Category Archives: UN System-Wide Press Releases

Philippines: Promoting institutional coordination to achieve the 2030 Agenda


This article is part of the publication, “The Sustainable Development Goals are Coming to Life: Stories of Country Implementation and UN Support.”

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National ownership

The Philippine government has embraced the need for the country to mainstream the SDGs into its next national six-year development plan (2017–2022) and the 25-year development programme called ‘Ambisyon Natin (Our Ambition) 2040’. It has led technical workshops to inform the core national-level indicators for effective monitoring of progress against the SDGs.

Institutional coordination and coherence

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) proposed the creation of the Committee on SDGs to spearhead the national implementation of the SDGs and promote rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth. The Committee will comprise the heads of various national government agencies, with the Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning as the Chair. In addition, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Board has recently approved a resolution enjoining all government agencies to provide the necessary data support to monitor the SDGs.

The Philippines Statistical Development Plan 2011–2017 now includes a separate chapter for the compilation and improvement of national SDG indicators.

At the sub-national level, the Mindanao NEDA Sub-national Offices have passed a resolution requesting the establishment of an operational and integrated mechanism for the localization of the SDGs within the NEDA. The mechanism will define the development actions and commitments required at the regional/local level to contribute to attaining the SDG targets. The resolution also called for the NEDA Central Office to ensure a highly participatory and consultative process by involving the regions in SDG- related activities through the existing Regional Development Councils.

Raising public awareness

Several CSOs have organized theme- and sector-focused forums and workshops to discuss how the SDG framework could be used to identify issues and interventions for specific sectors and themes. The private sector and business groups have also started advocacy initiatives to increase understanding and the engagement of relevant actors in inclusive business and the broader SDG agenda.

In parallel, the UN continues to support the government in raising public awareness on the SDGs by developing advocacy and information materials, including an SDG presentation template, an SDG ‘commitment’ wall, SDG selfie boards to support the #GlobalGoals campaign, and an SDG booklet.

These communication materials were used in many public awareness-raising events such as the UN’s 70th anniversary celebrations, children’s and youth events, private-sector events and academic forums.

Inclusive participation

Social Watch Philippines, a civil society network composed of more than 100 CSOs and individuals, is formulating a Spotlight Report with UN support, which will complement the government’s Voluntary National Review for the 2016 HLPF. It will be drawn from a series of consultations that will analyse poverty and inequality, the inclusiveness of growth and its environmental implications, and structural and systemic issues, including multi-stakeholderism and partnership. The results are also expected to feed into the government’s national visioning and planning exercise. Business groups are also planning a portal to capture the private sector’s contributions to SDG targets.

Monitoring and reporting

In October 2015, NEDA, in coordination with the PSA and with UNDP support, conducted the First Technical Workshop on SDGs Indicators. This event was attended by 269 participants from various national government agencies, CSOs, academic institutions and the UNCT. Then in May 2016 the Second Technical Workshop on SDGs Indicators was convened with over 300 participants to inform the report by the Philippines to the Voluntary National Review for the HLPF in July. At these workshops, the initial list of SDG indicators was examined within the context of the country’s development objectives, and relevant indicators that were not included in the list were identified. The participants also assessed whether data on the SDG indicators were available from existing data sources, and prioritized those that should be part of the country’s core indicators. Building on such basic mapping activities, 231 global indicators were examined and prioritized in accordance with the national context, while 23 additional national indicators were presented for SDGs 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being) and 5 (gender equality). The Department of Labor and Employment also initiated technical workshops with support from the ILO in May 2016 to identify and update indicators for SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and other goals covering elements of decent work. This led to a mapping of indicators in the Philippines covering decent work.

Read the entire report

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UN launches 1st report on the Sustainable Development Goals


The first Sustainable Development Goals Report will be launched by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, 19 July at 3.00 pm during the opening of the High-level Segment of ECOSOC in New York. The event will be webcast live at

While the Goals were only launched  seven months ago—too short a period for a proper assessment of progress—the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016, using available data, looks at the successes, as well as the gaps in addressing global challenges, and provides a clear picture of what the international community needs to do to achieve the Goals and ensure that no one is left behind.

A press briefing on the report will take place on Wednesday, 20th July at 11.00 am at UN Headquarters in New York and may be followed via

The Sustainable Development Goals Report, prepared by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs with inputs from a large number of international and regional organizations, is an annual assessment of global and regional progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Unanimously agreed on by world leaders at United Nations Headquarters in September 2015, the Goals represent a bold and ambitious global plan to end poverty, address inequalities and tackle climate change over the next 15 years. [Ends]

Record number of signatures expected for climate change agreement on 22 April

New York, 11 April — A record number of countries are expected to sign the historic climate agreement adopted last December in Paris at a signing ceremony hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 22 April.

More than 130 countries have confirmed that they will sign the Paris Agreement on 22 April, the first day that the agreement will be open for signature. This would surpass the previous record of 119 signatures for an opening day signing for an international agreement, set by the Law of the Sea in Montego Bay in 1982. In addition, more countries have informally indicated that they will sign the agreement, with the numbers increasing rapidly each week.

Over 60 Heads of State and Government will attend the ceremony, including French President François Hollande, demonstrating the continued high level of engagement by world leaders to accept and implement the Paris Agreement.

The signing ceremony will mark the first step toward ensuring that the Paris Agreement enters into force as early as possible. The agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification or acceptance with the Secretary-General.

A number of countries have also indicated that they will deposit their instruments of ratification immediately after signing the agreement on 22 April.

The 22 April signing ceremony will also bring together leaders from civil society and the private sector to discuss efforts to boost financing for climate action and sustainable development, and to increase actions that would achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting average global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

“Paris was historic,” the Secretary-General said. “But it’s only the beginning. We must urgently accelerate our efforts to tackle climate change. I encourage all countries to sign the Paris Agreement on 22 April so we can turn aspirations into action. ”

Information on the 22 April Signing Ceremony can be found at

For further information, please contact Dan Shepard, tel 1 212 963-9495; email:

Statement by Adama Dieng, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on the conviction of Radovan Karadzic for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity

(New York, – 24 March 2016) The Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, expressed his satisfaction at today’s verdict by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) against Radovan Karadzic, who was President of the Republika Srpksa and Supreme Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army from April 1992 to
July 1996. Mr. Karadzic has been found guilty of ten out of eleven charges against him, including charges of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, war crimes for taking hostage United Nations peacekeepers serving in the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), and war crimes and crimes against humanity during the siege of Sarajevo by
the Bosnian Serb Army. “Today is an historic day. The verdict by the ICTY against Radovan Karadzic sends a clear message that impunity will not prevail and that no one is above the  law.”

Special Adviser Dieng paid his respect to the victims of the crimes committed by Mr. Karadzic and expressed full solidarity with them. “This verdict renders justice to the survivors and the families of victims of the atrocity crimes committed by Karadzic. Nothing will return their loved ones to them but they can now have the comfort of knowing that those crimes will not go unpunished.” At the same time, he stressed that today’s verdict “is not only about the past but is also about the future. Accountability constitutes a critical component of prevention and also an important step along the path to national post-crisis reconciliation.” In his view, “this verdict will assist the entire region to think about what happened, learn the lessons of the past and chart a future that fully acknowledges the past.”

Special Adviser Dieng underlined that the impact of today’s verdict would be felt well beyond Bosnia-Herzegovina and the region. “This verdict will resonate across the world and  is a warning to all those who are committing or condoning the commission of acts that can incite or constitute atrocity crimes: it sends the message that wherever and whoever you are, sooner or later you will also face the weight of justice.”

In his view, this verdict is also important because impunity has become norm in so many cases and is having a direct impact on the failure to prevent the escalation of crises. “It is abundantly clear when we look at events of the last decades that absence of accountability increases the risk that atrocity crimes will be committed. Let us spare no effort to ensure that
all necessary measures are taken to facilitate access of every single victim to impartial and independent justice.” In this regard, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide reiterated his full support for the work of the ICTY, which has prosecuted the most serious international crimes committed in Europe since the Nuremberg trials, and for the work of the
International Criminal Court and other international tribunals. He called on all Member States to abide by their obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and enact the necessary legislation that will allow these crimes to be prosecuted at the national level, in a manner fully compliant with fair trial standards.


UN Secretary-General appoints Red from the Angry Birds as Honorary Ambassador for Green on the International Day of Happiness

The United Nations encourages young people to take action on climate change 
and make the Angry Birds happy on the International Day of Happiness

18 March, New York – The United Nations today announced a campaign to encourage young people to step up their actions to address climate change and ensure a sustainable and happier future for all.

The campaign is launched in partnership with the Angry Birds – the globally renowned mobile game characters – to make a direct link between tackling climate change and people’s happiness and well-being on the occasion of the International Day of Happiness.

“The Angry Birds have entertained millions of people around the world – and now they are part of making the world a better place,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who appointed Red of the Angry Birds as an Honorary Ambassador for Green at a launch event at UN Headquarters in New York.

“We are proud to give Red a reason to go Green. There is no better way to mark the International Day of Happiness than to have our animated ambassador raise awareness about the importance of addressing climate change to create a safer, more sustainable and happier future for all,” Mr. Ban said.

The campaign, in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment, the UN Development Programme and UN Foundation, asks the general public across the world to make the Angry Birds happy by taking actions on climate change and sharing their photos and commitments on social media platforms using the common hashtag#AngryBirdsHappyPlanet. By recycling, taking public transportation and conserving water, for example, individuals can share tips on how they can live sustainably and happily in their everyday lives.

As part of his ambassadorial duties, Red will go on a “virtual world tour” starting on 21 March, highlighting various ways to take climate action. His tour will take him to Paris, where countries adopted an historic agreement to address climate change in December, and will end in New York, where world leaders will sign the Paris Agreement at UN Headquarters on 22 April.

During the launch event, the voice actors from the upcoming Angry Bird movie, Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, and Maya Rudolph, and producers John Cohen and Catherine Winder gave hundreds of students gathered in the iconic UN General Assembly Hall a sneak preview of the #AngryBirdsHappyPlanet campaign materials, including public service announcements created to support the campaign. They also asked the young audience for their support to the campaign by doing their part to make a difference on climate change.

For more information, please go to:

About the International Day of Happiness
Celebrated annually on 20 March, the International Day of Happiness is an important observance to acknowledge that happiness and well-being are universal goals and aspirations in the lives of all people around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives. The Day this year focuses on the relationship between having a healthy planet and our happiness.

About the Paris Agreement
To address climate change, countries adopted the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015. In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Agreement is closely related to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 13, and provides a roadmap for climate actions that will reduce emissions and build climate resilience.

To keep the global spotlight focused on climate change and build on the strong political momentum from Paris, the Secretary-General has invited all Heads of State and Government to participate in the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement at United Nations Headquarters on 22 April.

About the Sustainable Development Goals
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030  Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

The Goals build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. The new Goals are unique in that they call for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

Joint Statement on Syria – 11 March 2016

11 March 2016, New York/Geneva/Rome/Amman–After five years of a brutal and senseless conflict over a quarter of a million Syrians have been killed and over half the population forced from their homes out of fear and want. Some 4.6 million people are barely existing in places that few can leave and aid cannot reach. A further 4.8 million people have fled the country. Syria today is a very different place – almost unrecognizable in parts – that will take generations to rebuild.

In the past few weeks however, we are seeing signs of momentum, fragile glimmers of hope. Fewer bombs are falling; humanitarian access has opened up in some places; negotiators from all sides are preparing to come together and talk. As humanitarians we welcome progress where it means real change.

The United Nations, NGOs and partners have seized new opportunities to reach people who have had nothing for a very long time. Despite danger and uncertainty we are trying new delivery methods, constantly trying to negotiate ways to reach people. Through regular aid and the recent deliveries to besieged towns we have managed to reach over six million people since the beginning of 2016.

However, until all parties to this conflict stop attacking civilians, schools, markets and hospitals, we will continue to press them on their obligations and hold them to account. Medical supplies and equipment are still being removed at checkpoints: this is unacceptable.

Until parties to the conflict fully open up safe, unimpeded access to everyone we will keep trying to reach civilians by all and any means possible, however challenging. We are able to reach more people now in besieged areas: but we are yet to reach one in every five besieged Syrians who urgently need help and protection.

While we are starting to get basic supplies to communities who have been cut off for months or more, it is just not enough. For example, we are extremely concerned about the situation in northern rural Homs and in Aleppo, where around 500,000 people are caught behind active frontlines. Two million people are in areas controlled by ISIL.

We and our partners remain ready to deliver assistance. The United Nations continues to work to negotiate access with all parties and to deliver aid to people across the hard-to-reach areas, including the besieged locations we have not yet been able to reach.

No one wants to see a sixth year of conflict start on 15 March. Young people across Syria need to hope and believe that their future lies in their homeland. That they will have education, healthcare, homes and jobs. That life holds more than fear, violence and hunger.

We use our collective voice to call on all parties, local and international, for this anniversary to be the last one and for the political talks to bring real peace and an end to the suffering in Syria.


Stephen O’Brien, Emergency Relief Coordinator, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs

Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme

Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UN Children’s Fund

Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner for Refugees

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization

William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration

Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General, UN Relief & Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Helen Clark, Administrator, UN Development Programme

Samuel Worthington, Chief Executive Officer, InterAction

Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict

UNESCO chief condemns murder of journalist in the Philippines

24 February 2016 – The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today called for an investigation into the murder of journalist Elvis Ordaniza in the Philippines earlier this month.

“I condemn the killing of Elvis Ordaniza,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in a statement.

“Journalists must be able to carry out their work in reasonably safe conditions, which is why I urge the authorities to spare no effort in bringing its perpetrators to justice,” she added.

Mr. Ordaniza, a crime reporter for dxWO Power99 FM radio, was shot on 16 February in the town of Poblacion, in Mindanao.

UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled ‘Condemnation of Violence against Journalists’.

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Investigation into killing of Philippines journalist urged by UNESCO chief

Applications invited for Dag Hammarskjold Journalism Fellowships


United Nations, New York–The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists is now accepting applications from professional journalists from developing countries for its 2016 fellowship program. The application deadline is March 18, 2016.

The fellowships are available to radio, television, print and web journalists, age 25 to 35, from developing countries who are interested in coming to New York to report on international affairs during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.  The fellowships will begin in early September and extend to late November and will include the cost of travel and accommodations in New York, as well as a per diem allowance.

The fellowship program is open to journalists who are native to one of the developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America/the Caribbean and are currently working for media organizations. Applicants must demonstrate an interest in and commitment to international affairs and to conveying a better understanding of the United Nations to their readers and audiences.  They must also have approval from their media organizations to spend up to three months in New York to report from the United Nations.

In an effort to rotate recipient countries, the Fund will not consider journalist applications for 2016 from nations selected in 2015:  Brazil, India, Ghana, and Kenya.  Journalists from these countries may apply in 2017.

Journalists are selected each year after a review of all applications. The journalists who are awarded fellowships are given the incomparable opportunity to observe international diplomatic deliberations at the United Nations, to make professional contacts that will serve them for years to come, to interact with seasoned journalists from around the world, and to gain a broader perspective and understanding of matters of global concern.  Many past fellows have risen to prominence in their professional and countries. The program is not intended to provide basic skills training to journalists; all participants are media professionals.

Information about the Fund, including fellowship eligibility criteria, documentation requirements, and the application process can be found on the Fund’s web site at

Questions can be directed by email to

Press Release_19 January 2016: Secretary-General appoints Sustainable Development Goals Advocates to support the promotion of the new Sustainable Development Goals

19 January 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of a group of eminent Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates to help promote action to achieve the SDGs adopted by world leaders at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015.

The SDGs represent a commitment by all nations to work together to end poverty, achieve shared prosperity, build peace, and secure a life of dignity and a healthy planet for present and future generations.

The Advocates will build on their unique standing and leadership to promote the SDGs as part of an ambitious and transformative global development agenda. They are to support the Secretary-General in his efforts to generate momentum and commitment to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

The SDG Advocates will promote the universal character of the SDGs, including their commitment to leave no one behind; to promote the engagement of new stakeholders in the implementation and financing of the SDGs; to encourage partnerships with governments, civil society and the private sector to share knowledge and resources; and to raise awareness for the integrated nature of the SDGs.

The Advocates include:


  • His Excellency Mr. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana
  • Her Excellency Ms. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway


  • Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium
  • Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
  • Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Co-Founder Qatar Foundation
  • Mr. Richard Curtis, Screenwriter, Producer and Film Director
  • Ambassador Dho Young-Shim, Chairperson, United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty Foundation
  • Ms. Leymah Gbowee, Director,  Gbowee Peace Foundation
  • Mr. Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group
  • Mrs. Graça Machel, President, Foundation for Community Development
  • Mr. Leo Messi, World Renowned Footballer, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
  • Ms. Alaa Murabit, Founder, The Voice of Libyan Women
  • Mr. Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever
  • Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute at Colombia University
  • Ms. Shakira Mebarak, Artist, Advocate and Founder, Pies Descalzos Foundation, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
  • Mr. Forest Whitaker, Founder and CEO, Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation
  • Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank.

Press Release_17 November 2015: UN calls for democracy-advancing proposals

The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) invites civil society organizations to apply for funding for projects to advance and support democracy.

Project proposals may be submitted online between 15 November and 31 December 2015

You can find guidelines, FAQs and lessons learned from previous rounds at (in English) and (in French).

UNDEF supports projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes, under six main areas:

  • Community activism
  • Rule of law and human rights
  • Women’s empowerment
  • Youth engagement
  • Strengthening civil society capacity for interaction with Government
  • Media and freedom of information
  • Tools for knowledge.

This is the Tenth Round to be launched by UNDEF, which provides grants of up to US$300,000 per project. UNDEF has supported more than 600 projects in over 100 countries at a total amount of over US$160 million. Proposals are subject to a highly rigorous and competitive selection process, with fewer than two per cent chosen for funding. Projects are two years long.