UN Day celebrations in Albania affirm growing stakeholder recognition that climate action must be rapidly accelerated

Monday, 28 October, 2019

‘It’s Climate Action Time for Albania!’ ‘All of us must act now, and we must accelerate action!’ These were the key messages out of a special celebration of the UN Day in Albania.

 

Brian J. Williams, Resident Representative of UN Albania with the Albanian Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Gent Cakaj, and the heads of UN Resident Agencies in Albania welcomed over 300 guests at a reception in the center of the capital Tirana, where the 74th UN Anniversary event turned into a speakers’ corner to emphasize the need for climate action.

“Albania is the leading country in the Western Balkans with its consolidated strategy for copying with the adverse environmental impact of climate change. Its commitment to fully eliminate carbon emission by the second half of the century is a testimony of Albania’s universal engagement and its global functions.” said top diplomat, Mr. Gent Cakaj, adding that Albania is one of the first 50 countries in the world undertaking such a national and international commitment.

 

Referring to the role of the UN, Mr. Cakaj said that the United Nations enjoy not only an irreplaceable, but also an extraordinary importance, with the United Nations Charter still being an unalienable foundation to a safer future. “Just as in its first days of foundation, even today, after 74 years of its existence, the institution of the United Nations is not only a forum for discussing major political issues, but a place where decisions are taken on daily matters in people’s lives as well”, he concluded.

UN’s Brian J. Williams praised Albania for the steps taken towards the global climate change action while pointing out the significance of today’s actions for our future generations:  "Albania has a great opportunity to be a leading global citizen against the climate crisis. It has committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 and is undertaking a range of other significant and forward-looking measures.  Improved environmental justice - scientific environmental impact assessments and rigorous consultations with communities, for example - will help ensure that Albanian environment is protected for Albanian citizens, of today and future generations."

Albania’s Minister of Tourism and Environment H.E. Mr. Blendi Klosi emphasized that a series of initiatives are taken in the framework of the “Clean and green 2020” Strategy for a more protected environment. Hunting and forests moratoria have had their impact on the environment, while last year’s decision to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags has led to their reduction by 50%. Environmental crime is punishable according to the Criminal Code. This initiative, which makes Albania the first European country with no plastic bags by 1 June 2020, is one more step towards our “No” to plastic pollution. “We are committed to be the first country not only in the region, but even in Europe, to undertake both a challenging, and significant initiative, i.e. “Put an end to the use of plastic bags in the country”- by 1 June 2020”- said Minister of Tourism and Environment, adding that it takes not only political will, but even an inclusive alliance to make this happen.

Albania’s Youth Delegate to the UN Ilda Methasani who had represented her peers to the UN Youth Climate Summit reiterated the message that youth is sending to policymakers worldwide demanding concrete actions for climate. “The UN Youth Climate Summit clearly stated: We do not have any more time - If we want to save our planet we have to Act Now!” she said.

 

Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries. With changed weather patterns and rising sea levels, weather events are becoming more extreme and greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is likely to surpass 3 degrees centigrade this century. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most. To strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, world countries, including Albania, adopted the Paris Agreement which went into force in November of 2016.

 

The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the UN Charter had been ratified by a majority of the original 51 Member States. The day is now celebrated each year around the world as United Nations Day. Next year will mark the Organization’s 75th anniversary which is considered an important milestone for the UN as it prepares to start a global dialogue with all the citizens of the world for shaping the future of humanity.

 

As a family of specialized agencies, the UN in Albania works closely with the Government and other partners including civil society, academia and the private sector, to fight poverty, strengthen the rule of law, promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, protect the environment and support economic and social reforms.