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Governments should place more emphasis on drug treatment and rehabilitation, says UN-backed narcotics control board

The study, published on Thursday, reveals that only one in six people globally who needs treatment has access to these services.

Further, even where treatment is available, the quality often is poor or not in line with international standards.

“Our report shows that treatment of drug dependence is highly cost-effective and, most importantly, treatment of drug dependence should be seen as part of the ‘right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,’ and as such, an element of the right to health,” INCB president Viroj Sumyai said in a message included in the report.

The INCB is an independent quasi-judicial body which monitors implementation of three United Nations international drug control conventions.

In addition to pressing for more government action in the areas of treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration, it is calling for attention to be paid to “special populations” such as women, migrants and refugees.

The report also highlights the need for the global community to support Afghanistan, where illicit opium production and opium poppy cultivation hit a record high last year.

The Afghanistan Opium Survey 2017, produced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the country’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics, shows opium production reached 9,000 metric tonnes: a nearly 90 per cent increase over 2016 figures.

[ full story on UN News Centre ]

Learn more about the UN and drug-use prevention, treatment and care


‘We are all at risk’ when humanity’s values are abandoned; UN honours memory of Holocaust victims

Calling on the world to “stand together against the normalization of hate, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has stressed in his message for the International Day dedicated to honouring Holocaust victims that everyone has a responsibility to quickly and decisively resist racism and violence.

Mr. Guterres recalled that the International Day, marked annually on 27 January, was created to honour the memory of six million Jewish men, women and children that perished in the Holocaust and countless others lost their lives as cruelty convulsed the world.Yet, decades since the Second World War, there is still the persistence of anti Semitism and an increase in other forms of prejudice.Citing Neo-Nazis and white supremacy groups as among the main purveyors of extreme hatred, the UN chief said that too often, vile views are moving from the margins to the mainstream of societies and politics.

“Whenever and wherever humanity’s values are abandoned, we are all at risk,” stressed the Secretary-General.

[ read the full story at UN News ]


nuclear weapons ‘fundamentally incompatible’ with world's aspiration for peace

27 March 2017 – At the start of a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, a senior UN official highlighted that creating a world free of such weapons is a common obligation of all States – both nuclear and non-nuclear – and called for their inclusive engagement.

“Let us all work harder and more creatively, so that we can achieve our common goal of a world, safer and more secure, without nuclear weapons, and better for all,” said Kim Won-soo, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

Speaking on behalf of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, he also expressed hope that the instrument will also strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and advance the world closer to the total elimination of nuclear weapons and that it would make important contribution to nuclear disarmament and to our ultimate objective of general and complete disarmament.

Yet he acknowledged that defeatism and dismissiveness now permeate international deliberations on disarmament, and cautioned that the public at large seems to be losing interest in the issue. Indeed, it is hard to imagine these days a gathering of one million people in the street in support of nuclear disarmament, as the world witnessed in the 1980s.

“We need to find a new way to inspire and motivate the public in support of disarmament, in the same way that they have been energized to respond to the challenge of climate change, an existential threat facing humanity,” he stated.

According to 2016 estimates, more than 15,000 nuclear warheads remain in global stockpiles
While this is a considerable reduction from the inventories maintained during the Cold War, the pace of the reduction has declined in recent years and concerns are rising over continued reliance on nuclear weapons in security doctrines and continuing programmes to modernize and improve nuclear weapons.

In his remarks, Mr. Kim also stressed that purist of nuclear as well as non-nuclear strategic weapons would not create security but instead can provoke “new and destabilizing” arms races as well as exacerbate regional and global tension.

“The possession of nuclear weapons, which are linked with the threat of their use, is fundamentally incompatible with humanity’s common aspirations for peace and security,” he said.

2017 Holocaust Education Outreach activities launched at Model UN training in Chaguanas


31 January 2017 - UNIC launched its 2017 Holocaust education outreach activites at one of the training sessions for Model United Nations Students on Saturday 28 January 2017. The film titled " A path to Nazi Genocide"  was screened to one more than  hundred students from more than 50 different secondary schools across the country. The UNIC also featured it's latest addition to the Centre's travelling exhibit - " State of Deception" . A visual journey that examines how the Nazi used images and the latest communication technonogies at their time to spread false information about Jews and other undesirables, with the aim of winning civil society over in their ambition to create a euphamistic 'aryan' led world.

The activity was made possible by the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain in collaboration with  College of Sceince, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago ( COSTAATT), at the College's newly opened purpose built campus in Central Trinidad. President of the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain - Lara Quentrall Thomas added her personal story of her families' contribution to the freedom of the victims of the Holocaust - Both her grandfathers served in military service supporting the allied forces, sadly she recalled only one returned home.

The people of the Caribbean also volunteered to fight alongside the allied forces to bring an end to the far reaching conquest of the Nazi.

UNIC has been hosting events and conducting outreach activites on the Holocaust since 2007 as part of a global programme that was created by the United Nations Department of Public Information at the request of the UN General Assembly ( Resolution 60/7).

International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is observed every year on 27 January. [ more information ]


2017 Holocaust Education Outreach activities to be launched at Model UN training, COSTAATT - Chaguanas

UNIC will launch its 2017 Holocaust education outreach activites at one of the training sessions for Model United Nations Students on Saturday 28 January 2017. The event will include the screening of the film titled " A path to Nazi Genocide" and will also feature the latest addition to the Centre's travelling exhibit - " State of Deception" . A visual journey that examines how the Nazi used images and the latest communication technonogies at their time to spread false information about Jews and other undesirables, with the aim of winning civil society over in their ambition to create a euphamistic 'aryan' led world.

The activity targets about one hundred and ten school students who are participants in MUN 2017 that is being organised by the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain in collaboration with sponsors like  the College of Sceince, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago and others. The event will be hosted by the COSTAATT at its recently completed purpose build campus in Chaguanas, Trinidad. 

UNIC has been hosting events and conducting outreach activites on the Holocaust since 2007 as part of a global programme that was created by the United Nations Department of Public Information at the request of the UN General Assembly ( Resolution 60/7).

International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is observed every year on 27 January. [ more information ]


In opinion piece, Secretary-General António Guterres shares new vision for UN

9 January 2017 – In an opinion piece for Newsweek, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres outlined a vision for addressing the enormous challenges facing the international community, including maintaining peace and security, promoting economic development, and combatting climate change.

“The greatest shortcoming of the international community today is its failure to prevent conflict and maintain global security,” he wrote. The new Secretary-General, whose five-year term began on 1 January, is urging the international community to respond to recent crises by committing to a more diplomatic and peaceful 2017. To do that, he argued, we must focus on the basics: stronger institutions and more resilient societies.

To strengthen prevention efforts, he urged, the global community must put human rights at the forefront of its national and international policies and ensure that women are free from violence and discrimination. This approach, he emphasized, is essential to sustainable development.

In situations where prevention has failed, Mr. Guterres advocated for greater mediation, arbitration, and “creative diplomacy backed by all countries with influence.” He called for countries to settle differences through peaceful means and hailed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a “blueprint for making our world more equitable, sustainable, and liveable.”

The Secretary-General also outlined a plan of reform for the United Nations itself, promising simplification, decentralization, and flexibility within the Organization.

“The United Nations must focus on delivery rather than process and on people rather than bureaucracy,” he wrote. That vision, explained Mr. Guterres, includes a “culture of accountability, strong performance management, and effective protection for whistleblowers.”

In addition, the Secretary-General spoke of improvements to peacekeeping operations and a commitment to gender parity. He intends to ensure that women hold senior roles at the UN and that women continue to be represented at all levels of the organization.

However, he stressed that reforms are dependent upon trust among leaders, people, and institutions at national and international levels. Leaders, he added, must prove that they care about their people as well as global stability and solidarity.

“It is time for all of us to remember the values of our common humanity, the values that are fundamental to all religions and that form the basis of the UN Charter: peace, justice, respect, human rights, tolerance, and solidarity,” he urged.


Colombia: UN-led mechanism investigating alleged ceasefire violation

17 November 2016 – The tripartite Mechanism coordinated by the United Nations and comprising the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) has started investigations into a 15 November incident in the country’s Santa Rosa municipality that resulted in the deaths of two FARC-EP members.

“The tripartite Mechanism deeply regrets and expresses concern about the first deaths since the beginning of the Bilateral Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities, on 29 August,” read a news release issued by the Mechanism, which is coordinated by the UN Mission in Colombia.

“Upon completing the investigation, the Mechanism will issue the necessary recommendations to avoid recurrence of such incidents,” it added.

A third FARC-EP member – who was unharmed in the incident – is also being investigated, noted the release.

The tripartite Mechanism is monitoring and verifying the ceasefire under a protocol, agreed by the Government of Colombia and FARC-EP, according to which they agreed “not to enter armed contact” and “to maintain the discipline and control of the units so as not to generate acts or incidents that endanger the ceasefire.”

As part of its mandate, the Mechanism is also investigating another alleged incident in the municipality of Tumaco, department of Nariño (located in southwest Colombia).

Also in the news release, the Mechanism called upon the two parties to facilitate the flow of information and to maintain communications that will strengthen its coordination. It also said that it is open to receiving information from civilians and social organizations.

The release also highlighted that the Mechanism underlined the importance of maintaining the parties’ commitment to respect the Bilateral Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities.


On Non-Violence Day, Ban highlights link between peace and nature

2 October 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the link between non-violence, peace and nature as he observed the International Day of Non-Violence.

“Every year on the International Day of Non-Violence, we re-commit ourselves to the cause of peace, as exemplified by the life of Mahatma Gandhi who was born on this day 147 years ago,” Mr. Ban said in his message for the Day.

The UN General Assembly, through a resolution in 2007, designated 2 October as the International Day of Non-Violence to coincide with the birthday of Gandhi, who led the country's independence movement and pioneered the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.

“We know that a culture of non-violence begins with respect for others, but it does not end there. To nurture peace, we must respect nature. I am pleased this year's International Day of Non-Violence puts the focus on sustainability and the environment,” Mr. Ban said.

“In all he did, Gandhi honoured our obligation to all living things. He reminded us that 'Earth provides enough to satisfy everyone's needs, but not everyone's greed.' Gandhi also challenged us to 'be the change we wish to see in the world,'” the Secretary-General noted.

Today India's commitment is reflected in a momentous way, the UN chief said, as its government is depositing its instrument of ratification for the Paris Agreement on climate change.

There is no better way to commemorate Gandhi and his legacy for people and planet, he said, urging all countries to complete their domestic processes for ratification and also strive in all activities to achieve progress through non-violence.


The Day is annually observed worldwide with commemorative events.

At the UN Headquarters, it was celebrated with a programme that included, besides India's ratification of the Paris Agreement, performance by renowned Indian classical music singer Sudha Raghunathan as well as the unveiling of a commemorative UN postage stamp of Indian music legend M.S. Subbulakshmi.

The speakers included UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, General Assembly President Peter Thomson, and Professor Barry L. Gan, Director of Center of Non-Violence, St. Bonaventure University, New York.


What we need from the Humanitarian Summit

What we need from the Humanitarian Summit
by Stephen O'Brien

Next week at the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, leaders from Governments, international agencies, the private sector and civil society will gather to announce their commitments to address some of the most critical challenges we face today. The needs for the Summit are clear: conflicts that know no end causing untold suffering, mass displacement, and political and economic turmoil; flagrant violations of international humanitarian law; eye-watering levels of hunger and child malnutrition; more severe and more frequent natural disasters linked to climate change; and growing inequality that is cutting off millions from development progress.

The statistics are staggering: more than 130 million people need access to humanitarian assistance and protection and the numbers keep on rising. Over 40.8 million people are displaced within their own country as a result of conflict and violence and a further 20.2 million people have sought refuge in other countries. In 2015 alone, 19.2 million people were displaced due to natural disasters in 113 countries.

Prioritizing the most vulnerable, the United Nations and our humanitarian partners are seeking almost US$21 billion to provide aid for 91 million people in 40 countries.Yet, almost half-way into the year, $17 billion of that vital $21 billion is still missing, denying our ability to assist people who in many cases have lost everything.

When UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit four years ago he recognized that the status quo cannot continue. The timing for such a gathering has never been more acute. World leaders must grapple with the reality of humanitarian needs spiralling out of control.

We now have this once in a generation opportunity to set in motion an ambitious agenda to change the way that we alleviate, and most importantly prevent, the suffering of the world's most vulnerable people. To succeed, the Secretary-General in his 'Agenda for Humanity' calls for commitments and actions that focus on catalysing change.

To transform the lives of millions of people, one of the most critical shifts we need to see at the Summit is to redirect the international spotlight onto conflict prevention and resolution. As a start, political leaders must harness their combined determination and responsibility in recognizing that the only way we can reduce human suffering on such a protracted and massive scale is to do better to prevent and end conflict. This will require world leaders to significantly increase their investment in shoring up stability and giving proactive preventive diplomacy the primacy it deserves.
Leaders must also address violations of international humanitarian laws - laws that bind all States and non-state armed groups. In today's conflict settings, international laws are violated with impunity: civilians killed in their homes and hospital beds or besieged to the point of starvation, and humanitarians and health care workers who try to help them targeted in illegal, often fatal, attacks.

The Summit must also bring life to the commitment leaders have already made as part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, to leave no one behind and to start with those furthest behind first. We heed the call of crisis-affected people: they don't just want to survive and be protected; they want a chance to have hope and to thrive. We need to find better ways once and for all, to reduce need and build resilience.

We must all commit to adopt a new way of working by forming inclusive partnerships with Governments, civil society, development and humanitarian actors.

Finally, none of these – and many other - changes will be possible unless we find smarter ways to finance and mobilize resources to alleviate suffering and reduce vulnerability and address risk.

At the Summit of dozens of ambitious and realizable initiatives will be launched, attesting to the vibrancy and diversity of the humanitarian sector:

We will call on leaders to commit to halve the number of internally displaced people from 40 million in 2016 to 20 million by 2030.

We will call on leaders to support a new 'Global Preparedness Partnership', which aims to achieve a minimum level of readiness for natural disasters in 20 countries by 2020.

The Connecting Business initiative will be launched, aiming to transform private sector engagement in disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery at the local, national and regional levels. There will also be new exciting partnerships on global health emergencies and urban crises.

Over the past few decades, humanitarians have improved every aspect of humanitarian response: stronger analysis; better cooperation; more local and national capacity; and higher operational standards. Yet we must not stop striving to improve, to become more effective and efficient at saving and protecting more lives.

As part of this determined drive, we will ask leaders across the humanitarian spectrum to sign on to a 'Grand Bargain' between donors and agencies by redirecting one billion dollars in efficiency savings to the front-line of humanitarian action over the next five years. In signing up to this bargain, aid agencies agree to improve the efficiency and accountability of the money we spend.

For our part, my office will start by significantly streamline funding processes, lay greater stress on funding frontline local and national responders and champion the new way of working.

We recognize that these changes will not always be comfortable. They will involve disagreement and compromise. The Summit presents a historic, ground-breaking opportunity and it is our moral responsibility as leaders to take action – the cost of not doing so, is too high. Join us!

@WHSummit https://impossiblechoices.org #sharehumanity http://www.worldhumanitariansummit.org/

Stephen O'Brien is Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator


1st UN Humanitarian Summit

The Summit is a call for global leaders to commit to action and end global human suffering, as the worldwitnesses the highest level of humanitarian needs since the Second WorldWar.  At the conference government, business and civil society leaders willidentify the actions needed to address major humanitarian challenges thatinclude displacement, the rising impact of natural disasters and climatechange, and the perennial gap between the scale of needs and the resourcesavailable to meet them. The Summit is to produce policy, financial andoperational commitments, and the partnerships needed to implement them in orderto save lives and alleviate suffering in times of crisis.

Go to the Summit Website

"We can close the gap between the world that is and that world that should be.

It is in our power, and there is no better time than now."

- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The aims of the Summit are: 

  • to reaffirm our shared commitment to humanity and the universality of humanitarian principles; 
  • generate greater global leadership and political will to end conflict, alleviate suffering and reduce risk; 
  • and agree on a set of concrete actions and commitments to able us to better prepare for and respond to crises.


Five core responsibilities that the whole international community must shoulder:

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