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30 Jul

UN ASG Miroslav Jenča recognises great achievement in cooperation between CARICOM and United Nations

  • 30 July 2019 |

The Tenth General Meeting between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and its associated institutions and the United Nations (UN) system was convened at the Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, on 23 and 24 July 2019. Opening remarks were given by the Secretary-General of CARICOM, His Excellency Irwin LaRocque, and by the Head of the UN Delegation, His Excellency Miroslav Jenča, Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. The Meeting, which enjoyed wide participation from representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat and its associated institutions and from representatives of the UN system, was co-chaired by Ambassador Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations of the CARICOM Secretariat, and Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenča

48365110882 b027e272b8 bAmbassador Irwin LaRocque, in his remarks, congratulated participants on the achievement of the tenth anniversary of the Biennial Meetings between CARICOM and the United Nations. He recognized the numerous and diverse areas of cooperation between the two organisations in support of improved and more sustainable development that can provide a better quality of life for the people of the Caribbean Community. In thanking His Excellency Antόnio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his recognition of the various challenges and constraints of Small Island Developing States and his continued support as expressed earlier this month in Saint Lucia, Ambassador LaRocque reiterated his confidence in the strong foundation of partnership between CARICOM and the UN. He recognised the Tenth General Meeting as a symbol of the convergence being sought in addressing global sustainable development issues and called for increased recognition and innovation in addressing the specific challenges and vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States. 

 CARICOM Secretary-General , Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.
 credit :CARICOM

In his message, ASG Miroslav Jenča noted how much the General Meetings have contributed to the development of strong cooperation ties between CARICOM plus its associated institutions and the UN system; both organizations could be proud of the great achievements that the cooperation had yielded. The multi-agency cooperation of the UN with CARICOM regarding its laudable initiative to adopt and implement a Counter-Terrorism Strategy was but one of many examples of how the cooperation had become ever more operational. In an illustration of how the cooperation and the enthusiasm about it was growing exponentially, the UN was represented at the 2019 General Meeting by more than twice as many representatives as at the 2015 General Meeting in Georgetown. ASG Jenča underscored how CARICOM and the UN shared many priorities ‒ the fight against climate change being a particularly prominent one.

Discussions were held against the framework of the repositioning of the UN Development System ‒ particularly the review processes of the configuration, capacity, resource needs, role, and development services of the Multi-Country Offices (MCO) for the region. The Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean and UN Assistant Secretary General, Luis Felipe López-Calva underscored that the UN Development System reform was now better positioned to support the Caribbean to achieve Agenda 2030. Also, the Meeting emphasised the need for inclusive and transparent consultations on the MCO review.

The Meeting highlighted the importance of collaboration, especially in targeted agreed priority areas, and the harmonisation of activities and information sharing in attaining the required objectives and results. In view of the importance of regular communication, the Meeting agreed to explore opportunities, including the use of virtual technology, for periodic exchanges between Biennial Meetings, recognising that the effective application of existing tools provided by UN and the implementation of an effective communication Plan are immediate ways of enhancing the CARICOM-UN working relationship for achieving tangible results and outcomes.

 Read the Joint Statement  of the Tenth Meeting between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), its  Associated Institutions and the UN System.

29 Jul

UN sees progress in fight against tobacco, warns more action needed to help people quit deadly product

  • 29 July 2019 |

Progress is being made in the battle against the global tobacco epidemic, but more action is needed to help people quit the deadly products, according to a new report from the UN World Health Organization (WHO).  

With five billion people today – four times more people than a decade ago – living in countries that have introduced smoking bans, graphic warnings on packaging and other effective tobacco control measures, many governments are making progress in the fight against tobacco.  

But a new WHO report out on Friday (26 July 2019) shows many countries are still not adequately implementing policies, including helping people quit tobacco, that can save lives. It urges governments to implement cessation services as part of efforts to ensure universal health coverage for their citizens. 

tobacco english 02

The seventh WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic analyses national efforts to implement the most effective measures from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) that are proven to reduce demand for tobacco.  

 These measures, like the so-named ‘MPOWER’ interventions, have been shown to save lives and reduce costs from averted healthcare expenditure. The MPOWER report was launched in 2007 to promote government action on six tobacco control strategies in-line with the WHO FCTC to: 

  • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies. 
  • Protect people from tobacco smoke. 
  • Offer help to quit tobacco use. 
  • Warn people about the dangers of tobacco. 
  • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. 
  • Raise taxes on tobacco. 

The focus of the latest report is on the progress countries have made to help tobacco users quit. It is being launched today in Brazil, a country that has become the second, after Turkey, to fully implement all the MPOWER measures at the highest level of achievement. 

Tobacco cessation services must be stepped up 

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said governments should implement cessation services as part of efforts to ensure universal health coverage for their citizens. 

“Quitting tobacco is one of the best things any person can do for their own health,” said Dr Tedros. “The MPOWER package gives governments the practical tools to help people kick the habit, adding years to their life and life to their years.” 

 Progress is being made, with 2.4 billion people living in countries now providing comprehensive cessation services (2 billion more than in 2007). But only 23 countries are providing cessation services at the best-practice level, making it the most under-implemented MPOWER measure in terms of number of countries offering full coverage.  

Tobacco cessation services include national toll-free quit lines, “mCessation” services to reach larger populations via mobile phones, counselling by primary health care providers and cost-covered nicotine replacement therapy.   

source: https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/07/1043331



26 Jul

Survey deployed to understand the situation of Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago

  • 26 July 2019 |

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF) will start the deployment of a survey methodology known as Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), a system to track and monitor the displacement and population mobility and provide a better understanding of the movements and evolving needs of displaced populations.

The analysis will have specific sections related to labour, health, education, and protection. It aims to obtain the data necessary to create a comprehensive overview that will support the implementation of humanitarian assistance and public policy regarding this population.

"Data is essential to devise interventions that help countries capitalize on the many long-term benefits of migration, as well as to address migrants' situation and vulnerabilities," said Jewel Ali, IOM Project Coordinator at Port of Spain. "Data also enables us to promote a balanced and informed public debate around migration issues."

 This exercise was preceded by local consultations with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, agencies from the United Nations (UN), civil society organizations and other institutions such as the Central Bank, who will provide venues for the deployment. On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church provided a venue to assist IOM with this exercise.

 Muriel Mafico UNICEF's Deputy Representative for the Eastern Caribbean Area spoke about the necessity to turn a spotlight on children. "DTM is a really crucial aspect of our response because it allows us to understand who is here, their needs and the services that must be provided to them and, most importantly, how can we address the unique situation of children. When families move, children are the most vulnerable." She said.

source :  IOM regional office

24 Jul

UNFPA Suriname celebrates Mandela Day

  • 24 July 2019 |

The United Nations Population Fund Suriname celebrated Nelson Mandela on July 18th on the 10th anniversary of the International Mandela Day by providing a presentation regarding SDG 5, Gender Equality. This presentation was conducted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Bureau Gender Affairs (BGA) from the Ministry of Home affairs. Although the focus of this presentation was primarily on the Gender Vision Policy Document 2021-2035 and Gender Action Plan 2019-2020 that were presented on July 5th, 2019 by the government of Suriname, Mandela’s values and dedication to conflict resolution, race relations, human rights, reconciliation, gender equality, the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the fight against poverty and the promotion of social justice were also highlighted. The students of the Academy for Higher Art and Culture Education (AHKCO), who were part of the audience, were also encouraged to take action and inspire change by devoting time to community service, but to also think about creative ways to inform the general public regarding Gender Equality.

Original story posted on UN Suriname website

16 Jul

‘No hope’ global development goals can be achieved without women, says UN Assembly President

  • 16 July 2019 |
Without the full participation and leadership of women, “we have no hope” of realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the President of the United Nations General Assembly told gender equality leaders on Monday, 15 July 2019.

“This is an obvious point to make, but it is, sadly, one that we cannot repeat enough”, she said, opening the day-long discussion at UN Headquarters in New York to identify best practices aimed to knock down barriers hindering women’s full participation and leadership, in what she called “our shared mission this year”.  

As the fourth woman in UN history to ever preside over the General Assembly, the Organization’s main and most representative deliberative body, María Fernanda Espinosarecognized that women decision-makers must lead by example to safeguard achievements and accelerate progress towards gender equality.

Noting that women have come a long way since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action nearly 25 years ago, she pointed out that they still lag behind on virtually every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

“For example, just 42 per cent of countries give women the same rights to land ownership; just 60 per cent give women equal access to financial services”, she flagged. “And the gap is even greater for women in rural areas, women with disabilities, indigenous women and older women”.

Moreover, “no country has achieved full gender equality” and women continue to face discrimination in every region of the world, “from suffocating stereotypes to discriminatory laws, harmful practices and violence”, she maintained.

This runs counter to the “wealth of hard evidence” of the positive impact that “women’s participation and leadership have on economic stability, good governance and investment, including in health, education and social protection.

Child mortality decreases by almost 10 per cent for each additional year of education women of reproductive age have.

“This is just an example of the transformative, society-wide benefits of women’s empowerment”, Ms. Espinosa said. “Today’s discussion is anchored in this crucial link”.




Call for Action

The event, “Gender Equality and Women’s Leadership for a Sustainable World”, issued a 'Call for Action' that aligned with the theme of this year’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development: 'Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. The Forum, the main UN platform monitoring follow-up on States’ actions towards the SDGs, is currently under way in New York.

She invited all leaders to join the global “Call”, which 18 world leaders supported, as new synergies were being explored with other initiatives.

“Many of you will have heard me refer to gender equality as the closest thing we have to a ‘magic formula’ for sustainable development”, she said, noting that while “magical in terms of impact”, there is “nothing magical about how to achieve gender equality”.

The 2030 Agenda and the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action set out what must be done to empower women and girls, and what is needed now are “greater political will; a razor-sharp focus on the most transformative, practical actions; and to widen their scale and impact” according to the Assembly President.

“Today, we find ourselves in urgent need of renewed leadership, partnership and mobilization”, stressed Ms. Espinosa. “It is no secret that some of the SDG targets relating to women’s rights were the subject of tough negotiations… and the landscape has become more challenging even since then”.

She underscored that “we cannot take for granted the gains we have made”. And painted a picture of women on the ground working hard, “under duress and at great personal risk” to push back against a pushback, spelling out that they “need our support”.

“This is our opportunity to recommit to women’s rights and empowerment, to rise to challenges old and new, and – reclaim the agenda”, concluded the Assembly President.

Agents of change

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the meeting that women have a strong track record as agents of change.

“From boardrooms to parliament, from military ranks to peace tables and, of course, in the United Nations itself, more women decision-makers mean more inclusive solutions that will benefit everyone”.

Because women understand “intrinsically” the importance of dignity, equality and opportunity for all, the deputy UN chief upheld that “women’s leadership and greater gender balance will lead to unlocking trillions for economies, enhanced bottom lines for the private sector and stronger, more sustainable peace agreements”.  

In addition to that, she stressed that “it is critical that we emphasize that women’s equal participation is a basic democratic right”.



For her part, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said that next year, when we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the implementation of Beijing Platform, “our theme is ‘Generation Equality’ because we are emphasizing the importance of intra-generational participation and the role of young people to take us forward”.

“All of these, drawn together, give us a fighting chance to increase and sustain the participation of women”, she underscored. “We can’t wait people, time is up. Time is really, really up”.

The high-level meeting brought together prominent women leaders from around the globe, including a Mexican Member of Parliament Gabriela Cuevas Barron who is also the president of the Inter Parliamentarian Union and Helen Clark, former head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).  


08 Jul

UN agencies welcome regional road map to help integrate ‘continuing exodus of Venezuelans’

  • 08 July 2019 |

A new road map adopted by Latin American and Caribbean countries, to help better integrate refugees and migrants from crisis-hit Venezuela into new host societies, drew a warm welcome from two UN agencies on Monday.

UN refugee agency UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) lauded the joint declaration that agrees to reinforce cooperation, communication and coordination between the countries of transit and destination; strengthen measures against people-smuggling and trafficking; and protect the most vulnerable by combatting discrimination, xenophobia and sexual and gender-based violence.

"The continuing exodus of Venezuelans surpasses and exceeds the capacities and resources of governments in the region”, said Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants. “This implies an urgent challenge for the countries hosting them”.

The road map was adopted late last week during the International Technical Meeting of the Quito Process, in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, with the participation of 14 Latin American and Caribbean governments, UN agencies, regional organizations, development banks and civil society.

Mr. Stein maintained that the Quito Process “represents a key space for communication and coordination among States”.

“There are many good practices in the region and governments benefit from opportunities for exchange, articulation and harmonization”, he added, explaining that “it is crucial to continue expanding and strengthening the participation of countries of the region in this Process."

The meeting highlighted the actions and efforts of the regional countries, not only in terms of reception, documentation and humanitarian assistance, but also in promoting access to health, education, employment, and housing on behalf of Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

Agreement over specific actions

The Road Map of the Buenos Aires Chapter sets out specific actions on human trafficking, healthcare and for recognizing academic qualifications of Venezuelan professionals, as well as establishing information and reception centres.

A so-called Information Card for Regional Mobility is a priority commitment, to complement and strengthen the documentation and registration processes at national levels where it exists or is being developed.

The governments also agreed to collaborate in mitigating the impact of the crisis in the region by mobilizing resources to support the implementation of the Quito Plan of Action and the Road Map.

UNHCR and IOM reiterated their support to countries affected by the outflow of Venezuelans and called for strengthened international funding so that current actions may continue, and new projects can be implemented.

According to data from national immigration authorities and other sources, the number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela around the world has now exceeded four million.

source - UN News

04 Jul

Secretary General "heartened" by St. Lucia's innovative efforts on climate action

  • 04 July 2019 |

The Secretary-General today visited the Praslin Bay in St. Lucia, where he saw firsthand the devastating effects of Sargassum seaweed and heard from fishermen and sea moss farmers on the impact it is having in their community.

 “I have seen today firsthand the serious impact that Sargassum is having on Praslin Bay and its people, threatening the economy of an entire community and the precious marine ecosystem,” said the Secretary-General.

 The Secretary-General, who was accompanied by St. Lucia’s Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Gale Rigobert, was also briefed on national and regional efforts to tackle this issue. This includes not just large-scale clean-ups but also using alternative solutions such as using Sargassum as a fertilizer.

 The situation in St. Lucia is emblematic of a problem that is impacting communities across the Caribbean Sargassum creates a strong stench, kills marine vegetation and creatures, and disrupts coastal activities such as fishing and tourism. It also presents a health hazard as bacteria begin to spread as the seaweed decomposes.

 “I was deeply impressed by this landscape that resembled an algae desert for hundreds of metres. Climate change is one of the causes for this, along with marine pollution and phosphates brought into the sea by big rivers. Seeing the Sargassum and the effect it is having on people only reaffirms the urgency of taking climate action and finding sustainable solutions to keep our oceans healthy. Oceans don’t know borders, nor does climate. It is a global collective responsibility to take action now.”

 The Secretary-General’s visit to St Lucia comes two months ahead of his Climate Summit, and he has called on world leaders to come to the Summit in New York with concrete, realistic plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. He has also emphasized the need to increase ambition and support to small developing countries in the areas of adaptation, mitigation and access to climate finance. In addition to the Climate Summit, the international community will have a chance to focus on issues concerning the oceans at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon next year.

 “Praslin Bay is an example of how climate change is affecting vulnerable communities, but its effects are rapidly affecting people and economies worldwide. I was heartened to see that St. Lucia is working on innovative solutions to the problem and that it is working with other Caribbean countries to lead the way in climate action, adaptation and mitigation. The international community should support these efforts by providing the necessary public and private resources needed to tackle these pressing issues.” the Secretary-General said.


Images of Secretary-General's visit to Praslin Bay, 4 July 2019


03 Jul

With Caribbean island life under threat, UN chief pushes to face ‘headwinds together’

  • 03 July 2019 |

To counter global challenges that are a particular threat to vulnerable island nations like those in the Caribbean, it’s vital to “face the headwinds together”, especially in the face of the destruction being wrought by climate change, the UN chief told the annual Caribbean Community (CARICOM) conference in Saint Lucia on Wednesday.

“The beauty of St. Lucia and the uniqueness of the voice and way of life of each of the Caribbean islands is threatened”, said Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday at the Conference of Heads of CARICOM Governments gathered to focus on obstacles to sustainable development. 

Mr. Guterres recounted his visit to the South Pacific in May where he saw how “Pacific island nations are addressing the climate crisis” by focusing “a climate lens” on development investments. He also recalled his visit two years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc in 2017, when “in only a couple of days”, years of “hard-won development gains” were destroyed in Barbuda and Dominica.

“Hurricanes Ivan and Thomas – and the many others that came before Irma and Maria – are still etched in the memories of Caribbean people” he noted. 

As climate-related natural disasters grow in frequency and severity, the UN chief pointed out that “the risks to families and to development overall will only intensify”. 

What the Caribbean has endured makes “abundantly clear” the urgent need to “reduce global emissions and work collectively to ensure that global temperature rise does not go beyond 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”, he continued, inviting government and private sector leaders to come with concrete plans to the UN Climate Action Summit in September, at UN Headquarters, which could result in a 45 per cent cut in greenhouse emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

“We must massively increase our ambition to advance low-emission and resilient development, including addressing loss and damage from climate impacts”, he stressed, saying “we need all hands-on deck”.

‘Act daily’ to counter plastic threat

Mr. Guterres signalled the need to “act on a daily basis” to counter the “grave threat” that eight million tons of ocean-polluting plastics are posing to marine ecosystems and tourism sectors. 

“From plastic pollution to coastline erosion, more frequent extreme weather events, sea level rise and biodiversity loss, Caribbean States face immense pressure”, maintained the UN chief.

He commended the “bold vision” of CARICOM leaders, to make the Caribbean the world’s first Climate Resilient Zone and drew attention to the creation of a Caribbean Resilience to Recovery Facility. When completed, it aims to provide a regional indigenous mechanism to source talent, experience and financial solutions for the region, to build resilient communities and nations. 

Economic constraints 

In addition to managing the recurrent and increasing costs of climate-related events, small island developing States (SIDS) overall, face a range of economic constrictions, from small domestic markets to heavy dependence on imports and high national debt constraints, according to the UN chief. 

“These challenges are further complicated by the difficulties SIDS face in mobilizing development finance on affordable and appropriate terms”, he said. 

The Secretary-General said he backed steps to improve access to development financing; eligibility for Official Development Assistance, including vulnerability criteria in addition to Gross National Income per capita; and speed and predictability of climate financing, especially SIDS. 

Mr. Guterres threw his “strong support” behind the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean’s (ECLAC) proposal to convert debt to investment in resilience, noting that “to achieve this and other global challenges, we must reaffirm commitment to multilateralism”. 

We must face the headwinds together”, the Secretary-General underscored, “There is no alternative to cooperation and collaboration”. 

He urged the leaders to “seize this historic opportunity to ensure that every Caribbean country, and all SIDS, receive optimal support to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.

The UN chief drew attention to five UN Summits in September where the “collective voices” of the Caribbean Sates can “be heard by the global community”.

 full story on UN News

Read S-G's address to CARICOM  meeting in St Lucia - 3 July 2019


02 Jul

UN Secretary General to address CARICOM at St Lucia on 3 and 4 July trip

  • 02 July 2019 |

 The Secretary-General will be in Saint Lucia on 3 and 4 July, where he will be speaking at the opening of the fortieth regular meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).  There, the Secretary-General will meet with Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, as well as other Heads of State attending the meeting.  He will also meet the local population to see how they are tackling the challenges posed by climate change and extreme weather.  This is part of the Secretary-General’s ongoing efforts, to advance the September Climate Action Summit, to highlight the impact of climate change and extreme weather on some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.  He will be back in New York on Thursday evening. 

 source : 1 July Noon Briefing 

 About the Climate Action Summit 2019

Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heatwaves and risks to food security.

The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.

The latest analysis shows that if we act now, we can reduce carbon emissions within 12 years and hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and even, as asked by the latest science, to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

To boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will host the 2019 Climate Action Summit on 23 September to meet the climate challenge. The Summit will showcase a leap in collective national political ambition and it will demonstrate massive movements in the real economy in support of the agenda. Together, these developments will send strong market and political signals and inject momentum in the “race to the top” among countries, companies, cities and civil society that is needed to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.




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