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‘To deny climate change is to deny a truth we have just lived’ says Prime Minister of storm-hit Dominica

  • 25 September 2017 |

Pleading with all countries in the United Nations General Assembly – large and small, rich and poor – to come together to save our planet, the Prime Minister of Dominica, where the landscape, ravaged by back-to-back hurricanes “resembles a warzone,” said his and other islands in the Caribbean need help now to build their homelands back better.

“I come to you straight from the front line of the war on climate change,” Roosevelt Skerrit said in an emotional address to the General Assembly’s annual general debate. He said he made the difficult journey from his storm-battered country “because these are the moments for which the United Nations exists!”

Mr. Skerrit said that warmer air and sea temperatures have permanently altered the climate between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Heat is the fuel that takes ordinary storms – “storms we could normally master in our sleep – and supercharges them into a devastating force.

The most unfortunate reality, he said, is that there is little time left to reverse damages and rectify this trajectory. “We need action and we need it now,” he said.

“The stars have fallen, Eden is broken. The nation of Dominica has come to declare an international humanitarian emergency.”

He concluded by urging ownership and responsibility for perpetuating harm that desperately begs attention: “Let it spark a thousand points of light, not shame.”


Full story: http://bit.ly/2htfD1R
Video of full statement: http://bit.ly/2jZQSPi

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No group interest, national ambition or political difference should be allowed to put peace at risk: Secretary-General on Day of Peace

  • 21 September 2017 |
“The United Nations was born from a terrible World War. Our mission is to work for peace, every day and everywhere”, says UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on a video message as countries around the world observe International Day of Peace. On this day, “we reflect on the cruel price of war”, which according to Mr. Guterres includes ruined schools, bombed hospitals, broken families, refugees searching for hope and countries in crisis.

The Secretary-General called for a global cease fire on this International Day and urged countries to continue pressing for an end to armed conflict, warning that “no group interest, national ambition or political difference should be allowed to put peace at risk”. 

Peace, he said, is the right and the desire of all people. It is the foundation for progress and well-being; happy children, thriving communities, and peaceful prosperous countries.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” The theme honours the spirit of TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes and those leaving in search of a better life. 

Visit the official website for International Day of Peace:
http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/index.shtml


Watch the full video message of António Guterres, UN Secretary-General on International Day of Peace. 

https://youtu.be/mvUSf0Slk6Y
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UN stands ready to assist those affected by Hurricane Maria

  • 20 September 2017 |
Following is a statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Hurricane Maria:


"The Secretary-General is saddened by the destruction across the Caribbean region by Hurricane Maria in a context where many islands are already working to respond to the devastation and suffering arising from Hurricane Irma earlier this month. 

The Secretary-General commends the collaborative efforts of the various Governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations in responding to this crisis.

The United Nations stands ready to assist those nations and territories affected by this latest hurricane." 

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General
New York, 19 September 2017
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Repair 'world in pieces' and create 'world at peace,' UN chief Guterres urges global leaders

  • 19 September 2017 |

Addressing the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations Headquarters, Secretary-General António Guterres today spotlighted several threats – including the nuclear peril, climate change, and ongoing conflicts – that must be overcome to create a better world for all.


“We are a world in pieces. We need to be a world at peace,” said Mr. Guterres as he presented his annual Report on the work of the Organization ahead of the general debate of the UN General Assembly, in which Heads of State and Government and other high-level representatives from around the world discuss key global issues.


He said that the world is seeing insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading, climate changing, societies fragmenting and political discourse polarizing.


The UN chief noted that global anxieties about nuclear weapons are at the highest level since the end of the Cold War due to provocative nuclear and missile tests by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.


“The solution must be political. This is a time for statesmanship. We must not sleepwalk our way into war,” he warned, as fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings.


On terrorism, the Secretary-General stressed the need to address the roots of radicalization. “It is not enough to fight terrorists on the battlefield,” he said.


Stressing the need for “a surge in diplomacy today” and “a leap in conflict prevention for tomorrow,” he said that it is possible to move from war to peace, and from dictatorship to democracy. Only political solutions can bring peace to the unresolved conflicts in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, the Sahel, Afghanistan and elsewhere. That was why he announced the creation of a high-level advisory board on mediation, he added.

On Myanmar, Mr. Guterres said the Asian country's authorities must end the military operations in Rakhine state, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and address the grievances of the Rohingya Muslims, whose status has been left unresolved for far too long.

He went on to take note of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi's address today – and her intention to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State that was chaired by Kofi Annan within the shortest time possible.


On the Israel-Palestine conflict, the two-state solution remains the only way forward, he said.


Turning to climate change, Mr. Guterres urged Governments to implement the historic Paris Agreement with greater ambition.


“We should not link any single weather event with climate change. But scientists are clear that such extreme weather is precisely what their models predict will be the new normal of a warming world,” he said, noting that mega-hurricanes, superstorms and rain bombs are added to the vocabulary to describe what is happening.


While explaining how globalization and technological advances have brought uneven benefits, he also highlighted the dark side of innovation, such as cybersecurity threats as well as the possible negative implications of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.


Lastly, Mr. Guterres said safe migration cannot be limited to the global elite and stressed the need to do more to face the challenges of migration. Refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants are not the problem; the problem lies in conflict, persecution and hopeless poverty.


To tackle these challenges, he said, the UN has launched initiatives to reform itself.


Looking over the packed General Assembly Hall, he said that the UN is needed, and “multilateralism is more important than ever” when there are competing interests and even open conflict.


“We call ourselves the international community; we must act as one,” he concluded.

Source: UN News Centre. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57549#.WcFFEq2ZNBw

Full report of the Secretary-General: http://undocs.org/A/72/1

Follow the live webcast of the General Debate: http://webtv.un.org/live-now/watch/ga-en/5579662963001

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Secretary-General urges to scale up efforts to reduce risks and vulnerabilities and build resilience at a high-level meeting on Hurricane Irma

  • 18 September 2017 |
Thank you to everyone here for your solidarity with the millions of people across the Caribbean affected by Hurricane Irma.  

Irma killed a relatively small number of people but affected millions, causing massive damage to buildings, infrastructure and agricultural land across 11 islands.

I would like to express my deepest sympathies to those who lost family and friends, and to all those affected across the Caribbean, and also the United States.

I welcome the Regional Response Plan that has been developed with support of national and regional disaster management agencies and I appeal to global solidarity. United Nations agencies and their partners are already putting this plan into action, supporting cash transfers, telecommunications support and the provision of clean water, but much more resources are needed for these and for all other efforts, especially the ones by the countries themselves.

Over the past month, four major Atlantic hurricanes have swept across the ocean. This year’s hurricane season is already the most violent on record, and it will continue until the end of November.

The season fits a pattern: changes to our climate are making extreme weather events more severe and frequent, pushing communities into a vicious cycle of shock and recovery.

Extreme weather linked to climate change has an impact all over the world, including floods in southern Asia and landslides and droughts in Africa.

Reducing carbon emissions must clearly be part of our response, together with adaptation measures. We must be able to bend the emissions curve by 2020. The rise in the surface temperature of the ocean has had an impact on weather patterns; and we must do everything possible to bring it down.

We must also scale up our efforts to reduce risks and vulnerabilities and build resilience.

Unless we get better at preparing for storms, mitigating their effects and recovering from them, they will continue to devastate communities, islands and even whole countries, sending agriculture and economic development into freefall and undoing much of the progress that has been made.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will never be achieved in countries that are constantly battling flood waters and rebuilding flattened infrastructure.  

International financial institutions also have an important role to play, and I welcome the participation of the World Bank here today.

We know that risk reduction and preparedness save lives and are extremely cost-effective. The huge discrepancy between the number of people killed in developed and developing countries hit by storms of similar size regularly provides more evidence of this.

In the Caribbean region, even in the face of these violent hurricanes, emergency preparedness and risk reduction efforts undoubtedly saved many lives.

I urge Governments, regional organizations, donors, humanitarian and development partners to continue to build on these efforts, in line with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

Millions of people across the Caribbean and around the world are counting on us to succeed.


Statement by Secretary-General, António Guterres, at High-Level event on Hurricane Irma.

New York, 18 September 2017
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Agriculture officials gather to discuss sustainable agriculture for the region

  • 14 September 2017 |

Seventy agriculture officials from across Latin America and the Caribbean will gather for two days from 14 – 15 September 2017, to discuss how the region can strengthen sustainable agriculture and rural development through innovation, at the 11th Regional Planners Forum on Agriculture. This meeting will be hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat at the Hilton Hotel, Barbados under the theme:  Innovation Systems for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.


A key expected outcome of the meeting is an action plan framework that countries can use to develop and implement leading edge policies and institutional mechanisms at the national level to advance their agricultural sectors and reduce poverty in rural areas.

The forum will focus on:

  • Financial Instruments,Investments and Institutional Strengthening;
  • Climate Smart Agriculture; and
  • Value Chains and Access to Inclusive Markets

Recommendations from the meeting will be presented at the Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) Ministerial meeting, to be held next month in Guyana.

Innovations in agri-food systems have allowed the agricultural sector in developing and developed countries to make leaps in the quantity and quality of food production.  The process is designed for farmers, marketers and agro-processors along the value chain to improve their production practices, with the involvement of the private and public sectors, civil society and developmental partners.

Higher levels of adoption of innovations in agriculture lead to improvements in productivity, competitiveness, trade, income generated by the sector, sustainability and reduction of the region’s food import bill. The forum is therefore a key activity to map the growth and expansion of the agricultural sector of CARICOM and the realization of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The forum dialogue will also focus on how policies and mechanisms can support the reduction of rural poverty as well as levels of food and nutritional insecurity in countries around the region. This complex problem requires a systematic and innovative approach especially in the context of a strong growth in food demand and climate change, with increasing pressure on natural resources. 

This year’s Forum on Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development is a follow-up to the 2016 FAO Second Regional Forum on "Innovation Systems for Sustainable Rural Development", where stakeholders discussed, reflected on and analyzed innovation based on its impact in rural areas, with an emphasis on family farming and the democratization of innovation systems.

This year’s event was developed through a collaboration between the FAO and the CARICOM Secretariat with support of the members of the Agriculture Food and Nutrition Cluster (AFNC). It supports the FAO’s commitment to the implementation of the 2017 Action Plan of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Working Group on Family Farming and Territorial Rural Development and contributes to CELAC’s Food and Nutritional Security Plan for the eradication of hunger by 2025. 

To view and download the event agenda and concept note, please visit:  http://www.fao.org/americas/eventos/ver/es/c/1032286/.


 

Agriculture and food security is connected to SDGs :

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UN Secretary-General condemns DPR Korea's underground nuclear test

  • 04 September 2017 |

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned today's underground nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as “yet another serious breach of the country's international obligations.”

According to a statement issued by a UN spokesperson, the Secretary-General also said that DPRK's action undermined international non-proliferation and disarmament efforts and is also profoundly destabilizing for regional security.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his call on the DPRK leadership to cease such acts and to comply fully with its international obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions,” the statement said, noting that Mr. Guterres remains in contact with all parties concerned.

Also today, the head of the UN atomic agency has said that the nuclear test is “an extremely regrettable act.”

“This new test, which follows the two tests last year and is the sixth since 2006, is in complete disregard of the repeated demands of the international community,” said Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in a statement.

[ read the full story ]


 

 

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Human rights violations indicate repressive policy of Venezuelan authorities – UN report

  • 30 August 2017 |

Extensive human rights violations and abuses have been committed in the wake of anti-Government protests in Venezuela and point to “the existence of a policy to repress political dissent and instill fear in the population to curb demonstrations,” a report by the United Nations human rights office has found.

“The policies pursued by the authorities in their response to the protests have been at the cost of Venezuelans' rights and freedoms,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a news release issued today.

The report notes that the generalized and systematic use of excessive force during demonstrations and the arbitrary detention of protestors and perceived political opponents indicate that these were not the acts of isolated officials.

The report calls on the UN Human Rights Council to consider taking measures to prevent the human rights situation in Venezuela from worsening. Venezuela is currently a Council member.

Mass street demonstrations began in the country in April. Tensions between the Government and the opposition reached a new high about a month ago, when President Nicolás Maduro convened elections for the so-called Constituent Assembly, which could replace the current legislative body, the National Assembly.

The report indicates that of the 124 deaths linked to the protests being investigated by the Attorney General's Office as of 31 July, the security forces were reportedly responsible for 46 and pro-Government armed groups, known as armed colectivos, for 27. Responsibility for the remaining 51 deaths has not yet been determined.

[ read the full story ]


 Quick Facts form the Report:

venezuela reportaug17

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History of the slave trade can help to combat injustice - UN

  • 23 August 2017 |

Remembering the universal demand for freedom that led to the 1791 insurrection by slaves in what is now Haiti, the head of the United Nations cultural and educational agency today marked the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition by underscoring the importance of teaching this history to young people.

“We are counting on the teaching of this history to place tomorrow's citizens on the path to peace and dignity,” said Irina Bokova, in a message to mark the Day, which is observed annually on 23 August.

Ms. Bokova is the Director-General of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which has played a leading role within the UN system in fostering understanding and recognition of the slave trade.

[ testimonial author="Irina Bokova" title="Director General of UNESCO" avatar="../images/2017/bokovasm.png" icon="icon" ] “Everyone must know the scale of the crime of the slave trade, the millions of lives broken and the impact on the fate of continents up to this very day. Everyone must be fully informed of the struggle that led to its abolition, so that together we can build societies that are fairer, and thus freer,” [ /testimonial ]

She pointed to modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as ongoing social injustices, racism and racial discrimination, and said the legacy of the 1791 insurrection offer hope to eradicating those scourges.

To honour the history of the slave trade and its abolition, UNESCO earlier this year added to its World Heritage List the Mbanza Kongo, Vestiges of the Capital of the former Kingdom of Kongo (Angola) and the Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site (Brazil), as an acknowledgement of their “outstanding universal value.”

The Slave Route project, established in 1994, consists of creating opportunities to promote mutual understanding and international reconciliation and stability through consultation and discussion. It also raises awareness, promotes debate and helps build consensus on approaches to be taken on addressing the issue of the slave trade and slavery.

This year, the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is also part of the International Decade for People of African Descent, which began in 2015, and seeks to help boost political commitments in favour of people of African descent.

[ read the full story ]


 slvtr slveroute

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UN condemns terrorist attack in Barcelona, stands with the people of Spain

  • 18 August 2017 |

"The United Nations stands in solidarity with the Government and people of Spain in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism"

Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General

17 August 2017-  Secretary-General António Guterres said the United Nations stands in solidarity with the Government and people of Spain in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

“He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those killed and to the Government and people of Spain,” according to a statement issued by UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq.

In a separate statement, the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

The 15 members of the Council “expressed their solidarity with Spain in its fight against terrorism and stressed the need to intensify international efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism, which may be conducive to terrorism.”

Condemnations echoed from other UN bodies and agencies.

The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, called the attack “brutal” targeting “a group of innocent people.”

“Yet again, we are forced to face the hateful actions of people who show no regard for the sanctity or value of life,” Mr. Al-Nasser said.

Spain is one of the co-sponsors of UNAOC, a collective promoting pluralism, peace and tolerance.

The UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) condemned the attack as “heinous” and urged the international community to “fight these forces of darkness and all acts of terror.”

According to media reports, a van ran into a crowd of pedestrians walking through Barcelona's famed Las Ramblas area, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens of others.


image conference

More about the UN and terrorism

The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism was established through the adoption of General Assembly resolution 71/291 on 15 June 2017. Mr. Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov was appointed as Under-Secretary-General of the Office on 21 June 2017.

The Office of Counter-Terrorism has five main functions:

  1.  provide leadership on the General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to the Secretary-General from across the United Nations system;
  2.  enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities to ensure the balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy;
  3.  strengthen the delivery of United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to Member States;
  4. improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism efforts; and
  5. ensure that due priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system and that the important work on preventing violent extremism is firmly rooted in the Strategy.

more information

 

 

 

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