2015 will be a critical year for the global community and the United Nations. It is the year we face several decisions – on disaster risk reduction, financing for development, sustainable development and climate – that will shape our collective futures for generations to come. The “2015 Time for Global Action” campaign Continue reading
UN Women and the People’s Republic of China are co-hosting a “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action”, on 27 September 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York. Held in conjunction with the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, Member States’ Heads of State or Government are invited to make concrete commitments to accelerate implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women no later than 2030. More.
The United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held from 25 to 27 September 2015, in New York and convened as a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly. Member states will have the opportunity to adopt a set of global goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.
Briefs on the themes of the 6 dialogues during the summit are available here.
For more information on the goals and their targets please click here.
Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for Post-2015 Development Planning and ex-officio member of the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
View Ms Mohammed explaining why the sustainable development agenda is inclusive, timely and imperative -“It is time for a sustainable development agenda” here.
Secretary-General appeals to European countries to do more to respond to migrant crisis
Speaking at a press stake-out in Paris following his meetings with French President François Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on 26 August, the Secretary-General urged European countries to do more to respond to the migrant crisis. “More people are displaced today than at any time since the Second World War. Many millions are fleeing violence and persecution in Syria and elsewhere. Others are seeking to escape poverty and looking for opportunities to lead a dignified life. They are making perilous journeys and should not face yet another ordeal upon arrival. I commend those countries that are showing solidarity, and I call on other countries in Europe and elsewhere to show compassion and do far more to respond to this crisis. Our response must save lives, fight trafficking and stigma, provide legal channels, examine root causes and uphold human rights”, Mr. Ban stated. More.
UN refugee agency warns that the situation of refugees and migrants in Europe is unsustainable
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) warned on 25 August that the situation of refugees and migrants making their way from Greece into the Western Balkans is unsustainable and a symptom of a much wider problem of record levels of forced displacement from conflicts in Syria and elsewhere. “It is clear that this cannot be solved by any one country working alone, and that a comprehensive European response is urgently required based on solidarity and equal sharing of the burden. All European countries and the European Union (EU) must act together and help those countries whose capacities are already overstretched such as Greece, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia”, UNHCR noted. This includes capacity support, and support for equitable redistribution of refugees and asylum seekers across the EU. According to the agency, beyond the EU’s immediate borders, and in the region surrounding Syria, the number of refugees is continuing to rise following new registrations in Turkey and now stands at 4,089,023 More.
Secretary-General condemns the destruction of Palmyra temple
In a statement issued on 25 August, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the continuing acts of terror and grave violations of international law committed by Da’esh in Syria, including the systematic destruction and plunder of the country’s cultural heritage. He said he was appalled by reports of the demolition by Da’esh of the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in the city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Secretary-General also expressed outrage at the brutal murder of Khaled al-Asaad, retired chief archaeologist of Palmyra, by the terrorist group on 18 August. “These barbaric acts of terror join a long list of crimes committed over the past four years in Syria against its civilian population and heritage”, Mr. Ban said. The Secretary-General called on the international community to unite and act swiftly to put a stop to this terrorist activity. More.
Increased evidence that water is used as a weapon of war, says UNICEF
UNICEF said on 25 August that there is increasing evidence that parties to the conflict in Syria are using water to achieve military and political gains. In the northern city of Aleppo, where fighting has crippled the main pumping station for months, UNICEF has recorded 18 deliberate water cuts this year alone. The agency notes that the unpredictability of warfare can make the process of fetching water dangerous, and even lethal. In recent weeks, at least three children were killed while they were out collecting water in Aleppo. “Clean water is both a basic need and a fundamental right, in Syria as it is anywhere else,” said Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Denying civilians access to water is a flagrant violation of the laws of war and must end”, he added. More.
UNRWA provides health care to Palestine refugees suffering from typhoid
Amid reports of an outbreak of typhoid in the Yarmouk refugee camp and its surrounding areas, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) conducted humanitarian operations in Yalda, providing vital healthcare to civilians displaced from Yarmouk and host communities. On 24 August, UNRWA medical personnel established a health point in Yalda, treating 360 patients over the course of the day. This included 15 suspected cases of typhoid, one suspected case of hepatitis and five suspected cases of scabies. UNRWA voiced concerns that as high summer temperatures and regular interruptions in water supply continue to affect Damascus, communicable diseases remain a source of profound vulnerability for civilians residing in Yarmouk and the neighbouring areas of Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham. More.
Secretary-General calls for restraint after rocket attack across ceasefire line between Israel and Syria
Following reports of rockets fired across the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria on 20 August, the Secretary-General expressed his deep concern over the serious violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement between the two countries. According to reports, rockets landed in the vicinity of Qiryat Shmona, in response to which Israel Defence Forces fired across the ceasefire line, with the projectiles impacting the Syrian Armed Forces positions near Al Baath and Khan Arnabeh. UNDOF immediately liaised with the Israel Defence Forces and the Syrian Armed Forces to de-escalate the situation. The Secretary-General condemned all violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement. He urged all involved to exercise maximum restraint to prevent any further escalation in an already tense regional environment. More.
(UNDP) – Newly elected Members of Parliament (MPs) are currently undergoing a week-long Induction Seminar in the country’s capital, Funafuti. The induction seminar is aimed at enabling MPs to better understand and more effectively perform their roles as MPs.
MPs will have the opportunity to learn from the experiences from the Australian and New Zealand Parliaments. Sessions will also include the United Nations conventions that Tuvalu has ratified like the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), UN Convention against Corruption and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The week-long Induction Seminar is being delivered as part of UNDP’s support to the Parliament of Tuvalu and is a result of a partnership with the Victoria Legislative Assembly; New Zealand Parliament; the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC)-Regional Rights Resources (RRRT); UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project (a collaboration between the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)); and UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Honourable Otinielu T. Tausi, the Speaker of the National Parliament of Tuvalu said “The Induction Seminar has exhibited solid discussions, presentations and feedback from all sides and basically created a strong atmosphere where everyone was able to speak freely and express their views.”
Visiting Parliamentarians from Victoria Legislative Assembly and Parliament of New Zealand also shared their experiences.
“A great week of sharing and networking with my fellow Parliamentarians from our Parliament, New Zealand and Australian Parliaments. As a newly elected MP and only female MP in the country, this is an enriching, enhancing and encouraging opportunity, and I hope that in the future, we will have more sharing from female MPs, to enable more balanced and better crafted deliberation,” said Honourable Puakena Boreham.
“It has been a privilege to be invited to share experiences and procedures from the New Zealand Parliament with Tuvaluan MPs,” said Honourable Tracey Martin, a NZ First Party MP and a resource person for the Induction. “It has also been a wonderful opportunity for myself to create inter-parliamentary relationships that will be used to enhance the great friendship between Tuvalu and New Zealand Parliament’s and people.”
“I have appreciated the opportunity of meeting and working with the Tuvalu people and Parliamentarians sharing experiences and learning from each other. It is important for the Victorian Parliament to support the Tuvalu Parliament in meeting the challenges the nation faces,” said Honourable Donato Nardella, Member of Legislative Assembly and Deputy Speaker of Victoria Parliament.
UNDP has been supporting strengthening the role and functions of the Tuvalu Parliament Secretariat through ICT investment and staff trainings, including support to legislative and oversight functions through technical drafting support of the Public Accounts and Audit Committee Act.
“The Induction Seminar was well received by all MPs in Tuvalu, including both seasoned politicians as well as new MPs. It showcased and delivered interactive discussions, presentations and raising of clarifications of MPs to enable them become more effective in their roles as representatives of their people and more significantly as legislators,” said Mohammed Mozeem, UNDP Governance Analyst.
This Induction Seminar is an activity of the UNDP Tuvalu Parliament Support Upscaling Project. The Project is part of UNDP’s ongoing efforts to establish cost-effective and sustainable approached to develop the capacities of parliaments in the Pacific.
Commending France’s “exemplary leadership” on efforts to tackle climate change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today affirmed that the international community is now at a stage where the final elements of the new climate agreement are being negotiated.
“The climate conference in Paris later this year is at the very top of the international agenda. I expect a bold and meaningful outcome at the Conference of Parties…in December,” stated the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his remarks to the French diplomatic corps, which has been meeting this week in Paris.
“I was especially glad to be invited to attend your gathering this year because of the historic efforts that are under way to chart a new development path for the human family,” Mr. Ban continued, adding that the climate negotiations cap a “transformational” year for human progress.
In March, he underlined, the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, agreed on important steps to build more resilient societies, while in July, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, in Addis Ababa, revitalized the global partnership for development.
“And earlier this month, in New York, Member States agreed on the final text of an inspiring new development agenda that will guide us through to the year 2030,” he also mentioned, rejoicing that world leaders will formally adopt it next month.
Calling the 17 adopted Sustainable Development Goals a “path to sustainable development,” the Secretary-General said they offered a “blueprint” for ending poverty in all its dimensions “without leaving anyone behind” and identified the fundamental links between promoting prosperity and ensuring peaceful societies and respect for human rights.
But unless the world takes urgent action on climate change, sustainable development will not be achieved, he warned. “In my engagement with leaders, I have made it clear what I believe a meaningful [climate] agreement could include,” referring to the expected outcome of the 21st meeting of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), widely referred to as COP-21.
First, Mr. Ban noted, it must send a strong signal that the world is committed to a low-carbon future, “and there is no going back.”
Second, he continued, an agreement must be durable so that it provides the private sector with the predictability and policy frameworks it needs to invest in clean energy and climate-resilient approaches.
“Third, it must be flexible so that it can provide incentives and incorporate more ambitious, science-based nationally determined targets over time,” the Secretary-General recommended.
Fourth, it must uphold the principle of equity, support the adaptation needs of developing countries, and demonstrate solidarity with the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable countries.
Fifth, it must include credible, clear mechanisms for measuring, monitoring and reporting progress in a transparent manner on a full range of actions, Mr. Ban went on to say.
And sixth, credible climate financing is essential, he stressed, recalling it is “imperative” that developed countries provide greater clarity on the public finance component of the $100 billion before the Paris conference, as well as on how they will engage private finance.
The UN chief therefore is engaging with leaders “from north and south” to make sure this goal is met and is considered credible by all.
An agreement must also acknowledge the need for long-term, very significant financing beyond 2020, and the Green Climate Fund must be up and running, with funds that can be disbursed before Paris, he emphasized in conclusion, encouraging countries and companies to “take the lead” in developing clean energy technologies and markets.
The Secretary-General also had today a “very productive meeting” with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, with whom he discussed a number of global challenges with national and continental implications, including migrations.
“More people are displaced today than at any time since the Second World War. Many millions are fleeing violence and persecution in Syria and elsewhere. Others are seeking to escape poverty and looking for opportunities to lead a dignified life. They are making perilous journeys and should not face yet another ordeal upon arrival,” he said, welcoming countries that are showing solidarity.
Violent extremism is another major area of concern, the UN chief added. “As we saw with the recent potential mass attack here in France, we must be vigilant in addressing threats without ever becoming overcome by fear and suspicion, which is precisely the intent of those who seek to terrorize.”
26 August 2015 – With the number of migrants fleeing to Europe the violence in their countries of origin continuing to increase, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, today urged the European Union to speed up the formulation of an adequate collective response to this unprecedented crisis.
“Since the beginning of the year, 293,000 migrants and refugees tried to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea and 2,440 of them died during the crossing,” said Mr. Guterres during a press conference in Geneva.
Joined by the French Minister of Internal Affairs, Bernard Cazeneuve, who was on a visit to the Swiss city, Mr. Guterres called on European countries not to deal individually with the migration crisis.
“Let’s be frank: 293,000 is a huge number for countries like the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or Serbia, or even Hungary or Greece; if we also think of the capacity of Germany, which today has most Syrian refugees,” he acknowledged, before adding that the same figure, with in mind the size of the whole European continent and its 508 million inhabitants, is in fact relatively low.
It is even lower, considering the efforts provided by neighbouring countries of Syria, like Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon in particular, a country whose a third of the population is now made up of Palestinian and Syrian refugees.
“It is clear that Europe has the capacities and the size needed to meet the challenges, assuming that it shows unity and jointly assume this responsibility,” concluded Mr. Guterres.
The High Commissioner’s press conference followed incidents on August 21 and 22, during which thousands of migrants prevented to enter the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia following the decision of the authorities to close the country’s border with Greece had attempted to force the passage.
The migrants, coming mostly from Syria, had initially reached Greece from Turkey at sea, prior to crossing the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Serbia and Western Europe.
“Taking into account all the human tragedies that these people have suffered, it only makes sense that we must act; we must act quickly; and must act effectively,” advocated the High Commissioner, citing the chaos of the past days at the border between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Envisioning a more inclusive and responsible migration policy at the European level, Mr. Guterres emphasized the need to increase resources allocated to development cooperation, as well as humanitarian assistance, in particular to address root causes.
“I remind you that the support program to Syrian refugees is only funded only up to 41 per cent overall and up to 21 per cent in Turkey, which is also the country where from the most dramatic displacements have been recorded in eastern Mediterranean,” he said to journalists.
The High Commissioner also called to accelerate implementation of the decisions taken by the European Council to improve reception and registration of refugees, but also relocation and resettlement.
The latter, he observed, “today would likely require much higher figures than those that have been proposed so far.”
The United Nations World Food Programme () is now delivering rice, beans, cooking oil and salt to more than 400,000 people affected by flooding in Myanmar and “reachable only on foot, after floods and landslides destroyed roads across the country,” the agency said today.
26 August 2015 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is now delivering rice, beans, cooking oil and salt to more than 400,000 people affected by flooding in Myanmar and “reachable only on foot, after floods and landslides destroyed roads across the country,” the agency said today.
More than 1.7 million people in Myanmar have been affected by widespread flooding and landslides as a result of heavy monsoon rains since early August.
In a press release issued in Yangon, Myanmar, WFP said it is appealing for $12.3 million urgently required to meet flood needs.
Emergency relief efforts began earlier this month within 48 hours of the President’s declaration of a state of natural disaster, WFP said, adding that with the provision of free transport by the Government and local airlines, more than 2,500 metric tons of food has been delivered to the flood-affected areas so far.
“WFP has supported the Government of Myanmar to save lives with emergency food, including supporting many who are reachable only on foot, after floods and landslides destroyed roads across the country,” according to WFP Country Director Dom Scalpelli. “It is quite an achievement, and I would like to thank our funding and cooperating partners for their support.”
WFP, working with the Government, other UN organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), aims to have reached more than 440,000 people with food assistance by the beginning of September.
People affected by the flooding receive a one-month ration of rice, pulses, cooking oil, and salt. In some cases, they also receive a week’s supply of high-energy biscuits, the agency said.
The emergency has forced WFP to temporarily suspend regular programmes such as school feeding nutrition assistance for pregnant women and nursing mothers, and the provision of food for people living with HIV and tuberculosis.
The flood relief efforts have so far been supported through contributions from Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, European Union, Germany, Japan, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States as well as the Japan Association for WFP, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and the private sector.
People who delay or refuse vaccines for themselves or their children are presenting a growing challenge for countries seeking to close the immunization gap. Globally, 1 in 5 children still do not receive routine life-saving immunizations, and an estimated 1.5 million children still die each year of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines that already exist, according to WHO. Continue reading
Over 100 youth from around Nuku’alofa, gathered on August 12 to celebrate International Youth Day in the country’s capital with a day-long activities, including panel discussions on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), art activities, and a visit to Parliament. In Tonga, youth make up an increasingly large proportion of the population. According to the 2011 Census, Continue reading
Over 30 journalists from Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu recently participated in a two-day workshop on the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Awareness Training for Pacific Media in Tonga. The training provided insights into the Convention and the work of the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) project. In doing so, the training aimed to build the capacity of selected journalists to prevent, detect and investigate cases of corruption through greater awareness of UNCAC and the media’s role as a non-state actor. Continue reading