Author Archives: teresadebuque

UN Secretary-General’s Message for International Day of UN Peacekeepers, 29 May 2019

Today we honor more than one million men and women who have served as United Nations peacekeepers since our first mission in 1948.

We remember the more than 3,800 personnel who paid the ultimate price.

And we express our deepest gratitude to the 100,000 civilian, police and military peacekeepers deployed around the world today, and to the countries that contribute these brave and dedicated women and men.

This year, the United Nations marks 20 years since the Security Council first mandated a peacekeeping mission to protect civilians.

Peacekeepers protect men, women and children from violence every day, often at great personal risk.

In that same spirit, on this International Day, the Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage is being awarded for the first time.

We pay tribute to Private Chancy CHITETE, a Malawian who served in the Democratic Republic of Congo and died trying to save the life of a fellow peacekeeper.

UN peacekeeping is a vital investment in global peace and security.

But it requires strong international commitment.

That is why we launched the “Action for Peacekeeping” initiative, which aims to make our missions stronger, safer and fit for the future.

For millions in conflict-affected situations around the world, peacekeeping is a necessity and a hope. Let us work together to make peacekeeping more effective in protecting people and advancing peace.

Thank you.

2019 Theme: “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace”

Read about this Day.

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Biological Diversity, 22 May 2019

From individual species through entire ecosystems, biological diversity is vital for human health and well-being.  The quality of the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe all depend on keeping the natural world in good health.  We need healthy ecosystems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to address climate change: they can provide 37 per cent of the mitigation needed to limit global temperature rise.

Yet the world’s ecosystems face unprecedented threats.  An alarming and authoritative new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services reveals that nature is declining at rates never seen before in all of human history.  Since 1990, Earth has lost 28.7 million hectares of forests that help to absorb harmful carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere.  One million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction and more than 90 per cent of marine fish stocks are in decline or overfished.

The impacts on people around the world will be grave.  Current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems are projected to undermine progress towards 80 per cent of the targets for the Sustainable Development Goals.  We simply cannot allow this to happen.

This year’s International Day highlights the impact of environmental neglect on food security and public health.  The world’s current food system is increasingly broken.  Billions of people lack access to proper nutrition.  Approximately one third of what is produced is lost or wasted.  The ways in which we grow, process, transport, consume and waste food are leading causes of biodiversity loss, while also contributing to climate change.

We must act quickly to reverse these trends and promote transformative change.  Solutions exist.  By halting environmentally harmful practices, diversifying our food systems and promoting more sustainable production and consumption patterns, we can improve global health, increase food security and strengthen resilience to climate change.

On this International Day for Biological Diversity, I urge all — governments, businesses and civil society — to take urgent action to protect and sustainably manage the fragile and vital web of life on our one and only planet.

[Ends]

2019 Theme: Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health

Read about this Day.

Join Summer of Solutions for Climate Action!

The “Summer Of Solutions” is a call for applications from young people around the world to create innovative technology-based solutions to global challenges.

This is a new initiative launched by the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, in partnership with the United Nations Technology and Innovation Labs, and the United Nations Development Programme.

The 2019 #SummerOfSolutions aims to solve climate challenges:  

  1. #OpenCI Platform Challenge: develop an information systems solution that can serve as a platform to enhance the access of localized climate and market information.
  2. #CircularEconomy Challenge: present ideas for ICT tools and business process innovations that are related to the Circular Economy and can result in rapid and far-reaching improvements for society.
  3. #EthicalFashion Challenge: present ideas for ICT tools and business process innovations that are related to Ethical Fashion & Textiles, which can result in rapid and far-reaching improvements for society.

Selected participants and their ideas will be showcased at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City in September 2019.

Pick your challenge, get involved and help change the world!

Read more: https://uniteideas.spigit.com/main/Page/summerofsolutions

For any questions, please contact:

Teresa Debuque, National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Manila, debuque@un.org

Volunteers needed by UN office for disaster risk reduction

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) is looking to fill two UNV vacancies for Digital media and content officers in Bonn. The vacancies close on the 12 May 2019.

See links below:

https://www.unv.org/special-calls/un-youth-volunteer-digital-media-and-content-officer

https://www.unv.org/special-calls/digital-media-and-content-officer

For more information, please contact: Teresa Debuque, National Information Officer, UN Information Centre Manila

UN Secretary-General’s Video Message on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2019

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says in his video message on World Press Freedom Day:

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

According to UNESCO, almost 100 journalists were killed in 2018.

Hundreds are imprisoned.

When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.

On World Press Freedom Day, I call on all to defend the rights of journalists, whose efforts help us to build a better world for all.”

The full video message may be downloaded here:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/ondemand/MSG%20SG%20PRESS%20FREEDOM%20DAY%20EN%2024%20APR%2019.mp4

 

UN Secretary General’s Message on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2019

A free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights.

No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power.

This is especially true during election seasons — the focus of this year’s World Press Freedom Day.

Facts, not falsehoods, should guide people as they choose their representatives.

Yet while technology has transformed the ways in which we receive and share information, sometimes it is used to mislead public opinion or to fuel violence and hatred.

Civic space has been shrinking worldwide at an alarming rate.

And with anti-media rhetoric on the rise, so too are violence and harssasment against journalists, including women.

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

According to UNESCO, almost 100 journalists were killed in 2018.

Hundreds are imprisoned.

When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.

On World Press Freedom Day, I call on all to defend the rights of journalists, whose efforts help us to build a better world for all.

Thank you.

Read about World Press Freedom Day

2019 Theme: Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation

Press Release: Financing for Sustainable Development Report 2019

10 April 2019, Bangkok (ESCAP News) — Sixty-plus international organizations, led by the United Nations and including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group and World Trade Organization, jointly sounded the alarm in a new report, warning that unless national and international financial systems are revamped, the world’s governments will fail to keep their promises on such critical issues as combatting climate change and eradicating poverty by 2030.

In their 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report, the international organizations find some good news: investment has gained strength in some countries and interest in sustainable investing is growing, with 75 per cent of individual investors showing interest in how their investments affect the world.

And yet, greenhouse gas emissions grew 1.3 per cent in 2017; investment in many countries is falling; and 30 developing countries are now at high risk or already in debt distress. At the same time, global growth is expected to have peaked at around 3 per cent.

Changing the current trajectory in financing sustainable development is not just about raising additional investment, says the report. Achieving global goals depends on supportive financial systems, and conducive global and national policy environments.

Yet the report warns that creating favourable conditions is becoming more challenging. Rapid changes in technology, geopolitics, and climate are remaking our economies and societies, and existing national and multilateral institutions — which had helped lift billions out of poverty — are now struggling to adapt. Confidence in the multilateral system has been undermined, in part because it has failed to deliver returns equitably, with most people in the world living in countries with increasing inequality.

“Trust in the multilateral system itself is eroding, in part because we are not delivering inclusive and sustainable growth for all,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his foreword to the report. “Our shared challenge is to make the international trading and financial systems fit for purpose to advance sustainable development and promote fair globalization.”

The international agencies recommend concrete steps to overhaul the global institutional architecture and make the global economy and global finance more sustainable, including:

  • supporting a shift towards long-term investment horizons with sustainability risks central to investment decisions;
  • revisiting mechanisms for sovereign debt restructuring to respond to more complex debt instruments and a more diverse creditor landscape;
  • revamping the multilateral trading system;
  • addressing challenges to tax systems that inhibit countries from mobilizing adequate resources in an increasingly digitalized world economy; and
  • addressing growing market concentration that extends across borders, with impacts on inequality.

At the national level, the report puts forward a roadmap for countries to revamp their public and private financial systems to mobilize resources for sustainable investment. It introduces tools for countries to align financing policies with national sustainable development strategies and priorities.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has produced a complementary report on “Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific: Highlights in the Context of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, 2019 Edition”. Among other findings, the ESCAP report emphasizes the importance of raising public resources to finance urban infrastructure development in a context of breakneck urbanization and enhancing capacity-building efforts in the area of infrastructure financing and public-private partnerships.

The ESCAP report also underlines the need to scale up investments and international development cooperation to facilitate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in the region. “In a region as diverse as ours,” pointed out Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, “investment needs vary considerably. Least developed countries need to invest the most at 16 per cent of GDP while South and South-West Asia has an investment need of 10 per cent of GDP to reach the goals by 2030.”

Finally, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in partnership with the Asian Development Bank has prepared another complementary report entitled “Integrated Financial Solutions: How Countries are Innovating to Finance the Sustainable Development Goals”. Based on more than 40 case studies from around the world, the report documents integration efforts across public and private financing of the SDGs, with a focus on the connection between planning processes, budgeting and policies to engage the private sector.

The Task Force report is available at http://developmentfinance.un.org/fsdr2019.

The ESCAP report is available at https://www.unescap.org/resources/financing-development-asia-and-pacific-highlights-context-addis-ababa-action-agenda-2019

The UNDP report is available at http://www.asia-pacific.undp.org/content/rbap/en/home/library/sustainable-development/integrated-financing-solutions.html

Call for Proposals: Expo Dubai ‘Small Steps, Big Leaps’ Best practice programme

What is EXPO Dubai 2020?

The first World Expo to be hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, Expo 2020 Dubai will take place from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 and is expected to attract 25 million visitors, with 70% coming from outside the UAE. More than 200 participants including 190 nations, multilateral organizations, businesses NGOs and academic institutions will participate through exhibits and events at Expo 2020. The theme chosen for Expo 2020 is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

What is the Expo Dubai ‘Small Steps, Big Leaps’ best practice programme?

Expo 2020 Dubai will showcase projects that have provided tangible solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. It will highlight simple but effective initiatives, which localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and demonstrate the potential to be adapted, replicated, and scaled up to achieve an enhanced global impact.

The call for proposals is open until 30 May 2019.

Submissions should relate to one of the five key topics and touch upon one of the crosscutting themes and enablers for development:

Priority topics

  1. Resilient habitats
  2. Livelihoods and enterprise development
  3. Social development (health and/or education)
  4. Water, food and energy security
  5. Inclusive and sustainable service delivery

Cross-cutting themes

  1. Gender equality
  2. Climate change and disaster risk
  3. Good governance and strong institutions

Enablers for development

  1. Innovation and technology for good
  2. Access to finance

Why should I apply?

The Best practices competition is a great opportunity for participants to showcase excellence and best practices in work related to the themes named above as well as to gain high visibility.

  • The global platform for best practices is expected to receive 25 million visits.
  • Projects will be featured on-site and online during the 6 months of Expo
  • Representatives of winning projects will be invited to the Expo site to present the project results.
  • Media coverage and visibility for projects at global level prior to and during Expo.

Who can apply?

Eligible candidates include governments of all nations, corporations and businesses, international organizations, public organizations or associations, universities and educational institutions, public-private partnerships, communities and entrepreneurs.

How can I enter?

Proposals must be submitted by 30 May 2019 using the online application form, which is available to download here. A multimedia submission is recommended as part of the application. More information is in the attached pdf file.

Of the 18 best practices awarded at Expo Milano 2015, five featured in a movie produced by Expo 2015 and 13 were illustrated through photo stories to the expositions 20 million visitors. The winners included two FAO projects (“Intensification of agriculture by strengthening cooperative agro-input shops” in Niger and “Eradication of the tsetse fly Glossina palpalis gambiensis from the Niayes in Senegal”) and an IFAD project (System of Rice Intensification in Madagascar).

Where will the winning projects be showcased?

Audiovisual content about the winning projects will feature in the Opportunity Pavilion, which introduces the SDGs and challenges visitors, through a set of gaming elements, to advance progress in achieving the SDGs.

For more information, follow this link: https://www.expo2020dubai.com/en/programmes/best-practice-programme

Ambitions are affordable for Asia and the Pacific

by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

Three years of implementation of the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific shows the region has some catching up to do.

Despite much progress, the region is not on track to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are living in a time of booming prosperity, yet many are getting left behind. Basic needs, such as the freedom for all from hunger and poverty, ill-health and gender-based discrimination, and equal opportunity for all are elusive. Economic, social and planetary well-being has a price tag. Calculations by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) show that it is mostly affordable for the region.

Realizing ambitions beyond growth

What will it take to realize the ambitious 2030 Agenda focused on strengthening the three pillars of sustainable development?

The 2019 edition of the ESCAP’s flagship publication Economic and Social Survey for Asia and the Pacific is asking for the region to raise ambitions beyond mere economic growth. Countries facing high and growing levels of inequality and environmental degradation will have to change course from pursuing a growth path that neglects people and the planet.

The 2019 Survey forecasts continuing robust growth in the region which remains the engine of the world economy. Amid rising global uncertainty that challenges the Asia-Pacific region’s economic dynamism, there is a need for investments that not only sustain growth but also build social and environmental capital.

ESCAP analysis shows the region needs to invest an additional $1.5 trillion every year to reach the Goals by 2030. This is equivalent to about 5 per cent of the region’s GDP in 2018, or about 4 per cent of the annual average GDP for the period 2016‒2030.

At $1 per person per day, this investment is worthwhile. It could end extreme poverty and malnutrition for more than 400 million people. A quality education for every child and youth would become possible, as would basic health care for all. Better access to transport, information and communications technology (ICT) as well as water and sanitation could be ensured. Universal access to clean and modern energy, as well as energy-efficient transport, buildings and industry could be achieved. Climate and disaster-resilient infrastructure could be built. Resources could be used more effectively, and the planet protected.

Most of this investment is needed to protect and nurture people and the planet. Making a better world for our people by ending poverty and hunger and meeting health and education Goals, requires some $698 billion per year. Protecting our planet by promoting clean energy and climate action and living in harmony with nature, requires $590 billion per year. Another $196 billion per year is needed to invest in improving transport and ICT infrastructure as well as access to water and sanitation services.

Of course, in a region as diverse as ours, investment needs vary considerably. Least developed countries need to invest the most at 16 per cent of GDP while South and South-West Asia has an investment need of 10 per cent of GDP to reach the Goals by 2030. More than two-thirds of the investment in these countries will be in reducing social deficits – poverty, malnutrition, lack of health care and education as well as job creation. Landlocked developing countries need to invest most in improving transport and ICT infrastructure as well as water and sanitation services. East and North-East Asia and, to a lesser degree, South-East Asia, need to focus on clean energy and climate action investment.

Paying the bill

It should be remembered that the Goals support each other and an investment in one area has a positive effect on another. Good health depends not only on access to healthcare services but also nutrition, safe water, sanitation and good air quality. Education for all also promotes gender equality. Resource efficiency supports climate change mitigation.

Besides harnessing these synergies, sustainable development financing strategies will have to turn to public and private finance. The good news is that most countries in the region have the fiscal space to invest in the Goals. There is also a massive untapped pool of private financial assets estimated at $51 trillion in developing Asia-Pacific countries alone. Enhanced regional cooperation would also help the region offset external risks and build resilience by tapping into regional resources.

Above all, leadership will be crucial in making the transition to a development strategy that balances all dimensions of human and planetary well-being. The 2019 Survey aims to stimulate a regional dialogue and offers guidance on accelerating progress towards the Goals in the region.

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is United Nations UnderSecretaryGeneral and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).