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UN Agenda

UN Agenda (12)

The UN Youth agenda

UN Youth Agenda

Through its three divisions, UN Department of Public Information manages an extensive network that includes its UN Information Centres, NGOs, and academic institutions, which are essential partners in reaching out to a youth audience. In addition, DPI is increasingly using social Media to deliver information to youth about UN events and the work of the UN. Finally, it offers multiple opportunities throughout the year for youth to participate in live interactions with senior UN officials, including the Secretary-General, Messengers of Peace and other youth who are active in searching for solutions to global problems.

  • Key Activities

    • global videoconferences for youth on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (25 March); the International Day of Peace (21 September); and Human Rights Day (10 December);
    • the UN4MUN (http://outreach.un.org/mun/) programme which includes two annual workshops for student organizers of MUN conferences and other support for Model UN simulations around the world;
    • the UN Academic Impact (UNAI) which brings institutions of higher learning into association with the UN and offers a mechanism for them to commit themselves to ten universally accepted principles that underlie the United Nations mandate and ASPIRE, the student-driven initiative that promotes UNAI.

  • Model United Nations

    Model United Nations brings young people togehter from across regions and countries in the Caribbean to meet, dialogue and debate on current global issues, very much like the way it is done every year at the United Nations headquarters in New York or Geneva.

    Model United Nations in the Caribbean are hosted in Barbados, the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago. 

    Learn more about MUN globally and in the Caribbean

     

     

  • Youth and the SG

     un youth envoy head banner enUnited Nations Secretary-General established a programmed called the UN Youth Envoy to formally consult iwith young people across the world about the future that they want and their vision of what the United Nations looks like. Young men and women are encouraged to find out if their country has a youth envoy representative; If not get going today with talking to your leaders about your representation at the UN.

    find out more a the UN Youth Envoy page 

     

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INTERVIEW: Making the 'most impossible job' a possible mission – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

22 December 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s last day in office is 31 December 2016.

That day will be the culmination of a decade of service at the helm of the world body, during which his priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. In addition, he has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the Organization itself.

Mr. Ban began his first term as Secretary-General on 1 January 2007, and was unanimously re-elected by the General Assembly to a second term on 21 June 2011.

In his last remaining days at UN Headquarters, the Secretary-General spoke with UN News on a range of topics, including his service with the world body, the impact that war had on his decision to pursue a career in public service, and his next steps.


Q: UN News: When the first UN Secretary-General, Trygvie Lie welcomed his successor, Dag Hammarskjöld, to the job, he said: “Welcome, Dag Hammarskjöld, to the most impossible job on this earth.” You’ve been in the job now for almost ten years. What are your thoughts on that description?

Ban Ki-moon:

 It has been a great privilege for me to serve this great organization. My motto was that I will make this “most impossible job” into a “possible mission.” I have been trying during the last ten years, devoting all my time, passion and energy. 

But frankly speaking, realistically, I may have to leave many things unfulfilled. We needed to have much more sense of unity, much more global solidarity and compassion, but we have not been able to see this. Without Member States’ full support, it has been quite difficult.

But, at the same time, we achieved very important visions – like the Sustainable Development Goals covering all spectrums of life and the Paris Agreement on climate change – these are two very important, ambitious and far-reaching achievements. At the same time, I have been devoting all my efforts to improving gender empowerment. When I first became Secretary-General, there were just a few women staff at the senior level. But I have been trying to appoint as many capable and committed women to senior positions. I hope my successor, António Guterres, will build upon this.

 


Q: UN News: Looking back at the past decade, what stands out for you as your major accomplishments at the helm of the United Nations?

Ban Ki-moon:

Whatever successes or achievements there may be, they are the outcome of joint efforts – not by me alone. The Secretary-General, however capable or willing, cannot do it alone. No single country or person can do it alone without support. In that regard, I am deeply grateful to our dedicated staff who have been working day and night – in many cases, in very dangerous circumstances. Without their hard work, we would not have achieved the Paris Agreement on climate change, we would not have had the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These are just two very important outcomes of our common work. I hope our staff will continue to build upon these by working together with the Member States


read the full interview with Ban  external link

 

 

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Turn the world UN Blue

UN@70

24 October 2015 will mark seventy years since the official opening of the United Nations. Over the last seven decades the United Nations has grown from a membership of 51 countries to 193, the latest being South Sudan.

One the first ways that the Organisation was engaged in early innovation was its challenge to come up with the concept of peacekeeping which was not envisaged in its original design.  As more and more countries became or sought independence and the right to self governance , there was a growing need for the presence of the United Nations special peacekeeping missions. 

unic keatstreetThe United Nations has been working with each caribbean country before and through the process of becoming independent states.  One of the first offices of the UN to open its doors in the Caribbean was the UNIC in 1962, wth the mandate of outreach to the English speaking caribbean, the next year the Centre included the Dutch speaking states in the region as part of it area of responsibility.

Since then the UN has opened many offices aross the region. 

The Caribbean has its own special relationship with the United Nations. the CARICOM is the only regional body across the globe that is formally recognised. 

The work of the UN in this region includes: 

Climate Change, SIDS, Human Rights, Pecae and Security and Development.

 




Turn The World Blue - Global Campaign

All around the world towns, cities and communities are planning to light up landmarks and other places in blue to wish the United Nations happy birthday and to recognise seventy years of the work of the orgnaisation.

As part of this international event, images and videos of the lighted structures will be part of press and social media outreach, and will be seen by millions of people around the world. Citizens are also asked to get involved and take action by sharing their “choose blue” images using the hashtag #UN70.

Why Participate?

Participating in the Turn the World UN Blue campaign offers the unique opportunity to help unite global citizens, promote the message of peace, development and human rights, and showcase your commitment to the ideals and principles of dignity and prosperity for all.  

 

 

 lightup caribbean

 

Be part of the global event

Join the United Nations in the Caribbean by lighting up our corner of the world. UN Offices in Port of Spain and other cities across the region will also be turning blue on 24 Ocotber 2015.

But that's just the begining

Let's keep it going unitl the end of the year:

You could light up on the day - 24 October, but also light up anytime until the end of 2015.

There are two seasons of lights coming up - Divali and Christmas, both that come with the message of peace and love.

Use these ocassions as well if you want to set up a 70th Anniversary display as a birthday wish to the United Nations.

 

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 Quotes about the UN

 

 

 

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Your Voice

You get to have your say on the UNIC's Youtube Channel

Send us a short video of your opinion on the issues in the Caribbean

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send your contributions via a cloud account like drop box or Google drive.

 

   

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Prime Minister, St. Vincent & Grenadines address to 70th UNGA

Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: In the Christian Bible, the Book of Proverbs suggests that mortal men live for threescore and ten years, a number that fairly accurately reflects the current modal life expectancy of the global population.

Today, we have assembled for the 70tu time in the life of the United Nations, with the legitimate question of whether this imperfect Assembly of mortals has seen its best days, or if, by reason of the strength or our principles and actions, we may endure to overcome tomorrow' s challenges.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines looks forward to the wise and experienced stewardship of President Mogens Lykketoft during this 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. President Lykketofl - who will also celebrate his 70th birthday during his tenure - can confidently stand on the exceptional works performed by His Excellency Sam Kutesa during last year's Session. This year, possibly more than at any point in our modern history, our Assembly is beset by global threats and risks that force us to consider the ways in which our core principles of sovereignty and non-interference can overcome today' s challenges. Borderless menaces like terrorism, economic crises, contagious diseases and climate change heed neither geopolitical boundaries nor governmental jurisdiction.

Further, the calamitous fallout of military adveuturism, economic recklessness or environmental negligence is not confined to discrete national confines. Rather, the chickens often return to roost in far-flung, unexpected and often blameless locales. As such, more than ever, our international relations must be defined by cooperation, collaboration and decisive action. Mr. President, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a small, mountainous archipelago of 32 islands scattered across a shimmering Caribbean sea. But the idyll implicit in our verdant peaks arid crystal waters is now belied by the grave and gathering threat of climate change. Rising and raging seas attack our coastline and infrastructure from beyond our shores, while rains and climate volatility make landslides and deadly flooding a real and increasingly-frequent internal threat to lives and livelihoods.

The intensifying vulnerability of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and its neighboring islands to climate change is clear in the alternating bouts of drought and flooding that have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in loss and damage in my country in successive years. Less than two years ago, devastating flooding washed away 17% of our fragile Gross Domestic Product and claimed 12 lives. Our quest to recover, and to make our people whole again, is a continuing struggle, and one that takes place against a backdrop of hope that we are not soon beset by a similar tragedy. One month ago, Tropical Storm Erika struck our sister island of Dominica, a mere ! 50 miles north of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The death and destruction wrought by the stolan is heart-rending, and selwes as yet another unwanted reminder of the ominous threat of global warming and the precarious nature of our developmental aspirations in the face of an increasingly inhospitable climate. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and other Caribbean countries have joined friendly states in assisting the Commonwealth of Dominica in its hour of need.

I beseech other countries that have not yet supported this noble effort of relief, recovery and reconstruction to do so with the utmost urgency and generosity.

Mr. President, Our existential struggles in the face of climate change inform our posture in the frustratingly meandering negotiations to arrive at a legally-binding agreement within the parameters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We are two months away from a deadline for reaching such an agreement at COP 21 in Paris, but the precariousness of our global plight is not matched by the ambition of our partners. Indeed the posturing and recalcitrance of some major emitters suggest that COP 21 may be yet another empty diplomatic dance that prioritizes process over progress.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is embracing a green future. We are actively engaged in transitioning from fossil fuels to a renewable mix of solar, hydro, and geothermal energy. Within the next three years, 80% of our electricity needs will be provided by renewable energy. If we could control our own climate destiny, and insulate ourselves from the recklessness of other emitters, we would approach the future with greater confidence.

Mr. President, The aftershocks and repercussions of the global economic and financial crisis continue to convulse developing nations. The Crisis cast a shadow on our collective efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and shrouds our newly-adopted Sustainable Development Goals in uncertainty. The measure of our recovery is not the health of corporations or the rate of jobless economic growth, but the ways in which we have reformed our financial 3 architecture, and the reordering of priorities that places people and the alleviation of poverty at the center of our developmental discourse.

Mr. President, The roots of modern poverty and underdevelopment are deep and diverse. But even the most casual student of history will acknowledge the debilitating and continuing impacts of native genocide and the institution of slavery on Caribbean states; they constitute, in the aggregate, an awesome legacy of underdevelopment, an historic bundle of wrongs to be righted. Today I reiterate the united call of the Caribbean Community for reparatory justice fi'om the major participants in, and beneficiaries of, the transatlantic slave trade. Our quest for justice is supported by the 33 members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and numerous progressive nations globally. The fate of our indigenous peoples and the legacies of slavery and colonial exploitation are neither partisan political talking points nor historical afterthoughts. They are an ever-present modern reality, whose redress remains a noise in our blood and an echo in our bones. These issues must form part of the Post 2015 development conversation; and as part, too, of our combined efforts to uplift the Decade for Peoples of African Descent.

Mr. President, It pains me that I must yet again speak, and demand appropriate redress, on the subject of retroactive stripping of citizenship of persons of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic, and their forcible deportations to Haiti, a country to which many of these victims have only a vague ancestral connection. We in the Caribbean Community are pledged to work with our Caribbean family in the Dominican Republic to assist in ending this tragedy at the heart of our Caribbean civilization, but the authorities in the Dominican Republic must demonstrate a good faith not merely in words but in deeds. We in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines cannot remain silent or indifferent in the face of this gross violation of human rights. This is not a migration issue of the type that is currently engulfing the European Union. At its core, this is an international human rights issue of the gravest kind upon which United Nations must pronounce unambiguously.

Mr. President, Seventy years ago, this United Nations was founded with a central goal of "saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war" - the very first principle enunciated in our Charter. Today, wars and the rumours of wars continue to bring untold sorrow to mankind. Too often, these wars are the product of great power arrogance and decisions based not in fact, but on wishful ideological impulses. The results of these actions and inactions almost invariably exacerbate underlying conflicts and produce unwanted global repercussions. International terrorism threatens us all, and requires concerted international cooperation. Anti-terrorist intervention must not be shaped by which side of a border the terrorist armies happen to encamp or one's ideological affinity for the governments most threatened by these barbaric hordes.

Mr. President, Diplomacy ought to be most active in averting conflict and diffusing disagreements. Within the zone of peace that encompasses Latin America and the Caribbean, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is concerned with the sharpening of rhetoric between our longtime friends and allies in Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Their border dispute, which dates back to the 19th century, has long been constrained by the ties of brotherhood, solidarity and international cooperation. Accordingly, we call for renewed and reinvigorated diplomatic engagement in the management and ultimate resolution of this vexing issue.

Mr. President, The maintenance and restoration of international peace and security has been the responsibility of the UN Security Council for the last 70 years. The Security Council, more than any other body delineated in our Charter, is unmistakably in a period of doddering dotage, unable to act with the nimbleness or decisiveness necessary to meet modern challenges. The necessity of reform and rebirth, which is acute in any institution entering its eighth decade, is particularly pressing in the case of the Security Council. For too long, reform efforts have fallen victim to the geopolitical ambitions of entrenched Council members and the regional rivalries of legitimate aspirants. This must end. Similarly, the important and indispensable work ofUN peacekeepers around the world must be above reproach. The United Nations must claim responsibility not only for their successes but their occasional grave failures. Our collective sanctimony rings hollow when the United Nations shirks its undeniable responsibility for spreading cholera in Haiti, to the tune of 9,400 deaths and over 400,000 hospitalised. Legal loopholes cannot mask moral responsibility in this case. Nor can we condemn sexual violence as a war crime while shrugging off the unacceptable actions of some UN Peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. Our Assembly has a responsibility to be open and transparent, to meet these sporadic failings head on, and to offer redress to all victims of peacekeeper negligence or aggression.

Mr. President, On Wednesday, I will stand a few meters away from where I am speaking today to witness the raising of the flag of the State of Palestine alongside other states' flags on the UN compound. The overwhelming decision to fly the Palestinian flag here at the UN is an unmistakable endorsement of a true two-state solution with a viable and safe Palestine living alongside its neighbours in a secure Israel. But the symbolic nature of next week's ceremony is no substitute for continued action to make that two-state solution a reality. With each passing day, realities on the ground make such a solution increasingly difficult. Though the conflict between the states of Israel and Palestine are undeniably complex, they are not beyond the capacity of the parties and the international community to resolve.  The Assembly's unambiguous position on Palestine is reminiscent of our longstanding and overwhelming opposition to the United States' commercial and economic embargo against the people of the Republic of Cuba. The embargo has persisted for 55 of the 70 years that the United Nations has been in existence, and its toll is measured in billions of dollars, hundreds of lives, and countless developmental opportunities lost. This year, Presidents Obama and Castro have demonstrated laudable courage in working together to move past years of enmity and mutual mistrust. But the welcome ddtente between the two countries has not yet led to a lifting of the embargo. There is much more to be done to unshackle the Cuban people from the chains of an unjust, illegal and plainly outmoded blockade. Our collective pressure, so critical to the belated rapprochement, cannot waver. Instead, we must intensify our calls for the complete lifting of this anachronism, and to make whole this rupture in our hemispheric family.

Mr. President, This 70th year of the United Nations must therefore be a year of not only action, but inclusion, outreach and redress of calcified injustices. As such, we must move beyond our inexplicable exclusion of Taiwan from the work of the specialized agencies of the United Nations. The perspective, experience and example of Taiwan as an active and responsible global citizen are self-evident arguments in support of their gq'eater inclusion and participation. Taiwan's continued exclusion can neither be explained nor justified by any rational and forward-looking global gathering. Mr. President, In this our 70th year, let us pledge ourselves to liberate our nations and our global family from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation and warfare; to emancipate ourselves from the mental slavery of discrimination and learned helplessness; to unshackle our policies from the narrow nationalism, and imperialist ambition, that constrains the limitless possibilities of the human spirit.

As nations and peoples we have choices.  Today, as we look toward a complex mid uncertain future, let us instead chose love. Love of our fellow human beings, love of our planet, and an abiding love, not of problems, but of their practical solutions. For with love, faith and works, and hope, all things are possible; including a further 70 years, for the better, of this remarkably important global gathering.

I thank you.

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President of Guyana, address to 70th GA

Mr. President, The United Nations - established seventy years ago and a mere five months after the formal end to the Second World War - became the midwife of a new international order. The new order of world peace was depicted symbolically and powerflally in the form of a bronze statue located on the grounds of this, the Headquarters of the United Nations. R embodies the vision revealed in Isaiah 2:4 of the Holy Bible:

..And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off," and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

This prophetic verse became the philosophical basis of the United Nations. The U.N. became the organizational foundation for a global order which saw the emergence of a plethora of newly-independent states, resulting from the decolonization process after the end of the Second World War. One hundred and twenty six states have gained their independence in the years following the establishment of the United Nations. The United Nations began in 1945 with a membership of fifty one countries but today it has almost quadrupled to one hundred and ninety three states. The majority of new states are mini-, micro- and small states. The undemocratic and warlike empires of which they had been colonies were dismantled after two World Wars.

The questions which small states ask of the United Nations at its 70th anniversary are:

  • How will our peoples be protected from foreign aggression?
  • How wiil our territories be safeguarded from invasion?
  • How will peace among nations be preserved?
  • How will the independence of the new small states be sustained?

The Charter of the United Nations enjoins this organization with the responsibility to:

"...to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes".

This responsibility is essential to the existence and survival of small states that are threatened by powerful states. Small states risk being subjugated unless the international community can demonstrate the capability and commitment to provide an effective deterrent against domination by larger, stronger states. Mr. President, The United Nations General Assembly, on May 9th 1994, in its 49th Session approved a Resolution (A/RES/49/31) which (inter alia):

2. Recognizes that small states may be particularly vulnerable to external threats and acts of interference in their internal affairs;  

3. Stresses the vital importance for all States of the unconditional respect by all States of all the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, including the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and the peaceful settlement of disputes and their consistent application;

4. Stresses also the importance of strengthening the regional security arrangements by increasing interacÿon, cooperation and consultation;

5. Appeals to the relevant regional and international organizations to provide assistance when requested by small States for the strengthening of their security in accordance with the principles of the Charter;

6. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to pay special attention to monitoring the security situation of small States and to consider making use of Article 99 of the Charter;

7. Calls upon the Security Council and other relevant organs of the United Nations to pay special attention to the protection and security of small States...

 

Mr. President, Guyana is a small state. Guyana is a new state - a product of the post-World War II promise of peace. Guyana is a child of the United Nations. Guyana will, eight months from now, on May 26, 2o16, mark the 5Oth anniversary of its independence. For fifty years, our small country has been prevented from fully exploiting our rich natural resources. Venezuela has threatened and deterred investors and frustrated our economic development For fifty years our territorial integrity has been violated by Venezuela which has occupied a part of our territory, the most recent incident being on the loth October, 2o13 when it sent a naval corvette into our maritime zone and 4 expelled a peaceful, petroleum exploration vessel which was conducting seismic surveys.

For fifty years Venezuela has promulgated spurious decrees claiming our territory, the most recent being on May 26th, 2015, our independence anniversary, when it issued Decree No. 1.787 with specified coordinates purporting to annex almost our entire maritime zone. That decree constituted a reassertion of its claim to five of Guyana's ten regions. Guyana rejects the threats and claims by Venezuela which are in defiance of international law. Guyana resists Venezuela's acts of aggression in defiance of the Charter of the United Nations which prescribes the peaeefu! settlement of disputes and proscribes the use of armed force.

Mr. President, Guyana's border with Venezuela was settled 116 years ago. The whole world, except the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, accepts our borders. Guyana, at the 23rd Session of this Assembly in 1968, explained to the world how, in 1897, a Treaty of Arbitration was signed between the United Kingdom and Venezuela. That treaty provided for the establishment of an arbitral tribunal "to determine the boundary-line between the Colony of British Guiana" and Venezuela. That treaty committed the parties "to consider the result of the proceeds of the Tribunal of Arbitration as a full, perfect, and final settlement of all the questions referred to the Arbitrators." The tribunal issued its award on the 3rd of October, 1899, giving Venezuela 13,ooo square kilometers of our territory, an area bigger than Jamaica or Lebanon. Venezuela was bound under international law to respect that award, which it did for the subsequent six decades. 5 Venezuela, however, at the onset of Gnyana's independence resorted to various stratagems to deprive Guyana of its territory.

There has been a series of acts of aggression by Presidents of Venezuela against my country - from the time of President RaN Leoni Otero's Decree No. 1.152 of 15th June 1968 to the time of President Nico!fis Maduro Moro's decree of May 26th 2o15. Venezuela -- more than four times the size of Guyana with armed forces that are more than forty times the size of Guyana's Defense Force -- mindful of its superior wealth and military strength, and unmindful of its obligation as a member state of the United Nations, of the Union of South American Nations and of the Organization of American States, has pursued a path of intimidation and aggression. Venezuela is unsettling a settled border. It is destabilizing a stable region of the globe by the use of armed force against a peaceful, small state. Venezuela has retarded Guyana's development by threats that are intended to force a small state to yield its birthright. Venezuela's expansionist ambitions cannot be allowed to unsettle the principle of inviolability of borders, undermine the tenets of international law and unravel borders which have been undisturbed for decades.

Mr. President,

  • Guyana recommits to preserving the Caribbean as a zone of peace.
  • Guyana renews its pledge before this august General Assembly that it will pursue the path of peace for all time.
  • Guyana reaffirms its commitment to the peaceful settlement of international disputes.
  • Guyana reposes total confidence in international law.
  • Guyana seeks a resolution of this controversy that is consistent with the Charter of the United Nations.

Mr. President, The Geneva Agreement of 1966 signed between the governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Venezuela and British Guiana on February 17, 1966 provides for the Secretary General to take action to bring a resolution to the contention occasioned by the claim made by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that the Arbitral Award of 1899 is null and void. Mr. President, Guyana has the fullest confidence in the judgment and capacity of the United Nations, through the Office of the Secretary General to identify solutions that will validate the 'just, perfect and final' nature of the award.

We thank the United Nations and the Secretary General for appointing various Good Officers to help to resolve this controversy over the past twenty-five years. We feel that this process has now been exhausted.

Guyana does not wish that this obnoxious territorial claim should obscure the prospects of peace and obstruct the possibility of growth for the next fifty years. We need a permanent solution in order to avoid the fate of perpetual peril and penury.

Guyana seeks a juridical settlement to this controversy.

Guyana reposes its faith and places its fate in the international system of peace that was promised by the Charter of the United Nations seventy years ago. We want to bring an end to Venezuelan aggression. We want to develop our country, all of our country, in accordance with international law.

Guyana calls upon the United Nations to give real meaning to Resolution A/RES/49/31 of May 9th 1994 by establishing a eolleetive security system not merely to "monitor' but, more so, 'maintain' the security of small states. The United Nations remains our best hope. The United Nations is our best prospect of peace. The United Nations is our best assurance of security for a small state. The United Nations is our strength, support and sueeour in our time of danger. We pledge Guyana's adherence to the Charter of the United Nations.

Mr. President, Guyana seeks nothing more than the solidarity of this international community, the assurance of the Charter and the safety of international law.

Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen for your attention.

 

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Ban Ki-Moon's speech at the opening of the General Assembly debate 2015

The 70th session of the General Assembly has opened with a towering achievement: the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, including 17 inspiring Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs. Our aim is clear. Our mission is possible. And our destination is in our sights: an end to extreme poverty by 2030; a life of peace and dignity for all.

What counts now is translating promises on paper into change on the ground. We owe this and much more to the vulnerable, the oppressed, the displaced and the forgotten people in our world.

We owe this to a world where inequality is growing, trust is fading, and impatience with leadership can be seen and felt far and wide. We owe this to “succeeding generations”, in the memorable words the Charter. In this year in which we mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, we must heed the call of the Charter, and hear the voices of “we the peoples”. That is how we can overcome the grim realities of the present -- and seize the remarkable opportunities of our era.

The Millennium Development Goals made poverty history for hundreds of millions of people. Now we are poised to continue the job while reaching higher, broader and deeper. The new framework does not just add goals. It weaves the goals together, with human rights, the rule of law and women’s empowerment as crucial parts of an integrated whole. The global goals are universal. You, the world’s leaders, have committed to leave no one behind -- and to reach those farthest behind, first.

We can build on the momentum this December in Paris with a robust agreement on climate change. Remarkable changes are under way to reduce harmful greenhouse emissions. I have seen and visited vast solar power installations bringing a new energy future into being. There is wind in the sails of climate action. Yet it is clear that the national targets submitted by the member states will not be enough.

We face a choice: either raise ambition -- or risk raising temperatures above the 2-degree Celsius threshold, which science tells us we must not cross. Reaching our sustainable development goals means organizing ourselves better. Let there be no more walls or boxes; no more ministries or agencies working at crosspurposes. Let us move from silos to synergy, supported by data, long-term planning and a will to do things differently.

Financing will be a key test. I welcome the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the renewed pledge by developed countries to invest 0.7 per cent of gross national income in official development assistance. Aid works -- but few countries have met this target. I salute those that have, and urge others to follow their example. Climate finance will be crucial. I urge developed countries to meet the agreed goal of $100 billion per year by 2020. We must also get the Green Climate Fund up and running.

The world continues to squander trillions in wasteful military spending. Why is it easier to find the money to destroy people and planet than it is to protect them?

Succeeding generations depend on us to finally get our priorities right. Suffering today is at heights not seen in a generation. One hundred million people require immediate humanitarian assistance. At least 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes or their countries. The United Nations has asked for nearly $20 billion to meet this year’s needs – six times the level of a decade ago. UN humanitarian agencies and our partners are braving difficult conditions to reach people. Member States have been generous, but demands continue to dwarf funding. The World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 in Istanbul is a critical moment to reaffirm solidarity and explore how to better build resilience and address emergencies.

 But the global humanitarian system is not broken; it is broke. We are not receiving enough money to save enough lives. We have about half of what we need to help the people of Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen – and just a third for Syria. Our response plan for Ukraine is just 39 per cent funded. And the appeal for Gambia, where one in four children suffers from stunting, has been met with silence. Numbers this low raise suffering to new highs. People need emergency assistance, but what they want even more is lasting solutions. They may appreciate a tent, but they deserve to go home. Our aim is not just to keep people alive, but to give them a life -- a decent life. Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are generously hosting several million Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Countries across the developing world continue to host and receive large numbers of refugees despite their own limited means.

People are on the move as never before, in the Americas and the Sahel, in the Mediterranean and Andaman Seas. These flows raise complex issues, and rouse strong passions. Certain touchstones must guide our response: international law, human rights, basic compassion. All countries need to do more to shoulder their responsibilities. I commend those in Europe that are upholding the Union’s values and providing asylum. At the same time, I urge Europe to do more. After the Second World War, it was Europeans seeking the world’s assistance. I will convene a high-level meeting on September 30, the day after tomorrow, aimed at promoting a comprehensive approach to the refugee and migration crisis. We must crack down on traffickers and address the pressures being faced by countries of destination. - 4 - We must combat discrimination. In the 21st century, we should not be building fences or walls. But above all, we must look at root causes in countries of origin.

Syrians are leaving their country and their homes because of oppression, extremism, destruction and fear. Four years of diplomatic paralysis by the Security Council and others have allowed the crisis to spin out of control. The responsibility for ending the conflict lies first and foremost with the Syrian warring parties. They are the ones turning their country to ruins. But it is not enough to look only within Syria for a solution. The battle is also being driven by regional powers and rivalries. Weapons and money flowing into the country are fuelling the fire.

My Special Envoy is doing everything he can to forge the basis for a peaceful settlement. It is time now for others, primarily the Security Council and key regional actors, to step forward. Five countries in particular hold the key: the Russian Federation, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. But as long as one side will not compromise with the other, it is futile to expect change on the ground. Innocent Syrians pay the price of more barrel bombs and terrorism. There must be no impunity for atrocious crimes. Our commitment to justice should lead us to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court. In Yemen, 21 million people -- 80 per cent of the population -- need humanitarian assistance. All sides are showing disregard for human life – but most of the casualties are being caused by air-strikes.

I call for an end to the bombings, which are also destroying Yemeni cities, infrastructure and heritage. Here, too, the proxy battles of others are driving the fighting. I once again urge the parties to return to the table, negotiate in good faith and resolve this crisis through dialogue facilitated by my Special Envoy. Let me be clear: There is no military solution to this conflict. We must also guard against the dangerous drift in the Middle East Peace Process. With settlements expanding and incitement and provocations on the rise, it is essential for Israelis and Palestinians to re-engage – and for the international community to pressure the parties to do so. The world can no longer wait for leaders to finally choose a path to peace. Da’esh, Boko Haram and Al-Shabab remain major threats, especially to the women and girls who have been systematically targeted. The world must unite against the blatant brutality of these groups. We must also counter the exclusion and hopelessness on which extremists feed. Moreover, States must never violate human rights in the fight against terror; such abuses only perpetuate the cycle.

Early next year, I will present to the General Assembly a comprehensive plan of action on how to counter violent extremism and terrorism. I commend the landmark nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1 countries. Dialogue and patient diplomacy have paid dividends. I hope this spirit of solidarity among the Permanent Members of the Security Council can be demonstrated in other conflict areas, such as Syria, Yemen and Ukraine. Let us build on the recent agreements in South Sudan, finalize the agreement in Libya, and spare those countries further suffering.

Now is the time for renewed dialogue to address continuing tension on the Korean peninsula. I call on the parties to refrain from taking any action that may increase mistrust, and urge them to instead promote reconciliation and efforts towards a peaceful, de-nuclearized peninsula. I am ready to support inter-Korean cooperation. We also need to step up our work for the well-being of the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. I am deeply troubled by growing restrictions on media freedoms and civil society across the world.

It is not a crime for journalists, human rights defenders and others to exercise their basic rights. We must preserve the space for civil society and the press to do their vital work without fear of attack and imprisonment. Democratic backsliding is a threat in too many places, as leaders seek to stay in office beyond their mandated limits. We see rallies and petitions being engineered to look like the spontaneous will of the people. Those manufactured groundswells of support only lay the groundwork for instability.

I urge leaders to abide by the constitutional limits on their terms. Collectively, these crises have stretched to the limits our vital tools for conflict resolution and humanitarian response. Earlier this month, I put forward my vision for strengthening UN peace operations, building on the recommendations of an independent panel.

Our peacekeeping and political missions need enhanced capabilities and clear objectives. We need a renewed commitment to prevention, stronger regional partnerships, and sustained engagement on peacebuilding. And we must unlock the potential of women to advance peace, as envisaged in Security Council resolution 1325. I hope the General Assembly will take early action as a signal of its commitment to this effort. People today, and succeeding generations, need us to make the most of this rare opportunity for comprehensive progress.

Founded in a fractured world, the United Nations brought hope that collective action could avoid another global catastrophe. Over the past 70 years, we have helped to liberate millions of people from colonialism and supported the successful struggle against apartheid. We have defeated deadly diseases, defended human rights and deepened the rule of law. This and more we have done – but that is far from enough. We are living through a time of severe test -- but also one of great opportunity.

Today, we are more connected than ever, better informed than ever, and have better tools than ever. The recipes for positive change are on the table; the ingredients for success are in our hands. We continue to reform the United Nations -- although we know we must do much more, both managerially and politically. We can draw strength from the empowerment of women -- but we still need to step it up for gender equality on the way to Planet 50/50.

I am inspired by the world’s young people, who make up half the world’s population -- and whose voices we must integrate more fully in decision-making everywhere. And I am impressed with the way we, all of us, can unite behind vital causes -- like the 2030 Development Agenda. One year ago, when we gathered for the general debate, the Ebola crisis in West Africa was claiming lives daily. Families were being devastated. Fear was rife. Forecasts suggested frightening losses in the months ahead.

 Today, thanks to collective action by communities and their governments and others all around the world, cases of Ebola have declined dramatically. The outbreak is not over, and we must remain vigilant. But the response is working, with lessons pointing to a safer future for all. When we stand together, there is no limit to what we can achieve. Three days ago, young people from many nations stood together in the balcony of this Hall. They asked for one thing above all: change.

There is nothing we can say to the world’s children that can convince them the world needs to be the way it is. That means we must do everything we can to close the gap between the world as it is, and the world as it should be. That is the mission of the United Nations. Let’s work together to make this world better for all, where everybody can live with dignity and prosperity.

I thank you for your leadership.

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Live feed from the General Assembly Debate 2015

Live feed from the 70th General Assembly debate of the United Nations

 

{module UN GA live feed 2015}

 

 Also see this video: in Spanish (en español) 

 

   

 

 

List of Caribbean Speakers ( by Date)

 Tuesday 29 September

 

Thursday 01 October
  • haiti flag    Haiti ( AM) 

  • antigua and barbuda flag    Antigua and Barbuda (PM)
   

Friday 02 October

  • grenada flag    Grenada (AM)

  • barbados flag    Barbados (AM)

  • saint kitts and nevis flag    Saint Kitts and Nevis (AM)

  • trinidad and tobago flag     Trinidad and Tobago (AM)


  • jamaica flag     Jamaica (PM)

Saturday 03 October

 

  • dominica flag      Dominica (AM)

  • saint lucia flag     Saint Lucia (AM)
   

 Videos

{module Videos of Caribbean Speakers at the 70th GA} 

 

 

for full details on the list of speakers and their times go to  General Debate: 28 September - 3 October 2015  homepge

 

 

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Special Rapporteurs conduct a joint study visit to the Caribbean

OASandUNrapporteurs lgPress Release Trinidad/Geneva (28 April 2015) -  Rashida Manjoo, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, as well as Commissioner Tracy Robinson, in her capacity as Rapporteur on the Rights of Women of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, jointly conducted a study visit to four English-speaking Caribbean countries between 15 and 28 April 2015. This joint activity took place in the broader context of the cooperation and partnership between the international and regional systems of protection of human rights.

During their study visit, the Rapporteurs visited  Jamaica[1], Barbados, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Rapporteurs express their gratitude to the governments of these countries for their openness to this visit and their facilitation of meetings. Dialogue with both State and non-state actors focused on priority issues concerning violence against women and girls and the prevention and response to this human rights violation. Meetings were held with Parliamentarians, representatives from Government Ministries, law enforcement entities, Family Courts’ magistrates and staff, other magistrates and judges, indigenous community members, rural communities, university students and faculty, school children and teachers, service providers, civil society organizations and relevant United Nations entities.

(UNIC photo: [right] Rashida Manjoo, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, as well as [left] Inter American Commission Commissioner Tracy Robinson at a press briefing  - UN House in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago )

The Rapporteurs note that many interlocutors described violence against women and girls as normalized, widespread and of pandemic proportions, and underreported. Some of the manifestations referred to within the home, community, workplace and in state institutions included psychological, physical, sexual, economic and institutional violence. Human rights issues affecting lesbian, bisexual and trans women were referred to continuously in meetings, including practices described as “corrective” violence. The issue of a rise in the prevalence of gender-related killings, as the ultimate act in a continuum of violence, was also highlighted in some contexts.

The issue of sexual violence against girls was raised in all four countries as a widespread concern. For example in one country the Rapporteurs were notified by a government entity that 97 percent of all reported cases of child victims of sexual violence were girls. Interviewees stated that in many instances private resolution of these cases was undertaken between the perpetrator and the victim’s family. Mention was also made of the disproportionate use of detention in the case of girls in need of protection, many of whom are victims of violence, for “wandering” or for being “uncontrollable”. The Rapporteurs also received information from both state officials and civil society that in some countries girls are incarcerated in adult facilities due to the lack of specific facilities for juveniles, which exposes them to the risk of institutional violence.

The normative framework and standards are articulated in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Declaration on the Elimination

of Violence against Women and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (“Convention of Belém do Pará”). States have a duty to respond to all forms of violence against women and girls with due diligence in the protection, prevention, investigation, prosecution, punishment and provision of effective remedies, including reparations. The duty to respond to and prevent violence involves a set of measures including legislation, policies, programs, and services, which should be responsive to the needs of the women and girls. The response of the State should consider the varying needs of different groups of women due to factors such as the history of discrimination and inequality, age, race, ethnic background, disabilities, sexual orientation and gender identity, among others.

 The Rapporteurs acknowledge the efforts undertaken by the Governments to adopt and reform existing legislation concerning domestic violence and sexual offenses, to develop national gender policies, to create bureaus in charge of gender issues, and to provide a number of programs and services for victims of violence against women. Development of training programs, protocols and new institutions, particularly in the policing sector, were also noted. Comparatively less attention has been given to the issue of sexual harassment in various contexts. The Rapporteurs were also informed about the technical assistance being provided by UN agencies working in the Region, including in the implementation of awareness-raising campaigns, and also their support to the governments in processes concerning legal reform, the development of protocols and national action plans, and training initiatives, among others.

 The Rapporteurs were also informed that crimes against women and girls were often met with a lack of accountability and effective remedies, and practices that revictimized those who made complaints. They were told, for example, that some in positions of authority minimized sexual violence and described it as “just a little sex’’ and those interviewed indicated serious problems with the practice of “confrontations” between the victims and the alleged aggressors during police investigations. The limitations of existing laws as well as the narrow interpretation and the lack of implementation of laws, policies and protocols were also noted as challenges. Regarding protection orders, in theory they should be speedy, effective and accessible but in practice they were referred to as just ‘pieces of paper’, which did not provide a holistic or effective response based on the needs of the victim.

 Both State and non-State actors voiced concern over the inadequate understanding of a gendered response to violence against women and girls, which in all four countries reflected a focus on men and boys, with violence against women being treated as a secondary issue. Numerous interventions highlighted the struggle of civil society to maintain the focus on violence against women and girls, despite the evidence of its pervasiveness, and the lack of adequate support and partnership in provision of services including safe houses. The numerous challenges identified require that in order to provide an effective response to violence against women and girls, there needs to be: more resources allocated; ongoing monitoring and evaluation of policies and training programmes; proper data collection; and implementation of appropriate complaints mechanisms to strengthen accountability.

 In conclusion, the Rapporteurs would like to reiterate that a holistic approach to responding to and preventing violence against women and girls requires addressing individual, institutional and structural violence which disproportionately affects women and girls. Violence against women is a human rights violation, which precludes the realization of all other human rights and is a barrier to the effective exercise of citizenship rights.

 

 [1] As a Jamaican national, Commissioner Robinson did not participate in the Jamaica leg of the Study Visit. An attorney from the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Commission participated in the Jamaica leg of the Study Visit.

 

Ms. Rashida Manjoo (South Africa) was appointed Special Rapporteur on Violence against women, its causes and consequences in June 2009 by the UN Human Rights Council. As Special Rapporteur, she is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. Ms. Manjoo is a Professor in the Department of Public Law of the University of Cape Town. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/SRWomen/Pages/SRWomenIndex.aspx

 

Tracy Robinson is a citizen of Jamaica. She was elected at the 41st OAS General Assembly in June 2011 for the standard four-year term, which began on January 1, 2012 and ends on December 31, 2015. She is the Rapporteur for the Rights of Women and the Rapporteur for the Rights of LGBTI Persons on the Commission. She held the post of Chair of the Commission from March 2014 to March 2015. She is also a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

 

 

Download the official Press Release  below:

 

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