Category Archives: News

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.

UN conference to address way forward on global sustainable transport challenges

Global Sustainable Transport ConferenceThe first-ever global conference on sustainable transport takes place this weekend in Turkmenistan, bringing together representatives from the United Nations, governments, the private sector and civil society to set new directions for global transport efforts.

“Without doubt, unsustainable transport brings numerous challenges. For example, the transport sector is responsible for about one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Also, more than 1.25 million are killed annually in road traffic accidents – sadly to say that 90 per cent [of these] happen in developing countries,” the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo, said today at a press briefing in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat, ahead of the start of the Global Sustainable Transport Conference there tomorrow.

“Sustainable transport, on the other hand, helps create the infrastructure on which we can build a sustainable future – it provides access to trade, jobs, markets, education, health care and other services that improve people’s lives,” Mr. Wu added. “It also empowers women, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable people. The conference is in Ashgabat is an opportunity for mutual learning and knowledge exchange on implementing sustainable transport.”

According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), which Mr. Wu heads and is organizing the event, sustainable transport and mobility are crucial for sustainable development, with adequate transport infrastructure and affordable transport services still lacking globally, and with serious negative impacts on public health and well-being, living conditions and climate change.

The furthering of sustainable transport and the establishment of affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound transport systems is expected to be a key part of discussions at the conference, which will also be attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In his remarks to the media today, Mr. Wu said the linkage between sustainable transport and implementation of the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda – will be explored in the discussions.

Each SDG has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years, and while sustainable transport is not represented by a standalone SDG, it is essential to achieving most of them and has been mainstreamed across several SDGs and targets, especially those related to food security, health, energy, infrastructure and cities and human settlements, according to DESA.

The Global Sustainable Transport Conference has its foundations in the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The document – a result of intergovernmental discussions on a range of sustainable development issues – stresses that transportation and mobility are central to sustainable development.

All modes of transport – road, rail, aviation, ferry, and maritime – will be addressed at the Ashgabat gathering, including in both developed and developing countries, as well as in landlocked and transit countries. The concerns of developing countries, including least-developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states, will receive particular focus.

The issues in focus at the conference were recently highlighted in Quito, Ecuador, during the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), which culminated in the adoption of a New Urban Agenda, with strong elements of sustainable transport.

Delegation of Uzbekistan in the conference was headed by Rustam Azimov, deputy prime minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Mr. Azimov pointed out that there is a need for consolidation of efforts in international level for the development of safe and efficient transport communication, which provides sustainable development among our countries and the region.

While no outcome document is expected at the conclusion of the Ashgabat conference, the Secretary-General has encouraged all UN Member States and other stakeholders to register commitments and partnerships for sustainable transport, through the conference website.

Already, commitments to make transport more sustainable have been registered from governments and private partners from a number of countries, including the United States, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, and Asia and Pacific Ocean countries.

World Science Day for Peace and Development

World Science Day for Peace and DevelopmentScience is highly diverse. Each year, World Science Day for Peace and Development offers an opportunity to demonstrate why science is relevant to people’s daily lives and to engage them in debates on related issues. In 2016, the celebration focuses on science centres and science museums to highlight their important contribution to science communication.

Citizens’ participation in governance is the core of democracy and an indispensable prerequisite for the empowerment of people. Science communication is crucial for public participation and engagement and in this regard, science centres and museums’ role goes beyond providing information on scientific issues. They are places where people can come together and explore the very mysteries that make up our world. They are fostering creativity, increasing scientific literacy, supporting teachers to inspire their students in STEM, improving the quality of science education and promoting learning experiences within a social context, as well as changing possible negative perceptions of the impact of science on society, thus attracting youths to science careers and encouraging them to experiment and expand our collective knowledge.

Proclaimed by the UNESCO General Conference (Resolution 31C/ 20) in 2001, the World Science Day for Peace and Development is an annual event celebrated all over the world to recall the commitment made at the UNESCO-ICSU World Conference on Science (Budapest 1999).

The purpose of World Science Day for Peace and Development is to renew the national, as well as the international commitment to science for peace and development and to stress the responsible use of science for the benefit of society. The World Science Day for Peace and Development also aims at raising public awareness of the importance of science and to bridge the gap between science and societies.

UN Day in Uzbekistan

UN Day 2016On 21 October 2016 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Tashkent, an annual press conference dedicated to the 71st anniversary of the United Nations Organization’s foundation was held with the participation of Representatives of the United Nations agencies present in Uzbekistan.  

Mr. Stefan Priesner, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan, addressed the press with a brief speech on behalf of the United Nations Country Team. It was noted in the speech that the United Nations Day was an opportunity to recognize the role and contribution of the United Nations in the maintenance of peace and security, development, humanitarian affairs and advancement of human rights, as well as to reaffirm countries’ commitment to the UN values and principles.

In response to global challenges and threats, the member-states under the auspices of the UN adopted transformative Agenda 2030 for sustainable development in an effort to reach a just world that is rights-based, equitable and inclusive. 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets constitute the core of the Agenda 2030 and inextricably link three dimensions of sustainable development, namely economic growth, social development and environmental protection. The SDGs are aimed at improving the lives of people everywhere, with specific focus on women, children, youth and future generations. In the speech it was also stressed that the Agenda is designed to ensure advancement of human rights and freedoms without which achieving sustainable development would be impossible.

The results of joint collaboration between the Government of Uzbekistan and the United Nations system within the framework of UNDAF for the period of 2010-2015 were also highlighted at the conference. During this period, solid portfolio of UN programmes and projects at amount of $162 million was implemented to expand employment opportunities and economic security for vulnerable groups, improve the quality of education and healthcare services, ensure sustainable use of natural and cultural resources, enhance access to justice and promote the rule of law and good governance.

In 2016, the UN in Uzbekistan embarked on the implementation of biennial joint work plans under the new UNDAF for 2016-2020 in six thematic areas: livelihoods, social protection, healthcare, education, environment and governance. Jointly designed UNDAF 2016-2020 reflects national priorities and is closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.

During the press conference, efforts of the Government of Uzbekistan to adapt the global SDGs and develop a national programme on sustainable development have been acknowledged. The UN also confirmed its readiness to support the Government of Uzbekistan in this process and its implementation through the UNDAF.

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.