The State of the Climate in Europe report, produced jointly with the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, focused on 2021.
A new joint report highlights the #StateOfClimate in Europe, where temperatures increased more than on any other continent. It's not all bad news. Several European countries cut greenhouse gas emissions. Let's keep the momentum going for #ClimateAction at #COP7🤝@CopernicusECMWF https://t.co/6RBD0RGjEtWorld Meteorological OrganizationWMO
It provides information on rising temperatures, land and marine heatwaves, extreme weather, changing precipitation patterns, and retreating ice and snow.
The report says that between 1991 and 2021, temperatures in Europe warmed significantly, at an average rate of about +0.5 °C per decade. As a result, Alpine glaciers lost 30 metres in ice thickness from 1997 to 2021.
The Greenland ice sheet is melting and contributing to accelerating sea level rise. In summer 2021, Greenland saw a melt event and the first ever recorded rainfall at its highest point, Summit station.
In 2021, high impact weather and climate events led to hundreds of fatalities, directly affected more than half a million people and caused economic damages exceeding $50 billion. About 84 per cent of the events were floods or storms.
As the climate continues to change, European people's health is expected to be impacted in many ways, including death and illness from increasingly frequent extreme weather events.
Increases in zoonoses, where diseases are transmitted to humans from animals, are also expected along with food, water and vector-borne diseases, and a rising incidence of mental health disorders.
The deadliest extreme climate events in Europe come in the form of heatwaves, particularly in western and southern countries.
The combination of climate change, urbanization and population ageing in the region creates, and will further exacerbate, vulnerability to heat.
On Sunday, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said, in a statement for the Secretary-General, that Mr. Guterres has decided to delay his departure for the Arab League Summit in Algiers by a day to focus on the issue.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, mountains of grains built up in silos, with ships unable to secure safe passage to and from Ukrainian ports, and land routes were unable to compensate.
This contributed to vertiginous rises in the price of staple foods around the world. Combined with increases in the cost of energy, developing countries were pushed to the brink of debt default and increasing numbers of people found themselves on the brink of famine.
The Initiative was due to run out in the second half of November, but there was an option to extend it, if all parties, including Russian and Ukraine, agree.
The deal was demonstrably successful in bringing down prices, allowing millions of tonnes of grain to be safely transported from Ukrainian ports. By September, Rebecca Grynspan, the head of the UN trade body, UNCTAD, and Amir Abdulla, the UN Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, could proudly announced that prices had come down five months in a row, and that the Food Price Index, which measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, had decreased nearly 14 per cent from its March peak.
According to UN estimates, the Initiative has indirectly prevented some 100 million people from falling into extreme poverty.
However, on Saturday Russia announced that it was suspending its involvement in the deal, citing an attack the same day on ships in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol in the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
The move reportedly took traders by surprise, and raised fears of another steep rise in food prices.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement brokered by the UN and Türkiye in July, which was set up to reintroduce vital food and fertilizer exports from Ukraine to the rest of the world, is due to run out in the second half of November, but it can be extended, if all parties, including Russian and Ukraine, agree.
In a statement released on Friday, Mr. Guterres promised that the UN is continuing its active and constant engagement with all parties towards that goal. “We underline the urgency of doing so to contribute to food security across the world”, he said, “and to cushion the suffering that this global cost-of-living crisis is inflicting on billions of people.”
“If food and fertilizers do not reach global markets now, farmers will not have fertilizers at the right time and at a price they can afford as the planting season begins, endangering crops in all regions of the world in 2023 and 2024, with dramatic effect on food production and food prices worldwide. The current crisis of affordability will turn into a crisis of availability.”
Mr. Guterres reiterated the positive impacts of the Black Sea Grain Initiative so far: since it was signed, exports of grain and other food products – which are closely monitored by the Joint Coordination Centre, comprising representatives from the Russian Federation, Türkiye, Ukraine and the UN – have surpassed nine million tonnes.
It has also contributed to the lowering of the price of wheat and other commodities, which had soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: the FAO Food Index, which measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, has declined for seven months in a row and, according to UN estimates, has indirectly prevented some 100 million people from falling into extreme poverty.
The UN chief urged all parties to make every effort to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative and implement both agreements to their fullest, including the expedited removal of any remaining impediments to Russian grain and fertilizer exports.
This marked the third time since the 24 February invasion that the Council has formally met at Russia’s request to address its ongoing allegations.
The UN’s High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumu Nakamitsu, had previously informed ambassadors – first in March, and then again in May – that the UN had seen no evidence of biological weapons use in Ukraine.
“This remains the case today,” her Deputy, Adedeji Ebo, told the Council.
“I would also like to note that the United Nations currently has neither the mandate nor the technical or operational capacity to investigate this information,” he added.
Both Russia and Ukraine are parties to the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons.
Mr. Ebo reported on the proceedings of a formal consultative meeting in Geneva, requested by Russia, under Article V of the Convention and the Final Declarations of its Second and Third Review Conferences.
“The Meeting heard the presentation by the Russian Federation of its Article V consultation request regarding respective outstanding questions by the Russian Federation to the United States and to Ukraine, concerning the fulfilment of their respective obligations under the Convention in the context of the operation of biological laboratories in Ukraine,” he said.
Both Ukraine and the US responded in the meeting, which ended without consensus.
This week, Russia lodged a formal complaint to the Security Council under Article VI of the Convention, stating that Ukraine and the US had not provided “necessary explanations”.
Article VI allows States Party to request the Council to investigate breaches of the Convention.
The partners signed the deal at an international conference in Berlin to support the war-ravaged nation, hosted by Germany and the European Commission.
A pleasure to meet @WernerHoyer at the #RecoveryOfUkraine Conference.
Our expanded @UNDP - @EIB partnership will help repair damaged infrastructure, increase public buildings’ #EnergyEfficiency and adapt them to the needs of #IDPs and host communities: https://t.co/5SolAGLwIYhttps://t.co/gVgvpE5lh0Achim SteinerASteiner
The agreement is funded by the multi-donor Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) and will support Ukrainian cities in implementing a €300 million EIB energy efficiency loan.
“By signing this new agreement with UNDP, we are supporting the efforts of Ukrainian cities to refurbish social infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and sports centres, making them more energy-efficient and future-proof,” said EIB President Werner Hoyer.
“The importance of this work has rarely been more salient as Russia targets its aggression — without regard for human lives — at critical Ukrainian energy infrastructure.”
UNDP will assist selected cities in benefiting from the EIB loan, which will be used for thermal renovations of public buildings, as well as war damage repairs and adaptations to ensure buildings better suit the needs of internally displaced people and communities hosting them.
The UN agency and the bank have a longstanding history of cooperation across the globe, and the agreement builds on their joint work in Ukraine, including to rebuild hospitals and schools.
Through their expanded partnership, more municipalities across the country will have the foundations for a sustainable recovery and reconstruction, said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
“This includes repairing damaged infrastructure, increasing the energy efficiency of public buildings and adapting them to the specific needs of people displaced by the war and host communities — ultimately helping Ukraine to shape a green, climate-resilient future with increased energy security at its core.
The CRC published its decision after considering a case filed on behalf of six Finnish children who were born in Syria, to parents who allegedly collaborated with the ISIL terrorist network, also known by the Arabic term Da’esh.
The continue to be held in the infamous Al-Hol camp, which is under the control of the Western-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are fighting for a federalized and democratic country in opposition to the Government in Damascus.
“The situation of children in the camps has been widely reported as inhuman, lacking basic necessities including water, food and healthcare, and facing an imminent risk of death”, explained Committee member Ann Skelton.
Since family members took the case to the UN Committee in 2019, three of the children who were permitted to leave the Al-Hol camp on their own initiative with their mothers, eventually managed to reach Finland, according to a news release on the ruling.
The remaining three children, currently between five and six years old, are still detained in closed camps, in what is still in effect, a war zone.
“We call on Finland to take immediate and decisive action to preserve the lives of these children, and to bring them home to their families”, Ms. Skelton underscored.
The Committee found that Finland has the responsibility and power to protect their own nationals in the Syrian camps against an imminent risk to their lives, by taking action to repatriate them.
It further considered that their prolonged detention in life-threatening conditions amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.
Finally, the CRC encouraged Finland to take urgent action to repatriate the remaining three children stranded in Al-Hol.