revive a cease-fire in Syria stole the spotlight at the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders but every other global hotspot had its moment — and there were some chuckles as well including a message to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to be ready to receive his gift of a "white bull" from South Sudan.
With the final speeches of the six-day gabfest delivered on Monday, there were also a few high points.
Last December's Paris climate agreement got 31 more ratifications at a high-level event hosted by Ban, topping the 55 countries required and just over 7 percent short of the 55 percent of global emissions needed for the deal to enter into force. It is expected to reach that magic number before the next U.N. conference on climate change in November in Morocco.
U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson called the agreement a "historic achievement" that would never have happened if the world's nations hadn't shifted course to preserve life on Earth.
"There might be a Plan B in life but there certainly is no Planet B," Eliasson said Monday in wrapping up the General Assembly's annual General Debate which was attended by over 135 heads of state and government and more than 50 ministers.
The high-level meetings began with the first-ever U.N. summit on refugees and migrants called to tackle one of the most contentious issues facing the world: millions of people fleeing conflict and poverty — and not many countries willing to accept them.
World leaders approved the New York Declaration aimed at providing a more coordinated and humane response to the largest refugee crisis since World War II, and President Barack Obama secured thousands of new resettlement places and billions of dollars in pledges to help the refugees at a summit the following day.
Eliasson said both events gave "new structure to the work on refugees and migration which will be very useful."
The Oslo Times International News Network