UN Secretary-General’s Message for International Migrants’ Day, 18 December 2018

Migration is a powerful driver of economic growth, dynamism and understanding. It allows millions of people to seek new opportunities, benefiting communities of origin and destination alike.

But when poorly regulated, migration can intensify divisions within and between societies, expose people to exploitation and abuse, and undermine faith in government.

This month, the world took a landmark step forward with the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Backed with overwhelming support by the membership of the United Nations, the Compact will help us to address the real challenges of migration while reaping its many benefits.

The Compact is people-centered and rooted in human rights.

It points the way toward more legal opportunities for migration and stronger action to crack down on human trafficking.

On International Migrants Day, let us take the path provided by the Global Compact: to make migration work for all.

[Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Message on International Universal Health Coverage Day, 12 December 2018

Today, the world marks the first International Universal Health Coverage Day. We do so because good health is a fundamental human right and crucial to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Quality physical and mental health services should be accessible to everyone, everywhere.  Tragically, that is not the case for half the world’s population.  And each year, 100 million people are driven into poverty because care cost far more than they could afford.

Such dire circumstances should befall no one – and do not have to. Many countries around the world have shown that it is possible to provide universal health care. They have also demonstrated that improving health is a smart investment in human capital that helps to promote economic growth and reduce poverty.

Strong leadership and community engagement are essential in ensuring that all people get the healthcare they need. On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to a world with health for all.

[Ends]

Mindanao studes top UN human rights film tilt

Three 17-year-old high school students from Mindanao bagged the Grand Prize in the United Nations (UN) Philippines’ short film competition, “What Human Rights Mean to Me.”

Kian Cablinda, Angelo Famador and Scylla Reina Angcos—all students of Central Mindanao University Laboratory High School in Bukidnon province—won the top award for their film, entitled “To Be a Child.” They received their trophy and prizes at the Awards Night held last 5 December 2018 at Cinema 7 of SM Mall of Asia.

The human rights film contest was organized by the UN Philippines to mark the 70th anniversary this year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The contest was open to teams of three Filipinos, 13-18 years old.

Jose Luis “Chito” Gascon, chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), said, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a 70-year-old document, but sadly, it remains largely unfulfilled. There is a direct assault on the idea of human rights that we need to push back against. And the best way to do so is to make sure that we continue to inform, make people aware, and to mobilize people to act for and on behalf of the words in the human rights treaty. And what better way than to use the language of young persons—technology, visual arts—what human rights mean to them.”

Meanwhile, UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Ola Almgren said, “We need to make sure that the voices of young persons are heard– and that we open pathways for meaningful participation in decisions that affect them.”

He added, “It is very clear, peace, economic progress, social justice, tolerance – all this and more, today and tomorrow, has to include and draw inspiration from the voices of the young.”

The winners were selected by a panel of judges composed of Director Jose Javier Reyes, Director and Cinemalaya president Laurice Guillen, Chair Chito Gascon, and Mika Kanervavuori, senior human rights advisor for the UN Philippines.

For this occasion, the symbol for the anniversary of the human rights treaty was projected on the Globamaze, the gigantic LED globe of SM Mall of Asia. [Photo attached]

The winning film, “To Be a Child,” may be viewed at: https://youtu.be/aQmgGzmNVYU

Photo: [First row, fourth from L-R: Scylla Reina Angcos, Angelo Famador, Kian Cablinda; Second row, from R-L: Chair Chito Gascon, Mika Kanervavuori, UN Philippines senior human rights advisor, and UN Resident Coordinator Ola Almgren]

Photos of the event may be viewed here: https://bit.ly/2Lb6xoD

UN Secretary-General’s Message on World AIDS Day, 1 December 2018

Thirty years after the first World AIDS Day, the response to HIV stands at a crossroads. Which way we turn may define the course of the epidemic—whether we will end AIDS by 2030, or whether future generations will carry on bearing the burden of this devastating disease.

More than 77 million people have become infected with HIV, and more than 35 million have died of an AIDS-related illness. Huge progress has been made in diagnosis and treatment, and prevention efforts have avoided millions of new infections.

Yet the pace of progress is not matching global ambition.  New HIV infections are not falling rapidly enough. Some regions are lagging behind, and financial resources are insufficient. Stigma and discrimination are still holding people back, especially key populations— including gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgenders, people who inject drugs, prisoners and migrants—and young women and adolescent girls.  Moreover, one in four people living with HIV do not know that they have the virus, impeding them from making informed decisions on prevention, treatment and other care and support services.

There is still time — to scale-up testing for HIV; to enable more people to access treatment; to increase resources needed to prevent new infections; and to end the stigma.  At this critical juncture, we need to take the right turn now.

New UN Publications: October 2018

The Power of Choice: Reproductive Rights and the Demographic Transition; State of World Population 2018.
Your choices can change the world. The power to choose the number, timing and spacing of children can bolster economic and social development. The global trend towards smaller families is a reflection of people making reproductive choices. The report found that no country can claim that all of its citizens enjoy reproductive rights at all times. The unmet need for modern contraception prevents hundreds of millions of women from choosing smaller families. The report classifies all countries in the world by the current dynamics of their populations’ fertility. It also makes specific recommendations for policies and programmes that would help each country increase reproductive choices.

Bibliographic info:
Publisher: UNFPA
ISBN: 978-1-61800-032-3
pp. 152

 

World Economic and Social Survey 2018: Technologies for Sustainable Development.
The World Economic and Social Survey is the flagship publication on major development issues. This year’s survey presents a case for harnessing frontier technologies to achieve the shared vision of sustainable development. The survey highlights a few of the remaining challenges for the planet, people and prosperity to achieve sustainable development. It also discusses the promises and challenges of a few frontier technologies in developed country contexts while highlighting the development divide—particularly the technological divide—that many low-income and vulnerable countries face in adopting frontier technologies.

Bibliographic info:
Publisher: UN DESA
ISBN: 978-92-1-047224-1
pp.175

 

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018.
Jointly produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization, this report monitors progress towards the targets of ending hunger (SDG Target 2.1) and all forms of malnutrition (SDG Target 2.2) by 2030. The 2018 edition highlights emerging challenges to food and nutrition security, and issues an urgent appeal to scale up the resilience and adaptive capacity of communities facing climate variability.

Bibliographic info:
Publisher: FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, WHO
ISBN: 978-92-5-130571-3
pp. 183
 
 

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UN Secretary-General’s Remarks on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 19 November 2018

I am very pleased to be with you to discuss this essential topic.

Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic.

It is a moral affront to all women and girls and to us all, a mark of shame on all our societies, and a major obstacle to inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.

At its core, violence against women and girls in all its forms is the manifestation of a profound lack of respect – a failure by men to recognize the inherent equality and dignity of women.

It is an issue of fundamental human rights.

The violence can take many forms – from domestic violence to trafficking, from sexual violence in conflict to child marriage, genital mutilation and femicide.

It is an issue that harms the individual but also has far-reaching consequences for families and for society.

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New UN Publications: September 2018

Antimicrobial Resistance Policy Review and Development Framework.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a long-standing global health concern. This Policy Review and Development Framework is for government policy-makers and officials and other stakeholders in AMR and AMU (antimicrobial use) policy for food-animal production within a One Health approach. It offers a practical guide for countries to systematically identify, assess, and strengthen AMR and AMU policies. The Framework is designed to help countries review their national policies and provides examples from countries that facilitate effective national responses to AMR.

Bibliographic info:
Publisher: FAO
ISBN: 978-92-5-130947-6
pp. 58

 

 

Child marriage: A mapping of programmes and partners in twelve countries in East and Southern Africa.
Child marriage can have devastating consequences for individual girls and their future children. This report presents the results of a mapping of programmes and partnerships that seek to prevent and mitigate the effects of child marriage in East and Southern Africa. The mapping was guided by the results framework used in the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage. The framework focuses on five outcomes that are designed to create integrated and systematic programme interventions.

Bibliographic info:
Publisher: UNFPA
pp.84

 

 

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UN Secretary-General’s Message on World Tsunami Awareness Day, 5 November 2018

Tsunamis are rare but devastating.  I saw this first-hand during my recent visit to Sulawesi, Indonesia, shortly after the earthquake and tsunami of 1 October.  More than 2,000 people died and thousands more were harmed or displaced.

As well as struggling to deal with the losses and trauma, the people of Sulawesi will need to recover from the economic losses caused by this disaster.  Reducing economic losses is a key target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and is vital for eradicating extreme poverty.

Over the past two decades, tsunamis have accounted for almost 10 per cent of economic losses from disasters, setting back development gains, especially in countries that border the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

World Tsunami Awareness Day is an opportunity to emphasize again the importance of disaster prevention and preparedness, including early warning, public education, science to better understand and predict tsunamis, and development that takes account of risk in seismic zones and exposed coastal areas. [Ends]

 

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, 2 November 2018

In just over a decade, more than a thousand journalists have been killed while carrying out their indispensable work. Nine out of ten cases are unresolved, with no one held accountable.

Female journalists are often at greater risk of being targeted not only for their reporting but also because of their gender, including through the threat of sexual violence.

This year alone, at least 88 journalists have been killed.

Many thousands more have been attacked, harassed, detained or imprisoned on spurious charges, without due process.

This is outrageous. This should not become the new normal.

When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.

I am deeply troubled by the growing number of attacks and the culture of impunity.

I call on Governments and the international community to protect journalists and create the conditions they need to do their work.

On this day, I pay tribute to journalists who do their jobs every day despite intimidation and threats. Their work – and that of their fallen colleagues — reminds us that truth never dies. Neither must our commitment to the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Reporting is not a crime.

Together, let us stand up for journalists, for truth and for justice. [Ends]

You may download the Secretary-General’s video message at: https://bit.ly/2SxOufZ

 

UN Secretary-General’s Message for World Cities Day, 31 October 2018

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the New Urban Agenda together provide a roadmap for a more sustainable and resilient world.  How our cities develop will have significant implications for realizing the future we want.

This year’s World Cities Day focuses on resilience and sustainability.  Every week, 1.4 million people move to cities.  Such rapid urbanization can strain local capacities, contributing to increased risk from natural and human made disasters.  But hazards do not need to become disasters.  The answer is to build resilience — to storms, floods, earthquakes, fires, pandemics and economic crises.

Cities around the world are already acting to increase resilience and sustainability.  Bangkok has built vast underground water storage facilities to cope with increased flood risk and save water for drier periods.  In Quito, the local government has reclaimed or protected more than 200,000 hectares of land to boost flood protection, reduce erosion and safeguard the city’s freshwater supply and biodiversity.  And in Johannesburg, the city is involving residents in efforts to improve public spaces so they can be safely used for recreation, sports, community events and services such as free medical care.

On World Cities Day, let us be inspired by these examples.  Let us work together to build sustainable and resilient cities that provide safety and opportunities for all.