Government will not comment on alleged UN document

The UN says most of those civilians died in government shelling as they were crammed into ever-diminishing “No Fire Zones” – though the Tamil Tigers are also alleged to have committed grave abuses including suicide bombings and the use of human shields.Channel 4 News said the document appears to be have been created by the UN in conjunction with the Sri Lankan government, and outlines plans to set up a purely domestic inquiry into human rights violations – with technical support from the UN. The Government today refused to comment on a document a British television station claims could undermine international investigations into the war.Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said the Government was aware of the British ‘Channel 4’ news report on the document but will not comment on such media reports. Channel 4 News reported this week that it has been supplied with the leaked UN document which it claim could pre-empt and undermine September’s Human Rights Council discussion on a UN’s long-awaited investigation into crimes committed at the end of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war. He added that despite the fact that under the scheme the council stood to receive half a million dollars in funding, he was minded to reject it. (Colombo Gazette) Most human rights groups regard plans for an internal judicial process as unacceptable and many warn it would inevitably be seen as a “victor’s court”.The leaked UN plan claims that the “implementing partners” for the scheme would include, along with the Sri Lankan government, the Tamil-dominated Northern Provincial Council, widely seen as representing the popular voice of the Tamils.But that council’s chief minister, former Sri Lankan Supreme Court Judge CV Wigneswaran, told Channel 4 News that the UN had not even consulted them on the plan. According to the UN tens of thousands of Tamil civilians died in the closing stages of the Sri Lankan military’s war against the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers. read more

UN official sees upcoming Lima climate talks as stepping stone for universal

“Never before have the risks of climate change been so obvious and the impacts so visible. Never before have we seen such a desire at all levels of society to take climate action. Never before has society had all the smart policy and technology resources to curb greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in a press release today.“All of this means we can be confident we will have a productive meeting in Lima, which will lead to an effective outcome in Paris next year,” she added, referring to the climate conference that will take place in December 2015 in Paris, France, where the new universal UN-backed treaty on climate change will be adopted.The UNFCCC is an international treaty that considers what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable.The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), being held in Lima through 12 December, brings together the 196 Parties to the UNFCCC, which is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Over the course of the next two weeks, delegates will attempt to hammer out the new universal treaty, which would enter force by 2020.Ms. Figueres explained that Governments meeting in Lima under the Ad Hoc Work Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action need to define the scope and the type of contributions they will provide to the Paris agreement, along with clarity on how finance, technology and capacity-building will be handled.Countries will put forward what they plan to contribute to the 2015 agreement in the form of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) by the first quarter of 2015, in advance of the Paris conference in December.The Lima conference should provide final clarity on what the INDCs need to contain, including for developing countries that are likely to have a range of options from, for example, sector-wide emission curbs to energy intensity goals, she said.Welcoming the leadership of the European Union, the United States and China, who have publically announced their post-2020 climate targets and visions, Ms. Figueres stressed that many countries are working hard to increase emission reductions before 2020, when the Paris agreement is set to enter into effect.“It is hugely encouraging that well ahead of next year’s first-quarter deadline, countries have already been outlining what they intend to contribute to the Paris agreement. This is also a clear sign that countries are determined to find common ground and maximize the potential of international cooperation,” she said.In particular, Ms. Figueres said that Governments should work towards streamlining elements of the draft agreement for Paris 2015 and explore common ground on unresolved issues in order to achieve a balanced, well-structured, coherent draft for the next round of work on the text in February next year.In addition, she noted that the political will of countries to provide climate finance is increasingly coming to the fore.At a recent pledging conference held in Berlin, Germany, countries made pledges towards the initial capitalization of the Green Climate Fund totalling nearly $9.3 billion. Subsequent pledges took this figure to $9.6 billion, so that the $10 billion milestone is within reach, Ms. Figueres said.“This shows that countries are determined to build trust and to provide the finance that developing countries need to move forward towards decarbonizing their economies and building resilience,” she noted.During the course of 2014, Governments have been exploring how to raise immediate climate ambition in areas with the greatest potential to curb emissions, ranging from renewable energy to cities, she said.As part of the “Lima Action Agenda,” countries will decide how to maintain and accelerate cooperation on climate change by all actors, including those flowing from the Climate Summit in September, where many climate action pledges were made.“We have seen an amazing groundswell of momentum building this year. One of the main deliverables of the Lima conference will be ways to build on this momentum and further mobilize action across all levels of society,” Ms. Figueres said. “Society-wide action in concert with Government contributions to the Paris agreement are crucial to meet the agreed goal of limiting global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius, and to safeguard this and future generations,” she added. read more