Category Archives: News

UN-World Bank panel calls for ‘fundamental shift’ in water management

Making Every Drop Count: An Agenda for Water Action, released by a panel of 11 Heads of State and a Special Advisor, calls for a fundamental shift in the way the world manages water so that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 6 on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, can be achieved.

According to the report, 40 per cent of the world’s people are being affected by water scarcity. If not addressed, as many as 700 million could be displaced by 2030 in search for water. More than two billion people are compelled to drink unsafe water and more than 4.5 billion do not have safely managed sanitation services. More.


Statement by Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on his visit to Bangladesh to assess the situation of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar

(Dhaka, 13 March 2018) From 7 to 13 March I visited Bangladesh to assess the situation of the Rohingya population who have crossed the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh since the most recent incidents of violence in northern Rakhine state in October 2016 and August 2017. During my visit, I had the opportunity to meet Bangladeshi authorities, civil society actors and members of the diplomatic community. I also visited refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar, where survivors I met shared horrifying stories of what they have endured.

What I have heard and witnessed in Cox’s Bazaar is a human tragedy with the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the international community. The scorched earth campaign carried out by the Myanmar security forces since August 2017 against the Rohingya population was predictable and preventable. Despite the numerous warnings I have made of the risk of atrocity crimes, the international community has buried its head in the sand. This has cost the Rohingya population of Myanmar their lives, their dignity and their homes.

Let us be clear: international crimes were committed in Myanmar. Rohingya Muslims have been killed, tortured, raped, burnt alive and humiliated, solely because of who they are. All the information I have received indicates that the intent of the perpetrators was to cleanse northern Rakhine state of their existence, possibly even to destroy the Rohingya as such, which, if proven, would constitute the crime of genocide. However, whether or not we consider that the crimes committed amount to crimes against humanity or genocide, this should not delay our resolve to act and to act immediately. We owe this to the Rohingya population.

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UN supports the Government of Papua New Guinea in its earthquake response efforts

Relief supplies are starting to be distributed in earthquake affected areas of Papua New Guinea with water, food, shelter, medicine and the provision of health services identified as the priority needs.

“We are working closely with the Papua New Guinea government to coordinate the earthquake response to ensure that relief supplies and services meet people’s most pressing needs, and reach the communities that need them most ,” said UN Resident Coordinator, Gianluca Rampolla. More.

Myanmar: UN expert calls for accountability over violence in Rakhine State

GENEVA (12 March 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, told the Human Rights Council on Monday she was increasingly of the opinion that the events in Rakhine State bear the hallmarks of genocide and called in the strongest terms for accountability.

Lee, who was informed late last year that her access to the country was denied, also expressed serious concern that “the repressive practices of previous military governments were returning as the norm once more” in Myanmar, describing the situation faced by civil society across the country as “increasingly perilous”. More

The Secretary-General

Remarks at Signing Ceremony
of a New Maritime Boundary Agreement
between Australia and Timor-Leste
New York, 6 March 2018
[as delivered]

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me, first of all, to say that this is a particularly important day for me. One of my most important motivations in my political career in the past was the self-determination of the people of East Timor. And it was with an enormous joy that I was present the day East Timor became an independent country. To see this ceremony is like the complement of that day, and to be here today is an enormous privilege and fills my heart with joy.

This ceremony demonstrates the strength of international law and the effectiveness of resolving disputes through peaceful means. A central element in the Charter of the United Nations, the peaceful settlement of disputes is also a cornerstone of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which both Australia and Timor-Leste are parties.

This event is historic as it marks the successful conclusion of the first-ever conciliation proceedings under Annex V to the Convention.

I congratulate both parties and the Conciliation Commission for their constructive engagement and relentless efforts to achieve an outcome that is agreeable to both States.

I also congratulate the Governments of the Commonwealth of Australia and Timor-Leste for the ground-breaking recourse to this conciliation mechanism. In doing so, you have furthered the vision of the drafters of the Convention to provide a flexible approach to the resolution of disputes.

I trust that your example will inspire other States to consider conciliation as a viable alternative for dispute settlement under the Convention.

The Agreement being signed today is a further contribution to establishing legal certainty in the world’s oceans, an essential condition for stable relations, peace and security, and the achievement of sustainable development.

By delimiting the maritime boundary between Australia and Timor-Leste in the Timor Sea, and by establishing a special regime for the area comprising the Greater Sunrise gas field, this Agreement puts Australia and Timor-Leste in a better position to exercise their respective rights and obligations under the Convention in an effective manner. It should also ensure that both States fully benefit from the sustainable exploitation of natural resources in the Timor Sea.

I again salute the vision and determination of Australia and Timor-Leste in making this Agreement possible. I hope that its successful implementation will inspire other States to follow in your footsteps.

Sincere congratulations and thank you very much.

Media Statement

Update on the response to Tropical Cyclone Gita by United Nations Resident Coordinator, Osnat Lubrani

Nuku’alofa, Tonga, 19 February 2018

Tropical Cyclone Gita, a category 4 cyclone, struck Tonga on 12 and 13 February 2018, causing
widespread destruction on the main island of Tongatapu, including the capital of Nuku’alofa, and the neighbouring island of ‘Eua.

“The Government’s early warning actions and immediate response efforts are impressive. They clearly show the importance of preparedness and have no doubt contributed to reducing the impact of Tropical Cyclone Gita on human lives,” Ms. Lubrani said during her visit to Tonga.

Ms. Lubrani arrived in Tonga on 17 February 2018 to see the impact of Tropical Cyclone Gita for herself and to meet with Government officials and local partners.

UNICEF On Standby To Support Governments of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji as Cyclone Gita intensifies

SUVA, 13 February 2018 – As Tropical Cyclone Gita intensifies, the strongest storm to ever hit Tonga, and heads towards Fiji, UNICEF offers its support to the affected Pacific island countries of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.

“UNICEF is ready to support the Governments of Tonga and Samoa respond to the emergencies caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita. We are also on standby to provide support to the Government of Fiji as they brace for Cyclone Gita,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative.

In Tonga, about 80,000 people, including 32,000 children, are at risk from the Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Gita that hit on Monday night, with widespread damage to infrastructure and floods reported.

“UNICEF is prepared to support the governments’ response, to ensure urgent life-saving support is provided, including access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene for those families affected,” he added.

UNICEF is working closely with the Tongan National Emergency Office and the UN Coordination office in Tonga to coordinate activities and respond as required. Emergency supplies including portable water field test kits, to check for safety of drinking water; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Kits, which include purification tablets; water containers and hygiene products such as soap and menstrual hygiene products; inter-agency emergency health kits that include medicines, micronutrient powders, Vitamin A capsules; and tents, are being prepositioned for shipment to Tonga.

In Samoa, basic emergency supplies are already available and have been offered to the Samoan government if required to support the needs of affected children and families affected.

Supplies are also prepositioned in Fiji for use to affected areas and the National Disaster Management Office in Fiji have been offered the use of RapidPro – an open-source platform of applications that can help the government deliver information quickly and connect communities to lifesaving services through the short message service (SMS) for mobile phones.#####

For more information, please contact:
Cate Heinrich, UNICEF Pacific,
Tel: +679 9925 606,

Donna Hoerder
Communication Specialist – External Relations,
UNICEF Pacific
Phone: (679) 323-6100 Email:


Opening Remarks By UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein At a Press Conference During His Mission to Fiji

12 February (Suva) Climate change has a profound impact on a wide variety of human rights including rights to life, self-determination, development, food, health, water and sanitation and housing.