As world leaders meet Monday for climate talks in Egypt the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) and the UN in Afghanistan both called for urgent collective action to stop the destructive impact of climate change in the country.
Afghanistan is one of the least prepared countries to deal with climate shocks but is ranked the sixth most affected in the world to climate-related threats.
The country is already prone to frequent natural disasters that cause loss and damage to lives, livelihoods, homes and infrastructure.
The IEA said in a statement Monday that it considers the holding of the 27th Climate Change Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt as the first step towards finding a solution to the current climate challenges in the world.
“Since the effects of climate change do not recognize political borders, its solutions should be independent of political considerations, and countries like Afghanistan, which have not had any negative contribution to climate change, but are struggling with its negative effects, should not be ignored,” the statement read.
The IEA also stated that this year alone, Afghanistan has suffered losses worth more than $2 billion due to the negative effects of climate change.
“In addition to compensating for this loss, reducing other possible losses and increasing the resistance of threatened communities to restore economic stability in the country, development assistance from the international community is necessary in the light of our national priorities.”
The UN in Afghanistan also issued a statement and pointed out that the country is already prone to frequent natural disasters.
The UN stated that these existing threats coupled with Afghans’ high dependence on agricultural livelihoods, Afghanistan’s fragile ecosystem, acute environmental degradation, poor socio-economic development and the impact of more than four decades of war have laid the foundation for extreme climate vulnerability.
“It is ordinary Afghans who suffer the most when these shocks occur,” said Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and Humanitarian Coordinator.
“It is devastating to see the most vulnerable Afghans bear the brunt of environmental disasters, and it is increasingly challenging to build long term resilience and adaptation when we are constantly managing short term crises and in the absence of sufficient adaptation funding.”
He also said: “Urgent adaptation and climate action is a must to tackle the drivers behind ongoing humanitarian crises.”
“Action for Afghanistan is needed now,” Alakbarov said. “We cannot wait. Afghans do not have time to wait.”
COP27 takes place Monday and Tuesday and then will continue until November 18 for ministerial meetings. It will bring together 110 heads of state and government – with the notable absence of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, whose country is the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gasses.
US President Joe Biden, whose country ranks second on the top-polluters list, will join COP27 later this week.
Russia voices support for Afghanistan’s participation at COP29
A Russian official has said that Afghanistan’s representatives should have presence in international climate change meetings including this year’s COP29 U.N. climate summit that will be held in Azerbaijan’s Baku.
Ruslan Edelgeriyev, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change of the Russian Federation, said this as he met with Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Kabul on Saturday.
The meeting focused on bilateral relations between IEA and the Russian Federation, economic cooperation, cooperation in the area of climate change and ways to upgrade diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Stressing on enhanced bilateral relations, Muttaqi said that further progress can be made in several areas by upgrading diplomatic relations, adding that despite Afghanistan not being a greenhouse gas emitter, it remains vulnerable to hazardous effects of climate change.
Urging Russia to cooperate in providing training to the staff of the relevant bodies in environment protection and forestation, Muttaqi requested Russian support in ensuring the participation of Afghan representatives in international forums on environmental protection.
Exchanging views on upgrading bilateral diplomatic relations, Edelgeriyev pledged to duly reflect developments in Afghanistan to the Russian president, according to the statement.
He emphasized that Afghanistan’s representatives should participate in international climate change meetings, highlighting that Russia will support participation of the Afghan delegation in COP29 to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
He also stressed on the commencement of the work of the bilateral trade commission between Afghanistan and Russia.
The Russian official separately met also with Acting Industry and Commerce Minister Nooruddin Azizi, where they discussed expansion of trade relations.
This comes as a two-day international conference on climate change began in Nangarhar province on Saturday.
Philippine landslide death toll climbs to 37
The number of people killed by a landslide in the southern Philippines has risen to 37, an official said on Sunday, as rescue workers continued to dig through mud even as hope of finding more survivors dimmed.
The landslide struck on Tuesday night outside a gold mine in Maco town in the province of Davao de Oro, burying homes and vehicles ferrying employees to the site operated by Apex Mining, Reuters reported.
Edward Macapili, an official of Davao de Oro province, said 37 people had died from the landslide, in the latest update after two more bodies were found on Sunday.
However, the tally of missing people was revised down to 63 from 77, while there were 32 injured. Officials did not immediately cite a reason for the revision.
Macapili said over 300 people were involved in the rescue, but operations were being hampered by heavy rain, thick mud and the threat of further landslides. Rescue work resumed on Sunday morning, Macapili said.
Asked if there were still survivors, Macapili said it was already “unlikely”, but the search would continue.
“The rescue team is doing its best, even if it’s very difficult,” Macapili said by phone.
Torrential rains have battered Davao de Oro in recent weeks, triggering floods and landslides.
Australia sweats through heatwave, bushfire risk rated ‘extreme’
Large swaths of Australia on Sunday sweltered through a heatwave as authorities warned of elevated bushfire risk in an already high-risk fire season during an El Nino weather pattern.
The nation’s weather forecaster had heatwave alerts in place for Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Western Australia, warning temperatures in some parts of the country could hit the low 40s Celsius, Reuters reported.
An El Nino is a climate pattern in which unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures are associated with phenomena such as cyclones, droughts, wildfires and heatwaves.
The high in the west of Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, was forecast at 39 C, almost 10 degrees above the February mean, forecaster data showed.
Hot and dry conditions combined with gusty winds prompted the forecaster to issue “extreme fire danger” warnings for parts of Victoria and South Australia states.
Sunday’s hot weather – the latest in a string of heatwaves to scorch Australia – comes after the country’s east was hit last month by damaging floods.
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