United Nations Secretary General to visit Pacific next week

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres will visit Tuvalu, Vanuatu, New Zealand and Fiji on a Pacific tour starting next week, the first trip to the region for his position since 2014, when his predecessor Ban Ki-moon visited Samoa.

His meetings and engagements are expected to focus on climate change.

Mr. Guterres will join the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat special meeting in Suva, Fiji, which will prepare the UN Climate Action Summit in September in New York — a meeting which The Fiji Times has labelled “historic".

He will also meet for bilateral talks with Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and President Jioji Konrote.

Recently, the Secretary General called for member states to arrive with “concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050".

It will be his first visit to New Zealand in the role, Stuff.co.nz reports, and will be in Auckland and Christchurch.

"The United Nations is the forum where we collectively address the global challenges we face, including climate change and international security. This visit is an opportunity to share some of the innovative ways New Zealand is addressing these issues,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

The tour comes on the heels of yet another explosive climate change report. This week a damning report by the United Nations by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies reveals the drastic extent of damage to biodiversity.

A summary of its findings was released on Monday, with the full report (which numbers 1,500 pages) set for release this year.

“The rate of global change in nature during the past 50 years is unprecedented in human history,” the report states. It leaves little room for doubt on the impacts people have had on the planet.

“The direct drivers of change in nature with the largest global impact have been (starting with those with most impact): changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasion of alien species.”

The summit in New York is just months before COP25 in Chile, which will be their first check on the commitments made, as well as those made in Poland just last December.

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