Category Archives: News

UN values of peace, development and human rights ‘have no expiry date’

At a celebratory concert in New York on Thursday night, marking the anniversary of the foundational UN Charter entering into force, the Secretary-General said that the “spirit of solidarity and action” that marks United Nations United Nations Day itself, is “wonderfully expressed in the power of music”. 

“Music reflects the profound diversity and unique contributions of cultures around the world”, said UN chief António Guterres, inside the concert venue – the gilded General Assembly Hall. “At the same time, it is universal. A language that bridges all divides.

The last 20 months have been an extraordinarily difficult and even isolating moment for the human family”, said the Secretary-General.

“Tonight, let us watch as one, listen as one, and be inspired as one. And let us commit, once again, to the UN Charter and the values that have brought it to life for the last 76 years – peace, dignity and prosperity for all”.  More

Madagascar: Severe drought could spur world’s first climate change famine

More than one million people in southern Madagascar are struggling to get enough to eat, due to what could become the first famine caused by climate change, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

The region has been hit hard by successive years of severe drought, forcing families in rural communities to resort to desperate measures just to survive.

Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, has a unique ecosystem which includes animals and plants found nowhere else on the planet. The country experiences a dry season, usually from May to October, and a rainy season that starts in November.

In just over a week, world leaders will gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for the COP26 UN climate change conference, which UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called the last chance to “literally turn the tide” on an ailing planet.  More

Fossil fuel production ‘dangerously out of sync’ with climate change targets

Despite increased climate ambition and net-zero commitments, governments still plan to produce more than double the amount of energy from fossil fuels in 2030, than the amount that would limit global warming to the Paris Agreement level of 1.5°C. 

That’s according to the 2021 Production Gap Report, released this Wednesday by leading research institutes and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Over the next two decades, governments are projecting an increase in global oil and gas production, and only a modest decrease in coal production.

Taken together, these plans mean that fossil fuel production will increase overall, to at least 2040.

For lead author of the report, Ploy Achakulwisut, the research is clear: “Global coal, oil, and gas production must start declining immediately and steeply to be consistent with limiting long-term warming to 1.5°C.” More

Only ‘real equality’ can end vicious cycle of poverty

Although poverty and privilege “continue to reproduce themselves in vicious cycles”, it is possible to break the chain and shift the paradigm, an independent UN human rights expert told the General Assembly on Wednesday.

Presenting his reportThe persistence of poverty: how real equality can break the vicious cycle, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Shutter, said thatwith political will”, it is possible to end centuries of entrenched inequality and “move from fate to opportunity

Stressing that “no child should be penalized for being born in poverty” in mind, and stating that, in fact, “poverty is a failure not of the individual, but of society”, Mr. De Shutter called on governments to act now, “before another generation is condemned to the same fate as their parents”.  More

Secretary-General’s message on World Food Day

World Food Day is not only a reminder of the importance of food to every person on the planet — it is a call to action to achieve food security around the world.

Today, almost 40 per cent of humanity — three billion people — cannot afford a healthy diet.

Hunger is on the rise.

So too are undernourishment and obesity.

The economic impacts of COVID-19 have made a bad situation even worse.

The pandemic has left an additional 140 million people unable to access the food they need.

At the same time, the way we produce, consume and waste food is taking a heavy toll on our planet.

It is putting historic pressure on our natural resources, climate and natural environment — and costing us trillions of dollars a year.

As this year’s theme makes clear, the power to change is in our hands.

“Our actions are our future.

Last month, the world gathered for the United Nations Food Systems Summit.

Countries made bold commitments to transform food systems.

To make healthy diets more affordable and accessible.

And to make food systems more efficient, resilient and sustainable at every step — from production and processing, to marketing, transportation and delivery.

We can all change how we consume food, and make healthier choices — for ourselves, and our planet.

In our food systems, there is hope.

On this World Food Day, join us as we commit to take transformative action to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals through food systems that deliver better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for every person.

New York

16 October 2021

Rising poverty a ‘moral indictment of our times’: Guterres

For the first time in two decades, extreme poverty is on the rise, the UN chief said in his message released on Friday, marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, on 17 October.

Describing current levels of poverty as “a moral indictment of our times”, Secretary-General António Guterres said that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on economies and societies around the world, with some 120 million more people falling into poverty last year.

“A lopsided recovery is further deepening inequalities between the Global North and South”, said Mr. Guterres. “Solidarity is missing in action – just when we need it most”.

Mr. Guterres outlined a three-pronged global recovery approach to ‘Building Forward Better’ that begins with stronger political will and partnerships to achieve universal social protection by 2030.

For a transformative recovery to end to the endemic structural disadvantages and inequalities that perpetuated poverty even before the pandemic, the world must invest in job re-skilling for the growing green economy, according to the UN chief. More

The right to a clean and healthy environment: 6 things you need to know

On 8 October, loud and unusual applause reverberated around the chamber of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. A battle fought for decades by environmental activists and rights’ defenders, had finally borne fruit.

For the first time ever, the United Nations body whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the worldpassed a resolution recognizing access to a healthy and sustainable environment as a universal right.

The text also calls on countries to work together, and with other partners, to implement this breakthrough.

The newly declared right to a healthy and clean environment will also hopefully influence positively negotiations during the upcoming UN Climate Conference COP26, in Glasgow, which has been described by the UN chief as the last chance to ‘turn the tide’ and end the war on our planet. More

Myanmar: In race against time, experts collect evidence of rights violations

For more than two years, a UN-appointed team of 59 people has been collecting and analyzing more than two million pieces of evidence about possible human rights violations in Myanmar. 

Working out of Geneva, there are experts in gender violence and crimes against children; analysts with experience in international justice; specialists in open source evidence; and investigators working with sophisticated information systems.

The team of professionals are formally known as the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, (IIMM) or Myanmar Mechanism, and was created in 2018 by the Human Rights Council.

In an extensive interview with UN News, the head of the Mechanism, Nicholas Koumjian, explains the importance of preserving this evidence before it is potentially lost.

“Crime scenes get disturbed, bodies decompose, wounds can heal, people’s memories can fade, witnesses with information can pass away”, he explains. “So it’s very important to collect the information while you can.” More

Mali maestro’s message of peace to Sahel region’s youngsters drawn to extremism

An ambitious project to raise awareness about rising insecurity and mass displacement in the Sahel has resulted in an original musical score from Mali songwriter Vieux Farka Touré.

In partnership with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Mr. Toure’s A Song For The Sahel, highlights the crisis in many countries of the region, while also spotlighting its rich musical heritage.

In an exclusive interview with UN News, the respected musician described how he no longer felt comfortable driving across the country to perform, as he used to do. Malians now “sleep with one eye open”, he said, in reference to the insurgency led by extremists, who have taken advantage of the lack of opportunities for the country’s youngsters.

“The youth must show courage, strength and fight against this crisis,” he said. “Peace and solidarity are the tools. If peace is built now, our children tomorrow will thrive.”

“Music is a fantastic tool to share messages. Sharing awareness is of paramount importance. It has a strong impact on what happens in our countries.” More

Sustainable transport key to green energy shift: UN Secretary-General

With global transport at a crossroads, government leaders, industry experts, and civil society groups are meeting in Beijing, China, for a UN conference to chart the way forward to a more sustainable future for the sector, and greater climate action overall. 

The three-day UN Sustainable Transport Conference, which opened on Thursday, will examine how transportation can contribute to climate response, economic growth and sustainable development.

It is taking place just weeks before the COP26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

In remarks to the opening, UN Secretary-General António Guterres underlined what is at stake. “The next nine years must see a global shift towards renewable energy. Sustainable transport is central to that transformation,” he said.

The move to sustainable transport could deliver savings of $70 trillion by 2050, according to the World Bank.  More