Category Archives: Secretary General’s Message for 2016

SG’s message on International Anti-Corruption Day

The Secretary-General

Message on International Anti-Corruption Day

9 December 2016

 The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the world’s inspiring new manifesto for transforming our world and building a better future for all. But as we undertake this crucial journey of implementation, a broad barrier stands in our path: corruption.

No country is immune, and every country bears a responsibility to end it. Corruption strangles people, communities and nations. It weakens education and health, undermines electoral processes and reinforces injustices by perverting criminal justice systems and the rule of law. By diverting domestic and foreign funds, corruption wrecks economic and social development and increases poverty. It harms everyone, but the poor and vulnerable suffer most.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Corruption: An impediment to the Sustainable Development Goals”. Goal 16 urges substantial reductions in corruption and bribery and the development of effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels. The UN Convention against Corruption, buttressed by its peer review mechanism, is mobilizing action for honest, transparent, accountable governance, but far more is needed.

On International Anti-corruption Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to ending the deceit and dishonesty that threaten the and our efforts to achieve peace and prosperity for all on a healthy planet.

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THE SECRETARY-GENERAL’s

MESSAGE ON WORLD SOIL DAY

5 December 2016

 In a modern world where the population is growing, cities are expanding, the climate is changing and more food is needed, we urgently need healthy soils to ensure the essential services they provide.

Sustainable management systems and practices will unlock the full potential of soils to support food production, store and supply clean water, preserve biodiversity, sequester more carbon and increase resilience to a changing climate.

Sustainable soil management will also advance progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. It should become the worldwide norm in order to optimize our use of soil now and preserve and protect it over the long term.

Pulses, also known as grain legumes, can boost soil health while supporting healthier and nutritious diets. Dry beans, peas, lentils and other pulses combine with soil in a unique symbiosis that protects the environment, enhances productivity, contributes to adapting to climate change and provides fundamental nutrients to the soil and subsequent crops. Pulses can fix atmospheric nitrogen in their roots. By freeing soil-bound phosphorous to make it accessible and usable by plants, pulses also reduce the need to apply external fertilizer. These are all drivers of sustainable development.

The international community has identified collaborative and coordinated ways to protect and sustainably manage soils. There are valuable recommendations in the recently endorsed Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management developed by the Global Soil Partnership. Following these guidelines will help pave the way to boosting the health of soil and fully unlocking its potential to support mitigation and adaption actions in a changing climate.

On World Soil Day, I call for greater attention to the pressing issues affecting soils, including climate change, antimicrobial resistance, soil-borne diseases, contamination, nutrition and human health.

Let us build on the International Year of Soils 2015, the International Year of Pulses 2016, and all the activities supporting sustainable soil management to generate more hectares of healthy soils everywhere.

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Secretary-General’s Message for 2016

Attacks on journalists violate the human rights of individuals and undermine freedom of information and expression across societies. Impunity, which makes this terrible situation worse, is rampant. Of the 827 documented killings of journalists over the past decade, the information at hand shows that only 8 percent of perpetrators were held to account.

I pay tribute to the courage of all media personnel who put their lives on the line for the sake of truth. And I call for immediate action to secure justice in cases where journalists were attacked, harassed or killed.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is mobilizing all partners to implement the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. Success hinges on cooperation to create a culture of freedom of expression, where those who restrict the work of journalists are sanctioned and all who attack them are punished.

Toward this end, I call on all countries to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists with concrete actions to ensure that all media personnel are guaranteed the space they need to operate free from any form of harassment or intimidation. In this way, we will strengthen public access to information, which is key to Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.

Commemorative activities will be held in a variety of places around the world, including Myanmar, which will officially mark the Day for the first time as part of its transition toward democracy with discussions at the Annual Media Development Conference. In the Russian Federation, UNESCO is teaming up with the Russian Union of Journalists to examine prevailing conditions, honour those who have lost their lives and raise awareness about ending impunity. In Pakistan, UNESCO is joining with officials in a discussion focused on strengthening the safety of journalists. In Tanzania, UNESCO is working with officials to hold a workshop commemorating the Day.

I urge all countries to observe this Day, especially where journalists are under threat. Let us resolve to do all we can to contribute to a safer environment for journalists and a freer society for all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secretary General’s message on International Day of Yoga 2016

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA

21 June 2016

yoga-logoYoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India and is now practiced in various forms around the world.  The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.

Yoga balances body and soul, physical health and mental well-being.  It promotes harmony among people, and between ourselves and the natural world.  Recognizing its universal appeal, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga.

This year’s observance of the International Day of Yoga highlights the important role healthy living plays in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted last year by all 193 United Nations Member States. Continue reading

Secretary General’s Message on the International Day of Reflection: Genocide in Rwanda

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF 
REFLECTION ON THE GENOCIDE IN RWANDA
7 April 2016

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In 1994, more than 800,000 people were systematically murdered throughout Rwanda.  The vast majority were Tutsi, but moderate Hutu, Twa and others were also targeted.  On this Day, we remember all who perished in the genocide and renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities from ever being repeated, anywhere in the world.

We should all be inspired by the survivors’ courage in showing that reconciliation is possible even after such a tragedy.  With the Great Lakes region still facing serious threats to peace and security, healing and reconstruction remain essential.

Honouring the victims of the genocide in Rwanda also means working for justice and accountability.  I commend United Nations Member States in the region and beyond for their continued efforts to arrest and hand over remaining fugitives and end impunity.  The best way to ensure that genocide and other egregious violations of human rights and international law can never occur again is to acknowledge shared responsibility and commit to shared action to protect those at risk. Continue reading

Secretary General’s Message on International Women’s Day 2016

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

“FROM THE GLASS CEILING TO A CARPET OF SHARDS”

8 March 2016

pg8As a boy growing up in post-war Korea, I remember asking about a tradition I observed: women going into labour would leave their shoes at the threshold and then look back in fear. “They are wondering if they will ever step into those shoes again,” my mother explained.

More than a half-century later, the memory continues to haunt me. In poor parts of the world today, women still risk death in the process of giving life. Maternal mortality is one of many preventable perils. All too often, female babies are subjected to genital mutilation. Girls are attacked on their way to school. Women’s bodies are used as battlefields in wars. Widows are shunned and impoverished.

We can only address these problems by empowering women as agents of change. Continue reading

Statement by the Secretary General on the Death of Boutros Boutros – Ghali

STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

ON THE DEATH OF BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI

New York, 16 February 2016

I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of my predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

The late Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, was a respected statesman in the service of his country, Egypt. He was a well-known scholar of international law and brought formidable experience and intellectual power to the task of piloting the United Nations through one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods in its history, and guiding the Organization of the Francophonie in subsequent years.

As Secretary-General, he presided over a dramatic rise in UN peacekeeping. He also presided over a time when the world increasingly turned to the United Nations for solutions to its problems, in the immediate aftermath of the cold war.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali did much to shape the Organization’s response to this new era, in particular through his landmark report “An Agenda for Peace” and the subsequent agendas for development and democratization.  Continue reading

Secretary General’s Message on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

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THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO TOLERANCE FOR FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

6 February 2016

Never before has it been more urgent – or more possible – to end the practice of female genital mutilation, preventing immeasurable human suffering and boosting the power of women and girls to have a positive impact on our world.

The urgency can be seen in the numbers. New estimates reveal that in 2016 at least 200 million girls and women alive now have undergone some form of FGM. The numbers keep growing both because more countries are paying attention to FGM and collecting data – which represents good progress– and because progress in ending the practice is not keeping pace with population growth – which is not at all good. If current trends continue, more girls will be cut every year by 2030 than today owing to high fertility rates and youthful populations found in most communities where FGM is prevalent. And since the practice increases risks in childbirth, it causes harm to today’s girls as well as the next generation. Continue reading

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THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE ON WORLD CANCER DAY

4 February 2016

World Cancer Day, always an opportunity to rally the world, has special impetus this year thanks to the recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to usher in a life of dignity for all people.

The Sustainable Development Goals endorsed by all governments call for reducing by one third premature death from non-communicable diseases. This builds on an historic commitment made in 2011 by Heads of State. We are also guided by the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, and the Every Woman Every Child movement behind it, which are working for stronger health systems, universal health care coverage and scaling up of life-saving interventions for comprehensive cancer prevention and control.

We must do more to end the many tragedies that cancer inflicts. About one third of cancers can be prevented, while others are curable if diagnosed and treated early. And even when cancer is advanced, patients should benefit from palliative care. Continue reading

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

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Secretary-General’s Message for 2016

During the Second World War, six million Jews were systematically rounded up and exterminated.  The Nazis also murdered Sinti and Roma, political prisoners, homosexuals, persons with disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Soviet prisoners of war.

The Holocaust was a colossal crime.  No-one can deny the evidence that it happened.  By remembering the victims and honouring the courage of the survivors and those who assisted and liberated them, we annually renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities and reject the hateful mentality that allows them.

From the shadow of the Holocaust and the cruelties of the Second World War, the United Nations was established to reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of every person and to uphold the rights of all to live in equality and free from discrimination. Continue reading