Author Archives: teresadebuque

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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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:


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.

UN Secretary-General’s Message for World Food Day, 16 October 2018

In our world of plenty, one person in nine does not have enough to eat.

About 820 million people still suffer from hunger.

Most of them are women.

Some 155 million children are chronically malnourished and may endure the effects of stunting for their entire lives.

And hunger causes almost half of the infant deaths worldwide.

This is intolerable.

On World Food Day, let us commit to a world without hunger — a world in which every person has access to a healthy, nutritious diet.

Zero hunger is about joining forces.

Countries and companies, institutions and individuals: we must each do our part towards sustainable food systems.

Today, we renew our commitment to uphold everyone’s fundamental right to food and to leave no one behind.

Thank you.



The year 2018 marks the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR70).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

Download PDF

 To commemorate this anniversary (UDHR70), the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Manila is organizing a nationwide video competition on the theme, “WHAT HUMAN RIGHTS MEAN TO ME.”

This contest is being organized in partnership with Ad Rem Projects and SM Marketing.

UNIC Manila and its partners aim to engage Filipino youth, 13-18 years of age. This age group, which belongs to Generation 2030, stands to benefit immensely from human rights education that encourages individual action to contribute towards attaining not just human rights goals but also the Agenda 2030 for Development.

A youth-friendly and illustrated edition of the UDHR produced by the UN may be downloaded at:


UNIC Manila will encourage contestants to reflect on the rights and freedoms afforded by the UDHR and then to portray through video what these rights mean to them, their families, and/or their communities.

The video could also depict the importance with which they regard these fundamental rights and their commitment to these.

Contestants could likewise represent through their video, their aspirations for a future in which they themselves, their families and/or their communities have full enjoyment of human rights.

Video submissions should not focus on political commentary.


  1. This contest is a team competition. Each team will be composed of three persons, all of whom should be bona fide Filipino citizens, and between the ages of 13 and 18 years at the time of the competition. Entrants will be required to submit a scan of their birth certificate.
  2. Teams composed of fewer or more than three persons are not eligible to join the competition.
  3. Entries must be submitted on or before 10 November 2018, 11:59 PM.
    • Users must download and accomplish the Registration Form, scan it, and email it, along with the scan of the birth certificates of the 3 team members to By signing the Registration Form, the Entrants agree to abide by the rules of the competition and the film guidelines and by the decision of the panel of judges.
    • Entrants can submit one (1) entry during the submission period.
    • All submitted entries will be stored on UNIC Manila’s Youtube channel but will not be visible to the public.
  1. Once all entries have been gathered, a Selection Team will screen all of the valid/verified entries in order to choose the Top 10 finalists.
  2. The Top 10 Finalists will be announced on 16 November 2018 on UNIC Manila’s Facebook Page and website. Entries will be scored according to the following criteria:
    • 40%Theme Integration – this will be based on the degree to which the entry faithfully captured and depicted the theme of the contest;
    • 25%: Creativity and originality – this will be based on the novelty and imagination of the entry’s approach to story-telling;
    • 25%: Production Value– this will be based on the entry’s production value, in terms of direction, cinematography, music and sound, editing, etc.;
    • 10%: Impact – this will be based on the compelling effect of the entry on its viewers, due both to its content and production value;

The shortlisted Entrants will be notified via email and phone using the contact details that they indicated in the registration form. 

  1. The Top 10 entries will be uploaded on UNIC Manila’s Facebook Page for public viewing and for online voting. Online voting will be held on 19-23 November 2018, and will end on 23 November 2018, 11:59 PM. Facebook users can only vote once during the whole voting period. It must be noted however that the selection of the top three entries will not be solely based on popularity on Facebook. The Facebook scores will form only 5% of the entries’ final scores.
  2. A Selection Committee will score the Top 10 Entries to determine the Top Three Teams.
  3. The criteria for selecting the Top Three Teams will be as follows:
    • 35%Theme Integration – this will be based on the degree to which the entry faithfully captured and depicted the theme of the contest;
    • 25%: Creativity and originality – this will be based on the novelty and imagination of the entry’s approach to story-telling;
    • 25%: Production Value– this will be based on the entry’s production value, in terms of direction, cinematography, music and sound, editing, etc.;
    • 10%: Impact – this will be based on the compelling effect of the entry on its viewers, due both to its content and production value;
    • 5%: Facebook Votes.
  4. The Top Three Teams will be announced on 29 November 2018 on UNIC Manila’s Facebook Page and website. The top three teams will be will be notified via email and phone using the contact details that they provided in the registration form.
  5. The Awards Ceremony will be held on 7 December 2018 at a public venue to be announced shortly.


  1. The contest is a team competition. Each team will be composed of three persons, all of whom should be bona fide Filipino citizens and between the ages of 13 and 18 years at the time of the competition. Entrants will be required to submit a scan of their birth certificate.
  2. Teams composed of fewer or more than three persons are not eligible to join the competition.
  3. Entrants must not be professional filmmakers. They must not have previously won any award in any Short Film competition, in the Philippines or in other countries.
  4. UN Staff and their relatives, and UN interns are disqualified from the competition.
  5. The submission period is from 12 October 2018 to 10 November 2018. The deadline for submission of entries is on 10 November 2018, 11:59 PM. Entries received after this date will not be considered.
  6. Entrants may submit only one (1) entry each.
  7. All entries must be submitted in digital format.
  8. The length of the video should not exceed 3 minutes, not including the opening and closing credits.
  9. The specifications for video submissions may be found at this link:
  10. Entrants may use any genre (i.e. Narrative, Documentary, Experimental, Musical, etc.), but must fully and clearly depict the concept “What Human Rights Mean To Me” (as explained above) in its main story, dialogue, interactions, or visual elements.
  11. Films may be shot and edited using any device such as, but not limited to, professional filming devices like digital cameras, mobile devices (i.e. smart phones, tablets), desktop or laptop computers, and the like. The film’s final resolution should be acceptable enough for cinematic and television screening.
  12. No copyrighted materials (music, images, etc.) may be used for this contest unless the entrant owns the copyright or has a license to use the material for this contest. Written permission must be obtained and provided upon request for all copyrighted materials.
  13. All footage must be shot. Existing footage,  including but not limited to TV commercial and music videos, may not be used in any scene.
  14. Entries may use any language. However, subtitling in English is required.
  15. Content must comply with all local and national laws of the Philippines. Content must not (1) promote illegal behavior; (2) support racial, religious, sexual or other invidious prejudice; (3) advocate sexual or violent exploitation; (4) violate rights established by law or agreement; (5) invade the privacy of any person; or 6) be otherwise inappropriate as determined by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Manila in its sole and conclusive determination.
  16. Entries must be strictly independent films and not produced by commercial producers.
  17. Entrants may not—prior to the awards ceremony on 7 December 2018–publicly share or publish their entry in any manner and may not post or upload their entry to any website or video hosting site (including, but not limited to, Facebook, Youtube or Vimeo and other online or digital platforms). Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the disqualification of the entry.
  18. The ownership of the underlying intellectual property of the entry remains with the Entrant, with the following exceptions:
    • Entrants grant UNIC Manila the right to use their names, photographs, statements, quotes, testimonials, and video submissions for non-commercial promotional purposes without notification or further compensation.
    • Entrants grant UNIC Manila the right to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, and/or display the Entrant’s video without further compensation or notification to the entrant.
    • UNIC Manila maintains the right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, or exhibit the video for non-commercial promotional purposes on their website, at conferences, or at any other venues.
    • By submitting to this contest, the Entrant acknowledges that her/his work may become subject to public voting on the contest site.
  19. IF CHOSEN AS A FINALIST, Entrants must submit a signed/completed Actor Release Form for each person appearing in their video. The accomplished Actor Release Form should be scanned and emailed to:, or sent by post to: United Nations Information Centre Manila, 15/F Rockwell Business Center Sheridan, corner of United and Sheridan Streets, Mandaluyong City, 1554 Metro Manila, Philippines.
  20. The only compensation for submitting a video is the opportunity to be awarded a prize if the entry wins. UNIC Manila will pay filmmakers no additional compensation nor be liable to the filmmaker under any circumstances.
  21. The decision of the Board of Judges is final.

For any questions, you may reach us through the following:


Tel.: 632 902 9901; 632 902 2574




UN Secretary-General’s Message for the International Day of the Girl Child, 11 October 2018

Today, 600 million adolescent girls are preparing to enter a world of work transformed by innovation and automation. They are the largest generation in history and a vast source of ideas and solutions for all career fields. Yet far too often, girls are not given the space and opportunities they need to achieve their full potential. Multiple barriers include systematic discrimination, biases and lack of training.

We need concerted efforts to overcome the obstacles that mean that, for example, women make up less than 30 per cent of graduates in information and communications technology and occupy less than 30 per cent of research and development jobs worldwide

Negative gender stereotypes related to girls’ education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics begin as early as primary school, and have the devastating effect of making them doubt their own potential.

Although the number of girls attending school is the highest ever, many are still not getting the skills necessary for lifelong success. Moreover, it is estimated that five years from now, over one-third of the abilities considered important in today’s workforce will have changed.

We need to equip girls with transferable and lifelong skills such as critical thinking, creativity and digital awareness. Having role models will also be critical, especially in the sciences and other fields where the presence of women is sparse.

To help empower young people, I recently launched Youth2030, a strategy that aims to work with them, understand their needs and help put their ideas into action. On this International Day of the Girl, let us recommit to supporting every girl to develop her skills, enter the workforce on equal terms and reach her full potential.


UN Secretary-General’s Message for International Day for Disaster Reduction, 13 October 2018

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

Disasters have a steep human cost.

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

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

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

This is crucial for progress on crisis prevention.

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

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

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

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

UN Secretary-General’s Message for World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2018

Health encompasses both physical and mental well-being.

Yet for too long, mental health has been mostly an afterthought, despite its overwhelming impacts on communities and young people, everywhere.

This year’s World Mental Health Day focuses on young people.

One in five young people will experience a mental health problem this year. Half of all mental health conditions start by the age of 14.  Most cases are, however, undetected and untreated.

Poor mental health during adolescence has an impact on educational achievement and increases the risk of alcohol and substance use and violent behaviour.  Suicide is a leading cause of death in young people.

Millions of people are caught up in conflict and disasters, putting them at risk of a range of long-term mental health problems. Violence against women — physical, sexual and psychological — results in lasting scars, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Yet despite these challenges, a great deal of mental health conditions are both preventable and treatable, especially if we start looking after our mental health at an early age.

The 2030 Agenda is clear: We must leave no one behind.  Yet, those struggling with mental health problems are still being marginalized.

Healthy societies require greater integration of mental health into broader health and social care systems, under the umbrella of universal health coverage.

The United Nations is committed to creating a world where by 2030 everyone, everywhere has someone to turn to in support of their mental health, in a world free of stigma and discrimination.

If we change our attitude to mental health – we change the world.  It is time to act on mental health.

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, 16 September 2018

This has been a year of record-breaking heat around the world. It is also a pivotal time for climate action.

As we address this threat, we can draw inspiration from the Montreal Protocol, a shining example of how the world can come together for people and planet.

When science showed us that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other substances were tearing a hole in the ozone layer that protects all life on earth, the world responded with determination and foresight by banning them.  Thanks to this global commitment, the ozone layer is expected to return to its 1980 levels by mid-century.

However, this work is not yet done.

The landmark Kigali Amendment, which enters into force on 1 January 2019, sets its sights on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), powerful climate-warming gases still used in cooling systems.

So far, 46 countries have ratified this new instrument; I call on all others to follow suit and show their commitment to a healthier planet. I expect countries to demonstrate significant progress in implementing the Kigali Amendment at the Climate Summit I am convening in September 2019.

For over three decades, the Montreal Protocol has done much more than shrink the ozone hole; it has shown us how environmental governance can respond to science, and how countries can come together to address a shared vulnerability.

I call for that same spirit of common cause and, especially, greater leadership as we strive to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and mobilize the ambitious climate action we so urgently need at this time.