Category Archives: News

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.

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 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. 

 

On International Day, UN says youth can lead global drive for a more sustainable future

International Youth Day 2016The world’s young people – who make up the largest generation of youth in history – can lead a global drive to break the patterns of the past and set the world on course to a more sustainable future, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said youth, with their creativity and idealism are the key to delivering the goals of the new UN sustainability agenda.

“Young people are directly affected by the tragic contradictions that prevail today: between abject poverty and ostentatious wealth, gnawing hunger and shameful food waste, rich natural resources and polluting industries,” said Mr. Ban in his message on International Youth Day, celebrated annually on 12 August.

He said that youth can deliver solutions on such issues, which lie at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, stressing that in the first year of that15-year plan for a healthier, safer and more just future, the International community is counting on the active engagement of young people to transform the production and consumption of goods and services so they meet the basic needs and aspirations of the world’s poorest people without overburdening already strained ecosystems.

“Young people are traditionally at the cutting edge, and today’s youth have more information than any previous generation. Their dynamism, creativity and idealism can combine to shape attitudes toward demand and help create more sustainable industries,” continued the UN chief, noting that youth are already influencing how the world produces, distributes and consumes while driving green entrepreneurship by designing sustainable products and services.

As conscious consumers, young people are at the forefront of a shift toward more fair, equitable and sustainable buying patterns. Youth are strong and effective advocates of recycling, reusing and limiting waste, and they are leading technological innovations to foster a resource-efficient economy.

“When we invest in youth, they can contribute to new markets, decent jobs, fair trade, sustainable housing, sustainable transport and tourism, and more opportunities that benefit the planet and people,” he said, adding that he was proud that the UN is actively engaged in supporting young leaders who can carry out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 12 on sustainable consumption and production patterns.

“I encourage all young people to become involved in advancing the SDGs and demanding action by their Governments. My Youth Envoy is eager to connect you to our campaigns, which are being carried out across the entire United Nations system,” he said urging others to join this global push for progress, empowering young people with the resources, backing and space they need to create lasting change in our world.

In her message, Irina Bokova, Director General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that young people are powerful agents of positive change, essential to taking forward the 2030 Agenda.

“It is not enough to hope for a better tomorrow – we must act now. Change is under way, and millions of citizens are already transforming the way we produce, consume, behave and communicate,” she said, noting that young people such as #YouthofUNESCO sustainable consumption advocate Lauren Singer, point the way towards a zero-waste lifestyle, fitting all of her refuse produced over the past four years into one small jar.

“This is an inspiration for this year’s celebration – ‘The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption.’ There are countless initiatives like this, all giving shape to a new humanism, to new forms of solidarity and citizenship to combat poverty, marginalization and despair,” she emphasized.

Optimism and confidence do not mean minimizing the challenges ahead. Most young people live today in least developed countries, and shoulder the heaviest burden of conflicts and poverty, stressed Ms. Bokova, adding: “There can be no sustainable development if they remain on the side-lines, and I call upon all Member States and UNESCO partners to support their initiatives, to give them voice, to let them grow, to shape together the future of dignity that we are building today.”

International Youth Day Celebrated in Tashkent

International Youth Day Celebrated in TashkentInternational Youth Day is celebrated with a sport event at the National Water Sports Development Centre in Tashkent. Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) joined hands in organizing the celebration of this annual observance.

The 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 the 2016 International Youth Day is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”. This year’s Day is about achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals recently adopted by the international community. It focuses on the leading role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development through sustainable consumption and production. Sustainable consumption entails the use of products and services that meet the basic needs of communities while safeguarding the needs of future generations.

As part of the celebration of the International Youth Day in Tashkent a swimming competition among the adolescent girls of 11-14 years, followed by a synchronized swimming performance, as well as choreography and performances of creative groups, were organized. One of the exciting moments of the event was the awarding ceremony of winners of swimming competitions among more than 100 participants.

The event is to promote healthy lifestyles among young people. Promoting access to sports, education, healthcare, including reproductive health and family planning services – is  key to sustainable development.

«UNFPA is proud to partner with young people in more than 150 countries and territories around the world to promote their participation and leadership, enabling them to overcome barriers, spearhead innovations and unleash their full potential» – marked Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Under Secretary-General and UNFPA Executive Director, in his Statement for the International Youth Day.

 

The United Nations and the Olimpic truce

The United Nations and the Olimpic truceThe ancient Greek tradition of the ekecheiria, or “Olympic Truce”, was born in the eighth century B.C., serving as a hallowed principle of the Olympic Games. In 1992, the International Olympic Committee renewed this tradition by calling upon all nations to observe the Truce. Through its resolution 48/11 of 25 October 1993, the General Assembly urged Member States to observe the Olympic Truce from the seventh day before the opening to the seventh day following the closing of each Olympic Games. This appeal was renewed in the Millennium Declaration.

The Olympic movement aspires to contribute to a peaceful future for humankind through the educational value of sport. It brings together athletes from all parts of the world in the greatest of international sports events, the Olympic Games, and it aims to promote the maintenance of peace, mutual understanding and goodwill — goals it shares with the United Nations. As an expression of these common objectives, in 1998 the International Olympic Committee decided to fly the United Nations flag at all competition sites of the Olympic Games. The United Nations for its part, is expanding its cooperation with the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic family at large through a number of agreements and partnerships.

UN chief launches first report to track Sustainable Development Goals

Launching the first-ever Sustainable Development Goals report on the new global development agenda adopted last year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that the 15-year undertaking is “off to a good start” but will require all parts of the UN family and its partners to work together. “We have embarked on a monumental and historic journey,” the Secretary-General told the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which opened on 11 July and ends on 20 July, at the UN Headquarters in New York. “We must all learn, in national governments, in local authorities, in business and civil society, and also at the United Nations, to think differently,” he said, also underscoring the need to break down silos, not only between the economic, social and environmental aspects of development, but also between government institutions, between different levels of government and between the public and private sectors. The Forum is the UN’s central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted last September by 193 Member States. With his speech, Mr. Ban launched the first SDG report, which will serve as a benchmark for the 15-year implementation period of the 2030 Agenda. “It provides an accurate evaluation of where the world stands on the 17 Goals, using data currently available to highlight the most significant gaps and challenges,” he said. “We are off to a good start,” he added, calling on the international community to “pledge never to rest until we have achieved a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.” “Ensuring progress in achieving the SDGs will be greatly enhanced by making sure that lessons are shared and best practices are replicated,” he explained, calling on Member States to intensify efforts at follow-up and review through a participatory process, with the full engagement of the business sector and civil society

Launching the first-ever Sustainable Development Goals report on the new global development agenda adopted last year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that the 15-year undertaking is “off to a good start” but will require all parts of the UN family and its partners to work together.

“We have embarked on a monumental and historic journey,” the Secretary-General told the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which opened on 11 July and ends on 20 July, at the UN Headquarters in New York.

“We must all learn, in national governments, in local authorities, in business and civil society, and also at the United Nations, to think differently,” he said, also underscoring the need to break down silos, not only between the economic, social and environmental aspects of development, but also between government institutions, between different levels of government and between the public and private sectors.

The Forum is the UN’s central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted last September by 193 Member States.

With his speech, Mr. Ban launched the first SDG report, which will serve as a benchmark for the 15-year implementation period of the 2030 Agenda.

“It provides an accurate evaluation of where the world stands on the 17 Goals, using data currently available to highlight the most significant gaps and challenges,” he said.

“We are off to a good start,” he added, calling on the international community to “pledge never to rest until we have achieved a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.”

 “Ensuring progress in achieving the SDGs will be greatly enhanced by making sure that lessons are shared and best practices are replicated,” he explained, calling on Member States to intensify efforts at follow-up and review through a participatory process, with the full engagement of the business sector and civil society.