Monthly Archives: April 2016

UN Information Office interviews Uzbek writer on the occasion of World Book Day

интервью по случаю Всемирного дня книгиThe UN Information Office invited famous Uzbek writer and translator Ulugbek Hamdam to share his musings on books ahead of World Book and Copyright Day, which is celebrated on 23 April.

Hamdam says people’s attitudes towards books today are different from what they were yesterday, and this is a natural thing that occurs due to global cultural and political changes.

“The more reading and thinking people a particular society has, the stronger the country,” he says. “A deep knowledge of history, tradition and language, especially your native language as well as those of other nations, boosts your spiritual immunity.”

“Books and love of books can make the world a better place,” he concludes.

To watch the interview with English subtitles, follow this link.

WIUT Lyceum Hosts its First MUN

WIUT Lyceum Hosts its First MUNOn April 15, the Academic Lyceum of Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT) hosted its first-ever Model UN Conference titled “Women’s Rights and Steps of Development against Gender Discrimination”. It was put together with support from the UN Information Office.

Prior to the conference, lyceum teachers helped students to increase their awareness of the UN system’s core values, its mission and activities. The staff of the UN Information Center provided major support with the conference. They held a MUN training session, provided online coverage of the event, and concluded it with a certificate presentation ceremony.

While this was the first MUN Conference at the WIUT Academic Lyceum, the UN role-play event at the University itself has become a tradition as it has already had four such conferences, and is slated to host its fifth on 3 May.

The conference was an opportunity for the students to gain first experience in holding debates as well as international relations and public diplomacy, and get a taste of what it’s like to be a UN delegate.

Mother Earth Day Coincides with the Signing of the Paris Agreement

International Mother Earth Day 2016This year, Earth Day coincides with the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which will take place at UN Headquarters in New York. The Agreement was adopted by all 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius. The signing ceremony takes place on the first day that the Agreement will be open for signatures, marking the first step toward ensuring that the Agreement enters into legal force as quickly as possible.

The General Assembly, recognizing that Mother Earth is a common expression for the planet earth in a number of countries and regions, which reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit, and noting that Earth Day is observed each year in many countries, decided to designate 22 April as International Mother Earth Day in 2009, with resolution A/RES/63/278.

2016 Theme: Trees for the Earth

Earth Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1970 and is organised by the Earth Day Network.  Its mission is to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations. With this year’s theme, looking forward to its 50th anniversary, it sets the goal of planting 7.8 billion trees over the next five years.

Why Trees?

Trees help combat climate change.
They absorb excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere. In fact, in a single year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles.
Trees help us breathe clean air.
Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.
Trees help us to counteract the loss of species.
By planting the right trees, we can help counteract the loss of species, as well as provide increased habitat connectivity between regional forest patches.
Trees help communities and their Livelihoods.
Trees help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability and provide food, energy and income.

The Secretary-General’s message on World Health Day 2016

World Health Day 2016 Diabetes is an ancient disease that is taking a growing toll on the modern world.  In 1980, 108 million adults were living with diabetes.  By 2014, that number had risen to 422 million – 8.5 per cent of adults — reflecting a global increase in risk factors such as being overweight or obese.  Even though we have the tools to prevent and treat it, diabetes now causes some 1.5 million deaths a year.  High blood glucose causes an additional 2.2 million deaths.

This year, the World Health Organization has issued its first Global Report on Diabetes, outlining the scale of the problem and suggesting ways to reverse current trends.  The burden of diabetes is not equally shared, within or between countries.  People in low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected, but wherever we find poverty we also find disease and premature deaths.

Diabetes affects countries’ health systems and economies, through increased medical costs and lost wages.  In 2011, world leaders agreed that non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, represent a major challenge to achieving sustainable development.  Last year, Governments adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which include the target of reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one-third.

We can limit the spread and impact of diabetes by promoting and adopting healthier lifestyles, especially among young people.  This includes eating better and being physically active.  We must also improve diabetes diagnosis and access to essential medicines such as insulin.

Governments, health-care providers, people with diabetes, civil society, food producers and manufacturers and suppliers of medicines and technology must all contribute to changing the status quo.

On this World Health Day, let us all commit to working together to halt the rise in diabetes and improve the lives of those living with this dangerous but preventable and treatable disease.

UN General Assembly proclaims Decade of Action on Nutrition

UN General Assembly proclaims Decade of Action on NutritionThe United Nations General Assembly today proclaimed a UN Decade of Action on Nutrition that will run from 2016 to 2025. FAO welcomed the decision, calling it a major step towards mobilising action around reducing hunger and improving nutrition around the world.

Today, nearly 800 million people remain chronically undernourished and over two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Meanwhile some 159 million children under 5 years of age are stunted – meaning they are too short for their age. Approximately 50 million children in the same age bracket are wasted – meaning they have low weight for their height. Another 1.9 billion people are overweight — 600 million of these are obese. And prevalence of people who are overweight or obese is increasing in nearly all countries.

Today’s resolution recognises the need to eradicate hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition worldwide. The Decade of Action on Nutrition will provide an umbrella for a wide group of actors to work together to address these and other pressing nutrition issues.

The resolution calls upon FAO and WHO to lead the implementation of the Decade of Action on Nutrition in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and involving coordination mechanisms such as the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) and multi-stakeholder platforms such as the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

It also invites national governments and other stakeholders, including international and regional organizations, civil society, the private sector and academia to actively participate.

“This resolution places nutrition at the heart of sustainable development and recognizes improving food security and nutrition are essential to achieving the entire 2030 Agenda,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said. “Children can’t fully reap the benefits of schooling if they don’t get the nutrients they need; and emerging economies won’t reach their full potential if their workers are chronically tired because their diets are unbalanced. That’s why we welcome the Decade of Action on Nutrition and look forward to helping make it a success,” he added.

Introducing the resolution, which was co-sponsored by 30 Members, Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Brazil’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said: “We consider the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition a great opportunity to bring together initiatives and efforts to eradicate hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition, crucial elements of the 2030 Agenda. We encourage UN agencies, Member States, civil society and private sector to join in this collective effort. We look forward to engage in this process, sharing information on our national policies and learning from other experiences.”

Today’s resolution also endorses the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action adopted during the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) co-hosted by FAO and WHO in November 2014.

The Secretary-General’s message on International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2016Sport is a unique and powerful tool for promoting dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of every member of the human family.  It is a driving force for positive social change.  That is why some of the world’s greatest sportsmen and women have been, and remain, engaged in helping the United Nations to raise awareness on important issues such as hunger, HIV-AIDS, gender equality and environmental stewardship.

This year the world is embarking on a major new challenge – implementing the visionary 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  United Nations Member States have adopted 17 universal Sustainable Development Goals to build a future of peace, justice, dignity and opportunity for all.  Together, they provide a set of integrated and indivisible priorities for people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace.

To reach these global goals, we must engage all sectors of society, everywhere.  Sport has an essential role to play.  Sport promotes health and well-being.  It fosters tolerance, mutual understanding and peace.  It contributes to social inclusion and equality.  It empowers women and girls and persons with disabilities.  It is a vital part of quality education in schools.  It empowers, inspires and unites.

On this third International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, I urge Governments, organizations, businesses, and all actors in society to harness the values and power of sport to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  By working – and playing – together, we can create the future we want.

First-ever World Humanitarian Summit must usher in new era of global solidarity – UN chief

Before the first ever Humanitarian Summit4 April 2016 – Briefing Member States on preparations for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Heads of State and Government to come to the event and deliver a strong message that “we will not accept the erosion of humanity which we see in the world today.”

“We must not fail the people who need us, when they need us most,” said the UN chief, drawing particular attention to the leader’s segment and the roundtables, that will take place during the 23-24 May summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

“First, the best way to achieve bold, courageous change is to make sure that leaders are there to deliver it,” Mr. Ban said, noting that the leaders’ segment will be an opportunity to discuss the five core responsibilities of his Agenda for Humanity.

The five core aims are: political leadership to prevent and end conflict; uphold the norms that safeguard humanity; leave no one behind; change people’s lives – from delivering aid to ending need; and invest in humanity.

“History will judge us by how we use this moment,” Mr. Ban said, urging States to come to Istanbul at the highest level and to show leadership on the great challenges of the 21st century.

“We must not let down the many millions of men, women and children in dire need,” he added.

Mr. Ban said that seven roundtable sessions will be held over the two days to provide a space for leaders from Member States, civil society and the private sector to focus on a number of challenges crucial to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other shared goals.

The themes of the roundtables are: Preventing and Ending Conflict; Upholding the Norms that Safeguard Humanity; Leaving No-one Behind; Natural Disasters and Climate Change; From Delivering Aid to Ending Need; Gender Equality; and Investing in Humanity.

He said that proposed core commitments that reflect some of the changes necessary to turn the Agenda for Humanity into action were circulated last week for consideration and should be finalized by 18 April.

These are voluntary and non-binding, and can be individual or joint commitments. The Summit is not an end point, but the beginning of a new era of international solidarity to halt the terrible suffering of people affected by conflicts and disasters. The Summit’s success would make an enormous qualitative difference in advancing action on so many other fronts – not least the 2030 Agenda.

The summit outcomes will include a Chair’s summary that will be issued in Istanbul, and a “Commitments to Action” document that will follow some time later. Along with the Agenda for Humanity, these all constitute important elements to the framework for action and follow-up, he said.

Post-Summit follow-up

The follow-up will begin with the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council in June. In September, Mr. Ban will submit his report to the General Assembly, presenting the outcomes of the Summit and further possible steps ahead, he said.

At that point, Member States can decide to take forward some or all of the report’s recommendations through intergovernmental discussions and negotiations, he said. The annual General Assembly humanitarian resolutions in the autumn will likely be vehicles for many of these important discussions.

“Last year we achieved major victories for global solidarity,” he said, referring to Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Climate Agreement.

“Let us make the World Humanitarian Summit a historic step forward for our common humanity,” he said.

The briefing was organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at the UN Headquarters in New York.