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The costs of corruption: values, economic development under assault, trillions lost, says Guterres

Every year, trillions of dollars - equivalent to more than five percent of global GDP - are paid in bribes or stolen through corruption, the United Nations reported on the International Day which serves to highlight the pervasive crime, marked this Sunday.

Secretary-General António Guterres deemed corruption “an assault on the values of the United Nations,” in a message on International Anti-Corruption Day, which is marked each 9 December.

He said that "it robs societies of schools, hospitals and other vital services, drives away foreign investment and strips nations of their natural resources,” he said.

One trillion dollars are paid in bribes annually, while another 2.6 trillion are stolen; all due to corruption.

The United Nations is fighting the global scourge, which affects both rich and poor countries, through initiatives like the global campaign launched jointly by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The campaign recognizes corruption as one of the biggest impediments to achieving the SDGs, or 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agreed by all nations of the world in 2015, to advance the whole of humankind. 

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Message on International Day for Disaster Reduction

This year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction falls shortly after a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia showed yet again the urgency of resilience and risk-awareness.

Disasters have a steep human cost.

Millions of people are displaced every year, losing their homes and jobs because of extreme weather events and earthquakes.

However, not all countries report systematically on the economic losses from major disaster events, according to a new report prepared by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

This year’s International Day aims to highlight the need for Member States to improve data collection on disasters, including comprehensive accounting of economic losses.

This is crucial for progress on crisis prevention.

For example, a better understanding of the economic losses from extreme weather events can help to generate greater action on climate change and increased ambition on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Measuring economic losses can also motivate governments to do more to achieve the targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which seeks a substantial reduction in disaster losses by 2030.

Reducing the economic losses from disasters has the power to transform lives and contribute greatly to the eradication of poverty.

As we mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction, let us reaffirm our commitment to this vital endeavour.

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Mental health ‘neglected issue’ but key to achieving Global Goals, say UN chiefs

“One in four people experience a mental health episode in their lifetime, but the issue remains largely neglected,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his opening remarks to a roundtable discussion on mental health, co-organized by his office,  the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Wellcome Trust, a charitable foundation that supports scientists and researchers.

“The UN is committed to working with partners to promote full mental health and wellbeing for all,” Mr. Guterres added.

The roundtable discussion, held Wednesday evening, included Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta Fore, and some 20 others from academia, government and civil society.

A main message coming out of the discussion was growing support for the notion that there can be “no health without mental health” and there is a need to look beyond the health sector, for creative solutions to tackle the root causes of deteriorating mental health.

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Feature Video: WHO talks about Health and the SDGs

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Ban condemns and is outraged by violent attack on the United Nations Common Compound in Mogadishu

19 June 2013 - The Secretary-General condemns and is outraged by today’s violent attack on the United Nations Common Compound in Mogadishu in which UN humanitarian and development workers reside and work. The Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the loss of life in the UN family, its contractors and among Somalis. Among the fatalities at the UN compound, we can confirm at this time that among those killed are one international staff member, three contractors and four Somali security guards. A number of Somali civilians were also wounded and killed outside the compound. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those killed, injured and affected.

The Secretary-General expresses his sincere appreciation to the Federal Government of Somalia and AMISOM for their immediate responses to secure the area and protect UN personnel. He also commends UN security guards who bravely engaged the assailants after they entered the compound following the detonation of a car bomb at its entrance.

Malicious terrorist attacks of this nature will not deter the United Nations or weaken its resolve to stand by the people and Government of Somalia as they work courageously to build peace in their country.

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