OIC members, UN vow to do even better for vulnerable communities at Ramzan event

UNGA head calls for desisting from actions that threaten Earth’s natural life; G-77 endorses

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UNITED NATIONS, Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid Friday urged collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems so that human health and well-being are not endangered.

“We are wreaking havoc on our own home – the only home we have, the one home we all share,” President Shahid told an interactive dialogue on Harmony with Nature.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the ‘Group of 77’ developing countries and China, echoed UNGA president’s words, warning that if the current trend of biodiversity loss and environmental degradation continued, “we would seriously jeopardize our existence on this planet.”

“It is scientifically proven that the loss in biological diversity would pose a threat to our society, our culture, our prosperity, and our planet,” said Umer Younis, an official of the Pakistan Mission to the UN.

In his remarks, Shahid, the president of 193-member Assembly, urged the international community to accept responsibility for its reckless behaviour, noting that science has shown that our continued and careless encroachment into the world’s ecosystems has damaged biodiversity and endangered human health and well-being.

Referencing this year’s theme of ‘Harmony with Nature and Biodiversity: Ecological economics and Earth-centered law’, President Shahid called for a shift to green economies and highlighted the need to embrace education, technology, and science.

He said the international community needs to use the tools and targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as blueprints for a sustainable recovery from COVID-19.

The interactive dialogue is called for in General assembly resolution 75/220, to discuss the relationship between harmony with nature and the protection of biological diversity, and to inspire citizens and societies to reconsider how they interact with the natural world in the context of sustainable development. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who joined the OIC ambassadors Friday in a virtual celebration of Ramzan, said that the spirit of the holy month was linked to peace and reflection as well as to do better for vulnerable communities.

Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and chairman of OIC group at the UN, chaired and moderated the traditional annual gathering.

In remarks at the annual event, the UN chief expressed his understanding of Muslim causes, especially Palestine, and countering rising Islamophobia.

In this connection, Guterres expressed deep concern at the deteriorating security situation in Jerusalem and briefed the OIC group on his efforts to reach out to all sides to help calm the situation.

He called for maintaining the “status quo” at the holy sites in Jerusalem and reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution and resolving the Palestine-Israeli conflict on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions and international law.

Islamophobia was “completely unacceptable” and expressed his “total commitment” to actively counter Islamophobia, xenophobia, negative stereotyping, and all forms of irrational hate, and intolerance.

He called for solidarity in efforts to counter the global rise in Islamophobia, xenophobia, neo-Nazism, white supremacist, stigma, and hate speech targeting vulnerable communities including Muslims.

The OIC Ambassadors expressed their appreciation for the Secretary-General’s firm commitment to and solidarity with the global Muslim causes and commended his leadership during the times of Covid-19 pandemic and conflicts in many parts of the world.

The meeting also agreed to maintain a regular dialogue between the OIC and the Secretary-General on all issues of mutual concern.

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