Video message by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion of the 2020 New Year. — From here at the United Nations, I join you in welcoming the New Year. We enter 2020 with uncertainty and insecurity all around. Persistent inequality and rising hatred. A warring world and a warming planet.
Climate change is not only a long-term problem but a clear and present danger. We cannot afford to be the generation that fiddled while the planet burned. But there is also hope.
This year, my New Year’s message is to the greatest source of that hope: the world’s young people.
A new report from the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, published on Monday to coincide with a meeting of education ministers, gathered at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, shows that a third of adolescent girls from the poorest households have never been to school, and spending on education is heavily skewed towards wealthier households and urged world leaders to address ‘shameful’ disparities in public education spending. More
Speaking at a major, high-level summit on Libya, held in the German capital Berlin on Sunday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres evoked the disastrous humanitarian situation faced by thousands of civilians, as conflict in the North African country grows deeper and more destructive. More
Humanitarian affairs coordination office OCHA’s team leader, Mark Bidder said that his team is anxious to see the full evacuation of vulnerable citizens completed as the Taal volcano continues to erupt and has caused widespread destruction. The UN system and international aid organizations would be looking for the most effective ways of working together, during the difficult days ahead. More
More than 100 wildfires are still raging across Australia, with record-breaking temperatures and drought contributing to the loss of more than six million hectares of land that is home to some of the most unique plants and animals in the world. In an interview with UN News, John Scanlon, Special Envoy for the African Parks non-profit organization and former Secretary-General of CITES – the UN-backed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – said that the increasing threat to biodiversity must be “lifted up to the international agenda”. More
On 12 January, alert level-4 (hazardous eruption imminent) was raised over Taal Volcano located in the Calabarzon region 70 km south of the capital Manila. Seismic activity was also recorded in Tagaytay City, Cabuyao, Laguna, Talisay, Alitagtag, Lemery and Bauan, Batangas, with over 75 volcanic earthquakes felt at an intensity ranging from II to V as of 5 a,m. These developments signify likely continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the volcano, which may lead to further eruptive activity. More than 300 domestic and 230 international flights were cancelled as the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed overnight. National authorities are leading the response, assisted by the Philippine Red Cross, and have deployed rescue teams for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has conveyed readiness of the Humanitarian Country Team to provide support if needed. More
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has extended his profound condolences to the Royal family, the Government and people of Oman on the passing of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, who passed away late Friday at the age of 79. The UN chief said the Sultan was also committed to spreading messages of peace, understanding and coexistence in the region and globally, earning the respect of his people and those in the region and beyond. More
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is calling on the European Union (EU) to make 2020 “the year of change for robust refugee protection”. On Thursday, the agency issued a set of new recommendations, as Croatia and German preside over the EU Council during the next 12 months. More
In the wake of an Iranian ballistic missile attack on air bases which house US forces in Iraq, the UN Secretary-General said on Wednesday that he would “continue his active engagement” to de-escalate tensions and avert full-scale war. In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres re-iterated the “passionate appeal for peace” he made on Monday, after tensions rose dramatically across the whole Gulf region, following the killing of top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike.
The New Year has begun with our world in turmoil.
We are living in dangerous times.
Geopolitical tensions are at their highest level this century.
And this turbulence is escalating.
Even nuclear non-proliferation can no longer be taken for granted.
This cauldron of tensions is leading more and more countries to take unpredicted decisions with unpredictable consequences and a profound risk of miscalculation.
At the same time, we see trade and technological conflicts that fracture world markets, undermine growth and widen inequalities.
And all the while, our planet is on fire. The climate crisis rages on.
In many parts of the world, we see many people frustrated and angry. We see increased social unrest and growing extremism, nationalism and radicalization, with a dangerous advance of terrorism, notably in Africa.
This situation cannot go on.
I have been following the recent rise in global tensions with great concern.
I am in constant contact with leading officials around the world.
My message is simple and clear:
Exercise maximum restraint.
Renew international cooperation.
Let us not forget the terrible human suffering caused by war.
As always, ordinary people pay the highest price. It is our common duty to avoid it.
We asked the UN Head of Disaster Risk Reduction for her view and she said “disaster risk reduction is about people it is about human rights and must be central to all discussions and actions”. Listen below:
For more information on the UN global conversation for all click here