UN Chief Previews Panel on Managing Minerals for Green Energy Transition at COP28 in Africa

UN Chief Provides Sneak Peek of Panel on Sustainable Mineral Management for Green Energy Transition at COP28 in Africa


In a recent development, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has unveiled his proposal to establish a specialized panel with the objective of facilitating a fair and sustainable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, while ensuring that all nations reap the benefits.

In his speech at the ongoing UN climate conference, COP28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Secretary-General of the United Nations revealed this information during his address to a gathering of leaders from developing nations.

In a meeting with leaders from the Group of 77 Developing Countries, including China, Mr. Guterres emphasized the importance of critical energy transition minerals in achieving the objectives outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement. As a staunch advocate for reducing reliance on fossil fuels, he stressed that the availability and accessibility of these minerals are essential for a successful transition to sustainable energy sources.

UN chief has emphasized the importance of COP28

The UN chief has emphasized the importance of COP28 committing countries to significant goals by 2030. These include tripling renewables capacity, doubling energy efficiency, and ensuring universal access to clean energy. Additionally, a crucial aspect is the equitable phase-out of fossil fuels within a timeframe that aligns with the 1.5-degree target.

According to his statement, he emphasized the necessity for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources that is fair, just, and equitable. He further highlighted that the survival of certain nations present in the room is contingent upon this transition.

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The absence of comprehensive international directives for the management of these valuable resources has the potential to worsen geopolitical tensions and pose significant environmental and social problems. These challenges encompass a wide range of issues, such as the impact on water sources, biodiversity, public health, and the rights of indigenous communities.

In order to support the clean energy revolution, which encompasses various sectors including wind farms, solar panels, and battery manufacturing, it is imperative that the extraction of critical minerals is carried out in a manner that is sustainable, fair, and just. This statement was made by the United Nations Secretary-General, who emphasized the need for responsible practices in meeting the rising demand for minerals like copper, lithium, and cobalt. Projections indicate that the demand for these minerals is expected to surge by nearly four times its current level by the year 2030.

It is imperative that we avoid replicating the errors of previous generations, where developing nations were systematically exploited and relegated to the role of mere producers of raw materials.

In a collaborative effort, governments, international organizations, industry, and civil society will convene under the proposed Panel on Critical Energy Transition Minerals. The primary objective of this initiative is to establish universal and voluntary principles that will serve as a guiding framework for extractive industries in the foreseeable future, all in pursuit of justice and sustainability.

Continuing to drive progress forward, urging for relentless advancement.

UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis commended the G77 and China for their pivotal role in spearheading the transition to renewable energy and advocating for the development of resilience.

He also mentioned that they have taken the lead in discussions regarding climate finance, advocating for the restructuring of the global financial system. This restructuring aims to provide developing nations with improved access to funding for development, free from the burden of unmanageable debt.

In April 2024, the President of the Assembly plans to organize a ‘Sustainability Week’ that will focus on various aspects of sustainability, including infrastructure, transportation, tourism, and, of course, energy.

Inviting leaders from developing countries to New York for a designated ‘week’, he emphasized the need to prioritize and make progress in sectors that are crucial to modern economies, despite being significant sources of atmospheric emissions. The aim is to build upon the decisions made at COP28 and further propel these sectors forward.

The era of renewable energy is upon us, marking a revolutionary shift in the way we power our world.

On the concluding day of the World Climate Action Summit, which is the ministerial-level portion of COP28, global leaders presented their national strategies and the Secretary General emphasized the urgent need for swift climate action to alleviate the difficulties encountered by developing countries situated in mountainous and landlocked regions.

During a significant gathering of landlocked developing countries (LLDc), the Secretary-General of the United Nations emphasized that these nations are at the forefront of the climate crisis, experiencing a multitude of severe consequences. These include the expansion of deserts and enduring periods of drought, devastating loss of biodiversity, and the rapid disappearance of glaciers.

In a statement, Mr. Guterres emphasized that while no LLDCs are significant contributors to emissions, all landlocked nations are grappling with the severe consequences of escalating emissions and the resulting climate crisis.

In a powerful statement, it is argued that there exists a moral imperative to urge the G20 nations, responsible for a staggering 80 percent of global emissions, to take decisive action in reducing their carbon footprint. By doing so, the adverse consequences of climate change, which disproportionately affect over 500 million individuals residing in the least developed nations, can be mitigated. The ultimate goal is to ensure that these vulnerable populations can enjoy the same quality of life that is sought for all people across the globe.

Simultaneously, he highlighted the potential for them to exploit it to their benefit, enjoying the benefits that come with the renewable energy revolution.

Mr. Guterres emphasized the potential for championing a sustainable, just, inclusive, and equitable energy transition. However, he emphasized the need for significantly greater support to achieve these goals.

“Emergency signal

In a high-level side event titled ‘Call of the Mountain: Who Saves us from the Climate Crisis?’, the Secretary-General of the United Nations emphasized the urgent plea from mountains and stressed the need for COP28 to deliver a robust rescue strategy in response.

In a recent statement, Mr. Guterres recounted his visit to Nepal as an unforgettable experience. During his time there, he was profoundly disturbed by the alarming rate at which glaciers are melting and the devastating consequences this has on the local communities.

In a span of slightly over three decades, the Himalayan nation has experienced a significant loss of approximately one-third of its ice, directly attributed to the detrimental effects of greenhouse gas pollution that is causing the planet to warm.

In a statement, he explained that Nepal, along with other mountainous nations facing vulnerability, is currently grappling with a crisis that they did not create. He warned that if we do not alter our current trajectory, we will bring about a catastrophic outcome.
Amidst the difficulties encountered by nations that are both landlocked and mountainous, the Secretary-General emphasized the immense significance of the upcoming decisions made by delegates at COP28 regarding the ‘Global Stocktake’. These decisions will serve as a catalyst for a substantial increase in global climate ambition, starting in 2025 and continuing into the future.

The stocktake, a vital component of the groundbreaking 2015 Paris Agreement, serves as a pivotal tool for assessing advancements towards the agreement’s objectives and motivating nations to intensify their efforts in combating climate change.

According to Mr. Guterres, achieving an ambitious outcome through the global stocktake process will necessitate significant advancements in three key areas.

Financial support is urgently required for the new Loss and Damage Fund, according to finance experts. Developed nations must fulfill their financial obligations and increase their contributions to address the pressing issue.

In order to prevent the most severe consequences of climate change, it is crucial that we uphold the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as outlined in the Paris Agreement. Additionally, we must prioritize a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources that is fair, just, and equitable.

Global collaboration is crucial for the successful attainment of the climate objectives set forth in the Paris Agreement. This necessitates enhanced cooperation among governments, as well as between nations and corporations, in order to reduce emissions and establish a comprehensive early warning system by 2027, ensuring the protection of all individuals worldwide.

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