/United Nations/ UNGA 78: World Leaders to Deliberate Thorny Issues, Led by International Security, Food Crisis, Global Warming -2-

The energy issue also constitutes a major item on the discussion agenda of UNGA 78, given its recurring crises over the past three years. The energy crises started with the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions on the global economy and decline in global demand for crude oil, followed by the Moscow-Kyiv crisis, which resulted in the halt of gas flow through Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, forcing consumers to find new supplying routes, whether from producing countries in northern Europe, Middle East, United States, or some African countries, such as Algeria and Nigeria. These solutions, according to European countries’ point of view in particular, remain ineffective and of high cost and do not serve the goals and development programs, in addition to their repercussions on consumers and the cost of production.

Considering these fears, Western capitals are pushing for a unified option regarding the supply of either oil or gas from new markets by the international community in New York, away from what they consider “dependence” on Russia in these products in exchange for political gains and field victories in its ongoing war in the Ukrainian territories.

In turn, the poor and developing countries follow the steps of their Western counterparts and demand the need to curb prices affected by what is happening there in the far north of Europe and see themselves affected by the Russian war machine because of the additional costs they pay to supply their needs of oil and gas. Since 2020, the energy crisis has revealed the world’s need, with both its rich and developing parts, to rapidly engage in a green economy and in renewable energy that has a lower cost and is environmentally friendly. This trend enjoys broad international consensus but remains so far only hopes and aspirations that everyone is unable to turn into reality, which was revealed by the recurring energy crises that forced many countries to return to nuclear energy, coal, and others.

European and developing and poor countries will seek to reach an international consensus during the UNGA 78 discussions that will help them overcome this circumstance and ensure a regular supply of oil and gas at a lower cost, which is contrary to the desires of some exporters. However, the concern is to ensure continuous growth of the global economy, which has barely begun to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, will constitute a pressure card in the hands of consumers, hoping that they will benefit from everyone’s aspiration to “revive” the global trade and investment movement.

Away from the sound of cannons, the war machine, the whirring of aircraft, and the conflict of economic interests, the issue of global warming and greenhouse gases looms at the top of global public opinions concerns without exception and at the forefront of concerns, especially after the globe witnessed this summer the highest levels of temperature ever, never seen in thousands of years, and the accompanying raging fires all over the world in the cold north of the globe as well as in its hot south, as the fires devoured vast areas of vegetation and forests, just as the rise in the temperature of the oceans and seas constituted a harbinger of a real danger threatening the planet and life on it.

In light of the failure of the industrialized countries to fulfill their obligations to reduce their carbon emissions and greenhouse gases in the medium term and the failure of Antonio Guterres’ efforts to reach binding agreements in successive climate conferences (COP), the Secretary-General of the United Nations will find himself once again forced to remind the world of their responsibilities in preserving the planet and engaging in work to reduce gas emissions as soon as possible and advance the dates that were previously set in the (third millennium) due to the growing threat to humanity and its life.

In its latest report on the emissions gap, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) noted that as climate impacts accelerate around the world, countries must increase their funding for environmental programs and implement actions designed to help vulnerable countries and communities to adapt to the climate storm, adding that the ongoing drought for several years in the Horn of Africa, unprecedented floods in South Asia, and sweltering summers in the Northern Hemisphere all point to rising climate risks, with impacts reaching 1.1C above pre-industrial temperatures.

The report emphasized that climate risks will intensify with every tenth of a degree Celsius, stressing that such trends mean that adaptation must become a focus of everyone’s attention, along with mitigation measures in the global response to climate change, and that ambitious investments will not be able to completely prevent climate effects so that everyone will find that they are forced to deal with losses and damages at costs that exceed the capabilities of poor and developing countries.

Regarding this item of discussion, during His Highness’s speech at the opening of the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in March, HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani pointed out that Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt made an achievement in establishing a fund for compensation for losses and damages allocated to developing countries, saying “Based on our commitment to combating climate change and the internationally approved policies in this regard, we aspire that the advanced industrial countries fulfill their legal and moral responsibilities in taking more effective and efficient decisions and measures on emissions.” Another file that is no less important than all other files is anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The topic will grab the attention of Arab and Islamic countries, especially after the recent events caused by the incidents of burning copies of the Quran in Sweden and Denmark, the growing attacks on mosques in Western countries, and linking Isl
am and Muslims in particular to terrorism.

The Arab leaders will use the UNGA discussions to refute all the false accusations that have been linked, in bad faith, to Islam, and to reveal the plans that target Muslims, especially since terrorism knows no religion, which is evident in the daily violations that the Palestinians are subjected to, affecting their occupied lands and their sanctities, in international silence, as if to encourage occupations practices that have been ongoing for 75 years.

The ceiling of expectations from the results of the UNGA 78 does not seem high for several considerations, the most important of which is the great rift between the Western alliance led by the United States and the eastern camp led by Russia and China, the expansion of the circle of proxy wars, whether in Africa or in northern Europe, and the focus of many Western leaders on their internal crises more than focusing on foreign and international files, in addition to the great divergence in positions related to the issues on the discussion table in New York. Despite that, observers do not rule out that the discussion would come out with consensual formulas regarding the war in Ukraine, the situation in the Sahel region, the food and hunger crisis, and the indebtedness of poor countries.

Source: Qatar News Agency

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