The Government of Japan allocated 263 million yens for countering trafficking of afghan narcotics in Uzbekistan through establishment of interagency mobile teams

The official signing ceremony of the Exchange NotesThe Government of Japan provided a new funding in the amount of 263 million Japanese Yens (approximately 2,500,000 USD) to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Programme “Countering Trafficking of Afghan Narcotics in Uzbekistan through the Establishment of Interagency Mobile Teams”. The official signing ceremony of the Exchange Notes between the Government of Japan and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) took place today at the UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia. The Exchange Notes were signed by H.E. Mr. Nobuaki Ito, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of Uzbekistan and Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia in the presence of Mr. Ahmed Mansurov, Director of the National Information and Analytical Center on Drug Control under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Drug trafficking through Central Asia and the Southern Caucuses, including through the Northern route remains a concern due to the persisting high level of opiate production in Afghanistan. Communication, coordination and cooperation between law enforcement agencies are key elements in countering drug trafficking.

On this occasion, Ambassador Mr. Nobuaki Ito stressed that Japan attaches importance to the cooperation with UNODC and Uzbekistan in the field of border control and countering trafficking of narcotics, as is declared in the Joint Communiqué issued during the official visit of Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Shinzo Abe to Uzbekistan in October 2015. Moreover, he emphasized that the signed programme, aiming for a capacity building of Uzbekistan’s authorities concerned, would render the trilateral cooperation and mutual trust between Japan, Uzbekistan and UNODC much deeper and stronger, as well as wished great success with the programme.

The programme activities are planned to be conducted within the framework of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia (2015-2019). Taking into account the continued relevance of the two factors – the common border with Afghanistan and attempts of the cross border drug traffickers to use the territory of Uzbekistan and its neighbouring countries in drug transit, creation of Interagency Mobile Teams (IMTs) will facilitate enhancement of the law enforcement capacity of the country. The programme activities will address the challenges in countering narcotics in Uzbekistan, and strengthen the capacities through procurement of equipment, setting up infrastructure, conducting training courses and workshops.

Mr. Akhmed Mansurov, Director of the National Information and Analytical Center on Drug Control said: “Today’s signing ceremony of the Exchange Notes for the allocation of the grant for implementation of the Programme “Countering Trafficking of Afghan Narcotics in Uzbekistan through the Establishment of Interagency Mobile Teams” is a demonstration of the continuity of joint efforts to combat drug trafficking. I am confident that the implementation of the agreements reached will contribute to more effective addressing of the challenges we face; bring tangible benefits to our countries; and have a positive impact on the welfare, health, and safety of the region’s population”.

The planned activities will be implemented in coordination with the National Information Analytical Center on Drug Control (NCDC) and with involvement of the Uzbek law enforcement agencies including the National Security Service, the State Customs Committee and the Ministry of Interior. The Interagency Mobile Teams will also be cooperating with the other local law enforcement agencies to detect the traffickers along the railways. These teams will be established, trained as well as equipped with modern specialized equipment. The IMTs will work in close contact with the Operation Coordination Team and will evaluate the risks as well as identify the passengers that can transport illicit drugs.

While thanking the Government of Japan for its contribution and the Government of Republic of Uzbekistan for its continuing cooperation and partnership, Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, emphasised the need for an integrated, harmonised and comprehensive strategic approach for prevention of drug trafficking. She emphasised that effective counter narcotics and transnational organized crime strategies are central to peace, stability, and effective governance based on the rule of law, to ensure sustainable development. It is a shared responsibility to prevent drug trafficking for the strong rule of law and a healthy society. UNODC is committed to support the efforts of the Government.

The Secretary-General’s Message on United Nations Day

71 years for 17 goals

This year’s observance of United Nations Day occurs at a time of transition for the world and for the United Nations.

Humanity has entered the era of sustainability – with a global commitment to fulfil the great promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  In this, the Organization’s 71st year, we have 17 goals to propel us towards a better future for all on a healthy planet.

The world is also moving at long last beyond the mindset which viewed the burning of fossil fuels as the path to prosperity.  At a time of record heat, Member States have embraced the Paris Agreement on climate change in record time.  This landmark measure will enter into force on 4 November.  Across that historic threshold lies our best chance for greener, cleaner, low-carbon growth.

The United Nations is also in transition, from its eighth Secretary-General to the ninth.  I have been honoured to serve “we the peoples” for the past ten years.  Together, we have put in place some solid foundations for shared progress – which we must build on by working even harder to empower women, engage youth and uphold human rights for all.  But we have also suffered enormous heartbreak including unresolved conflicts causing immense suffering throughout the troubled Middle East, South Sudan, the Sahel and beyond.  On these and other frontlines of violence and disaster, courageous UN staff continue to rise to the occasion and respond to the plight of the vulnerable.

I thank people across the world for their support and urge all to give their full backing to Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres in continuing our global mission of peace, sustainable development and human rights.


António Guterres appointed next UN Secretary-General by acclamation

António Guterres appointed next UN Secretary-General The General Assembly today appointed by acclamation the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as the next United Nations Secretary-General, to succeed Ban Ki-moon when he steps down on 31 December.

Mr. Guterres, aged 67, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015. He will become the world’s top diplomat on 1 January 2017, and hold that post for the next five years.

Thanking the General Assembly for appointing him as the next Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres said he was grateful to the Member States for their trust in him as well as for the transparent and open selection process they undertook.

“I believe this process means that the true winner today is the credibility of the UN. And it also made very clear to me that, as Secretary-General, having been chosen by all Member States, I must be at the service of them all equally and with no agenda but the one enshrined in the UN Charter,” said Mr. Guterres.

He also underlined that alleviating the suffering of the vulnerable people, in particular the refugees and those in conflict zones, and gender equality would remain key priorities for him during his tenure.

Secretary-General-designate Guterres also reiterated his belief in the values of peace, justice, human dignity, tolerance and solidarity, as well as his belief that diversity is a “tremendous asset” and not a threat.

The Secretary-General’s message on World Food Day


As the global population expands, we will need to satisfy an increasing demand for food.  Yet, around the world, record-breaking temperatures, rising sea levels and more frequent and severe droughts and floods caused by climate change are already affecting ecosystems, agriculture and society’s ability to produce the food we need.  The most vulnerable people are world’s poorest, 70 per cent of whom depend on subsistence farming, fishing or pastoralism for income and food.

On this World Food Day, we highlight the close link between climate change, sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security with the message that “The climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”  Without concerted action, millions more people could fall into poverty and hunger, threatening to reverse hard-won gains and placing in jeopardy our ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Agriculture and food systems must become more resilient, productive, inclusive and sustainable.  To bolster food security in a changing climate, countries must address food and agriculture in their climate action plans and invest more in rural development.  Targeted investments in these sectors will build resilience and increase the incomes and productivity of small farmers, lifting millions from poverty.  They will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the health and well-being of ecosystems and all people who depend on them.

Next month, the historic Paris Agreement on climate change will enter into force.  This will provide a much-needed boost to global efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, limit temperature rise and promote climate-compatible sustainable agriculture.

On this World Food Day, I urge all Governments and their partners to take a holistic, collaborative and integrated approach to climate change, food security and equitable social and economic development.  The well-being of this generation and those to come depends on the actions we take now.  Only by working in partnership will we achieve a world of zero hunger and free from poverty, where all people can live in peace, prosperity and dignity.

Security Council recommends former Prime Minister of Portugal Guterres as next UN Secretary-General

António Guterres -  next UN Secretary-General6 October 2016 – The Security Council today formally chose the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as its nominee to be the next Secretary-General of the United Nations for a five-year term when incumbent Ban Ki-moon steps down on 31 December.

The recommendation, made in a resolution adopted in a private meeting by acclamation, now goes to the 193-member General Assembly for formal approval.

On an official visit to Italy, Mr. Ban said in Rome this morning that Mr. Guterres is “an excellent choice,” noting that the two had worked closely during Mr. Guterres “long and outstanding tenure” as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“He showed deep compassion for the millions of people who were forced to leave their homes,” Mr. Ban said, adding: “His past experience as Prime Minister of Portugal, his extensive knowledge of world affairs and his keen intelligence will serve him to lead the United Nations at a crucial period.”

Under procedures for appointing the world body’s new chief, after the recommendation is transmitted from the Council to the Assembly, a draft resolution is issued for the Assembly to take action. After appropriate consultations with Member States, the Assembly President fixes a date for the draft to be taken up.

The last five Secretaries-General were appointed by the Assembly through a resolution adopted by consensus. A vote will take place only if a Member State requests it and a simple majority of those voting would be required for the Assembly to adopt the resolution. But the Assembly could decide that the decision requires a two-thirds majority. If a vote is taken, it will be by secret ballot.

The UN Charter, signed in 1945 as the foundation of the Organization, says relatively little about how a Secretary-General is to be selected, aside from Article 97, which notes that the candidate “shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”

At its first session in 1946, the General Assembly was much more active in the selection process. It created resolution A/RES/1/11 determining that the Council take the lead in the selection process, agree on a single name in a private meeting, and pass that name down to the General Assembly for a vote.

Yesterday, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the Security Council presidency for the month, informed the President of the Assembly, Peter Thomson, that after the sixth informal “straw poll” for the position of Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres had emerged as the clear favourite.

In addition to Mr. Guterres, 12 other candidates were in the running to succeed the current UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who leaves office at the end of the year.

Today’s decision by the Security Council brings the UN closer towards the culmination of an historic process: the selection of a new United Nations Secretary-General, traditionally decided behind closed-doors by a few powerful countries, has for the first time in history, involved public discussions with each candidate campaigning for the world’s top diplomatic post.

These so-called ‘informal briefings’ between the candidates, UN Member States and civil society representatives kicked off on 12 April, when the first three candidates presented their ‘vision statements’ and answered questions on how they would promote sustainable development, improve efforts to create peace, protect human rights, and deal with huge humanitarian catastrophes should they be selected to lead the Organization.

In addition, this past July, the UN held its first-ever globally televised and webcast townhall-style debate in the General Assembly Hall, where the confirmed candidates at the time took questions from diplomats and the public at large.

Ahead of World Peace Day, UN chief says Global Goals are ‘building blocks for peace’

World Peace Day 2016Ahead of the International Day of Peace, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed that each of the new global Sustainable Development Goals adopted a year ago by 193 countries are the “building blocks” for peace.

Mr. Ban said that every year on that day, the United Nations calls on warring parties around the world to observe a 24-hour ceasefire.

“But peace is not just about putting weapons aside. It is about building societies where people share the benefits of prosperity on a healthy planet,” Mr. Ban said in his message for the Day, observed annually on 21 September.

The UN system is marking the Day early this year, with a host of events that kicked off this morning in the Peace Garden at UN Headquarters, where Mr. Ban rang the Peace Bell and observed a minute of silence.

Women Nobel Peace Prize laureates and the United Nations Messengers of Peace have been invited to participate in the ceremony.

Mr. Ban sounded a call for peace and a day of non-violence before proceeding to ring the Bell. “You know best of all that peace is not an accident. Peace is not a gift. Peace is something we must all work for, every day, in every country,” he said.

While welcoming ceasefires – like the Cessation of Hostilities in Syria, the UN chief stressed that peace is about far more than putting weapons aside and that it involves the hard work of mediation, conflict resolution through diplomacy, reconciliation, peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

He said that he looks forward to visiting Cartagena, Colombia on 26 September for the signing of the historic peace agreement which ends the 50-year war between the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army.

In addition, the UN Education Outreach Section will hold a global student videoconference, also at Headquarters.

The Education Outreach Section invited young people from around the world to submit videos on how the Sustainable Development Goals can build peace. The most engaging videos can be viewed on the UN International Day of Peace YouTube channel and a small selection will be shown at the global student videoconference.

The Secretary-General’s message on International Day of Democracy

International Day of DemocracyA year ago, the world’s Governments agreed on an ambitious sustainable development agenda for the next 15 years. They recognized that what people want is not so complicated — but that it does require a transformation of how our economies and societies work.

People want food and shelter; education and health care and more economic opportunity.  They want to live without fear.  They want to be able to trust their Governments and global, national and local institutions.  They want full respect for their human rights and they are rightly demanding a greater say in the decisions that affect their lives. 

Each of the Sustainable Development Goals on its own reflects fundamental desires shared by people everywhere. Together, the 17 Goals  make up an intricate tapestry of challenges, choices and opportunities that people encounter in their everyday lives.  Delivering a better tomorrow will require integrated responses to interconnected challenges. 

Democratic principles run through the Agenda like a golden thread, from universal access to public goods, health care and education, as well as safe places to live and decent work opportunities for all. Goal 16 addresses democracy directly: it calls for inclusive societies and accountable institutions.  

The Goals demonstrate an important dynamic: effective democratic governance enhances quality of life for all people; and human development is more likely to take hold if people are given a real say in their own governance, and a chance to share in the fruits of progress.  

Our new Agenda aims to leave no one behind, which means we must reach those who are rarely seen or heard, and who have no voice or group to speak on their behalf. The implementation of the Goals must be underpinned by a strong and active civil society that includes the weak and the marginalized. We must defend civil society’s freedom to operate and do this essential job. 

On this International Day of Democracy, let us rededicate ourselves to democracy and dignity for all.


The Secretary-General’s message on International Literacy Day

Literacy Day 2016This year, the world has embarked on implementing the ambitious and transformational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  With its 17 universal, integrated and interdependent Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda is an action plan for people, planet, partnership and peace.

Literacy stands at heart of the 2030 Agenda.  It is a foundation for human rights, gender equality, and sustainable societies.  It essential to all our efforts to end extreme poverty and promote well-being for all people.  That is why the Sustainable Development Goals aim for universal access to quality education and learning opportunities throughout people’s lives.

One of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4 is to ensure that all young people achieve literacy and numeracy and that a substantial proportion of adults who lack these skills are given the opportunity to acquire them.

Fifty years ago, International Literacy Day was proclaimed to promote literacy as a tool to empower individuals, communities and societies.  We have made significant progress over the past five decades, but the world is still very far from universal literacy.  And today, with the world becoming increasingly digitized and information rich, new opportunities and challenges are emerging.

More than 750 million adults are illiterate, including 115 million young people.  Two thirds are female.  Some 250 million children of primary school age lack basic literacy skills and 124 million children and adolescents receive no schooling at all.

These obstacles to sustainable development can and must be overcome by developing and implementing the right policies, backed up by commitment and resources.  We need to ensure that those out of school get access to quality learning opportunities, we need to improve the quality of schooling, and we need to promote adult education and learning.

On this International Literacy Day, I call on governments and their partners, including in the private sector, to join forces for universal literacy so we can translate the vision of the 2030 Agenda into reality and build peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable societies.

The 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day

50th anniversary of International Literacy DayThis year marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day and UNESCO is celebrating it under the banner “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”. International Literacy Day 2016 celebrates and honours the past five decades of national and international engagement, efforts and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks to innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.

Fifty years ago, UNESCO officially proclaimed 8 September International Literacy Day to actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.

Now International Literacy Day is celebrated worldwide, bringing together governments, multi- and bilateral organizations, NGOs, private sectors, communities, teachers, learners and experts in the field. On this day also International Literacy Prizes are awarded to people with outstanding solutions that can drive literacy towards achieving the 2030 Education Agenda. This year the focus is on innovation.

This is the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this context the vision of literacy is aligned with lifelong learning opportunities with special focus on youth and adults. Literacy is a part of Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. The target is that by 2030 all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy (SDG Target 4.6).

The International Literacy Day will be celebrated all around the world. The main global celebration of the day will take place at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris in the form of a two-day conference on 8 – 9 September, the highlight of which will be the awarding of the Literacy Prizes. At the same time the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL) will be launched, a new and ambitious initiative to make all major stakeholders pull together to promote literacy as a foundation for lifelong learning.

Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence

25th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independenceOn September 1, 1991, the Republic of Uzbekistan became a sovereign nation and entered a new period in its history. This year Uzbekistan will celebrate 25 years of independence. In a relatively short period of time, the country has achieved important milestones in moving forward its socio-economic development through a process of gradual reforms.

As a signatory to the Millennium Declaration adopted in 2000, Uzbekistan has made good progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, due to sustainable high rates of economic growth and the implementation of effective programmes in the social sector, particularly in education and health.  It shows that policies and actions, backed by adequate funding and political commitment, does yield results.

The United Nations (UN) in Uzbekistan commends the goal “to build an open democratic and law governed state, in which a person, his interests, his rights and freedoms are the highest value” as articulated in “The Concept of further deepening the democratic reforms and establishing the civil society in the country”. Recent improvements of legislation on strengthening the role of the parliament and openness of state bodies can be highlighted as part of these evolutionary reforms. Indeed, human development, economic development and democratization have to go hand in hand to fully unleash a country’s potential.

Through our joint programmes and projects with the Government, the UN has been facilitating the country’s efforts to complement positive economic growth rates with effective social policies both at local and national levels, through policy advice and capacity development, as well as by sharing knowledge and experiences from other parts of the world. Our support covers areas from economic reform to improving governance. We assist in healthcare, including maternal and child health, and education reform and social protection. We support the preservation of Uzbekistan’s cultural treasures and the conservation of its natural resources and biodiversity. We also help efforts to counter drug trafficking and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Since independence, Uzbekistan has ratified and signed onto several UN Conventions on the protection of human rights, on security, environmental protection and other areas, and the United Nations is supporting the Republic of the Uzbekistan in the implementation of these conventions.

Uzbekistan effectively cooperates within the framework of the UN General Assembly and with the various specialized institutions of the UN system.  In the framework of the United Nations, the Republic of Uzbekistan put forward a number of important initiatives in the field of ensuring international peace and security, for example through the creation of Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in Central Asia.

We express deep respect to Uzbekistan’s strong commitment to peaceful settlement of disputes and refraining from the use of force in international relations as it was reflected in the Concept of foreign policy activity of Uzbekistan adopted in 2012. We appreciate the acknowledgement by the country of the UN’s coordinating role in maintaining international peace and security as well as expressed commitment to pursue a foreign policy in the spirit of cooperation and friendliness in relation with regional neighbors.

Most recently in September 2015, Uzbekistan, together with other UN member states, supported the adoption of the global agenda 2030 – the Sustainable Development Goals.  The United Nations system in Uzbekistan welcomes and stands ready to assist Uzbekistan’s efforts on nationalization and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the country. We particularly look forward to further strengthening our collaboration within the framework of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Uzbekistan for 2016-2020, which builds on national priorities and ensures a solid link to global agenda 2030. 

The UN in Uzbekistan congratulates the people of Uzbekistan at the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the national independence and wishes lots of prosperity, peace and wellbeing.