UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11 February 2019

Skills in science, technology, engineering and math drive innovation and are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Women and girls are vital in all these areas. Yet they remain woefully under-represented.

Gender stereotypes, a lack of visible role models and unsupportive or even hostile policies and environments can keep them from pursuing these careers.

The world cannot afford to miss out on the contributions of half our population.

We need concerted efforts to overcome these obstacles.

We must tackle misconceptions about girls’ abilities.

We must promote access to learning opportunities for women and girls, particularly in rural areas.

And we must do more to change workplace culture so that girls who dream of being scientists, engineers and mathematicians can enjoy fulfilling careers in these fields.

Let us ensure that every girl, everywhere, has the opportunity to realize her dreams, grow into her power and contribute to a sustainable future for all.

Security Council Press Statement on Terrorist Attack in Sulu Province, the Philippines

New York, 29 January 2019–The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack that took place at Jolo Cathedral in Sulu, Philippines, on 27 January 2019, which resulted in 20 killed and wounded dozens other, for which Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) has claimed responsibility.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Philippines and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of the Philippines and all other relevant authorities in this regard.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman of the Secretary-General on the terrorist attack in the Philippines 

New York, 27 January 2019

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack on 27 January at the Jolo Cathedral in Sulu in the Philippines. He expresses his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded.

The Secretary-General calls for the perpetrators of these crimes to be swiftly brought to justice. He reiterates the support of the United Nations to the Government and people of the Philippines in their efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism, and to carry forward the peace process in Bangsamoro region.

Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General

UN Philippines Press Release: United Nations System in The Philippines Condemns Jolo Cathedral Bombing

Manila, 27 January 2019–On behalf of the United Nations System in the Philippines, we were shocked to learn of the bombing earlier today at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu.

We express our deepest condolences with the victims of this attack, civilian and security
personnel alike, and offer our sympathy to all affected communities in Sulu. The United Nations condemns the attack, and any form of violent extremism, and we hope that the perpetrators can quickly be identified and brought to justice.

The United Nations stands in solidarity with all who have been affected by this cowardly act. That it occurs at a historical moment in the peace process in Bangsamoro should strengthen the joint resolve of all responsible parties to pursue lasting peace in a region that has suffered from conflict for far too long.

Manila, 27 January 2019

Ola Almgren
Resident Coordinator

Holocaust remembrance means fighting Holocaust denial

Manila, 24 January 2019 – The United Nations Information Centre Manila and the Embassy of Israel held a Holocaust remembrance commemorative event, entitled “The Undeniable Truth,” at the Emilio Aguinaldo College in Paco, Manila, Philippines.

The Holocaust is the systematic extermination of about six million Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II.

United Nations Philippines Resident Coordinator Ola Almgren said, “Among all the horrors that were inflicted on humankind in the course of World War II, none was committed with such chilling and evil calculation as the one inflicted on the Jewish People.”

“[Therefore denying the Holocaust] is not just unconscionable,” said Almgren. “It is an assault on our collective memory.”

He encouraged the youth audience numbering 500 to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust, act against discrimination and defend democratic values, at a time when the emergence of Neo-Nazism and hate groups fuels rising antisemitism and other forms of hatred in many places around the world.”

Ambassador Rafael Harpaz meanwhile recalled the Philippines’ act of generosity during World War II, when then President Manuel Quezon provided refuge to Jews that had fled persecution in Europe.

Harpaz said, “Eighty years ago, not far from where we are sitting now, stood a unique voice among the leaders of the world – President Manuel Quezon. This man took a brave leadership decision during the 1930s when he stood and opened the doors of the Philippines to Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany. This was also the time when most leaders of the world preferred to shut their eyes and doors to Jews who eventually perished in the Holocaust. President of the Philippines, Manuel Quezon is a role model to the leadership of today. His action embodies the important lesson drawn from history – to take responsibility and action when needed simply because it is the right thing to do.”

President Quezon’s great grandson, Manuel L. Quezon III, led who led the panel of Filipino historians invited to the event, said that the reason that the Philippines chose to let in the Jewish refugees, along among many countries that refused them entry is that Filipinos understood what it meant to be persecuted by another country on the basis of race.

Given the Filipinos’ own struggle against colonialism by the Spaniards, they easily identified with the Jewish people being oppressed by Nazi Germany.

On the other hand, Dr. Augusto de Viana, chair of the Faculty of History of the University of Santo Tomas, said that revising history could be a good thing if it served to provide a more accurate account of past events. However, historical revisionism that is motivated by a self-interested agenda, like Holocaust denial, should be confronted and challenged.

The commemorative event also featured a piano concerto by renowned pianist Dr. Amit Weiner, who performed “Music in Times of Tragedy,” a collection of musical compositions of Jewish musicians who perished in the Holocaust.

Almgren said, at the end of his message, “Let us remember this and vow never to forget. Because no matter what people say, no matter how much time passes, no one can change this Undeniable Truth.”

Teresa Debuque, National Information Officer, of the United Nations Information Centre Manila, was the master of ceremonies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Mindanao studes top UN human rights film tilt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New UN Publications: October 2018

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

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


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

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


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

Bibliographic info:
ISBN: 978-92-5-130571-3
pp. 183

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