We face the greatest moral crisis of our time, warns Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford praised the UAE for its efforts to preserve mangroves on its coast. (World Government Summit/Screen grab)
Updated 12 February 2019

We face the greatest moral crisis of our time, warns Harrison Ford

  • Hollywood star makes a jibe at President Trump saying climate change is something that should be left to the experts
  • Ford questioned the environmental legacy that was being left for the next generation

DUBAI: Now, more than ever, the world needs to protect nature as humans are faced with the “greatest moral crisis of our time,” warned actor and philanthropist Harrison Ford on Tuesday.

In a moving and passionate speech, Ford warned a packed hall during the third day of World Government Summit in Dubai that “all of us, whether rich or poor, powerful or powerless, will suffer the effects of climate change and ecosystem destruction as we’re faced with the greatest moral crisis of our time.”

“The land and the sea are the legacy we will leave to future generations…we must intervene and act before it is too late,” he said, adding that “We need to protect nature because nature does not need people, but people need nature.”

In what was seen as a dig at US President Donald Trump, Ford said climate change was real and should be left to the experts.

The 76-year-old actor, best known for his roles in "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones," stressed the importance of acknowledging the effects of climate change on the world in a speech on the closing day of the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Though never saying Trump's name, he clearly targeted the American president within the opening moments of his remarks.
"Around the world, elements of leadership — including in my own country — to preserve their state and the status quo, deny or denigrate science," Ford said. "They are on the wrong side of history."
Ford, known to be a strong advocate of climate and environmental protection, has given several speeches at large conferences on the dangers of destroying the environment, as well as produced and presented the climate change documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously.”

“More than 3 billion people live on fish and depend on them as a source of livelihood and food, so we have to protect water wealth,” he told the room filled with heads of state, thought leaders, journalists and more from across the world sitting silently, absorbing the warnings.

“Earth's temperature has risen by 40 percent, so you should invest more in science and adopt climate-protecting behaviors,” Ford said, adding that “Strenuous evidence should guide us to develop plans and develop practical strategies to address climate challenges.”

Ford spoke of not only the necessity, but also the beauty of mangroves, small trees that grow on coasts and stabilize coastlines, protect communities from storms, provide critical habitats for many animals, and store vast amounts of carbon.

He praised the UAE for its efforts to preserve the mangroves on its coast.

“75 percent of world’s biggest cities are next to the coastline. As our oceans melt, they will endanger these cities and its population,” he said, before looking at everyone in the hall, saying “When it comes to oceans, covering 71 percemt of the planet, our efforts have been inadequate.”

Speaking before Ford was UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment Thani Al-Zeyoudi, who said “Humanity has reaped countless benefits from oceans for thousands of years, yet we are not doing enough collectively to protect one of our most valuable resources.”

“If not addressed immediately, climate change will lead to the loss of 250,000 lives by 2030,” Al-Zeyoudi warned.

Islamabad leads the way in defusing tensions with Kabul

Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, held talks with senior Afghan security officials in Kabul following allegations of harassment by diplomats in both countries.
Updated 11 min 14 sec ago

Islamabad leads the way in defusing tensions with Kabul

  • The Pakistani Embassy in Kabul said that Afghan intelligence operatives and police have been “harassing” its diplomats and other staffers over the past few days

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to defuse tensions between Islamabad and Kabul following allegations of harassment by diplomats in both countries, the head of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency held talks with senior Afghan security officials in Kabul to resolve the matter, officials said on Tuesday.
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed’s visit follows comments by the Afghan Foreign Ministry (AFM) last week that its ambassador in Islamabad, Atif Mashal, had been “summoned and mistreated” by the ISI, describing the incident as a “clear contradiction of diplomatic norms and principles.”
Pakistan has denied the allegations.
Mashal, who visited Kabul after the incident for consultations with the government, has now returned to Islamabad, an embassy source told Arab News on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a statement released by the AFM on Nov. 4 called on the Pakistani government to “align its diplomatic relations with Afghanistan in compliance with international conventions and accepted diplomatic norms.”
Kabir Haqmal, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, said Mohib had met with the ISI chief and Pakistan’s deputy foreign minister on Monday and discussed several issues, including ways to normalize ties.
“The issue of normalizing relations between the two countries and establishment of a technical commission for resolving the current problems ... were discussed,” he said.
The Pakistani Embassy in Kabul said that Afghan intelligence operatives and police have been “harassing” its diplomats and other staffers over the past few days.
Several videos and photographs shared with Arab News appear to show some of the Pakistani Embassy’s vehicles being obstructed.
In retaliation, Pakistan closed its consular section citing “security reasons,” before halting visa operations in Kabul, where hundreds of people visit on a daily basis.
A few days later, Pakistan restarted issuing visas but only to those dealing with a medical emergency.
Commenting on the situation, an Afghan diplomat told Arab News on Tuesday that the embassy was processing visa applications as per routine.
Earlier, Afghanistan had shut its consulate in Peshawar following a dispute over the ownership of an Afghan market, which Kabul says is its property despite Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruling that it was owned by a Pakistani national.
Pakistan Embassy officials said that the Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood had “productive meetings” with Mohib, the Afghan intelligence chief and acting Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman on Monday.

“Recent developments, including the harassment of Pakistan’s diplomatic personnel in Kabul, were discussed. It was agreed to form a technical committee to look into the matter with a view to immediately resolving it,” the embassy said.

“Various aspects of Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations came under discussion. Both sides agreed to maintain close communication and identify steps to move forward on relevant issues,” it added.

The two sides also agreed to hold the next meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) in Kabul in December, as had been decided at a previous meeting in June in Islamabad.

The APAPPS framework comprises five working groups that are focused on politico-diplomatic, military-to-military coordination, intelligence cooperation, economic and refugee issues.

Pakistan’s former ambassador Asif Khan Durrani said that the visit of Pakistan’s high-level delegation reflects Islamabad’s policy to maintain tension-free relations with Afghanistan.

He added that the recent diplomatic row was not a major issue as Pakistan and Afghanistan have invoked the APAPPS mechanism, which still works.

“Saner elements in both sides do not want the process to derail,” Durrani, who has served as ambassador to the UAE and Iran, told Arab News on Tuesday.

— With inputs from Sayed Salahuddin, Kabul correspondent