UN: Climate change undercutting work to end poverty, hunger

Biodiversity loss is happening at an accelerated rate. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 July 2019

UN: Climate change undercutting work to end poverty, hunger

  • The most urgent area for action is climate change, which “may impact the progress made over the last several decades” in reducing poverty
  • Global temperatures have risen, ocean acidity has increased 26% since pre-industrial times and investment in fossil fuels continues to be high

UNITED NATIONS: Hunger is growing and the world is not on track to end extreme poverty by 2030 and meet other UN goals, mainly because progress is being undermined by the impact of climate change and increasing inequality, a UN report said Tuesday.
The report on progress toward achieving the 17 UN goals notes achievements in some areas, including a 49% fall in child mortality between 2000 and 2017 as well as electricity now reaching nearly 90% of the world’s population.
But Liu Zhenmin, the UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, said that despite some advances, “monumental challenges remain.”
He said at a news conference the most urgent area for action is climate change, which “may impact the progress made over the last several decades” in reducing poverty and improving life for millions of people around the world.
According to the report, biodiversity loss is happening at an accelerated rate, and “the risk of species extinction has worsened by almost 10 percent over the last 25 years.” Global temperatures have risen, ocean acidity has increased 26% since pre-industrial times and “investment in fossil fuels continues to be higher than investment in climate activities,” it said.
Liu said the report also shows “inequality is rising and too many people are left behind.” He said that “is another big challenge for the world.”
The first of the 17 goals adopted by world leaders in 2015 is to eliminate extreme poverty — people living on less than $1.90 a day — and the second goal is to end hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture. According to the report, neither goal is likely to be achieved by 2030.
While the number of people living in extreme poverty declined to 8.6% of the world’s population in 2018, the report said the pace is slowing and projections suggest that 6% of people will still be living in extreme poverty by 2030 if current trends continue.
Francesca Perucci, chief statistician in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said an estimated 736 million people still living in extreme poverty globally, including 413 million in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Extreme poverty today is concentrated and overwhelmingly affects rural populations,” the report said. “Increasingly, it is exacerbated by violent conflicts and climate change.”
While Liu said there has been “good progress” on 16 of the UN goals, he said that “there’s been no good progress” on ending hunger, which he called “a tragedy for the international community.” He said the most direct impact of climate change is on agricultural production, a key factor in increasing hunger.
According to the report, the number of people going hungry has increased since 2014. “An estimated 821 million people were undernourished in 2017,” up from 784 million in 2015 and the same number as in 2010, it said.
The worst hit region is sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of undernourished people increased from 195 million in 2014 to 237 million in 2017, the report said.
On education, it warned that proficiency in reading and mathematics is “shockingly” low. “Globally, an estimated 617 million children and adolescents of primary and lower secondary school age — more than 55 percent of the global total — lacked minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics in 2015.”
The report said women represent 39% of the workforce but hold only 27% of managerial positions. It said 785 million people had no access to clean drinking water in 2017 while 673 million lacked good sanitation systems, the majority of them in southern Asia.
Perucci said 80% of people worldwide are online, but only 45% of those living in developing countries and just 20% in the least developed countries have access to the Internet.
“It is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response in needed to unleash the social and economic transformation needed to achieve our 2030 goals,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the report’s forward.


Jersey City attack being investigated as domestic terrorism

Updated 56 min 53 sec ago

Jersey City attack being investigated as domestic terrorism

  • Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the attack was driven by hatred of Jews and law enforcement and is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism
  • The attackers killed three people in the store, in addition to a police officer at a cemetery about a mile away, before dying in an hourslong gunbattle with police

JERSEY CITY: The couple who burst into a kosher market in Jersey City with assault weapons appear to have acted alone even though they had expressed interest in a fringe religious group that often disparages whites and Jews, New Jersey officials said.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the attack was driven by hatred of Jews and law enforcement and is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism.
The two killers were armed with a variety of weapons, including an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun that they were wielding when they stormed into the store in an attack that left the scene littered with several hundred shell casings, broken glass and a community in mourning. A pipebomb was also found in a stolen U-Haul van.
“The outcome would have been far, far worse” if not for the Jersey City Police, Grewal said Thursday. Authorities noted that a Jewish school is next to the market, and a Catholic school is across the street.
The attackers killed three people in the store, in addition to a police officer at a cemetery about a mile away, before dying in an hourslong gunbattle with police Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
“The evidence points toward acts of hate. I can confirm that we’re investigating this matter as potential acts of domestic terrorism fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs,” the attorney general said. He said social media posts, witness interviews and other evidence reflected the couple’s hatred of Jews and police.
Grewal noted that after killing three people in the store, the couple concentrated their fire on police and did not shoot at others who happened to be on the streets.
Grewal said the attackers, David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, had expressed interest in a fringe religious group called the Black Hebrew Israelites, whose members often rail against Jews and whites. But he said there was no evidence so far that they were members, and added that the two were believed to have acted alone.
The pair brought their cache of weapons in a U-Haul van they drove from Bay View Cemetery, where they shot and killed Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals, according to the attorney general.
Anderson fired away with the AR-15-style rifle as he entered the store, while Graham brought a 12-gauge shotgun into the shop. They also had handguns with a homemade silencer and a device to catch shell casings. In all, they had five guns — four recovered in the store, one in the van — in what Grewal called a “tremendous amount of firepower.”
Serial numbers from two of the weapons showed that Graham purchased them in Ohio in 2018, the attorney general said.
The victims killed in the store were: Mindel Ferencz, 31, who with her husband owned the grocery; 24-year-old Moshe Deutsch, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was shopping there; and store employee Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, 49. A fourth person in the store was shot and wounded but managed to escape, authorities said.
Members of New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community gathered Wednesday night for funerals for Ferencz and Deutsch. Thousands of people, mostly men, followed Ferencz’s casket through the streets of Brooklyn, hugging and crying.
The bloodshed in the city of 270,000 people across the Hudson River from New York City spread fear through the Jewish community and weighed heavily on the minds of more than 300 people who attended a vigil Wednesday night at a synagogue about a mile from where the shootings took place.
In the deadliest attack on Jews in US history, 11 people were killed in an October 2018 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Last April, a gunman opened fire at a synagogue near San Diego, killing a woman and wounding a rabbi and two others.