At high-level forum, UN stresses importance of education in building ‘culture of peace’

Emportance of education

Education can promote ideals of non-violence, equality and mutual respect, United Nations officials said today at a high-level event on how to achieve a culture of peace amid current global challenges and threats to stability, prosperity and the planet.

“We have to teach our children the values of peace, tolerance, equality and respect. They should be under no illusions as to the self-destructiveness of the alternative,” said the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, who convened the all-day event in New York with a focus on early childhood development.

“We must equip them with the skills and education they need to peacefully resolve disputes; to confront injustice and intolerance; and to reject all forms of discrimination and hate,” he added.

The event brought together representatives from UN Member States, UN system entities, civil society, media, the private sector and others with an interest in exchanging ideas and suggestions on ways to build and promote a Culture of Peace, and to highlight emerging trends that impact its implementation.

In addition to early childhood education and investment in children, Secretary-General António Guterres stressed the need to invest in youth to promote world peace.

In a speech delivered by his Senior Advisor on Policy, Ana María Menéndez, the Secretary-General also recognized women’s contributions and participation in long-term peace efforts. He said that women’s meaningful participation generates a different perspective in solving problems, and needs to be supported in all aspects of life.

Mr. Guterres also highlighted the importance of investing in inclusion and cohesion, so that diversity is seen as a benefit and not a threat.

 

‘New Urban Agenda,’ reform of UN-Habitat take spotlight at high-level General Assembly talks

New urban agendaThe United Nations deputy chief today said that the Organization is failing to deliver sufficiently in cities, and its work in and on urban areas must be reinvigorated, as the General Assembly kicked off a high-level meeting on a new UN approach to the rapidly urbanizing world.

The meeting will discuss how the New Urban Agenda” has been implemented since its adoption in October 2016 at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, known as Habitat III, while examining the recommendations put forth by an independent panel reviewing the effectiveness of UN-Habitat.

It will also address the measures contained in the Report of the Secretary General’s Independent Panel to Assess, Enhance Effectiveness of UN-Habitat after Adoption of New Urban Agenda, which was published at the beginning of August 2017.

The outcome will serve as an input to the General Assembly’s main body dealing with economic and financial issues the (Second Committee), which will consider action to be taken in the light of these recommendations during its forthcoming substantive session this fall.

While cities are hubs of promise, jobs, technology and economic development, they are also the epicentre of greenhouse gas emissions and many of the challenges of sustainability.

In his remarks, General Assembly President Peter Thomson stressed the importance of capitalizing on the enormous social and economic opportunities provided by mass urbanisation to lift people out of poverty, drive inclusive economic growth, promote equality, strengthen community resilience, and of course, effectively combat climate change.

Secondly, strategic partnerships have to be strengthened between governments at all levels, community leaders, civil society, and the business community, to foster coherent approaches to urban development.

Then there is the task of harnessing the exponential potential of science, technology and innovation to drive smart new approaches towards sustainable urbanisation and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mr. Thomson said.

And finally, the UN system must be able to effectively serve Member States in achieving these universal agendas, with UN-Habitat strongly positioned to support implementation of the New Urban Agenda, he said.

Uzbekistan working to strengthen traditional self-governance system

mahallaThe Uzbek authorities told the UN they are working to strengthen civil society. Over a hundred laws are in place regulating the participation of self-governing bodies in various fields in Uzbekistan, with mahalla being one of the unique civil society institutes in the country.

This week, the UN headquarters hosted a ceremony, where Uzbekistan passed chairmanship of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to Cote d’Ivoire. During its last session as Chairman, the Permanent Representative of Uzbekistan held a briefing titled “Mahalla: a Unique Civil Society Institute in Uzbekistan.”

Recently, the UN General Assembly circulated a report on the mahalla, an institute of citizens’ self-governing body, as an official document at its 71st session in New York.

“The mahalla’s role and significance have always been invaluable in the careful preservation of national and universal values as well as culture, lifestyle, thinking and spirituality of the Uzbek people,” the document says.

It states that Article 105 of the republic’s Constitution enshrines citizen assemblies as territorial units of self-governance.

“As part of the efforts to implement the concept ‘From a Strong State to a Strong Civil Society’, over 100 laws stipulate participation by self-governing bodies in specific social fields,” the document says. It also states that over 10,000 active citizen assemblies are currently successfully fulfilling over 30 social and economic tasks that previously were within the purview of the local authorities.

The Government of Uzbekistan believes that the mahalla should turn into a more effective body, “a real helper of the Uzbek people” – an institution where people could express their views, voice their concerns and come up with proposals. This self-governing institution is actively supported by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

International Conference on “Development of Organic Agriculture in Central Asia”

International Conference on development of organic agricultureThe Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) organized an International Conference on development of organic agriculture in Central Asia. Participants of the conference paid a site visit to “Siyob Shavkat Orzu” farm in Toyloq district of Samarkand region to observe (learn) the region’s potential on traditional and organic agriculture on August 24.

The conference was attended by leading scientists and experts engaged in organic agriculture from Europe and Asia. The centuries-old culture of traditional vegetable growing and gardening in Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries is initially based on the principles of biological farming and use of natural fertilizers that allows growing ecologically clean vegetables and fruits with unique taste and nutritional value. This culture provides a huge potential for development of organic production in the region.

International Conference on development of organic agricultureThe Conference showcased the development of organic agriculture in the example of Turkey and other countries, experts exchanged experiences and discussed local practices and modern technologies for further cooperation, tackling constraints and needs for the institutional and legal framework for organic production, raising awareness on organic agriculture and its impact on rural development and trade of Central Asian countries. Overview of the trends and rising opportunities in organic markets at regional and worldwide was also presented during the sessions.

International Conference on development of organic agricultureThe list of participants included the Government officials representing the field of Agriculture, Economy, Trade and internationals experts. Director of International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) in Central Asia attended the event and made a speech in the opening of conference.

At the end of the theoretical sessions of the conference in Tashkent, the participants visited one of the processing plants of rural products in the Samarkand region, where  they got acquainted with the advanced export opportunities and experience in processing fruit and vegetable products and took part in the agricultural products fair.

 

International Youth Day Celebrated in Tashkent

International Youth Day in Tashkent

International Youth Day is celebrated within the framework of the “Young families and girls” First National Forum. Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) joined hands in organizing the celebrations of this annual event.

International Youth Day is marked annually on 12 August. This observance, celebrated by thousands of young people, activists, and youth organizations worldwide, brings public attention to important issues related to youth, in particular the need for better addressing youth concerns in international development efforts.

The theme of International Youth Day 2017 is “Youth Building Peace”. Since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2250 in 2015, there is growing recognition that as agents of change, young people are critical actors in conflict prevention and sustaining peace. International Youth Day 2017 is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.

International Youth Day in Uzbekistan is celebrated within the framework of the “Young Families and Girls” First National Forum which will take place in all regions of Uzbekistan during 7-12 August 2017. Within this initiative, UNFPA will support a number of activities, including swimming competition among more than 130 girls and young women (15 – 30 years old) at the National Water Sports Development Centre in Tashkent city and Concluding Assembly of the Forum where the National strategy on working with Young Families and Girls will be presented as well as Memorandum with Youth Union on enhancing efficiency of the youth policy will be signed.

«Today, there is a need to help young people, who comprise a majority in most of the countries, and especially girls, to promote their preparedness for family life, participation in decision-making as well as ensure access to quality health care, education, and basic services – which in its turn promotes their role as active contributors to society and affords young people with opportunities to reach their potential and achieve their goals. Therefore, the recent Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On enhancing the effectiveness of the state youth policy and supporting the activities of the Youth Union of Uzbekistan” highlights such need for supporting the youth.» – marked UNFPA Representative, Ms. Mieko Yabuta, in her opening Statement for International Youth Day.

The events supported by UNFPA are aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles among young people, focusing not only on the activities of the most active and progressive girls, but also their achievements and the motivating factors for the youth development, stabilization of the socio-cultural environment in young families. Promoting access of young people to sports, education, healthcare, including reproductive health and family planning information and services – is a key for sustainable development and healthy future generation.

UNFPA and Women’s Committee have been working together throughout the years, on promoting healthy lifestyle among the young people in Uzbekistan. Both partners share similar visions on strengthening the rights of young people and enhancing their potential to increase their role in society.

NEW UN Resident Coordinator to Uzbekistan appointed

NEW UN Resident Coordinator to Uzbekistan appointed

Uzbekistan has welcomed the newly appointed United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Uzbekistan, Helena Fraser, who previously served as head of the Regional Office for the Syria Crisis of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

On 3 August, Fraser presented a letter from UN Chief Antonio Guterres on her appointment to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov.

As it was noted during the meeting, Uzbekistan and the United Nations cooperate in various areas, and human interests are the basis of this cooperation. It was also noted that the UN’s attention to Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries is growing as evidenced by UN Chief Guterres and High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’ visits to Uzbekistan.

Fraser received a draft plan (Roadmap) for further cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United Nations for 2017-2020 with clarifications on its key points.

The two sides exchanged viewpoints regarding global and regional issues, among them the organization of UN conferences in Uzbekistan.

Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator at the occasion of New Year 2017

Dear friends,

First of all I would like to extend my warm congratulations on behalf of the UN in Uzbekistan at the occasion of the New Year 2017!

The year of 2016 both at global and national level was a year of challenges and yet new opportunities.

2016 marked the beginning of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework, which defines the path of world development until 2030 as endorsed by all 193 UN member states. The key principle of the SDGs – “to leave nobody behind” – requires strong institutions with highest regards to minimum standards and a framework that enables rights and freedoms.

2016 was a seminal year in the fight against climate change through the ratification of the Paris Climate Change Accord. To date 191 countries have signed and 81 ratified this agreement, which is expected to accelerate action on what often is seen as the global challenge of the 21st century.

The year of 2016 also witnessed a consensual selection of the new (the ninth) UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres from Portugal. Mr. Guterres embarked on his mandate on 1 January 2017 and pledged to work at the service of all countries and to help find solutions that benefited all people.

At the country level, in 2016 the people of Uzbekistan were faced with the sudden demise of the first President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, H.E. Mr. Islam Karimov. The year also marked the victory of H.E. Mr. Mirziyoyev in the recent Presidential Elections of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate the people of Uzbekistan with the election of the incumbent President and the appointment of the Head of the Government.

In terms of our cooperation with the Government of Uzbekistan we acknowledge the Government’s comprehensive approach in taking forward the SDG localization agenda in 2016. We were pleased to be part of the process and to contribute UN expertise to the adaptation of the global SDGs to the country context.

In full alignment with the SDGs, in 2016 the UN system embarked on the implementation of a new cycle of development cooperation embedded in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Uzbekistan for 2016-2020. The UNDAF is built around national development priorities and linked to the international normative framework, including SDGs and the ratified United Nations conventions.

We believe that the productive cooperation will be continued and further strengthened in 2017. We welcome the announcement of the year 2017 as the “Year of Dialogue and Human Interest” and as UN system in Uzbekistan stand ready to support the Government in shaping and implementing the reform agenda for 2017-2021.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to wish all people of Uzbekistan health, prosperity and happiness in the New Year of 2017. We look forward to working with the Government and other development partners to upscale our support for the sake of progress and prosperity of people of Uzbekistan.

 

Secretary-General António Guterres cites multilateralism, teamwork as critical to achieving UN goals

Secretary-General António Guterres on his first day in officeOn his first day in office, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for teamwork, telling staff at the world body’s New York Headquarters that it is not enough to the “do the right thing, we need to earn the right to do the right thing.”

“It is very important for us to recognize our achievements […] but we also need to recognize our shortcomings, to recognize our failures and where we are not able to deliver as we should,” he said, outlining the multitude of challenges – ranging from complex conflicts to global terrorism – confronting the world.

Mr. Guterres called on the entire Organization for a collective effort to address the shortcomings and underlined the need to reform the UN development system, as well as address bureaucratic constraints that hamper its performance, saying the world body must try and get rid of its “bureaucratic straight jacket.”

“There are no miracles […] and the only way for us to achieve our goals is to work as a team,” he said.

In his remarks, the UN chief also recalled the selection process that culminated with the UN General Assembly appointing him as the ninth chief of the global body in October last year. “I know that the way this selection process has been developed has raised a lot of expectations,” he noted.

“This requires a lot of efforts from ourselves but also a lot of dialogue with [UN] Members States and to overcome the divides that still exist in the Organization,” he added.

Mr. Guterres’ first day at UN Headquarters as Secretary General began with the laying of a wreath at the Memorial Wall in the Visitors’ Lobby.

Shortly after taking office two days ago, he made an appeal for peace. “Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences,” Mr. Guterres said Sunday morning, urging people to share his New Year’s resolution: “Let us resolve to put peace first.”

He will serve for a five-year period until 31 December 2021. He was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. He succeeds Ban Ki-moon who served as the Secretary-General from 2007 until 31 December 2016.

Let us make 2017 a year for peace: UN Chief Antonio Guterres

UN Chief Antonio GuterresOn my first day as Secretary General of the United Nations, one question weighs heavily on my heart:

How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massive wars with no end in sight?

Civilians are pounded with deadly force. Women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute.

And even hospitals and aid convoys are targeted.

No one wins these wars. Everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations.

And whole regions are destabilized, and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all.

On this New Years’ Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution: let us resolve to put peace first.

Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences.

From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives to dialogue and respect across political divides, from ceasefires on the battlefield to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions, peace must be our goal and our guide.

And all that we strive for as a human family – dignity and hope, progress and prosperity – depends on peace. But peace depends on us.

I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace today and every day. Let us make 2017 a year for peace!

 

The Secretary-General’s Remarks at Opening Session of the Global Sustainable Transport Conference

The SG's Remarks at Opening Session of the Global Sustainable Transport ConferenceIt is wonderful to be back in Ashgabat on my third visit to Turkmenistan.

I sincerely thank His Excellency, President Berdimuhamedov, for welcoming us and hosting this important Global Sustainable Transport Conference.

Without transport, we would not be here. We all understand its importance.

Global trade depends on the world’s roads, rails, waterways and flight paths.

The transport sector itself is a huge source of jobs and an engine of economic growth.

Beyond economics, there is a human side.

We should all be concerned about people who do not have the access they deserve.

Sustainable transport is out of reach for too many rural communities.

Millions of persons with disabilities cannot use public transportation because it is inaccessible.

Older persons struggle to move from one place to the next.

Even where transport is available it may not be safe – especially for women and girls, who often rightly fear they may be attacked.

Sustainable transport has to answer to the needs of those who have the least.

When it does, we can bridge more than physical distances; we can come closer as one human family.

This Conference should confront the many challenges to sustainability when it comes to transport.

This sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. And that is expected to substantially increase in the future.

Without action on the transportation front, we will not be able to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close to 1.5 as possible.

Transport also has significant public health impacts.

Road accidents claim about one and a quarter million lives every year. The vast majority – nine out of ten – are in developing countries.

Traffic in cities saps productivity.

Transport also contributes to air pollution, which costs more than 3 million lives a year.

The answer to these problems is not less transport – it is sustainable transport.

We need more systems that are environmentally friendly, affordable and accessible.

Technological advances can get us there.

Let me offer seven ideas.

First, we need a broad view that resolves interlocking problems of transport with an

integrated policy framework. This has to align with the Sustainable Development Goals.

And it should take account of interactions between different modes of transport.

Second, we must address the needs of vulnerable countries, including least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states.

These countries need simplified border crossings and harmonized regional regulations and requirements.

Third, we should promote better transport systems in cities. That means improving public transport while promoting walking and cycling.

The new sharing economy is opening the way.

People can borrow a bike on one side of town and leave it on the other. They can rent a car using an app. Or they can share rides in the same vehicle that normally would take just one passenger.

Fourth, we have to make all transport systems safe and secure to reach the ambitious target set in the 2030 Agenda calling for access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all.

Fifth, we need to address the environmental impacts of transport in order to mitigate the impact on climate change and reduce local air pollution.

I call for bold and innovative steps in re-thinking transport systems, from design, to technology and consumption patterns.

There are many exciting developments – like electric cars, alternative fuels and new concepts for mass transit systems.

During my tenure as Secretary-General, I have been impressed by many creative approaches.

Three years ago, I rode on a bamboo bicycle made by women in Ghana. They gain a profit – and riders get a bike, which never damages the environment.

Last year, I took a solar taxi to work.

And just last week, I met again with the pilot of the Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard, who is flying this powered plane with nothing but renewable energy.

There are so many more ideas like these just waiting to be realized.

Sixth, we need financing.

It takes investments to see results.

That means mobilizing funds from a variety of sources and fostering North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation. Public-private partnerships are indispensable.

Seventh, we have to mobilize all partners by putting people at the centre of transport planning – and by working together. Transport is team work.

With a broad coalition of governments, international organizations, businesses, civil society and communities, we can make sustainable transport a reality.

Two years ago, I formed a High-Level Advisory Group that brought together leaders from private sector companies, industry associations and local and national governments. They represented all modes of transport and the freight and passenger sectors.

I asked them for forward-looking recommendations on sustainable transport.

Last month, I received their final report.

It has one central message: that greater investment in greener, more sustainable transport systems is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

This is the final international conference that I will convene as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

For nearly ten years, I have travelled around the world to push for global progress.

So I am pleased to end my term by focusing on sustainable transport.

It is already improving lives around the world – and we are here to advance progress that can benefit generations to come.

I am confident that we have the resolve, commitment, imagination and creativity to transform our transport systems in a sustainable manner that will improve human wellbeing, enhance social progress and protect our planet Earth.

Thank you.