Climate Change Indicators Hit Record Highs In 2021 – UN

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP

 

Four key climate change indicators all set new record highs in 2021, the United Nations said Wednesday, warning that the global energy system was driving humanity towards catastrophe.

Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification all set new records last year, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its “State of the Global Climate in 2021” report.

The annual overview is “a dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption”, UN chief Antonio Guterres said.

“The global energy system is broken and bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe.

“We must end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the renewable energy transition before we incinerate our only home.”

The WMO said human activity was causing planetary-scale changes on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere, with harmful and long-lasting ramifications for ecosystems.

– Record heat –

The report confirmed that the past seven years were the top seven hottest years on record.

Back-to-back La Nina events at the start and end of 2021 had a cooling effect on global temperatures last year.

Even so, it was still one of the warmest years ever recorded, with the average global temperature in 2021 about 1.11 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change saw countries agree to cap global warming at “well below” 2C above average levels measured between 1850 and 1900 — and 1.5C if possible.

“Our climate is changing before our eyes,” said WMO chief Petteri Taalas.

“The heat trapped by human-induced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come. Sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification will continue for hundreds of years unless means to remove carbon from the atmosphere are invented.”

– ‘Consistent picture of warming world’ –

Four key indicators of climate change “build a consistent picture of a warming world that touches all parts of the Earth system”, the report said.

Greenhouse gas concentrations reached a new global high in 2020, when the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 413.2 parts per million (ppm) globally, or 149 percent of the pre-industrial level.

Data indicate that they continued to increase in 2021 and early 2022, with monthly average CO2 at Mona Loa in Hawaii reaching 416.45 ppm in April 2020, 419.05 ppm in April 2021, and 420.23 ppm in April 2022, the report said.

Global mean sea level reached a new record high in 2021, rising an average of 4.5 millimetres per year throughout 2013 to 2021, the report said.

GMSL rose by 2.1 mm per year between 1993 and 2002, with the increase between the two time periods “mostly due to the accelerated loss of ice mass from the ice sheets”, it said.

– Signs in the seas –

Ocean heat hit a record high last year, exceeding the 2020 value, the report said.

And it is expected that the upper 2,000 metres of the ocean will continue to warm in the future — “a change which is irreversible on centennial to millennial timescales”, said the WMO, adding that the warmth was penetrating to ever deeper levels.

The ocean absorbs around 23 percent of the annual emissions of human-caused CO2 into the atmosphere. While this slows the rise of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, CO2 reacts with seawater and leads to ocean acidification.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded with “very high confidence” that open ocean surface acidity is at the highest “for at least 26,000 years”.

Meanwhile the report said the Antarctic ozone hole reached an “unusually deep and large” maximum area of 24.8 million square kilometres in 2021, driven by a strong and stable polar vortex.

Guterres proposed five actions to jump-start the transition to renewable energy “before it’s too late”.

Among them, he suggested ending fossil fuel subsidies, tripling investments in renewable energy and making renewable energy technologies, such as battery storage, freely-available global public goods.

“If we act together, the renewable energy transformation can be the peace project of the 21st century,” Guterres said.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres Arrives Nigeria On First Official Visit

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, arrives Nigeria on a two-day official visit to Africa’s most populous country on May 5, 2022.

 

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has arrived Nigeria on a two-day official visit to Africa’s most populous country.

He proceeded to Borno, the state ravaged by a decade-long insurgency as Nigeria makes concerted efforts to wipe out terrorism.

According to the United Nations information center in Nigeria, Guterres is expected to meet with the Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum in Maiduguri, the state capital before embarking on a field mission where he will meet families affected by the Boko Haram conflict ravaging the region for more than 12 years.

READ ALSO: Journalists Face Attempts To Silence Them From Many Sides – UN

The UN chief will also evaluate the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities and assess progress made as well as the challenges to the COVID-19 recovery.

From there, he is scheduled to head to Abuja to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and other top cabinet officials.

In Abuja, Guterres is expected to officiate a wreath-laying ceremony for victims of the 2011 bombing at the U.N. house and will then meet with young people’s delegates, women, religious leaders and diplomatic communities and journalists.

It is the first visit by the U.N. secretary-general to Nigeria since his appointment. The visit is part of his annual Ramadan solidarity visits to nations.

See the photos below:

 

Russian Actions In Ukraine ‘May Amount To War Crimes’- UN

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021, the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP

 

 

The United Nations on Friday accused Russia of taking action in Ukraine “that may amount to war crimes”, including an indiscriminate bombing that killed civilians and destroyed schools and hospitals.

“Russian armed forces have indiscriminately shelled and bombed populated areas, killing civilians and wrecking hospitals, schools, and other civilian infrastructure, actions that may amount to war crimes,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

More Than 8.4m People Require Humanitarian Assistance In North-East – UN

A 23-year-old mother of two young children sits outside her makeshift shelter in an informal IDP settlement in Damaturu, Yobe State. Photo: OCHA/Christina Powell.
A 23-year-old mother of two young children sits outside her makeshift shelter in an informal IDP settlement in Damaturu, Yobe State. Photo: OCHA/Christina Powell.

 

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on Friday said more than 8.4 million people require humanitarian assistance and protection in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

The UN body, in a statement, also noted that the number of acutely malnourished children and women is expected to significantly increase in 2022.

More than a billion dollars is needed to deliver life-saving food security and nutrition, it added.

“After averting catastrophe in 2021, danger looms again for the people of north-east Nigeria if efforts are not sustained,” the statement said.

READ ALSO: Nigeria, Other Nations At High Risk Of Debt Distress, IMF Warns In New Report

“In 2021 humanitarian actors quickly responded to stave off a potentially catastrophic food security and nutrition crisis, resulting largely from protracted conflict. Preliminary results from the latest round of the Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analysis project further deterioration of the food security situation in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states in 2022, where more than 8.4 million people require humanitarian assistance and protection.

“The March 2022 CH projects 4.1 million people in need (IPC Phase 3 or above) during the peak of the 2022 lean season, of whom an estimated 587,955 people are projected to be in an emergency situation (Phase 4). According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) acute malnutrition analysis (IPC AMN) from September 2021 – August 2022 the number of acutely malnourished children and women is expected to significantly increase in the year 2022 and further worsen in the lean season.
These are anticipated to be the highest levels observed since the emergency period of 2016. The analysis indicates that 1.74 million children aged 6-59 months will need treatment for acute malnutrition in 2022.

“Deteriorating food consumption patterns are contributing to the worsening food security and nutrition situation. The March 2022 CH analysis showed severe consumption deficits, extending beyond Borno State, and the February 2022 Mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) revealed that 42.1% of households in BAY states had insufficient food intake, as compared to 37.8% at the same period in 2021.

“The 2022 HRP is seeking $1.1 billion to support 5.5 million people. $351 million is urgently needed to deliver life-saving food security and nutrition assistance to the most affected people.”

7.1 Million Persons Internally Displaced In Ukraine – UN

Ukrainians who have fled the war in their country arrive at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in Tokyo on April 5, 2022, following a visit to the Polish-Ukraine border by Japan’s foreign minister. PHOTO: KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP

 

More than 7.1 million are estimated to have been internally displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine, having fled their homes but remained in the country, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The figure issued by the UN’s International Organization for Migration is up from the 6.48 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) estimated in a first study by the IOM on March 16.

READ ALSO: Zelensky Calls Killings In Bucha ‘Genocide’

“People continue to flee their homes because of war, and the humanitarian needs on the ground continue to soar,” said IOM director general Antonio Vitorino.

“Humanitarian corridors are urgently needed to allow the safe evacuation of civilians and ensure the safe transportation and delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid in order to rapidly assist those internally displaced.”

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, causing millions to flee their homes — including more than 4.2 million Ukrainians who have left the country entirely.

The IOM conducted its second survey between March 24 and April 1, and estimated that 7,138,715 people were internally displaced within Ukraine as of Friday.

Fifty-nine percent of IDPs were estimated to be women.

It was estimated that nearly 2.4 million people had fled the Kyiv region; 2.4 million had fled the east; and 1.7 million had fled the north.

The survey found that 41 percent of the IDPs — 2.9 million people — were now located in the west of the country.

It found that more than 60 percent of displaced households had children; 57 percent included elderly members; and 30 percent had people with chronic illnesses.

More than a third of displaced households indicated that they had had no income in the last month.

 

 

– Safety fears –

Beyond the estimated 7.1 million IDPs, “more communities in need remain trapped”, said the IOM.

A further 2.9 million people were estimated to be considering leaving their homes.

As for the reasons why people are staying in their homes, 16 percent said it was not safe for them to leave; six percent said they did not want to leave family members behind; three percent said they would not know where to go, and one percent said they could not leave due to health issues.

The rapid representative assessment was conducted through interviews with 2,000 anonymous respondents aged over 18 who were contacted at random over the telephone.

The survey is used by the IOM to gather insights into internal displacement and mobility, and to assess the humanitarian needs in Ukraine.

The IOM said cash, transportation, food, shelter and hygiene items were among the most pressing needs for displaced people.

IDPs also need greater access to medicines and health services, the organisation said.

AFP

Nearly 836,000 Refugees Have Fled Ukraine Conflict – UN

Ukrainian refugees are seen in a temporary shelter for refugees in the village of Barabas, Hungary, close to the Hungarian-Ukrainian border on March 2, 2022. The number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has surged to nearly 836,000, United Nations figures showed on March 2, 2022, as fighting intensified on day seven of Russia’s invasion. PHOTO: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

 

The number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has surged to nearly 836,000, United Nations figures showed Wednesday, as fighting intensified on day seven of Russia’s invasion.

In all, 835,928 people have fled across the country’s borders, according to the website of UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.

That marks a huge jump from the 677,000 announced Tuesday afternoon by the organisation’s chief Filippo Grandi.

More than half have headed west into Poland, according to tallies completed up to Tuesday.

UNHCR figures show that 454,000 people had fled to Poland; 116,000 to Hungary; 67,000 to Slovakia; 65,000 to Moldova, 43,000 to Russia, 38,000 to Romania and 350 to Belarus.

Meanwhile, 52,000 have moved on to other European countries.

An additional 96,000 people had crossed into Russia from the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions between February 18 and 23, UNHCR noted.

Russian forces said they had captured the Ukrainian port of Kherson on Wednesday, as Russian and Ukrainian troops battled in the streets of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and President Volodymyr Zelensky said Moscow wanted to “erase” his country.

READ ALSO: World Bank To Dole Out Over $1bn Aid To Afghanistan

“The military offensive in Ukraine has caused destruction of civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties and has driven many thousands of people from their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance,” UNHCR said.

“There is a clear indication that many more people are on the move. They are in need of protection and support.”

UNHCR projects that more than four million Ukrainian refugees may eventually need protection and assistance in neighbouring countries.

The UN on Tuesday launched an emergency appeal for $1.7 billion to provide urgent humanitarian aid to people caught up in the Russian invasion inside Ukraine and for the refugees fleeing the violence.

Grandi said $550.6 million of that was needed to help refugees across the region, with the aim to provide shelter, emergency relief items, cash assistance, and psycho-social support.

“We are looking at what could become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century,” the refugee agency chief said.

Grandi said the first wave of people fleeing across Ukraine’s borders were likely to be people with cars, resources, and some connections in other European countries.

But if Russia’s military offensive continues and more urban centres are hit, people who are “more vulnerable in every respect” could start to flee, he told reporters.

AFP

Buhari To Attend UN Session In Kenya, Visit London For Two-Week Medical Check-Up

President Muhammadu Buhari (File Photo)

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to attend a special session to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Environmental Programme ([email protected] 50), scheduled for March 3 and 4, 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya.

This follows an invitation by his Kenyan counterpart, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President is expected to depart Abuja later today.

Read Also: Ukraine: FG To Begin Evacuation Of Nigerians From Wednesday – Onyeama

The theme of the Special Session is “Strengthening UNEP for the Implementation of the Environmental Dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

“For 50 years, UNEP has coordinated a worldwide effort with Member States to address the world’s biggest environmental challenges. Member States are vital partners in formulating UNEP’s policy, implementing UNEP’s programme and championing solutions to our shared environmental challenges.

[email protected] is a time to reflect on the past and envision the future. It provides an opportunity to reinvigorate international cooperation and spur collective action to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. No country or continent can solve these global crises alone. But each nation has a crucial role to play in protecting our people and planet.”

At the event, President Buhari is expected to deliver the National Statement of the country and participate in High-Level Dialogue Sessions on the Environment.

He will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, National Security Adviser, Maj.Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), Director General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, and the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

From Kenya, the President is expected to proceed to London for routine medical checks that will last for a maximum of two weeks.

World Must Brace For More Extreme Wildfires, Says UN

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP

 

The number of major wildfires worldwide will rise sharply in coming decades due to global warming, and governments are ill-prepared for the death and destruction such mega-blazes trail in their wake, the UN warned Wednesday.

Even the most ambitious efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions will not prevent a dramatic surge in the frequency of extreme fire conditions, a report commissioned by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) concluded.

“By the end of the century, the probability of wildfire events similar to Australia’s 2019–2020 Black Summer or the huge Arctic fires in 2020 occurring in a given year is likely to increase by 31–57 percent,” it said.

The heating of the planet is turning landscapes into tinderboxes, and more extreme weather means stronger, hotter and drier winds to fan the flames.

Such wildfires are burning where they have always occurred, and are flaring up in unexpected places such as drying peatlands and thawing permafrost.

“Fires are not good things,” said co-author Peter, an expert in forest fire management at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“The impacts on people — socially, health-wise, psychologically — are phenomenal and long-term,” he told journalists in a briefing.

Large wildfires, which can rage uncontrolled for days or weeks, cause respiratory and heart problems, especially for the elderly and very young.

A recent study in The Lancet concluded that exposure to wildfire smoke results, on average, in more than 30,000 deaths each year across 43 nations for which data was available.

Economic damages in the United States — one of the few countries to calculate such costs — have varied between $71 to $348 billion (63 to 307 billion euros) in recent years, according to an assessment cited in the report.

– Zombie fires –

Major blazes can also be devastating for wildlife, pushing some endangered species closer to the brink of extinction.

Nearly three billion mammals, reptiles, birds and frogs were killed or harmed, for example, by Australia’s devastating 2019-20 bushfires, scientists have calculated.

Wildfires are made worse by climate change.

Heatwaves, drought conditions and reduced soil moisture amplified by global warming have contributed to unprecedented fires in the western United States, Australia and the Mediterranean basin just in the last three years.

Even the Arctic — previously all but immune to fires — has seen a dramatic increase in blazes, including so-called “zombie fires” that smoulder underground throughout winter before bursting into flames anew.

But wildfires also accelerate climate change, feeding a vicious cycle of more fires and rising temperatures.

Last year, forests going up in flames emitted more than 2.5 billion tonnes of planet-warming CO2 in July and August alone, equivalent to India’s annual emissions from all sources, the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) reported.

Compiled by 50 top experts, the report called for a rethink on how to tackle the problem.

“Current government responses to wildfires are often putting money in the wrong places,” investing in managing fires once they start rather than prevention and risk reduction, said UN Environment chief Inger Andersen.

“We have to minimise the risk of extreme wildfires by being prepared.”

Four Missing Afghan Women Activists Released, Says UN

In this file photo taken on September 23, 2019 the United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall. The UN voiced alarm July 19, 2021 at reports that several governments used Israeli phone malware to spy on activists, journalists and others, stressing the urgent need for better regulation of surveillance technology.
Ludovic MARIN / AFP

 

Four women activists in Afghanistan have been released by the country’s “de facto authorities” after going missing weeks ago, the United Nations said Sunday.

“After a long period of uncertainty about their whereabouts and safety, the four ‘disappeared’ Afghan women activists, as well as their relatives who also went missing, have all been released by the de facto authorities,” the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Twitter.

Tamana Zaryabi Paryani, Parwana Ibrahimkhel, Zahra Mohammadi and Mursal Ayar went missing after participating in an anti-Taliban rally, but Afghanistan’s hardline Islamist rulers had consistently denied detaining them.

AFP reported the release of Ibrahimkhel late on Friday. She went missing along with Paryani on January 19, days after taking part in a rally in Kabul calling for women’s right to work and education.

Weeks later, Mohammadi and Ayar went missing.

The Taliban, whose government is still not recognised by any country, have promised a softer version of the harsh rule that characterised their first stint in power from 1996 to 2001.

But since storming back to power in August, they have cracked down on dissent by forcefully dispersing women’s rallies, detaining critics and often beating local journalists covering unsanctioned protests.

Nigeria’s North East Needs $1.1bn Humanitarian Assistance In 2022 – UN

A file photo of IDPs in the northeast region of Nigeria

 

The United Nations has said that Nigeria’s North East will need $1.1bn humanitarian assistance in 2022.

According to the UN, this fund will help assist an estimated 8.4 million people who will require assistance within the embattled region.

This revelation was made on Wednesday at the launch of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan for northeast Nigeria.

At the inauguration of the initiative put together by the humanitarian community in collaboration with the Nigerian Government, a request of US$1.1 billion to provide critical aid and services to 5.5 million people who are most affected by the crisis was made.

“For many women, men, boys and girls, the profound impact of conflict in north-east Nigeria continues to be felt painfully,” said the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for Nigeria, Matthias Schmale.

“Although we have last year seen some hopeful developments, many people have still started out 2022 in survival mode.”

The Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, said, “Millions of people struggle to have their basic needs met, and the fluctuating food prices have further destabilized the already alarming food security situation. Thousands of children are at risk of becoming severely malnourished, especially during the lean season, which will have a detrimental effect on their future development.”

In a recent visit to the north-east state of Borno, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Martin Griffiths, spoke about his visit to a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Bama, stating, “Here, about 70,000 people live in a camp built for 25,000 people—70,000 people—none of whom know the day when they will be able to go home.”

In the new 2022-2023 multi-year strategy, the humanitarian community will prioritize lifesaving needs while also working to reduce vulnerabilities through efforts to build resilience and enhance self-reliance.

“While insecurity is persistent in many areas, there are also some locations of relative peace and stability in the northeast that we must look to for opportunities of long-term or durable solutions,” said Mr. Schmale.

The Honourable Minister added, “Operationalising the humanitarian-development-peace nexus is key to meeting both immediate and longer-term needs.

“As we work with the UN and its partners to build the capacity of partners in affected communities, we are focusing on local solutions to local problems.”

Through the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), the Humanitarian Country Team for Nigeria and its partners will work to improve living conditions and strengthen protection, food security, nutrition and livelihoods opportunities.

The HRP sets out detailed and prioritised costed plans for meeting the needs of affected people in north-east Nigeria, coordinated across UN agencies and NGO partners, as well as with the Government of Nigeria.

In 2021, the humanitarian community collectively stepped up to save lives with severely limited capacities and access constraints. With the generous support of donors, the humanitarian community and partners assisted close to 5 million people in 2021, including 1.8 million people with critical protection services and 1.3 million with nutritional support.

“Through the 2022 HRP, humanitarian actors are ready to again provide targeted, life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people,” the UN assured.

The conflict in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States has evolved into an alarming humanitarian and protection crisis, disproportionately affecting women and girls.

Over 2.2 million people are displaced due to the persistent conflict and face daily threats to their health, food security and safety.

Global Patent Filings Surged To Record High In 2021, Says UN

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP

 

A record number of international patents were filed last year, indicating that innovation had not been stymied by the pandemic, the United Nations said Thursday.

Even as Covid-19 took a vast human and economic toll, international patent applications continued to grow, with Asia, and China in particular, cementing their leading positions.

A record 277,500 international patents were filed in 2021, marking a 0.9-percent increase from 2020, the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation said in its annual overview.

“These figures show that human ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit remain strong despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic.” WIPO Director-General Daren Tang said in a statement.

Last year marked the 12th consecutive year of growth in international patent filings.

READ ALSO: World Cup Will Be Health ‘Benchmark’ For Global Sporting Events, Says Infantino

WIPO’s chief economist Carsten Fink highlighted how remarkable it was that “international patent filings continued to grow in 2020 and 2021 as the global pandemic unfolded and upended economies around the world.”

“This experience is notably different compared to previous economic crises,” he told reporters, pointing to how international patent filings fell during the global financial crisis in 2009.

WIPO’s complex system of registering international patents involves multiple categories, including global trademarks and design filing systems.

– China on top –

In the main category — the Patent Cooperation Treaty, or PCT — China remained at the top of the rankings with 69,540 filings.

That marks a mere 0.9-percent increase over 2020.

But a year earlier, China registered a 16-percent jump over 2019, when it for the first time overtook the United States as the world’s top international patent filer.

The United States remained in second place in 2021, with 59,570 filings, followed by Japan with 50,260, South Korea with 20,678 and Germany with 17,322.

The UN agency highlighted significant growth in applications by several smaller filers as well.

Singapore, for instance, saw its international patent applications swell by 23 percent to 1,617, while Finland and Turkey each saw jumps of over 13 percent.

WIPO’s report showed that Asia-based applicants accounted for 54.1 percent of all filings last year, up from 38.5 percent a decade earlier.

For the fifth consecutive year, China-based telecoms giant Huawei Technologies topped the global ranking in 2021, with 6,952 PCT applications.

The company thus applied for more international patents than all the filings out of Britain in 2021, Fink pointed out.

It was followed by US firm Qualcomm Inc at 3,931; South Korea’s Samsung Electronics at 3,041 and LG Electronics at 2,855; and Mitsubishi Electric Corp of Japan at 2,673.

Computer technology accounted for the largest share of published PCT applications, making up 9.9 percent of the total, followed by digital communication and medical technology.

The pharmaceutical field recorded the strongest growth rate for filings, seeing a 12.8-percent jump, followed by biotechnology, which was up 9.5 percent.

Fink pointed out that it takes around 18 months for patents to be published after they are filed, warning that the official 2021 figures might not yet completely reflect pandemic-fuelled technology trends.

However, he said, “we have definitely seen greater dynamism in the health-related technology fields.”

13 Million Face Hunger As Horn Of Africa Drought Worsens, Says UN

In this file photo taken on September 23, 2019 the United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall. Ludovic MARIN / AFP

 

An estimated 13 million people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are facing severe hunger as the Horn of Africa experiences its worst drought in decades, the World Food Programme (WFP) said Tuesday.

Three consecutive rainy seasons have failed as the region has recorded its driest conditions since 1981, the UN agency said.

The drought has destroyed crops and inflicted “abnormally” high livestock deaths, forcing rural families who rely on herding and farming to abandon their homes.

Water and grazing land is in short supply and forecasts of below-average rainfall in coming months only threaten more misery, said Michael Dunford, WFP’s regional director in East Africa.

“Harvests are ruined, livestock are dying, and hunger is growing as recurrent droughts affect the Horn of Africa,” he said in a statement.

“The situation requires immediate humanitarian action” to avoid a repeat of a crisis like that of Somalia in 2011, when 250,000 died of hunger during a prolonged drought.

Food aid is being distributed across an arid swathe of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia where malnutrition rates are high and some 13 million people are at risk of severe hunger in the first quarter of this year.

Some 5.7 million needed food assistance in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, including half a million malnourished children and mothers.

In Somalia, the number of people classified as seriously hungry is expected to rise from 3.5 million to 4.6 million by May unless urgent interventions are taken.

Another 2.8 million people need assistance in south-eastern and northern Kenya, where a drought emergency was declared in September.

WFP said $327 million was required to respond to immediate needs over the next six months and support pastoral communities to become more resilient against recurring climate shocks.

In 2011, failed rains led to the driest year since 1951 in arid regions of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda.

Experts say extreme weather events are happening with increased frequency and intensity due to climate change — with Africa, which contributes the least to global warming, bearing the brunt.