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Strengthening multilateralism ‘only way’ to peaceful world for all: Guterres

Stronger collaboration among countries is the only sustainable path to a peaceful, stable, prosperous world for all, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on Friday.

The meeting is taking place at an extremely challenging moment for multilateralism and global governance, with the international order “at risk of coming apart at the seams”, he said, citing challenges that include the climate emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and new and evolving forms of conflict.

“Strengthening multilateralism – the theme of this session – is not a choice, but a necessity,” Mr. Guterres said in a video message.

“It is the only way to avoid widespread food shortages, deepening climate chaos, and a wave of poverty and destitution that will leave no country untouched”. More

WFP: First Ukrainian humanitarian grain shipment leaves for Horn of Africa

The first vessel transporting Ukrainian wheat grain to support humanitarian operations run by the World Food Programme (WFP) has left the port of Yuzhny, also known as Pivdennyi, the UN agency reported on Tuesday. 

The MV Brave Commander departed with 23,000 metric tonnes of wheat grain for WFP’s response in the Horn of Africa, where the threat of famine is looming due to severe drought.

This is the first shipment of humanitarian food assistance under the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed by Ukraine, Russia, Türkiye and the UN in July.

WFP said that with commercial and humanitarian maritime traffic now resuming in and out of Ukraine’s Black Sea Port, some global supply disruptions will ease, which will bring relief to countries facing the worst of the global food crisis.

Crucially, Ukraine will also be able to empty its grain storage silos ahead of the summer season harvest, the agency added. More

Conference opens to draft first-ever treaty on ocean’s biological diversity

The intergovernmental conference to draft the first-ever treaty on the ocean’s biological diversity opened its fifth and likely final session on Monday.

Amidst calls for flexibility, openness and the spirit of compromise that prevailed in 1982, when the landmark “constitution for the oceans” was adopted, the new treaty will aim to address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas of the ocean which are beyond the limits of States’ maritime zones.

The session, which runs until 26 August, was convened following a decision taken by the General Assembly in May and is expected to be the final in a series set in motion since 2018 to draft an international legally binding instrument under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. More

UN chief’s Youth Day message: People of all ages need to ‘join forces’ for a better world

International Youth Day celebrates “the power of partnerships across generations,” the UN chief said in his message for the day.

Commemorated annually on 12 August, Secretary-General António Guterres noted that this year’s theme – “Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages” – reminds us of “a basic truth” that “we need people of all ages, young and old alike, to join forces to build a better world for all”.

We need to support young people with massive investments in education and skills-building — “including through next month’s Transforming Education Summit,” said the Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General pointed to the importance of ensuring that older generations have access to social protection and opportunities to give back to their communities as well as the ability to share the decades of accumulated experience that they have lived.

“On this important day,let’s join hands across generations to break down barriers, and work as one to achieve a more equitable, just and inclusive world for all people,” concluded the Secretary-General. More

Vanuatu leads the way for Pacific elimination of trachoma – the world’s biggest infectious cause of blindness

Vanuatu has become the most recent country in the world and the first Pacific island country to eliminate trachoma, a neglected tropical disease (NTD) that can cause blindness. This will be the second NTD eliminated from this archipelago nation of 83 islands, after lymphatic filariasis in 2016.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus congratulated Vanuatu: “This success demonstrates the strong commitment of health workers, communities and governments to protecting their people and ensuring healthier lives for all.”

Globally, 14 countries including Vanuatu have eliminated trachoma as a public health problem. Vanuatu is the fourth in the WHO Western Pacific Region, joining Cambodia, China and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Trachoma remains endemic in eight countries in the Region. WHO calls for health authorities in those countries to take action to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem by 2030. More

Secretary-General’s message to the Ceremony Marking the 77th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki

It is an honour to send this message to the people of Nagasaki.

On this day four years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the hallowed ground of your city.

I was humbled by the sheer devastation caused by a single weapon of mass destruction. I was forcefully reminded that this can never happen again.

And I was inspired by the courage of the hibakusha, who continue their brave crusade, despite their unimaginable losses.

Their message of peace and nuclear disarmament is as powerful and relevant as ever. I pledge to do everything in my power to make sure it continues to be heard, everywhere.

The use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused a humanitarian catastrophe unique in history. Continue reading

Nuclear-free Mongolia a ‘symbol of peace in a troubled world’: Guterres

In a visit to Mongolia on Tuesday, Secretary-General António Guterres underscored the UN’s full solidarity for the country, which he described as “a symbol of peace in a troubled world”. 

Mr. Guterres was speaking to journalists at a press conference in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, following a meeting with the Foreign Minister, Battsetseg Batmunkh.  He stated that in a world with dramatic geopolitical divides, and where conflicts proliferate everywhere, Mongolia – as an area free of nuclear weapons – is an example for other countries to follow.

Relatedly, Mr. Guterres also joined young people and peacekeepers at a tree-planting ceremony, part of Mongolia’s One Billion Trees campaign to address climate change and desertification.

“My generation was very stupid. My generation declared war on nature – with climate change with the loss of biodiversity, with pollution,” he said.

Mr. Guterres stressed how “nature is striking back” with storms, desertification, floods and disasters, which are making life very difficult for many people around the world and causing many victims. More

Indigenous women’s work to preserve traditional knowledge celebrated on International Day

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for amplifying the voices of Indigenous women, which is critical to achieving a just future for all people.  

His appeal comes in a message to mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, observed annually on 9 August.

This year the focus is on the role indigenous women have in preserving and passing on traditional knowledge.

“Indigenous women are knowledge keepers of traditional food systems and medicines. They are champions of Indigenous languages and cultures. They defend the environment and Indigenous peoples’ human rights,” said Mr. Guterres. More

Secretary-General’s message marking the 55th Anniversary of the Founding of ASEAN

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s a pleasure to convey congratulations from myself and the Secretary-General on the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Allow me to express my particular appreciation to Cambodia as ASEAN Chair in 2022. We welcome your efforts to advance a wide range of priorities under the theme of “ASEAN A.C.T – Addressing Challenges Together”.

Our world faces a range of challenges that are very serious in themselves, and even more alarming in combination.

Countries reeling from economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are being hit by the climate crisis.

Governments struggling with environmental degradation face sky-rocketing prices for food and energy.

From the pandemic, to the climate emergency, to the global repercussions of conflict and continued displacement and inequality, we will only find solutions to these interlinked issues if we act together. Continue reading

From Hiroshima, UN chief calls for global nuclear disarmament

It is totally unacceptable for states in possession of nuclear weapons to admit the possibility of a nuclear war, António Guterres underscored early on Saturday in Japan at a ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Nuclear weapons are nonsense. Three-quarters of a century later, we must ask what we’ve learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this city in 1945”, he urged during the solemn event at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park attended by dozens of people, including hibakusha, young peace activists, Japan’s Prime Minister and other local authorities.

The UN Secretary-General warned that a new arms race is picking up speed and world leaders are enhancing stockpiles at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars with almost 13,000 nuclear weapons currently held in arsenals around the world. More

WFP and Government of Samoa hold first ever technical workshop in Samoa to bolster market monitoring for food security

APIA: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the University of South Pacific conducted a two-day workshop on critical market assessments that will enable data driven decision-making for disaster response policies in Samoa.

As the Pacific is gripped by frequent climate shocks and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, amidst growing global food insecurity, understanding the function of local markets and how price fluctuations can affect people’s access to food will help to implement effective social protection policies.

The workshop, attended by local government officers, civil society organisations, managers of municipal markets and UN agencies, aimed to establish a Price Monitoring System that will analyse trends and price fluctuations of critical food and non-food items as well as the Market Functionality Index and the Minimum Expenditure Basket. Continue reading