Collectively, “we must address…the fundamental imbalances in the world we share,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Thursday, calling for global “climate solidarity” to support vulnerable countries that have suffered “loss and damage” from climate change.
The industrialized world must acknowledge its responsibility to deliver on the climate crisis “and we must listen to those affected the most by climate-induced damages,” Foreign Minister Kofod said in his early evening address to the UN General Assembly’s annual high-level debate.
While the most pressing challenges of our time are being felt and even exacerbated all over the planet, particularly as climate-induced disasters impact food supplies and increase inequalities, “there is no doubt that they are being most strongly felt by the poorest and most vulnerable among us,” he stated.
“Developing countries are hardest and most unjustly hit,” continued Mr. Kofod, pointing to the lingering fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, “which is still inflicting human and economic wounds in societies of the global South, and calling for more concerted action to address “both the problems at hand and the fundamental imbalances in the world we share, and we must do it now.”
“None of us can steer through pandemics or counter the climate crisis alone. Nor should we. It should be clear that the future we share depends on solidarity and overcoming the fault lines that increasingly drive us apart,” he said, so, solidarity is an investment in prosperity, security and peace for all.
Noting that Denmark was one of the few Member States to live up to the UN-defined target of 0.7 per cent of its GDP for official development assistance (ODA) [which specifically targets support to the economic development and welfare of developing countries], he said another focus of such efforts should be to ensure “climate solidarity”.
Indeed, even as Demark has worked to reduce its own footprint, Foreign Minister Kofod said his country had undertaken major global commitments on climate adaptation and climate financing, including by scaling up grant-based finance to some $500 million a year by 2023, 60 per cent of which would be dedicated to adaptation in poor and vulnerable countries.
“If a small country like Demark can do this, the G20 also can,” he said urging other countries to follow suit. Also citing the need to “step up and listen to those impacted by climate induced damages,” he said that just this week, Denmark had followed up with several new initiatives for the world’s hardest-hit and poorest countries, referring to his Government’s pledge to pay for “loss and damage” in other countries affected by increasing cases of extreme weather events.
On wider global affairs, he said that while listening to the speeches that had been made thus far this week, it was clear that the UN Charter continues to inspire and fill us with hope for a better future.
Yet the world was in crisis in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine some six months ago. Despite Russia’s “vicious military onslaught…the bravery of the Ukrainian people in the face of brutality has been truly awe-inspiring,” he said.
All this week, Member States had made their views known – from fears of this being the start of a new Cod War to despair over food shortages and price spikes in fuel. But in all this…let’s be clear: these consequences are due to Russia’s aggression, not international sanctions,” Foreign Minister Kofod said.
“President Putin’s blatant imperial ambitions and horrifying allusions to the use of nuclear weapons are unprecedented threats against not only Europe, but international peace and security, and we are extremely concerned,” he said, rallying Member States to stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence.
“We appeal to all Member States to stand firmly on the side of the UN Charter and fight back against an ‘international disorder’ where might makes right,” he stated.
The 77th session of the UN General Assembly opened on Tuesday with its new president urging world leaders to respond to humanity’s most pressing challenges, including the war in Ukraine, by working together and building bridges across what are “deep divides”.