Tag Archives: Sustainable Development Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond economics, there is a human side.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transport also has significant public health impacts.

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

Traffic in cities saps productivity.

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

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

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

Technological advances can get us there.

Let me offer seven ideas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The new sharing economy is opening the way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last year, I took a solar taxi to work.

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

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

Sixth, we need financing.

It takes investments to see results.

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

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

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

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

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

Last month, I received their final report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

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.

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 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.

 

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 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.

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.

 

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.