Category Archives: UN System-Wide Press Releases

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

Application open for Reham Al-Farra Journalism Fellowship

Manila, 21 March 2019 — The Department of Global Communications (DGC) is accepting applications for the 2019 Reham Al-Farra (RAF) Memorial Journalism Fellowship, which will be held at UN Headquarters in New York from 15 September to 5 October 2019.

The Fellowship will bring a select group of young journalists from around the world to United Nations Headquarters to cover the General Assembly, interview senior officials, and attend special briefings and workshops.

The Fellowship is open to full-time journalists between the ages of 22 and 35 from countries with developing and transitioning economies. A full list of eligible countries is available at https://outreach.un.org/raf/eligibility.

The Fellowship covers the cost of roundtrip air travel to New York and provides a daily subsistence allowance.

Applications must be submitted online at https://outreach.un.org/raf/applyThe application deadline is 15 April 2019.

This Fellowship commemorates the memory of Reham Al-Farra (photo above), a Jordanian diplomat and journalist who was murdered in the Canal Hotel bombing in 2003. Only 29 years old when killed, she served as a Minister of Public Information and for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Victims focus of UN strategy to stop sexual abuse by UN personnel

On Monday, 18 March, the Secretary-General’s report on “Special Measures for the Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse:  Implementing a Zero-Tolerance Policy” was issued in New York.

The report contains information on and a series of charts that outline the nature of allegations reported for UN peace operations, for UN entities other than peace operations, implementing partners, and for non-UN forces operating under a Security Council mandate.

In his report, the Secretary-General updates the General Assembly on the efforts that the UN system has undertaken in 2018 to address this scourge, including highlighting the victim-centered approach.

Please find below the Report highlights.

Highlights of the Report:

Overview of 2018 Data on Allegations

In 2018, there were 148 allegations system-wide and 111 for non-UN related entities. The total in 2017 and 2016, respectively was 138 and 165 allegations.

Peacekeeping and Special Political Missions

The number of cases of sexual exploitation and abuse reported for peacekeeping has decreased, with 54 allegations reported in 2018, compared with 62 and 104 reported in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The majority (74 per cent) of the allegations received in 2018 are from the peacekeeping missions in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), with the remaining 26 per cent associated with the operations in Mali (MINUSMA), Haiti (MINUSTAH), Liberia (UNMIL), and South Sudan (UNMISS).

The allegations reported for peacekeeping missions were associated with 94 victims, of whom 83% cent were adults and 17% were children. Alleged perpetrators included 64 military, 14 police and 14 civilian personnel. Of the allegations reported in 2018, 20 (37% involved sexual abuse and 34 (63%) sexual exploitation of an adult

There were no allegations reported for special political missions in 2018.

Other United Nations system entities and their implementing partners

In 2018, 94 allegations against UN personnel in entities other than peacekeeping were reported.

Reports of allegations related to personnel of implementing partners has increased to 109 in 2018, from 25 in 2017, suggesting that awareness-raising and outreach efforts are having an impact and that there is increased trust among victims and witnesses and increased understanding of the need to report.

Non-United Nations forces authorized by a Security Council mandate

2 allegations were reported for such forces in 2018.  There was 1 allegation in 2017 and 20 in 2016.

You may download the Report at the link below:

2019 — SG Report on SEA — Key Messages and Highlights

Annexes are available at the link below:

https://www.un.org/preventing-sexual-exploitation-and-abuse/sites/www.un.org.preventing-sexual-exploitation-and-abuse/files/data_annexes_to_the_sgs_special_measures_report_20190318.pdf

 

Last interview with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

The four-year mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, ends on 31 August 2018.

His last major interview with UN News went live today, 15 August (New York time).

The script of the interview is herein attached: 10 Aug 18 Zeid SCRIPT_FINAL

Below are the links to the UN News story, video (English) and podcast (English, 15 min.)
News link:
https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/08/1017052

Video link:

https://youtu.be/0-btEj2J2bM

Podcast link:
https://news.un.org/en/audio/2018/08/1017022

UN Human Rights Office to hold 10th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria are inviting students from around the world to participate in the 10th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition, which will be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on 15 – 20 July 2018.

The competition, which is held in English and French this year, is open to undergraduate and masters students from universities around the world. It will bring together up to 150 participants from as many as 30 universities representing Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South America and the Caribbean, Western Europe and other regions.

Below is a formal invitation to students to the moot court competition.

Nelson Mandela WHRMCC 2018 Invitation letter EN

The deadline for registration is 16 April 2018.

More information and registration are available at www.chr.up.ac.za/worldmoot.

Students who wish to participate in the Competition submit written legal arguments for the opposing sides in a fictional dispute (attached below) involving some of the burning human rights issues of the day.

10th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition Hypothetical Case Version 20 December 2017

The teams with the highest scores from each of the five regions are then invited to participate in the final, oral rounds in the Human Rights Council Chamber in the Palais des Nations. The case is heard by a panel of eminent international jurists, including judges from international tribunals.

The teams that are selected to participate in the final rounds in Geneva are expected to cover their own traveling costs as well as accommodation and meals, although limited financial assistance is available.

The World Human Rights Moot Court Competition has been presented every year for the last nine years, and has become a leading human rights educational event. It is unique in bringing together some of the brightest law students from universities around the globe to debate contemporary human rights issues on the basis of a common UN human rights system, influenced by national and regional perspectives and experiences.

2018 marks not only the tenth year of the Competition, it is also an opportunity to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela.

If you have questions, please contact Martina Donlon (donlon@un.org) in DPI’s Palestine, Decolonization and Human Rights Section.

Press Release: Managing migration is one of the most urgent and profound tests of​ ​international cooperation in our time

New York, 11 January 2018–​“Migration is an expanding global reality” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres maintains in his report released today. “The time for debating the need for cooperation in this field is past”, and “managing it is one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation of our time.”

“Making Migration Work for All,” the report released to the UN General Assembly on 11 January 2018, is the Secretary-General’s contribution to the process of developing a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular. The report offers the Secretary-General’s vision for constructive international cooperation, examining how to better manage migration, for the benefit of all – the migrants themselves, their host communities and their societies of origin.

The report may be downloaded at: http://refugeesmigrants.un.org/sites/default/files/sg_report_en.pdf

The Secretary-General emphasizes that “migration is an engine of economic growth, innovation and sustainable development”. The reports highlights that there is a clear body of evidence that, despite real challenges, migration is beneficial both for migrants and host communities, in economic and social terms.

The Global Compact will provide Member States the opportunity to maximize those benefits and better address migration challenges.

The report points to an estimated 258 million international migrants, or 3.4% of the world’s population, with levels expected to increase.

While the majority of migrants move between countries in a safe, orderly and regular manner, a significant minority of migrants face life-threatening conditions. The report notes that around 6 million migrants are trapped in forced labour, and that recent large-scale movements of migrants and refugees, in regions including the Sahel and South-east Asia, have created major humanitarian crises. The report calls for the Global Compact to include a special strategy to address this.

The report underscores the economic benefits of migration. Migrants spend 85% of their earnings in their host communities and send the remaining 15% to their countries of origin.

In 2017 alone, migrants sent home approximately $600 billion in remittances, which is three times all official development assistance. Women, who make up 48% of all migrants, send home a higher percentage of their earnings than men, yet they face more restrictive labour policies and employment customs than men, thus restricting their economic income and social contribution. Member States are urged “to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” as a central element of the Global Compact.

The Secretary-General encourages governments to work together to establish a productive and humane global migration system which would enhance, rather than detract from sovereignty. If governments open more legal pathways for migration, based on realistic analyses of labour market needs, there is likely to be fewer border crossings, fewer migrants working outside the law and fewer abuses of irregular migrants.

The Secretary-General maintains that a new approach to migration is necessary. “It is now time to draw together all parts of the UN system, including International Organization for Migration (IOM), to support Member State efforts to address migration.” The Secretary-General commits to work within the UN system to identify new ways to help Member States manage migration better based on the Global Compact.

Further information:
UN Member States will soon undertake the final negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The Global Compact will then be finalized in 2018.

More information on the Global Compact: http://refugeesmigrants.un.org/migration-compact

Please contact:
Nora Sturm, sturm@un.org+1 212 963 9338
Office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration (UNHQ, New York)
Jon Greenway, greenway@un.org+ 1 212 963 2124
Donna Cusumano, cusumanod@un.org+1 212 963-1148
Strategic Communications, UN Department of Public Information (UNHQ, New York)

 

Press Release: UN General Assembly approves creation of new UN Counter-Terrorism Office

15 June​, New York​ – The General Assembly today approved the establishment of a new United Nations office to help Member States implement the Organization’s global counter-terrorism strategy.

Adopting a consensus resolution, the 193-nation body also welcomed Secretary-General António Guterres’ initiative to transfer relevant functions out of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and into the new United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.

As a result, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), currently in DPA, will be transferred to the new office, together with their existing staff and all associated regular and extra-budgetary resources. The new Office would he headed up by an Under-Secretary-General.

In his report on this issue to the Assembly, the Secretary-General proposed that the new Under-Secretary-General would Chair the Task Force and Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.

According to the report, the Office would have five main functions:

  • ​P​rovide leadership on the General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to me from across the United Nations system;
  • ​E​nhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities to ensure the balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy;
  • ​S​trengthen the delivery of United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to Member States;
  • ​I​mprove visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism efforts; and
  • ​E​nsure that due priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system and that the important work on preventing violent extremism is firmly rooted in the Strategy.

“The Secretary-General considers counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism to be one of the highest priorities of the United Nations to address a growing threat to international peace and security,” said his Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric in a statement issued just after the Assembly’s action.

“He therefore hopes that this reform of the UN Counter-Terrorism architecture will contribute to the UN’s broader efforts to promote conflict prevention, sustainable peace and development,” the Spokesman said.

For his part, General Assembly President Peter Thomson said “this resolution will enhance the United Nations’ capability to assist Member States in implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy across its four pillars by ensuring greater coordination and coherence across the UN system, and by improving visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations’ counter-terrorism efforts.”

[Ends]​

At Ocean Conference, UN agencies commit to cutting harmful fishing subsidies

6 June, New York City – As the international community focuses this week on preserving the health of global oceans and seas, the United Nations agencies on agriculture, environment and trade are committing to the sustainable trade of fisheries.

The agencies – the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) – are due to announce the commitment today at The Ocean Conference, which opened yesterday at UN Headquarters in New York and wraps up on Friday, 9 June.

“Trade and trade-policies can facilitate the transition to sustainable ocean-based economies by increasing resource efficiency, improving the environment, enhancing inclusiveness and creating new green business opportunities,” according to the voluntary commitment.

One of outcomes of the commitment is the removal or reduction of harmful fisheries subsidies which are estimated to be as high as $35 billion.

The issue is “complicated and thorny,” according to the UN agencies. “For the majority of fisheries subsidies, there is a strong correlation with overcapacity and overfishing.”

The commitment likely involves requesting countries to provide information on what subsidies they provide and prohibiting those that contribute to overfishing, as well as potentially giving differential treatment to developing countries.

The Ocean Conference, which runs through Friday, focuses on the targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by Governments in 2015. In particular among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 14 highlights the need to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources to benefit present and future generations.

The commitment on fisheries is one of some 850 commitments made at the Conference so far. The voluntary commitments are meant to be taken individually or in partnership by Governments, the UN system, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and others, to support SDG14.

In addition to marking voluntary commitments, participants this week are also due to adopt, by consensus, a “Call to Action” to protect the world’s oceans and seas.

For day-to-day updates on the Ocean Conference, please follow this link: https://oceanconference.un.org/

UN Ocean Conference opens with calls for united action to reverse human damage

5 June – Opening a “game-changing” international conference on the health of the world’s oceans and seas, top United Nations officials today urged coordinated global action to protect the planet.

Speaking in the UN General Assembly Hall, Secretary-General António Guterres cautioned Governments that unless they overcome short-term territorial and resource interests, the state of the oceans will continue to deteriorate.

“Improving the health of our oceans is a test for multilateralism, and we cannot afford to fail,” the Secretary-General said addressing his first major UN conference since taking on his post.

“We must jointly address the problems of governance that have held us back,” he said, calling for a new strategic vision of how to govern the oceans and marine resources.

One of the main challenges, he said, is to end “the artificial dichotomy” between jobs and healthy oceans: “The conservation and sustainable use of marine resources are two sides of the same coin.”

He called for strong political leadership and new partnerships, based on the existing legal framework, and concrete steps, such as expanding marine protected areas and reducing plastic waste pollution.

Among other specific actions, Mr. Guterres urged Governments to allocate the promised funding for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as well as

improving data collection and sharing their best experiences.

These works are supported by the UN, he added, which among its work, is building partnerships with Governments, the private sector, civil society and others, and working with international financial institutions to allocate resources.

Also addressing the thousands of participants – including heads of State and Government, civil society representatives, business people, as well as actors, and ocean and marine life advocates – was the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson.

“The time has come for us to correct our wrongful ways,” said Mr. Thomson, who hails from the island of Fiji, which is co-hosting the event alongside Sweden.

He spoke out against “inexcusable” actions, such as dumping the equivalent of one large garbage truck of plastic into the oceans every minute of every day, driving fish stocks to the points of collapse, and destroying marine life through acidification and deoxygenation.

“We are here on behalf of humanity to restore sustainability, balance and respect to our relationship with our primal mother, the source of life, the Ocean,” he noted.

Also speaking at the opening was Wu Hongbo, the Secretary-General of The Ocean Conference, who pointed out that without oceans and seas, where would be no life on the planet.

Mr. Wu, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted that everyone must work together – not in silos – to achieve the goals of the Conference.

The Ocean Conference, which runs through Friday, focuses on the targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by Governments in 2015. In particular among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 14 highlights the need to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources to benefit present and future generations.

The main areas of work at The Ocean Conference will be a political call to action, a segment on partnership dialogues and voluntary commitments. Hundreds of commitments were already registered by the time the conference opened earlier today.

Updates on the Ocean conference may be found at: https://oceanconference.un.org/