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Remarks at launch of International Decade for Water Action 2018-2028

I am pleased to be with you on World Water Day to launch the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development.

I commend President Rahmon of Tajikstan for spearheading this effort at the General Assembly. 

I recall my trip to Tajikistan last year, when I had the opportunity to see the impact of receding glaciers in the Pamir mountains.

During my visit, I also had the chance to attend the forum on the Sustainable Development Goals.

And it is clear these 17 global Goals are inter-related, interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

Safe water and adequate sanitation for all – the object of Sustainable Development Goal 6 -- are indispensable to achieve many other goals. 

Safe water and adequate sanitation underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and healthy ecosystems. 

They contribute to social well-being, inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods.

But, growing demands for water, coupled with poor water management, have increased water stress in many parts of the world.

Climate change is adding to the pressure – and it is running faster than we are.

With demand for freshwater projected to grow by more than 40 per cent by the middle of the century, and with climate change having a growing impact, water scarcity is an enormous concern.

By 2050 at least one in four people will live in a country where the lack of fresh water will be chronic or recurrent. 

Without effective management of our water resources, we risk intensified disputes between communities and sectors and even increased tensions among nations.

So far, water has historically proven to be a catalyst for cooperation not for conflict.

From my own experience, the Albufeira Convention, agreed during my time as Prime Minister of Portugal, continues to promote good relations on water management between Spain and Portugal. 

And, there are many more examples of cooperation on water – between India and Pakistan, Bolivia and Peru, and several others.

But we cannot take peace – or our precious and fragile water resources -- for granted.  

Quite simply, water is a matter of life and death.

Our bodies are 60 per cent water.

Our cities, our industries and our agriculture all depend on it.

Yet, today, 40 per cent of the world’s people are affected by water scarcity; 80 per cent of wastewater is discharged untreated into the environment, and more than 90 per cent of disasters are water-related. 

More than 2 billion people lack access to safe water, and more than 4.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation services. 

What these numbers mean is a harsh daily reality for people in rural communities and urban slums in all regions of the world.

Many of the most serious diseases in the developing world are directly related to unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, and insufficient hygiene practices.   

Today, I am using the launch of the Water Action Decade to make a global call to action for water, sanitation and hygiene – or WASH -- in allhealth care facilities. 

A recent survey of 100,000 facilities found that more than half lack simple necessities, such as running water and soap - and they are supposed to be healthcare facilities.

The result is more infections, prolonged hospital stays and sometimes death.

We must work to prevent the spread of disease. Improved water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities is critical to this effort.

Ladies and gentlemen,We cannot continue to take water for granted and expect to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.Solutions exist and new technologies are in the pipeline to improve how we manage water for nations, communities and households. But often these solutions are inaccessible for those who need them most, perpetuating inequity within and among countries. 

As with most development challenges, women and girls suffer disproportionately. For example, women and girls in low-income countries spend some 40 billion hours a year collecting water.That is equivalent to the annual effort of the entire workforce of a country like France. The time spent could be much better invested in earning a livelihood or – in the case of girls – attending school. It is time to change how we value and manage water. 

Last week, the High-Level Panel on Water delivered its outcome report, “Making every drop count: An agenda for water action”.Their work is deep, serious and inspiring for us all. 

The United Nations stands ready to help countries to implement the Panel’s recommendations, including by promoting policy dialogue, exchanging best practices, raising awareness and forging partnerships.  Member States have also asked me to prepare an Action Plan for the Water Decade, with the support of UN-Water – which I am determined to strengthen. 

My plan sets forth three core objectives.  

First, to transform our silo-based approach to water supply, sanitation, water management and disaster risk reduction to better tackle water stress, combat climate change and enhance resilience.

Second, to align existing water and sanitation programmes and projects with the 2030 Agenda. 

Third, to generate the political will for strengthened cooperation and partnerships.

I look forward to implementing this plan.The growing water crisis should be much higher on the world’s radar.   

Let us work collectively towards a more sustainable world, and an action-packed Decade of “Water for Sustainable Development”.

Thank you.

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Climate change “is still moving much faster than we are,” UN Chief warns

Climate change “is still moving much faster than we are,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Thursday, calling for the political will, innovation and financing to cut global emissions by at least 25 per cent over the next two years.

“Scientists are now worried that unless accelerated action is taken by 2020, the Paris goal may become unattainable,” the UN chief told reporters at the world body’s New York Headquarters.
The Paris Agreement on climate change, adopted by world leaders in December 2015, aims to keep global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursues efforts to limit the temperature increase even further, to 1.5 degrees.
“I am beginning to wonder how many more alarm bells must go off before the world rises to the challenge,” Mr. Guterres said, noting that 2017 had been filled with climate chaos and 2018 has already brought more of the same.
“Climate change is still moving much faster than we are,” he warned, calling the phenomenon the greatest threat facing humankind. 
Recent information from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the World Bank and the International Energy Agency shows the relentless pace of climate change.
For instance, the UN chief said, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 per cent, to a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes.
Moreover, weather-related disasters caused some $320 billion in economic damage, making 2017 the costliest year ever for such losses.
In social as well as economic terms, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was devastating, washing away decades of development in an instant.
In South Asia, major monsoon floods affected 41 million people.
In Africa, severe drought drove nearly 900,000 people from their homes.
Wildfires caused destruction across the world. Arctic sea ice cover in winter is at its lowest level, and the oceans are warmer and more acidic than at any time in recorded history.
“This tsunami of data should create a storm of concern,” Mr. Guterres said, noting that next year he will convene a climate summit in New York aimed at boosting global ambition to meet the level of the climate challenge.
“The Stone Age did not end because the world ran out of stones. It ended because there were better alternatives. The same applies today to fossil fuels,” he said, stressing the need for a further cut in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 25 per cent by 2020.

 

Read the full story at UN News: https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/03/1006271

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Managing migration is one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation in our time

(New York, 11 January 2018)   “Migration is an expanding global reality” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres maintains in his report released today. “The time for debating the need for cooperation in this field is past”, and “managing it is one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation of our time.”

Making Migration Work for All, the report released to the UN General Assembly on 11 January 2018, is the Secretary-General’s contribution to the process of developing a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The report offers the Secretary-General’s vision for constructive international cooperation, examining how to better manage migration, for the benefit of all – the migrants themselves, their host communities and their societies of origin.

The Secretary-General emphasizes that “migration is an engine of economic growth, innovation and sustainable development”. The reports highlights that there is a clear body of evidence that, despite real challenges, migration is beneficial both for migrants and host communities, in economic and social terms. The Global Compact will provide Member States the opportunity to maximize those benefits and better address migration challenges.

The report points to an estimated 258 million international migrants, or 3.4% of the world’s population, with levels expected to increase. While the majority of migrants move between countries in a safe, orderly and regular manner, a significant minority of migrants face life-threatening conditions. The report notes that around 6 million migrants are trapped in forced labour, and that recent large-scale movements of migrants and refugees, in regions including the Sahel and South-east Asia, have created major humanitarian crises.

The report calls for the Global Compact to include a special strategy to address this. The report underscores the economic benefits of migration. Migrants spend 85% of their earnings in their host communities and send the remaining 15% to their countries of origin. In 2017 alone, migrants sent home approximately $600 billion in remittances, which is three times all official development assistance. Women, who make up 48% of all migrants, send home a higher percentage of their earnings than men, yet they face more restrictive labour policies and employment customs than men, thus restricting their economic income and social contribution.

Member States are urged “to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” as a central element of the Global Compact. The Secretary-General encourages governments to work together to establish a productive and humane global migration system which would enhance, rather than detract from sovereignty. If governments open more legal pathways for migration, based on realistic analyses of labour market needs, there is likely to be fewer border crossings, fewer migrants working outside the law and fewer abuses of irregular migrants.

The Secretary-General maintains that a new approach to migration is necessary. “It is now time to draw together all parts of the UN system, including International Organization for Migration (IOM), to support Member State efforts to address migration.” The Secretary-General commits to work within the UN system to identify new ways to help Member States manage migration better based on the Global Compact. 


For mor information visit: http://refugeesmigrants.un.org/2017-secretary-generals-report

 

 

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“When we protect human rights, we are tackling the root causes of terrorism," UN Secretary-General

Noting that at least 11,000 terrorist attacks occurred in more than 100 countries last year, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stressed on Thursday that “terrorism is fundamentally the denial and destruction of human rights.” Therefore, “when we protect human rights, we are tackling the root causes of terrorism. For the power of human rights to bond is stronger than the power of terrorism to devastate,” he said.

“Terrorism has been unfortunately with us in various forms across ages and continents,” Mr. Guterres said in a lecture on counter-terrorism and human rights at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London. 

“But modern terrorism is being waged on an entirely different scale, and notably its geographic span. No country can claim to be immune,” he added. 

Last year, more than 25,000 people died and 33,000 injured in at least 11,000 terrorist attacks in more than 100 countries. 

In 2016, nearly three-quarters of all deaths caused by terrorism were in just five states: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Somalia. The global economic impact of terrorism is estimated to have reached $90 billion in 2015. That year, terrorism costs amounted to 17.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Iraq and 16.8 per cent in Afghanistan. 

Recalling how the Magna Carta 800 years ago established the principle of the rule of law, the Secretary-General said that at its core, human rights are a true recognition of common humanity. 

“When we protect human rights, we are tackling the root causes of terrorism. For the power of human rights to bond is stronger than the power of terrorism to devastate,” he said.

Read the full story

 

 

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Accelerate climate action and raise ambition, urges UN chief

As the impact of climate change worsens around the world, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called on the global community to redouble efforts to help countries respond to climate shocks, especially the most vulnerable.

“I am encouraged to see climate action taking hold, at all scales, at all levels, involving an ever-wider coalition of actors and institutions,” said the Secretary-General, at a press stakeout at the UN Headquarters, in New York.
“But we need to do more,” he underlined.

In his remarks, the UN chief said that he will be travelling to Bonn to participate in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), where, he will urge efforts to accelerate climate action as well as to raise ambition to do more.
At the UN Climate Change Conference this year (COP23, from 6 to 17 November) nations of the world will meet to advance the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement and achieve progress on its implementation guidelines.

The conference, officially referred as COP 23/ CMP 13/ CMA 1-2, will take place in Bonn, Germany, hosted by the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and presided over by Fiji. The UNFCCC secretariat and the Government of Fiji are closely working with the Government of Germany, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bonn to ensure a dynamic and successful Conference.

Resources : 

cop23link

 

Go to the COP 23 website

 

 

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UN Announces worldwide search for young leaders

  • 17 October 2017 |
  • Published in Youth

The UN Youth Envoy has just announced the call for applications for the next class of Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals!

The world is currently home to the largest generation of young people in history. With 50% of the world’s population being under the age of 30, the ideas and talents of young people will drive the success of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 

That’s why the United Nations is on a mission to unearth 17 of world’s greatest young changemakers, innovators, and ground-breakers!

 Launching the Class of 2016 was a huge success-- after a year of advocacy, they’ve spoken on hundreds of platforms and reached millions of people spreading the message of the Goals. Selected from over 18,000 nominations, the first class of Young Leaders for the SDGs are 17 global citizens who come from many different backgrounds, represent every region in the world and are recognized for their outstanding leadership in their efforts to achieve the Goals.

Until November 3rd, we’re on a mission to unearth 17 of the world’s greatest young leaders working across all sectors and from every corner of the world to make up the next Class of Young Leaders for the SDGs.

[ read more ]

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UN Secretary-General -Statement on Hurricane Irma

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

on Hurricane Irma




7 September 2017. The Secretary-General is saddened by the reports of immense destruction and loss of life in the Caribbean region since Hurricane Irma made landfall on Antigua and Barbuda on Wednesday.  He extends his condolences to the Governments and people of all the island countries and territories in the region impacted by Hurricane Irma. 


The Secretary-General expresses the United Nations’ solidarity and commends the leadership of the respective Governments for their preparedness and response to the needs of the affected communities. The United Nations system is already working to support national relief efforts.  

Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General
New York, 7 September 2017


 

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Guterres appoints British journalist to lead UN global communications department

9 August 2017 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Alison Smale, a British journalist, to head the Organization's Department of Public Information (DPI) as Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.

Ms. Smale succeeds Cristina Gallach, of Spain, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her commitment and dedicated service to the Organization. Chief of Bureau of The New York Times in Berlin since 2013, Ms. Smale brings to the position almost 40-years of journalism experience gained in an international career that has included holding some of the most prestigious posts in the profession.

She has a proven track record as reporter, editor and senior leader. Appointed Executive Editor of the International Herald Tribune (IHT) Paris, in 2008, she is the first and only woman to have held that post.

Ms. Smale went to the IHT in 2004 as Managing Editor from The New York Times, where she had been Deputy Foreign Editor since 2002, having joined The Times in 1998 as Weekend Foreign Editor. Earlier in her career Ms. Smale reported for United Press International and The Associated Press as Bureau Chief for Central and Eastern Europe, Vienna (1986-1998) and Correspondent, Moscow and Bonn (1983-1986, 1978-1983). Ms. Smale studied in Bristol, Munich and at Stanford University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in German and Politics, and an Master of Arts in Journalism. In 2009 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law from Bristol University.

UNICs are field offices of the DPI.


 

 

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Message on the International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

MESSAGE

ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COMMEMORATION

IN MEMORY OF THE VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST

27 January 2017

 

Today, we honour the victims of the Holocaust, an incomparable tragedy in human history.  

The world has a duty to remember that the Holocaust was a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people and so many others.

 It would be a dangerous error to think of the Holocaust as simply the result of the insanity of a group of criminal Nazis.  On the contrary, the Holocaust was the culmination of millennia of hatred, scapegoating and discrimination targeting the Jews, what we now call anti-Semitism.

Tragically, and contrary to our resolve, anti-Semitism continues to thrive.  We are also seeing a deeply troubling rise in extremism, xenophobia, racism and anti-Muslim hatred.  Irrationality and intolerance are back. 

 This is in complete contrast to the universal values enshrined in the United Nations Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

We can never remain silent or indifferent when human beings are suffering. 

We must always defend the vulnerable and bring tormentors to justice. 

And as the theme of this year’s observance highlights, a better future depends on education.

 

After the horrors of the 20th century, there should be no room for intolerance in the 21st.  I guarantee you that as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will be in the frontline of the battle against anti-Semitism and all other forms of hatred.

 

Let us build a future of dignity and equality for all – and thus honour the victims of the Holocaust who we will never allow to be forgotten. 

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