Our Perspective

      • THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON UNITED NATIONS DAY

        23 Oct 2014

        The United Nations is needed more than ever at this time of multiple crises.  Poverty, disease, terrorism, discrimination and climate change are exacting a heavy toll.  Millions of people continue to suffer deplorable exploitation through bonded labour, human trafficking, sexual slavery or unsafe conditions in factories, fields and mines. The global economy remains an uneven playing field. The founding of the United Nations was a solemn pledge to the world’s people to end such assaults on human dignity, and lead the way to a better future. There have been painful setbacks, and there is much work ahead to realize the Charter’s vision.  But we can take heart from our achievements.  The UN Millennium Development Goals have inspired the most successful anti-poverty campaign ever.  United Nations treaties addressing inequality, torture and racism have protected people, while other agreements have safeguarded the environment. UN peacekeepers have separated hostile forces, our mediators have settled disputes and our humanitarian workers have delivered life-saving aid. At this critical moment, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable.  On United Nations Day, I call on Governments and individuals to work in common cause for the common good.   Read More

      • THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY

        17 Oct 2014

        On this day we recommit to think, decide and act together against extreme poverty -- and plan for a world where no-one is left behind. We have reached the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the proportion of people living in poverty ahead of time. At least 700 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty between 1990 and 2010. Despite this enormous success, one in every five persons in developing regions -- 1.22 billion people -- live on less than $1.25 a day, and 2.4 billion live on less than $2 a day.  Since the beginning of the financial crisis, inequality has grown even more pronounced than it was already.  Discrimination against women and girls remains a blatant injustice, robbing the entire development enterprise of one of the keys to progress. Entrenched poverty and prejudice, and vast gulfs between wealth and destitution, can undermine the fabric of societies and lead to instability. Where poverty holds sway, people are held back.  Lives disfigured by poverty are cruel, mean and, often, short. As we prepare the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and address the threat of climate change, we must not lose sight of our most fundamental obligation: to eliminate poverty in all  Read More

      • THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON WORLD FOOD DAY

        16 Oct 2014

        Today, and every day, we eat thanks to the labours of family farmers. They run the vast majority of farms in the world. They preserve natural resources and agro-biodiversity. They are the cornerstone of inclusive and sustainable agriculture and food systems. It is fitting that in this International Year of Family Farming, there are 100 million fewer hungry people than just 10 years ago. Sixty-three countries have halved the portion of their population which is undernourished. Our vision of zero hunger is within reach. But there is much work to be done. More than 800 million people do not have enough healthy, nutritious food to lead active lives. One in three young children is malnourished. Family farmers are key to unlocking global progress. But they are at a disadvantage when it comes to access to technology, services and markets. And they are acutely exposed to extreme weather, climate change and environmental degradation. Ensuring equal access – particularly for women – to productive resources is essential to empowering the world’s 500 million smallholder farmers to help eradicate poverty and safeguard the environment. At the Climate Summit in New York last month, more than a hundred organizations and governments pledged to work more  Read More

      • THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR DISASTER REDUCTION

        13 Oct 2014

        As a human family, we are growing older. Globally, approximately 700 million people – 10 per cent of the world’s population – are over the age of 60, and by 2030, there will be more elderly persons than children for the first time in history. This year’s commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction is an opportunity to recognize the role of older men and women in fostering resilience. When a natural disaster hits, older persons suffer disproportionately high levels of death and injuries. This tragic trend must be reversed through plans, services and support that ensure we address the vulnerabilities facing older persons while optimizing their contributions to our collective safety and wellbeing. Disaster planning must take account of the reduced mobility experienced by many older persons. We have to enable them to prepare for a potential disaster, reach safety and protect themselves. The needs of older persons should also be taken into account in early warning systems, social protection mechanisms, evacuation and emergency response plans, and public awareness campaigns. At the same time, it is important to recognize that older persons have strengths that can serve the community at large. Their years of experience can help in reducing  Read More

      • THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD

        11 Oct 2014

        All over the world, an alarming number of adolescent girls are assaulted, beaten, raped, mutilated and even murdered.  The threat of violence at the hands of family members, partners, teachers and peers grossly violates their rights, diminishes their power and suppresses their potential. This violence is exacerbated and reinforced by the multiple deprivations adolescent girls face, including unequal access to education, skills, information, sexual and reproductive health services, and social and economic resources.  Girls are subjected to discriminatory social norms and harmful practices – such as female genital mutilation -- that perpetuate a cycle of violence.  A culture of impunity allows violence against adolescent girls to continue unabated.  Conflict and humanitarian crises dramatically increase the risk of violence, abuse and exploitation. My UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign is engaging governments, international organizations, civil society groups, the media and citizens everywhere to raise awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending violence against women and girls.  A parallel campaign – HeForShe – emphasizes that gender equality is not just a women’s issue by enrolling males to act against all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls.  As we define the post-2015 development framework and review  Read More

      • THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NON-VIOLENCE

        02 Oct 2014

        On this International Day of Non-Violence, we commemorate the philosophy of the late Mahatma Gandhi, who through his example proved that peaceful protests could accomplish much more than military aggression. The principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, the year of Gandhi’s death, owe much to his beliefs. At this time of increased sectarian violence and the wanton destruction of cultural sites and heritage, it is timely to recall Gandhi’s call for peace and reconciliation, and his warning that, “An eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind.” We have to foster a culture of peace, built on dialogue and understanding, for living together in harmony while respecting and celebrating humanity’s rich diversity. There is no greater tool than education to enhance human dignity, promote a culture of non-violence, and build lasting peace. Through education, we can craft new ways of living with each other and the planet. Education can also lay the foundation for developing new forms of global citizenship and solidarity that are so essential in today’s world. On this Day, I call on all people to counter the forces of intolerance, advance global citizenship and forge human solidarity based on  Read More

      • THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON WORLD MARITIME DAY: ‘IMO CONVENTIONS: EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION’

        25 Sep 2014

        At a time when the world is beset by conflict and crisis, it is easy to forget that, day in and day out, the international shipping industry works quietly and efficiently to keep the wheels of global trade in motion and ensure the timely delivery of the goods and commodities on which we all rely. For more than 50 years, international conventions developed by the International Maritime Organization have made global shipping progressively safer, more secure and more environment-friendly. There are more than 50 in all. Collectively, they are aimed at strengthening maritime safety and security, protecting the marine environment, mitigating the negative effects of accidents or establishing regulations covering liability and compensation for damage. The real value of those conventions can be fully realized only if they are properly implemented. This entails early entry into force, broad participation, effective policies and programmes, stringent oversight and vigorous enforcement. Shipping States, coastal States and the shipping industry itself all have a part to play. On World Maritime Day, let us recall the often unheralded but always vital contribution by international shipping to peoples and communities all over the world.  I urge all concerned to strengthen their efforts to achieve the full and  Read More

      • Timor-Leste at a crossroads

        24 Sep 2014

        After taking over the leadership of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), completing its term as chair of the g7+ and ESCAP communities, and becoming the first country in Asia-Pacific to launch a national action plan to implement the United Nations’ Zero Hunger Challenge, all within July-August this year, Timor-Leste is signaling its intent to become a stronger actor on the regional and international scenes. Timor-Leste’s voice has also been important in the global dialogue to establish the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as in the establishment of the New Deal for Aid Effectiveness, to mention some of the country’s achievements. However, Timor-Leste’s path towards sustainable development is at a crossroads, as 2014 marks approximately the half-way point in time until the anticipated depletion of the currently producing oil and gas fields in 2021, which have produced significant State revenues since 2007. In terms of expected income, the half way point was already passed some time ago. With just under five hundred days remaining to reach the MDGs, now is an opportune time to reflect on the progress made, challenges ahead, and policy options for Timor-Leste in its race against  Read More

      • THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

        21 Sep 2014

        Today is the International Day of Peace. Each year, on this day, the United Nations calls for a global ceasefire.  We ask combatants to put down their arms so all can breathe the air of peace. Armed conflict causes untold grief to families, communities and entire countries. Too many are suffering today at the brutal hands of warmongers and terrorists. Let us stand with them in solidarity. Peace and security are essential foundations for social progress and sustainable development. That is why, three decades ago, the United Nations affirmed the right of peoples to peace. Throughout the coming year, we will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. Our organisation is founded on the pledge to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. We have made much progress. But much remains to be done. We must douse the fires of extremism and tackle the root causes of conflict. Peace is a long road that we must travel together – step by step, beginning today. Let us all observe a minute of silence, at noon. Let us all reflect on peace – and what it means for our human family. Let us hold it in our hearts and minds and  Read More

      • International Day of Peace

        21 Sep 2014

        2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace. This declaration recognizes that “the maintenance of a peaceful life for peoples is the sacred duty of each State”. The people of Timor-Leste know first-hand how vital peace is to their individual and community well-being, and how far Timor-Leste has come in restoring peace since the 2006 crisis. Indeed, the country has embarked on a long-term process of rebuilding its social fabric, developing State institutions and transforming its international image. The UN has and continues to support Timor-Leste in this transition. Working together, the UN, the government and civil society are strengthening national capacities to ensure that peace and development are sustained. This includes consolidating and further strengthening capacities within the Government of Timor-Leste. For instance, the Ministry of Social Solidarity is receiving support to maintain and deepen resilience and social cohesion across the country. Another example is joint UN-civil society support to enhance the collective efforts of government, under the leadership of the Secretary of State for Security, to deepen women’s engagement in peacebuilding through the development of a National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000). This  Read More