Category Archives: News

Russia agrees ‘in principle’ to UN and Red Cross involvement in evacuations from Mariupol

Russia has agreed “in principle” to UN involvement in the evacuation of citizens from the last remaining holdout in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, following a meeting between Secretary-General António Guterres and President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.

The UN chief, who was in the Russian capital for talks on the war in Ukraine, also met with the country’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.

During his “tête-a-tête meeting” with President Putin, Mr. Guterres reiterated the UN’s position on Ukraine, according to a readout issued by his Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

They also discussed proposals for humanitarian assistance and evacuation of civilians from conflict zones, namely in relation to the situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol, where thousands of civilians and Ukrainian troops remain holed up in the Azovstal steel mill.

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First Person: Torres Strait Islanders fight the loss of their ancestral home

Yessie Mosby is one of the so-called Torres Strait Eight, a group from the Pacific Islands which lodged a complaint with the UN Human Rights Council, that Australia is not doing enough to protect their people from climate change, in the first ever case of its kind. Mr. Mosby explained to UN News why they decided to take this unprecedented step.

The Torres Strait Islands, an autonomous part of Australia, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis, and extreme weather, including storms, rising sea levels and erosion, are a major threat to the indigenous people, who have inhabited the islands for some 70,000 years.

With the case ongoing, Mr. Molby and his fellow activists have been recognized as human rights leaders for their efforts to draw attention to the plight of their community. More

Extractive projects cause irreparable harm to indigenous cultures, languages, lives, speakers tell Permanent Forum

The explosive growth of extractive operations around the world often plays out on indigenous people’s lands without their consent, causing irreparable harm to their livelihoods, cultures, languages and lives, speakers told the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on Monday, as it opened its 2022 session amid calls to respect their free, prior and informed consent on the existential decisions uprooting their communities.

Gathered in the UN General Assembly Hall for the first time in three years, indigenous representatives were welcomed in a traditional ceremony led by Katsenhaienton Lazare of the Bear Clan, Mohawk of the Haudenosaunee, who acknowledged nature in its great diversity – the winds, thunders, lightening, sun and other life forces – which give purpose and protection to humankind, and summoned generations of traditional ancestors who still have much to offer today’s societies.

The invocation dovetailed with the theme of the Forum’s twenty-first session – ‘Indigenous peoples, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent’ – and start of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, 2022-2032More

Guterres urges youth: Keep pushing, mobilizing, ‘bringing your ideas to the table’

Despite war, COVID-19 and the climate crisis, all of which compound the other challenges facing young people today, the UN chief lauded youth for raising their voices and mobilizing for a better future.

“Young people are…leading the way in the fight against climate change, standing up for racial justice and gender equality…holding leaders to account…[and] are at the forefront of our efforts to secure a more inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous future for all,” Secretary-General António Guterres said on the second of a two-day forum on youth.

Under the theme Youth 2030: Achieving the SDGs, he delivered a recorded video message to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’s annual Youth Forum encouraging young people to “keep pushing; to keep mobilizing; and to keep bringing your ideas to the table”.

“We have no time to lose”

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Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance

António Guterres released the initial recommendations of his Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG) on Tuesday, set up in response to the hunger crisis provoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world’s supply of sunflower oil and about 30 percent of the world’s wheat. Ukraine alone provides more than half of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) wheat supply.

The war has resulted in disrupted supply chains and rising prices – not just of food, but also fuel and fertilizer.

When he announced the formation of the GCRG in March, Mr. Guterres called on countries to find creative ways to finance increased humanitarian and development recovery needs worldwide, to give generously and immediately release pledged funds. More

COVID-19 vaccine access in conflict areas remains critical

Ambassadors met to review implementation of two resolutions: one on the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire during the crisis, and the other on cooperation to facilitate vaccine access.

Ted Chaiban, Global Lead Coordinator for COVID-19 Vaccine Country-Readiness and Delivery, highlighted the need for urgent action this year.

“The window of opportunity is gradually closing. We risk losing the momentum and failing on vaccine equity,” he said, speaking from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We must therefore use every opportunity to bundle or integrate COVID-19 vaccination with other health and humanitarian interventions and leverage these investments for the longer-term strengthening of health systems.” More

UN General Assembly votes to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Thursday calling for Russia to be suspended from the Human Rights Council.

The resolution received a two-thirds majority of those voting, minus abstentions, in the 193-member Assembly, with 93 nations voting in favour and 24 against.

Fifty-eight abstained from the process. Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Vietnam, were among those who voted against.

Those abstaining, included India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia.

The meeting marked the resumption of a special emergency session on the war in Ukraine and followed reports of violations committed by Russian forces. More

‘Decisive steps’ needed to keep boys in school – UNESCO report

Although girls have more difficulty accessing education and make up most out-of-school at the primary level, challenges facing boys are increasing at later stages, according to a report published on Wednesday by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Leave no child behind: Global report on boys’ disengagement from education, sheds light on the factors driving boys’ disengagement from the classroom.

The report highlights a global phenomenon: Harsh discipline, corporal punishment, and other forms of violence at school; gendered norms and expectations; and other factors, are preventing boys from achieving academically, while increasing absenteeism and dropouts.

“To make education a universal right, we need to ensure that all youth have the educational opportunities to successfully shape their lives and futures,” UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in the foreword.

“As this report underlines, we need to take decisive steps to keep boys in school and support them throughout their education”. More

UN climate report: It’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees

A new flagship UN report on climate change out Monday indicating that harmful carbon emissions from 2010-2019 have never been higher in human history, is proof that the world is on a “fast track” to disaster, António Guterres has warned, with scientists arguing that it’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Reacting to the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN Secretary-General insisted that unless governments everywhere reassess their energy policies, the world will be uninhabitable.

His comments reflected the IPCC’s insistence that all countries must reduce their fossil fuel use substantially, extend access to electricity, improve energy efficiency and increase the use of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen.

Unless action is taken soon, some major cities will be under water, Mr. Guterres said in a video message, which also forecast “unprecedented heatwaves, terrifying storms, widespread water shortages and the extinction of a million species of plants and animals”. More

Watch: UN Secretary-General Video Speech to Launch of the IPCC Report