Statements/Messages from the UN Secretary-General

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, 2 November 2019

Freedom of expression and free media are essential to fostering understanding, bolstering democracy and advancing our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

In recent years, however, there has been a rise in the scale and number of attacks against the physical safety of journalists and media workers, and of incidents infringing upon their ability to do their vital work, including threats of prosecution, arrest, imprisonment, denial of journalistic access and failures to investigate and prosecute crimes against them.

The proportion of women among fatalities has also risen, and women journalists increasingly face gendered forms of violence, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault and threats.

When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.  Without the ability to protect journalists, our ability to remain informed and contribute to decision-making is severely hampered.  Without journalists able to do their jobs in safety, we face the prospect of a world of confusion and disinformation.

On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, let us stand up together for journalists, for truth and for justice.

[Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Message on World Cities Day, 31 October 2019

More than half the world’s population now lives in urban areas. By 2050, two thirds will do so. Much of what will be needed to house and serve this increasingly urban world has yet to be constructed, and even some new cities will need to be built. This brings enormous opportunities to develop and implement solutions that can address the climate crisis and pave the way toward a sustainable future.

Cities consume more than two-thirds of the world’s energy, and account for more than 70 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The choices that will be made on urban infrastructure in the coming decades – on urban planning, energy efficiency, power generation and transport – will have decisive influence on the emissions curve. Indeed, cities are where the climate battle will largely be won or lost.

But in addition to their enormous climate footprint, cities generate more than 80 per cent of global gross domestic product and, as centers of education and entrepreneurship, they are hubs of innovation and creativity, with young people often taking the lead.

From electric public transport to renewable energy and better waste management, many of the answers needed for the transition to a sustainable, low-emission future are already available. Cities around the world are turning them into a reality.  It is encouraging to see this happening, but we need this vision to become the new norm. Now is the time for ambitious action.

World Cities Day comes at the end of “urban October”, a month dedicated to raising awareness on urban challenges, successes and sustainability. As we conclude this period, let us commit to embracing innovation to ensure a better life for future generations and chart a path towards sustainable, inclusive urban development that benefits all.

[Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 17 October 2019

Ending extreme poverty is at the heart of the world’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and build a sustainable future for all.  But success in leaving no one behind will remain elusive if we do not target the people who are farthest behind first.

This year’s observance focuses on “acting together to empower children, their families and communities to end poverty”, as we mark the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Children are more than twice as likely to live in extreme poverty than adults.  Poverty condemns many children to lifelong disadvantage and perpetuates an intergenerational transfer of deprivation.  Today’s children will also live with the devastating consequences of climate change if we fail to raise ambition now.

From conflict zones to cyberspace, from forced labour to sexual exploitation, girls are at particular risk, but they are also a force for change. For every additional year a girl remains in school, her average income over a lifetime increases, her chances of being married early decrease, and there are clear health and education benefits for her children, making it a key factor in breaking the cycle of poverty.

One of the keys to ending child poverty is addressing poverty in the household, from which it often stems. Access to quality social services must be a priority, yet today, almost two-thirds of children lack social protection coverage.  Family-oriented policies are also indispensable, including flexible working arrangements, parental leave and childcare support.

On this International Day, let us recommit to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1 and a fair globalization that works for all children, their families and communities. [Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Rural Women, 15 October 2019

Rural women represent the backbone of many communities, but they continue to face obstacles that prevent them from realizing their potential. The devastating impacts of climate change add to their hardship.

Almost a third of women’s employment worldwide is in agriculture. Women cultivate land, collect food, water and essential fuels, and sustain entire households, but lack equal access to land, finances, equipment, markets and decision-making power.

Climate change exacerbates these inequalities, leaving rural women and girls further behind. A quarter of the total damage and loss resulting from climate-related disasters between 2006 and 2016 was suffered by the agricultural sector in developing countries, and women suffer disproportionately in such disasters.

At the same time, rural women are a repository of knowledge and skills that can help communities and societies adapt to the consequences of climate change through nature-based, low-carbon solutions. As farmers and producers, they play a central role in embracing both traditional and modern practices to respond to climate variability and shocks like droughts, heat waves, and extreme rainfall.

Listening to rural women and amplifying their voices is central to spreading knowledge about climate change and urging governments, businesses and community leaders to act. As early adopters of new agricultural techniques, first responders in crises and entrepreneurs of green energy, rural women are a powerful force that can drive global progress.

On this International Day of Rural Women, let us take a concrete step towards such a future by supporting rural women and girls around the world. [Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Message on World Food Day, 16 October 2019

World Food Day is a global call for Zero Hunger — for a world where nutritious food is available and affordable for everyone, everywhere.

But today, more than 820 million people do not have enough to eat.

And the climate emergency is an increasing threat to food security.

Meanwhile, two billion men, women and children are overweight or obese.

Unhealthy diets present an enormous risk of disease and death.

It is unacceptable that hunger is on the rise at a time when the world wastes more than 1 billion tonnes of food every year.

It is time to change how we produce and consume, including to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Transforming food systems is crucial for delivering all the Sustainable Development Goals.

That is why I hope to convene a Food Systems Summit in 2021 as part of the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

As a human family, a world free of hunger is our imperative. [Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Message for the International Day of Peace, 21 September 2019

Peace is at the heart of all our work at the United Nations.

And we know peace is much more than a world free of war.

It means resilient, stable societies where everyone can enjoy fundamental freedoms and thrive rather than struggle to meet basic needs.

Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods and our lives.

That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace.

And it’s why I am convening a Climate Action Summit.

This is a global crisis.

Only by working together can we make our only home peaceful, prosperous and safe for us and future generations.

On this International Day of Peace, I urge all of you: take concrete climate action and demand it of your leaders.

This is a race we can and must win.

Watch Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s video message: https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/ondemand/MSG%20SG%20International%20Day%20of%20Peace%202019%20CLEAN.mp4

[Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Democracy, 15 September

At heart, democracy is about people.  It is built on inclusion, equal treatment and participation — and it is a fundamental building block for peace, sustainable development and human rights.

These values and aspirations cannot be seen as tokens or lip service.  They must be real in people’s lives.

Yet the International Day of Democracy takes place at a time when trust is low and anxiety is high.

People are frustrated by growing inequalities and unsettled by sweeping changes from globalization and technology.

They see conflicts going unresolved, a climate emergency going unanswered, injustice going unaddressed, and civic space shrinking.

As we mark Democracy Day, I urge all governments to respect the right to active, substantive and meaningful participation; and I salute all of you who strive tirelessly to make this happen.

Watch the Secretary-General’s video message at the link below:

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day against Nuclear Tests, 29 August 2019

The International Day against Nuclear Tests marks the closing, in 1991, of the nuclear test site in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, the largest in the former Soviet Union. More than 450 tests took place there, with impacts still being felt decades later.

But this observance also has a broader message. It commemorates all victims of nuclear tests, anywhere they have been conducted. Affected communities have yet to fully recover from the environmental, health and economic damage.

Honoring those victims requires bringing nuclear testing to a permanent end. Yet, an effective and legally-binding prohibition remains one of the longest unfulfilled goals of nuclear disarmament. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a central pillar of international efforts, but despite being widely supported – with 184 signatories and 168 ratifying States – it has not yet entered into force, more than 20 years after its adoption.

The legacy of nuclear testing is nothing but destruction. The CTBT is vital to ensuring there are no more victims; it is also essential to advancing nuclear disarmament.

On the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, I reiterate my call for all States that have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the Treaty, especially those whose ratification is needed for the Treaty’s entry into force. In a world of rising tensions and divisions, our collective security depends on it.

UN Secretary-General’s Message on World Humanitarian Day, 19 August 2019

World Humanitarian Day honours aid workers around the world who risk their own lives to help save and improve the lives of others. This year, we pay special tribute to women humanitarians and the huge difference they make for millions of women, men and children in urgent need.

From supporting civilians caught up in crisis to addressing disease outbreaks, women humanitarians are on the front lines. Their presence makes aid operations more effective by increasing their reach. It also improves the humanitarian response to gender-based violence, which increases during emergencies. Today, and for the rest of this month, we invite you to share their powerful stories through your online and social media platforms. In doing so, we reaffirm our common commitment to strengthening the role of women in humanitarian operations.

World leaders, and all parties to conflict, must ensure that humanitarians are protected from harm, as required under international law. Serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law continue around the world. They must be investigated and prosecuted.

On World Humanitarian Day and every day, we stand up for humanitarian workers around the world.

Watch the Secretary-General’s video message here: https://bit.ly/2KZtTiQ

 

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, 26 June 2019

The world drug problem is one of the most challenging issues we face. It has wide-ranging impacts on the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities, as well as on the security and sustainable development of nations.

Therefore, preventing and addressing drug challenges in all their complexity is essential to delivering on a fundamental global pledge, enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals: to leave no one behind.

National priorities may differ, but the international community shares a common goal to protect people’s security and well-being, while striving for the progress and dignity of all.

I welcome the theme of this International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – “health for justice, justice for health” – underlining the importance of a holistic approach involving health, human rights, criminal justice and social service institutions.

This comprehensive response guided the drug policy launched by my government when I was Prime Minister of Portugal two decades ago.

Earlier this year, at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Member States committed to “working together for rights- and health-based responses to drugs so that people can live in health, dignity and peace, with security and prosperity”.

I call on all governments to live up to this pledge. This means cracking down on drug trafficking and those who profit from human misery, including by enhanced international cooperation and intelligence-sharing across the entire drug supply chain. It also means human rights-based, gender- and age-sensitive prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services for drug use and HIV, offered without stigma or discrimination. It also means law enforcement approaches that protect people from violence and criminal exploitation.

Families, schools and communities play a crucial role, especially in supporting youth who may be affected by drug abuse with terrible and long-lasting consequences. Let us work with and for young people to prevent drug use and help young people lead healthier lives and navigate life choices with strength and resilience.

On this International Day, let us show our commitment to fulfilling our promise to ensure health and justice for all.

[Ends]

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.

 

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 harassment 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

 

Video Message of the UN Secretary-General for Earth Hour, 30 March 2019

Below is the transcript of the UN Secretary-General’s video message for Earth Hour 2019:

This Earth Hour comes with a great sense of urgency.

We can see the worsening impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean pollution, soil degradation and water scarcity.

The good news is: there are solutions.

It is still possible to limit climate change, protect our planet and safeguard our future.

Technology is on our side.

I am convening a Climate Action Summit in September.

And I am telling global leaders to bring concrete plans.

Earth Hour is an opportunity to show support for ambitious climate action, by turning off your lights this Saturday, March 30th, at 8:30 p.m. local time.

Together, let’s build a cleaner, safer and greener future for everyone.

[Ends]

Watch this video here.

UN Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, 25 March 2019

Day in and day out, deed by deed, United Nations personnel work unwaveringly to help the most vulnerable, protect the planet and build a better future for all.

Sadly, fulfilling this vital mission often entails great perils.

In 2018, 16 UN staff members were kidnapped or abducted, and one thus far in 2019. Thankfully, all have been released. As of today, there are 21 UN staff members under arrest or in detention — five of whom are being held without any known charges. We will continue to do everything within our means to secure our colleagues’ release.

On this International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, I call on all countries to support the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel as well as its 2005 Optional Protocol. To date, only 95 countries are party to the Convention and only 33 to the Optional Protocol.

Whether in their home countries or abroad, United Nations staff members have an admirable commitment to service. Their safety must be our priority. On this International Day of Solidarity, I call on the Member States and the international community to strengthen resolve to give them the protection they need to continue their work for peace and prosperity for all.

(Above) Alec Collett, a UN staff member, who was abducted in 1985. UN Photo/Milton Grant

[Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Message on World Water Day, 22 March 2019

Water is vital for survival and, alongside sanitation, helps protect public and environmental health. Our bodies, our cities and our industries, our agriculture and our ecosystems all depend on it.

Water is a human right. Nobody should be denied access. This World Water Day is about upholding this right for all, leaving no one behind.

Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe water due to factors such as economic status, gender, ethnicity, religion and age. Growing demands, coupled with poor management, have increased water stress in many parts of the world. Climate change is adding dramatically to the pressure. By 2030, an estimated 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity.

We must encourage cooperation to tackle the global water crisis and strengthen our resilience to the effects of climate change to ensure access to water for all, especially for the most vulnerable. These are vital steps towards a more peaceful and prosperous future. As we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must value water resources and ensure their inclusive management if we are to protect and use this vital resource sustainably for the benefit of all people.

[Ends]

Mga nag-aaklas para sa klima, inspirasyon para sa susunod na pagpupulong ng UN

Sinulat ni Antonio Guterres

Ika-15 ng Marso 2019

Salin ng UNIC Manila mula sa Ingles*

Libu-libong kabataan ang tumungo sa mga lansangan noong Biyernes upang ipahatid sa mga lider ng bansa ang mensaheng ito: kumilos na kayo upang sagipin ang ating mundo at kinabukasan laban sa climate change.

Naiintindihan ng mga kabataang ito ang isang bagay na di makuha ng mga nakatatanda: tayo ay nakikipagkarera para sa ating buhay, at tayo ay natatalo. Ang pagkakataong makaungos sa karerang ito ay mabilis na nauubos. Di tayo maaaring magpatumpik-tumpik pa. Ang pagpapaliban sa aksyon para sa klima ay mas peligroso kaysa sa pagtanggi dito.

Bigo ang aking henerasyon na gawan ng solusyon ang climate change. Ito ay dama ng mga kabataan kaya nga sila ay nagagalit.

sa kabila ng ilang taon ng pag-uusap at pagpupulong, ang binubuga nating greenhouse emissions ay pinakamataas ngayon at di humuhupa. Ang nakaraang apat na taon ang pinakamainit sa kasaysayan. Sa nakalipas na 50 taon, ang temperatura sa Arctic ay tumaas nang 3-4 antas sentigrado. Ang lalim ng ating karagatan ay tumataas, nagkakamatayan ang ating mga koral, at naguumpisa na nating makita ang kahilahilakbot na tama ng climate change sa ting kalusugan, dahil sa polusyon, matinding init at banta sa tuluyang pagkakaroon ng pagkain.

Salamat na lamang at nariyan ang Paris agreement–isang mapangarapin at pasulong na balangkas na nagsasaad ng dapat nating gawin upang pigilin ang pagkasira dulot ng klima at salungatin ang mga epekto nito. Subalit ang Paris agreement ay walang-saysay kung walang pagkilos.

Ito ang dahilan kung bakit pupulungin ko ang mga lider ng bansa sa isang climate action summit ngayong taon. Tinatawagan ko ang mga lider na tumungo sa New York sa Setyembre, bitbit ang mga konkreto at makatotohanang mga plano upang mapaigting ang kanilan nationally determined contributions pagsapit ng 2020, ayon sa layuning bawasan nang 45% ang ating green house gas emissions pagsapit ng susunod na dekada, at gawing net zero pagdating ng 2050.

Pagsasamahin sa summit na ito ang mga estado, pribadong sektor, civil society, lokal na awtoridad, at mga samahang pandaigdigan upang makalimbag ng mga ambisyosong solusyon sa an im na larangan: renewable energy; emission reductions; sustainable infrastructure; sustenableng agrikultura at pamamahala sa kagubatan at karagatan; paglaban sa tama ng klima; at pamumuhunan sa green economy.

Ayon sa mga mga pinakabagong pagsusuri, kung kikilos tayo ngayon mapapababa nating angcarbon emissions sa loob ng 12 taon at di na hihigit sa 1.5C ang global warming. Subalit kung magpapatuloy tayo sa nakagawian, ang kahihinatnan natin ay mahirap na mahulaan.

Ang paglaban sa climate change ay mahalaga para sa ating buhay, ngunit mayroon din itong kaakibat na halaga. Hindi maaaring ang pagkilos ay magresulta sa pagkatalo para sa ilan, o di pagkakapantay-pantay sa ekonomiya. Kailangang patas ang pagkilos at magbunga ng oportunidad para sa mga tatamaan habang patungo tayo sa pagbabago.

Kaakbay natin ang negosyo. Ang mabilisang pagharap sa climate change ay makapagpapalakas sa ating mga ekonomiya at makapaglilkha ng trabaho, habang nililinis ang ating hangin, pinananatili ang ating biodiversity, at pinangangalagaan ang ating kapaligiran.

Ang mga bagong teknolohiya at solusyong inhinyero ay nakalilikha na ng enerhiya na mas mura kaysa sa enerhiyang galing sa krudo. Ang enerhiyang nagmumula sa araw at hangin ay siyang pinakamurang pinagmumulan ng malakihang pinagkukunan ng enerhiya sa halos lahat ng malalaking ekonomiya ngayon. Ngunit kailan pa ring tayo ang magpasimuno sa radikal na pagbabago.

Kinakailangang alisin na natin ang mga subsidiya na pumapabor sa krudo at sa uri ng agrikultura na malakas gumamit ng krudo at lumipat na sa renewable energy, mga sasakyang tumatakbo sa kuryente, at mga gawi na tinatawag na climate-smart. Kinakailangan din nating bigyan ng kaukulang presyo ang binubuga nating karbon. At kinakailangan nating pabilisin ang pagsasara sa mga planta ng karbon at palitan ang mga trabaho ng mas maiging alternatibo upang ang pagbabago ay makatarungan, ingklusibo at kapakipakinabang.

Sumisigla na ang pagkilos, nakikinig na ang mga tao, at mayroon nang bagong pagpupuniyagi upang ipakita ang mga posibilidad sa Paris agreement. Ang climate summit ang umpisa sa pagtatayo ng kinabukasan na gusto nating lahat.

Magtatapos ako sa pamamagitan ng isang mensahe sa mga nag-aklas noong Biyernes. Alam ko na kaya ng kabataan na baguhin ang mundo.

Marami sa inyo ang nababahala at natatakot sa kinabukasan, at naiintindihan ko ang inyong mga alalahanin at galit. Subalit alam ko rin na maraming pwedeng maabot ang sangkatauhan. Ang mga boses niyo ay nagbibigay sa akin ng pagasa.

Habang namamalas ko ang inyong pagkilos at pangako, lalong napapalagay ang loob ko na tayo ay magwawagi. Tulong-tulong, at sa pamamagitan ng inyong ayuda, makakayanan nating talunin ang bantang ito at lumikha ng mas malinis at mas ligtas na mundo para sa lahat.

Si Antonio Guterres ang secretary-general ng United Nations

*Ang op-ed na ito ay isinulat sa Ingles, na may titulong, “The climate strikers should inspire us all to act at the next UN summit,” at inilathala ng The Guardian noong ika-15 ng Marso, 2019.

Basahin ang op-ed na ito sa Ingles.

 

UN Secretary-General’s Remarks at Wreath Laying for Victims of Ethiopian Air Crash

New York, 15 March 2019

Dear Colleagues and dear Friends,

We come together in sadness and solidarity to pay tribute to our fellow UN family members who perished on Sunday.

In doing so, we also remember all the victims of the air crash that claimed so many lives – including civil society partners and humanitarian workers.

We send our deepest condolences and heartfelt wishes to their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time.

With our condolences also to the people and the Government of Ethiopia.

But the very nature of a tragedy such as this, is something that we should be able to think about, our colleagues were in many ways a random group.  They were from many agencies, with many areas of expertise, from the highest level in the hierarchy, to all kinds of functions within the UN and coming from all over the world.

Yet, together, they also were a mirror of the United Nations: they really represent what the United Nations is, and the best of the United Nations.  Women and men; some in the beginning of their careers, others closing in on retirement but each on an individual mission, but at the same time together, representing our larger quest – doing their part, in solidarity with all of us, to build a better world, brick by brick, deed by deed, day in and day out.

As we continue that mission, let us reflect on their lives, let us honour their service and let us be inspired by their extraordinary example.

I ask all of you please to join me in a minute of silence paying tribute to the colleagues that we shall never forget.

[Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Remarks on International Women’s Day 2019

New York, 8 March 2019

Warm greetings on International Women’s Day.

This year’s observance falls at a time when our world faces many global challenges, from climate change, inequality, armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies to the weakening
of commitment to multilateralism.

Gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to addressing each of these challenges. We can only re-establish trust and rebuild global solidarity by challenging historic injustices and promoting the rights and dignity of all. We can only achieve sustainable development and peace by drawing on all our assets and capacities.

In recent decades, we have seen remarkable progress on women’s rights and leadership.

But these gains are far from consistent. And they have sparked a backlash from an entrenched patriarchy.

Gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. We live still in a male-dominated world. Our male-dominated culture has ignored, silenced and oppressed women for centuries – even millennia.

A recently-published book drew my attention to the fact that Homer’s Odyssey, one of the founding works of western literature that recounts events that happened more than three thousand years ago, opens with an account of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus and Penelope, telling his mother to stop talking and go back to weaving at her loom.

We can draw a straight line between that story and the silencing and harassment of women today.

Women’s political representation in parliaments around the world stands at less than 25 per cent. At the highest levels that drops to 9 per cent. And the Global Media Monitoring Project found that worldwide, just one quarter of the subjects of news stories are women, and most often as victims rather than leaders.

Despite women’s achievements and successes, their voices are still routinely overlooked, and their opinions ignored.

We are all paying the price for inequality and oppression.

Increasing the number of women decision-makers is essential.

At the United Nations, I have made this a personal and urgent priority.

We now have gender parity among those who lead our teams around the world. Six months ago, we reached parity in the Senior Management Group, where we have today more women than men – 26 women and 16 men to be precise – placing us well ahead of schedule to achieve the goal of parity in all senior leadership by 2021.

One sure sign that this is an issue of power lies in the fact that those targeted for sexual harassment are overwhelmingly women. I have taken steps to address this extremely damaging behaviour at the United Nations, by focusing on prevention, by establishing a new team — made up entirely of women — dedicated to investigating allegations rapidly, supporting victims through their trauma and ensuring accountability for perpetrators.

Women still face major obstacles in accessing and exercising power. As the World Bank found, just six economies give women and men equal legal rights in areas that affect their work.

At present trends, it will take two centuries to close the gap in economic empowerment – a gap that is widening, not lessening, by the day.

I do not accept a world that tells my granddaughters that economic equality can wait for their granddaughter’s granddaughters.

I know you agree: Our world cannot wait.

Everywhere around the world we see two parallel trends. While global movements and increased awareness are contributing to greater acknowledgement of the need for gender equality, this is happening simultaneously with a reinvigorated pushback on women’s rights.

This takes multiple forms – including increased violence against women human rights defenders and women running for political office, to online targeting and harassment of women who speak out. Such attacks aim to reinforce women’s traditional roles in society and punish those who challenge it.

In some countries, homicide rates overall are decreasing — but killings of women are rising.

In others, we see a rollback of legal protection against domestic violence or female genital mutilation.

Women’s participation makes peace agreements more durable, but we still struggle to make sure women are included in negotiating teams. Even governments that are vocal supporters of this agenda fail to back their words with action.

Nationalist, populist and austerity agendas add to inequality with policies that curtail women’s rights and cut social services.

We must not give ground that has been won over decades. We must push for wholesale, rapid and radical change.

This year’s theme of International Women’s Day, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, addresses infrastructure and systems that have been constructed largely in line with a male-defined culture, and celebrates the creativity of women inventors and innovators through history.

We need to find ways of reimagining and rebuilding our world so that it works for everyone.

Women decision-makers in urban planning can support women’s rights by designing safe, reliable transport systems.

Too often, roads and transportation are planned with men’s needs in mind – carrying people from the periphery to the urban centre, rather than between various sites in the periphery, including schools and services. Street lighting and bus timetables are not gender-neutral.

Innovations like mobile payments and e-learning platforms can deliver services directly to women, especially those who are isolated and hard to reach.

Innovation and technology reflect the people who make them.  But women are seriously underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design.

Last month, in Ethiopia, I spent some time with the African Girls Can Code group.

Programmes like this not only develop skills; they challenge the stereotypes that limit girls’ ambitions and dreams.

Investing in women and respecting their human rights is the surest way to lift communities, companies and countries, and to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The longer we put off gender equality, the more we lose.

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, and 20 years since the adoption of the Security Council’s landmark resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

Our discussions today and at major events in the months ahead can lead the way to greater commitment and action.

On this International Women’s Day, I call for a new vision of equality and opportunity so that half the world’s population can contribute to all the world’s success.

Thank you.

[Ends]

UN Secretary-General’s Message on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2019

Gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to global progress on peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. We can only re-establish trust in institutions, rebuild global solidarity and reap the benefits of diverse perspectives by challenging historic injustices and promoting the rights and dignity of all.

In recent decades, we have seen remarkable progress on women’s rights and leadership in some areas. But these gains are far from complete or consistent – and they have already sparked a troubling backlash from an entrenched patriarchy.

Gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. We live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture. Only when we see women’s rights as our common objective, a route to change that benefits everyone, will we begin to shift the balance.

Increasing the number of women decision-makers is fundamental. At the United Nations, I have made this a personal and urgent priority. We now have gender parity among those who lead our teams around the world, and the highest-ever numbers of women in senior management. We will continue to build on this progress.

But women still face major obstacles in accessing and exercising power. As the World Bank found, just six economies give women and men equal legal rights in areas that affect their work. And if current trends continue, it will take 170 years to close the economic gender gap.

Nationalist, populist and austerity agendas add to gender inequality with policies that curtail women’s rights and cut social services. In some countries, while homicide rates overall are decreasing, femicide rates are rising. In others we see a rollback of legal protection against domestic violence or female genital mutilation. We know women’s participation makes peace agreements more durable, but even governments that are vocal advocates fail to back their words with action. The use of sexual violence as a tactic in conflict continues to traumatize individuals and entire societies.

Against this backdrop, we need to redouble our efforts to protect and promote women’s rights, dignity and leadership. We must not give ground that has been won over decades and we must push for wholesale, rapid and radical change.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, addresses infrastructure, systems and frameworks that have been constructed largely in line with a male-defined culture. We need to find innovative ways of reimagining and rebuilding our world so that it works for everyone. Women decision-makers in areas like urban design, transport and public services can increase women’s access, prevent harassment and violence, and improve everyone’s quality of life.

This applies equally to the digital future that is already upon us. Innovation and technology reflect the people who make them. The underrepresentation and lack of retention of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design should be a cause of concern to all.

Last month, in Ethiopia, I spent time with African Girls Can Code, an initiative that is helping to bridge the digital gender divide and train the tech leaders of tomorrow. I was delighted to see the energy and enthusiasm these girls brought to their projects. Programmes like this not only develop skills; they challenge stereotypes that limit girls’ ambitions and dreams.

On this International Women’s Day, let’s make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact all our lives. And let’s support women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone.

[Ends]

You may view the Secretary-General’s video message at the link below:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/ondemand/MSG%20SG%20INT’L%20WOMEN’S%20DAY%208%20MAR%202019%20Clean.mp4

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.

The 2019 theme of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is: “Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth”

[Ends]

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 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.

[Ends]

Secretary-General’s Message on Universal Children’s Day (20 November 2015)
This year, I wish to emphasize the importance of ensuring that the commitments made by the international community to the world’s children are extended to a group of children who are often forgotten or overlooked: those deprived of their liberty.Far too many children languish in jail, mental health facilities or through other forms of detention.  Some children are vulnerable because they are migrants, asylum seekers, homeless or preyed on by organized criminals.  Whatever the circumstances, the Convention dictates that the deprivation of liberty must be a measure of last resort, and for the shortest time. Our aim must be to pursue the best interests of the child, prevent the deprivation of liberty and promote alternatives to detention.Read more

Secretary-General’s Message on World Toilet Day (19 November 2015) 

Sanitation is central to human and environmental health as well as to individual opportunity, development and dignity. Yet today, worldwide, one in every three people lacks improved sanitation, and one in every eight practices open defecation.

The recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the central role sanitation plays in sustainable development. The integrated nature of the new agenda means that we need to better understand the connections between the building blocks of development. In that spirit, this year’s observance of World Toilet Day focuses on the vicious cycle connecting poor sanitation and malnutrition.

Read more

Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Tolerance (16 November 2015)The call “to practice tolerance” was written into the identity of the United Nations 70 years ago.  Today, in a world buffeted by turbulence and change, the Charter’s summons remains a vital touchstone for our work.People are more connected–- but this does not mean there is more understanding.
Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (3 November 2015)Today we remember the journalists and media workers who have been killed in the line of duty.More than 700 journalists have been killed in the last decade — one every five days — simply for bringing news and information to the public.Many perish in the conflicts they cover so fearlessly.  But all too many have been deliberately silenced for trying to report the truth.  Only 7 percent of such cases are resolved, and less than 1 crime out of 10 is even fully investigated.
Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on World Cities Day (31 October 2015)
The theme of this year’s observance of World Cities Day — ‘Designed to Live Together’ — highlights the key role of urban design in building sustainable, socially integrated and prosperous urban environments.Good design can help tackle climate change. It reduces the impacts of disaster. It can help make our cities safer, cleaner, and more equal and integrative.  It promotes equal access to services, jobs and opportunities, and fosters contentment.
Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on United Nations Day (24 October)National flags are a mark of pride and patriotism in every country around the world.  But there is only one flag that belongs to all of us.That blue flag of the United Nations was a banner of hope for me growing up in wartime Korea.Seven decades after its founding, the United Nations remains a beacon for all humanity.
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Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October 2015)
This year’s observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty falls as the world embarks on a bold new path towards a future of dignity for all guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.This year’s theme — “Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination” — highlights the need to focus greater attention on the excluded and marginalized members of the human family.
Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on World Food Day (16 October 2015)
This year’s observance of World Food Day follows the landmark adoption by world leaders of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including a set of 17 goals to guide our work towards a future of dignity and prosperity for all on a healthy planet.How we choose to grow, process, distribute and consume the food we eat has a profound effect on people, planet, prosperity and peace.  Delivering on the promise of the 2030 Agenda will not be possible without rapid progress towards ending hunger and undernutrition.  In the same way, delivering on the commitment to end hunger forever, for all people, will not be possible without major gains across the new Agenda.Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of the Girl Child (11 October 2015)
The newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals rightly include key targets for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They offer an opportunity for a global commitment to breaking intergenerational transmission of poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination – and realizing our vision of a life of dignity for all.
Our task now is to get to work on meeting the SDG targets and making good on our promises to give girls all the opportunities they deserve as they mature to adulthood by 2030. That means enabling them to avoid child marriage and unwanted pregnancy, protect against HIV transmission, stay safe from female genital mutilation, and acquire the education and skills they need to realize their potential. It also requires ensuring their sexual health and reproductive rights. Girls everywhere should be able to lead lives free from fear and violence. If we achieve this progress for girls, we will see advances across society.
Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (16 September 2015)
Not so long ago, humanity stood on the brink of a self-inflicted catastrophe.  Our use of ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) had torn a hole in the ozone layer that protects us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.
But we tackled this challenge.  Thirty years ago, the international community signed the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.  Under its Montreal Protocol, the world united to slash the production and consumption of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances.Together, we have succeeded in putting the stratospheric ozone layer on the road to recovery by the middle of this century.  As a result, up to 2 million cases of skin cancer may be prevented each year, along with even more avoided cases of eye cataracts.
Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on International Literacy Day (8 September 2015)
Literacy, a human right that empowers individuals and advances societies, is needed more than ever as the United Nations prepares to adopt a new global agenda for sustainable development.Agenda 2030 is ambitious and transformative, aiming to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and preserve our planet. Its adoption by world leaders later this month offers an opportunity to recommit to promoting literacy as part of our collective push for a life of dignity for all.
More than 750 million adults in our world are illiterate – and two thirds of them are women. Some 250 million primary school age children do not have a grasp of basic literacy skills while 124 million children and adolescents are out of school. All of these people, whatever their age, deserve the chance to learn to read. When we give them that opportunity, we will create more productive, stable and secure societies for all.On this International Literacy Day, I call for governments and partners, including in the private sector, to join forces for universal literacy as an essential component of the future we want.
Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Enforced Disappearances (30 August)
Victims of enforced disappearances are deprived of their liberty, kept in secret detention and seldom released. Often their fate remains unknown; they are frequently tortured and in constant fear of being killed. Even if they are eventually set free, the physical and psychological scars stay with them for the rest of their lives. The victims’ families and loved ones also suffer immense anguish.
Read more
Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on South Sudan – 26 August 2015
The Secretary-General welcomes the signature today by President Salva Kiir of the Agreement on the resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. This is a critical and necessary step towards ending the 20 month-long conflict that has devastated South Sudan and subjected its people to unspeakable suffering.
Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on World Humanitarian Day (19 August 2015)
On World Humanitarian Day, we honour the selfless dedication and sacrifice of workers and volunteers from around the world who devote themselves – often at great personal risk – to assisting the world’s most vulnerable people.This year, more than 100 million women, men and children need life-saving humanitarian assistance.  The amount of people affected by conflict has reached levels not seen since the Second World War, while the number of those affected by natural and human-induced disasters remains profound.On this Day we also celebrate our common humanity.  The families and communities struggling to survive in today’s emergencies do so with resilience and dignity.  They need and deserve our renewed commitment to do all we can to provide them with the means for a better future.
Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Youth (12 August 2015)
Emerging threats, violent extremism, shifting political conditions, economic turmoil and social transformations are combining to heighten the challenges facing the world’s young people. No one knows better than them the issues at stake or the best way to respond. That is why I am calling on young people to speak out – and I am urging leaders to listen.As the world changes with unprecedented speed, young people are proving to be invaluable partners who can advance meaningful solutions. Youth movements and student groups are challenging traditional power structures and advocating a new social contract between States and societies. Young leaders have contributed fresh ideas, taken proactive measures, and mobilized through social media as never before.
Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on World Tourism Day (30 July 2015)
“One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities”
This year’s World Tourism Day highlights the global potential of tourism for socio-economic development.  With more than one billion international tourists now traveling the world each year, tourism has become a powerful and transformative force that is making a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people.
Read more
Secretary-General’s Message on World Population Day (11 July 2015)
Not since the end of the Second World War have so many people been forced from their homes across the planet. With nearly 60 million individuals having fled conflict or disaster, women and adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable.  Violent extremists and armed groups are committing terrible abuses that result in trauma, unintended pregnancy and infection with HIV and other diseases.  Shame and accountability rest squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrators who wage cowardly battles across the bodies of innocents.These women are far from just victims. They have hopes, plans and the potential to make important contributions to our common future. We must staunchly protect women’s health, including their sexual and reproductive health, and address their needs as a priority in emergency relief operations. At the same time, we must continuously advance women’s human rights in times of both turmoil and calm in order to enable them to help avert conflict, stand strong should it strike, and foster the healing that is so badly needed in war-torn societies.As the United Nations marks its 70th anniversary this year, let us take strength from our founding mission to give hope and support to the most vulnerable. On this World Population Day, I urge countries to commit to bold results that will make 2015 a time of global action, putting people first so that they help build resilience, peace and sustainable prosperity for generations to come.
Secretary-General’s Message on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26 June 2015)
The rise of violent extremism and unprecedented levels of forced displacement in our world demand a comprehensive response – and no aspect is more urgent than assisting the many victims of rising levels of torture that these and related trends generate.The world is rightly shocked and horrified by the treatment of innocent civilians, especially women, at the hands of violent extremists. At the same time, record numbers of people fleeing their homes risk a perilous journey that is often marred by grave violations of human rights, including torture.Read moreSecretary-General’s Message on World Oceans Day (8 June 2015)Oceans are an essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem, and healthy oceans are critical to sustaining a healthy planet. Two out of every five people live relatively close to a shore, and three out of seven depend on marine and coastal resources to survive. Our oceans regulate the climate and process nutrients through natural cycles while providing a wide range of services, including natural resources, food and jobs that benefit billions of people.Given how critical oceans are to the health of our planet and the prosperity of people, they are an essential element in our emerging vision for sustainable development, including the new set of sustainable development goals now being prepared to guide the global fight against poverty for the next 15 years.Climate change poses a great challenge for the health and productivity of the oceans. The science is clear: humans have caused changes to the climate system that are linked to the warming of oceans. Sea-levels are rising, with devastating effects on vulnerable communities, especially people living in small island developing States.Oceans absorb a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions and are becoming more acidic as a result. Ocean ecosystems are degrading. Corals, which sustain so much of marine life, are vulnerable to bleaching and even death caused by warmer temperatures.World Oceans Day is a chance to strengthen our resolve to appreciate, protect and restore our oceans and their resources.This year, governments are seeking to adopt landmark agreements on climate change and ending poverty. Success will demand that they look at the essential role of world’s oceans.The oceans are vast – but their capacity to withstand human damage is limited. In this potentially pivotal year, we must commit to using the gifts of the oceans peacefully, equitably and sustainably for generations to come.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza – 4 June 2015

The Secretary-General condemns the firing of rockets by militants from Gaza towards Israel on 3 June. He calls on all parties to avoid further escalation and prevent incidents that jeopardise the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

New York, 4 June 2015

The Secretary-General’s Message on World Environment Day (5 June 2015)

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”.

Humanity continues to consume far more natural resources than the planet can sustainably provide.  Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points.  It is time for us to change.

The goal of sustainable development is to increase the quality of life for all people without increasing environmental degradation, and without compromising the resource needs of future generations.  We can do this by shifting our consumption patterns towards goods that use less energy, water and other resources, and by wasting less food.

In this year of transformation, when we hope to see great advances on sustainable development and climate change, let us celebrate World Environment Day by becoming more conscious of our ecological impact.  Let us think about the environmental consequences of the choices we make.  Let us become better stewards of our planet.

Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on South Sudan – 1 June 2015

The Secretary-General condemns the Government of South Sudan’s decision to expel the United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/ Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Toby Lanzer.

Mr. Lanzer has been instrumental in addressing the increasing humanitarian needs of conflict-affected communities in the country, and ensuring that life-saving humanitarian assistance reaches the most vulnerable. This has been necessary because of continuing violence by both parties in the absence of a comprehensive peace agreement.

The Secretary-General calls on the Government of South Sudan to reverse its decision immediately. He further urges the Government to cooperate fully with all United Nations entities present in South Sudan.

Mr. Lanzer was coming to the end of his term, and in order to ensure continuity for this critical function, the Secretary-General has already appointed his successor, whose nomination was announced on 29 May.

New York, 1 June 2015

Secretary-General’s Message for Day of Vesak 2015 – 01 June

On this Day of Vesak, I extend special greetings to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal, a country that was instrumental in leading the United Nations General Assembly to designate this observance.  I hope that the Nepalese people observing this holiday amid the rubble are able to take some measure of comfort from its message of human solidarity.

The spirit of Vesak can help to animate a global response to the challenges of our day. As the United Nations works for the adoption this year of a set of new sustainable development goals and a meaningful new agreement on climate change, we would do well to heed the Buddhist teaching that life and the environment are essentially one. And the Lord Buddha’s observation that all peoples are interconnected reminds us of the importance of uniting as one human family resolved to address our shared struggles based on common values.

I have asked members and leaders of all faith communities to join the United Nations in responding to the recent dangerous and destabilizing rise of violent extremism. Toward that end, we recently welcomed eminent figures from the world’s major religions to two days of meetings at the United Nations on promoting tolerance and reconciliation.

The imperative of transcending differences lies at the heart of Buddhist teachings, whose injunctions to practice compassion are timeless.

Let us celebrate Vesak Day with a pledge to care for the most vulnerable people in our societies and, in the process, create a better future for all.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Terrorist Attack in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 23 May 2015

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack today targeting a Shia mosque in the town of al-Qudaih in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  The attack caused many deaths and injuries as people were gathering for Friday prayers.

The Secretary-General stresses that such attacks on places of worship are abhorrent and intended to promote sectarian conflict.  He hopes that the perpetrators will be swiftly brought to justice.

The Secretary-General extends his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and expresses his sympathies to the Government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

New York, 22 May 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Boko Haram attacks and the impact on civilian populations – 22 May 2015

The Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the continuing indiscriminate and horrific attacks by Boko Haram against civilian populations in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

He regrets that in spite of the military gains made by the affected countries, Boko Haram continues its wanton destruction and killing of civilians.

The Secretary-General is appalled by the continued abductions and use of children as “human bombs”, as well as by testimony that many of the girls and women held by Boko Haram were repeatedly raped while in captivity and compelled to marry their captors as part of a campaign of forced imprisonment and sexual violence. The perpetrators of these despicable acts must be brought to justice. He calls on the Government of Nigeria to scale up the provision of medical and psychosocial support to the survivors.

The Secretary-General is also deeply concerned over the further displacement of some 40,000 civilians in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria in the last three weeks. He urges members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin to advance the operationalization of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), and create a secure environment for the safe and voluntary return, resettlement or integration of displaced persons and refugees.

The Secretary-General again urges the states involved to ensure that all measures taken to address the terrorist threat of Boko Haram are conducted in line with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. To be remotely effective, the response to this threat has to go beyond a purely military one.  Legitimate grievances, past and current human rights violations, and the root causes of the conflict must also be addressed.

New York

22 May 2015

Secretary-General’s Message on Africa Day (25 May 2015)

Each year, Africa Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate Africa’s achievements and to reflect on its challenges.  The dominant story of the year has been the Ebola crisis that swept West Africa, claiming at least 11,000 lives and threatening hard-won social, economic and political achievements.  With great courage and determination, and with the generous support of African nations and the international community, the affected countries have made remarkable progress toward ending the outbreak.  Now, we have to intensify efforts to “get to zero and stay at zero” cases, repair the damage, and strengthen social and institutional resilience throughout the continent.  To help mobilize support for this important task I will convene an International Ebola Recovery Conference at the United Nations in New York in July.

Africa continues to make steady economic, social and political progress.  Overall, the continent’s economy grew by roughly 4 per cent in 2014, creating one of the longest stretches of uninterrupted positive economic expansion in Africa’s history.  As a result, a growing number of Africans have joined the middle class each year.  With investment in education, health and infrastructure increasing, the prospects for much of Africa are bright.

The challenge is to spread these benefits of Africa’s progress more broadly and deeply, particularly to the women and girls who represent Africa’s future. If we empower women, we help build better, more equal and more prosperous societies.  I commend the commitment of the African Union to gender equality and the empowerment of women as part of its Agenda 2063, and I welcome the declaration of 2015 as the year of women’s empowerment in Africa.

While we work to break down the social, economic, environmental and cultural obstacles that women and girls face, let us also recognize the gains that have been made.  Africa leads the world in female representation in Parliaments, and the continent has one of the highest rates of female entrepreneurship.  Let us be inspired by these successes and intensify efforts to provide Africa’s women with better access to education, work and healthcare, and by doing so, accelerate Africa’s transformation.  Let us also do more to end violence against women and girls while strengthening their role in all fields, including peacebuilding.  Despite an overall decline in the number of conflicts, too many Africans still experience violent conflict.  Women and girls bear the brunt, and are frequent targets of sexual violence and abuse.

We know that conflicts breed where people suffer from poor governance, human rights violations, exclusion and poverty.  I therefore applaud Africa’s vision to build, by 2063, a peaceful and prosperous continent where democracy, human rights and the rule of law are entrenched and flourishing, starting with the aim to silence all guns by 2020.  I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations to work with the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities, and African countries and their citizens, to make this vision a reality.

Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (23 May 2015)

Obstetric fistula is a devastating yet completely preventable and, in many cases, treatable injury of childbirth.  It leaves women, and many girls, incontinent and often stigmatized, abused and isolated from families and communities.  At least 2 million women and girls live with the condition, and 50,000 to 100,000 new cases occur every year.

The fact that fistula persists primarily among the poorest and most marginalized women and girls in the world is an egregious outcome of social, economic and gender inequalities, the denial of human rights and inadequate access to quality reproductive health services, including maternal and newborn care.  We can and must put an end to this needless suffering.

We mark this International Day with the theme, “End fistula, restore women’s dignity”.  I call on world leaders to commit to ending the scourge of fistula in our lifetime.  To achieve this goal, every fistula-affected nation needs to develop an inclusive, costed and time-bound national strategy and action plan.  The international community must also significantly intensify support to nations with the greatest need.

To address the neglected health and human rights issues of fistula, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and its partners, launched the global Campaign to End Fistula.  In the twelve years since this effort began, much has been accomplished, including providing relief to more than 57,000 women and girls through fistula surgical repairs.  However, much more needs to be done.

Echoing the December 2014 United Nations General Assembly resolution on ending fistula, I urge the international community to speed up its efforts to end this condition.  This needs to be part of a far-reaching and inclusive sustainable development agenda to improve sexual and reproductive and newborn health, strengthen health systems, eliminate health inequities and increase levels and predictability of funding.

We have a moral obligation, as a global community, to complete the unfinished agenda of eradicating fistula.  Together, let us keep our promises to support universal human rights and ensure the health and dignity of women and girls everywhere.

Secretary-General’s Message for International Day for Biological Diversity 2015 – 22 May

 

IBD

The variety of life on Earth is essential for the welfare of current and future generations.  The conservation, restoration and sustainable use of biological diversity can help solve a range of societal challenges.

Protecting ecosystems and ensuring access to ecosystem services by poor and vulnerable groups are essential to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.  Reducing deforestation and land degradation and enhancing carbon stocks in forests, drylands, rangelands and croplands generate significant social and economic benefits and are cost-effective ways to mitigate climate change.

Any sustainable development framework must provide the enabling conditions for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, for more equitable sharing of benefits, and for reducing the drivers of biodiversity loss.  The sustainable development goals and the broader post-2015 development agenda, which are under negotiation now, provide an opportunity to mainstream biodiversity and promote transformational change in how economies and societies use and regard biodiversity.

The globally adopted Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Targets provide a useful model that Member States can use in considering how to implement the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.  Meeting the Aichi Targets and addressing biodiversity loss more generally would contribute significantly to the post-2015 development agenda.

On this International Day for Biological Diversity, let us recommit to global action to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, for people and for our planet.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on South Sudan – 20 May 2015

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the escalation of hostilities in the past ten days between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition and their allied forces in Unity and Upper Nile States.

He is appalled by the reports of human rights violations committed by the SPLA and their allied forces, including the burning of villages, and the killing and rape of civilians, in the course of their military operations in Unity State. He also deplores the death of four internally displaced persons (IDPs) caught in the cross-fire in the protection of civilians site within the UNMISS compound in Melut. He demands that immediate national investigations be conducted so that those responsible for these crimes are held accountable by their respective leadership.

The Secretary-General underscores that this fighting is unacceptable. It is part of a series of violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed by the parties on 23 January 2014 and undermines the ongoing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in South Sudan.

The Secretary-General calls upon President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar to immediately cease all military operations and reminds them of their obligations to protect civilians under international human rights and humanitarian law. He reminds the parties that they must respect the inviolability of UNMISS premises, including protection of civilian sites, which are now host to more than 120,000 IDPs.

20 May 2015, New York

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Burundi – 14 May 2015

The Secretary-General is gravely concerned by developments in Burundi since the announcement of the electoral candidacy of President Nkurunziza and especially in the aftermath of the 13 May declaration of a coup d’état. The Secretary-General condemns attempts to oust elected governments by military force. He appeals for strict respect of Burundi’s Constitution as well as the Arusha Agreement.

The Secretary-General now urgently calls for calm and restraint. He urges all political and security leaders to clearly and openly reject the use of violence, refrain from acts of revenge, and rein in their militants.  He stresses that anyone responsible for ordering or committing human rights violations will be held accountable. In this regard, he has full confidence that the Security Council will consider the various tools at its disposal in examining the situation in Burundi, including regarding accountability.

The United Nations reminds the Burundian authorities of their obligation to ensure the protection of all Burundian citizens, as well as United Nations personnel and premises.

The Secretary-General commends the East African Community (EAC) for its leadership.  He is in close contact with leaders in the region. Through his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Said Djinnit, the United Nations will continue to work closely with the EAC, the African Union and other partners in joint efforts to help resolve the crisis in Burundi.  He also urges Burundians to create the conditions for the holding of inclusive, violence free and credible elections, as soon as possible.

New York, 14 May 2015

Statement by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen on humanitarian truce – 13 May 2015

The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations welcomes the humanitarian truce in force in Yemen since last night and pays tribute to the commitment of all the parties. However he notes with concern that there have been some sporadic skirmishes in some areas.

Recalling the importance of this truce the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General calls on the media to play a positive role to help deescalate tensions and calls on all parties to resist reacting to provocations aimed at undermining the truce which could lead to a resumption of violence. Further violence could hinder the provision of humanitarian aid and relief of the Yemeni people and undermine prospects for a permanent cease-fire and a return to the political process.

Sana’a, Yemen, 13 May 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on attacks in Karachi, Pakistan – 13 May 2015

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack today on a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, reportedly killing at least 45 members of the Ismaili community and injuring several others.

The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Pakistan to take all necessary measures to bring to justice the perpetrators of this despicable act.

Taking note that a number of attacks against the Shia and Christian minorities have taken place in the recent past in Pakistan, the Secretary-General urges the Government of Pakistan to take swift measures aimed at effective protection of religious minorities in the country. Creating a climate of tolerance, understanding and respect will greatly contribute to achieving this objective.

Pakistan, as a responsible member of the international community, must uphold its obligations and commitments towards protecting its citizens, including all minorities.

The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan.  He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured in the attack.

New York, 13 May 2015

Secretary-General’s press statement at event for 70th Anniversary of World War II with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine – 8 May 2015

Dobryi Ranok! [“Good morning.”]

It is a great honour for me to be here, standing together with the President Poroshenko and his people of Ukraine in this very solemn and sacred place where we are honouring and commemorating many valiant and courageous Ukrainian soldiers and citizens who fought to defend their country, to defend their human dignity against the aggression of Nazism. It seems that I am hearing their ardent aspirations, their voices… ardent aspirations wishing the people of Ukraine to live in peace and harmony and preserving their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Yesterday I was with many European leaders and international organizations who commemorated the victorious end of the Second World War, the 70th Anniversary.

And this morning, I am standing with people of Ukraine to commemorate and to express my deepest admiration and respect to many people who gave their lives to defend freedom, liberty, democracy, and their human dignity. It is a day of celebration and commemoration, and solemn remembrance. Today, we pay our profound respect to the memory of the millions of people who fought for freedom.

Ukraine contributed and sacrificed immensely, a fact that the world cannot and will never forget.

We honour the valiant veterans, some of whom we are fortunate to still have with us to commemorate today. This morning, I was very humbled to meet a veteran who even came to my country Korea at a time of liberation from Japanese colonialism.  He was proudly wearing a medal from Korea saying “Liberation”. That is most humbling.

As we recall the huge price of victory over fascism, we renew our solemn promise that the sacrifice of the fallen will not be in vain.  Out of this tragedy emerged a common resolve by the international community to come together and create the United Nations. The Charter of the United Nations says their main purpose is to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”

The United Nations has being working very hard to protect human lives and human dignity. I know that there had being some setbacks and failures, but the United Nations is the most legitimate organization in the international community to preserve peace, freedom, human dignity, and human rights.

I am saddened that I come to Ukraine amidst a debilitating conflict in the east, where nearly 7,000 people [lives] have been lost, along with so much destruction of your society.

The United Nations stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. I am here to reaffirm my support for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, in a manner upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

The United Nations and Ukraine are strong partners: Ukraine is a founding member of the United Nations and in its 24 years of independence, Ukraine has provided peacekeepers to so many places in the world. And if Ukraine now turns to the UN for assistance on its own peace and security, I will do my utmost to assist Ukraine’s Government and people.

The United Nations and the international community will continue to stand together with the Ukrainian people.  I am deeply admiring of the strong leadership of President Poroshenko, for his vision and resilience to keep this country independent and sovereign, and its territorial integrity. I am standing with you. I wish you all the best.

Duzhe diakuiu.  [“Thank you very much.”]

Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Families (15 May 2015)

The theme of this year’s International Day of Families – “Men in Charge?” – highlights the importance of gender equality and children’s rights in contemporary families.

Around the world, more women are becoming recognized as the equal partners and decision-makers in families that they should be, thus helping to ensure a conducive environment for the full and harmonious development of children.

Yet in too many countries, discrimination against women and disregard for children’s rights remain built into family laws and Government policies, and prevailing social norms often condone and justify many discriminatory practices.

The social and economic costs are felt by all.  Discrimination and neglect often lead to violence, threatening women’s and children’s health and limiting their chances to complete education and fulfil their potential.  The cycle tends to continue into the next generation, as children experiencing violence are more likely to resort to violence in their adult lives.

Equitable social and economic development depends on fair legal frameworks and social norms that support the rights of women and children.  Discriminatory laws and practices that do not give equal rights to all, and that suppress women’s and children’s rights, have no place in contemporary families, communities, societies and nations.

On this International Day, let us resolve to change legal and social norms that support male control over women, reinforce discrimination and prevent the elimination of violence against vulnerable family members.  As we shape a new sustainable development agenda and strive for a world of dignity for all, let us stand united for women’s and children’s rights in families and societies at large.

Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Attack on MONUSCO in the DRC – 5 May 2009

Secretary-General’s Remarks at “Ceremony for the Planting of the Tree of Peace and Unity to Commemorate the End of the Second World War and the Establishment of the United Nations” – 5 May 2015

Joint Message from Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on World Press Freedom Day – 3 May 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen – 30 April 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the situation in the Yarmouk camp – 29 April 2015

Secretary-General’s statement on executions carried out in Indonesia – 29 April 2015