A selection of UN TV programmes, webcasts and video clips on issues in the news

Friday, 25 May 2012

The United Nations Secretary-General Message , International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

 The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is an occasion to salute the 120,000 peacekeepers serving in 17 missions in some of the world’s most volatile and dangerous environments. This Day is also a time to mourn fallen peacekeepers. In 2011, 112 men and women died devoting their lives to peace. In the first four months of this year, another 27 peacekeepers have died while serving the United Nations.

 Today we honour the memory of the more than 2,900 peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the line of duty over the years, and we pledge to carry on their work to bring stability to war-ravaged countries. The fallen peacekeepers came from many different troop-contributing countries, a poignant reminder of the global partnership that underpins United Nations peacekeeping. Currently, 116 Member States contribute military and police personnel to our operations.

This impressive number reflects growing global confidence in the value of United Nations peacekeeping as a tool for collective security. Our new observer mission in Syria is the latest example that demonstrates how the international community looks to the United Nations for solutions to emerging challenges. The Mission is facing difficult challenges but serves bravely to help keep the parties, starting with the Government of Syria, to their commitments to cease the violence that has killed thousands of people. It is part of the larger UN efforts led by the Joint Special Envoy to end the violence and seek a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The ultimate goal of any UN peacekeeping mission is to no longer be necessary. Until we reach that objective, we make every effort for peacekeeping to be as effective and efficient as possible. I am deeply grateful for every contribution of troops and police, as well as for the financial and material resources that make peacekeeping possible.

 I also thank all countries that provide political support and leadership. Members of the Security Council, in particular, guide and strengthen our work by establishing mandates and updating our deployments to respond to changing conditions on the ground. Regional organizations play an increasingly important role. The African Union and the United Nations, for example, are working closely together in Darfur and Somalia while jointly addressing the threat posed by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army. These partnerships help give UN peacekeeping the flexibility it needs to address today’s wide-ranging challenges to international peace and security. On this International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, let us remember the sacrifice of those who have served, and let us pledge to strengthen the global partnerships that make our blue helmets a beacon of hope to millions of people around the world.

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers 2012

29 May 2012 - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presided over a ceremony to award the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal posthumously to the military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations in 2011 Dag Hammarskjöld medal ceremony (International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2012) Wreath-laying ceremony - International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2012 Special event on the occasion of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers organized by the Office of Military Affairs, Department of Peacekeeping Operations
Since its beginning in 1948, United Nations peacekeeping has evolved into one of the main tools used by the international community to manage complex crises that threaten international peace and security.
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, which is commemorated each year on the 29th of May, is an occasion to salute the 120,000 peacekeepers serving in 17 missions in some of the world’s most volatile and dangerous environments. This Day is also a time to mourn fallen peacekeepers. During its history, nearly 3,000 “Blue Helmets” have died devoting their lives to peace, including 112 men and women in 2011.
This year, the United Nations is marking the Day by highlighting the global partnerships that help sustain UN Peacekeeping and make it the success that it is.
United Nations Peacekeeping draws together the legal and political authority of the Security Council, the personnel and financial contributions of Member States, the support of host countries and the accumulated experience of the Secretariat in managing operations in the field. It is this partnership that gives UN Peacekeeping its legitimacy, sustainability and global reach.
Currently, UN Peacekeeping operations receive contributions of military and police personnel from 116 Member States. This impressive number reflects growing global confidence in the value of United Nations Peacekeeping as a tool for collective security. It also demonstrates the strength and breadth of the partnership that the UN Organization has with the countries, large and small, that make it up.
In addition to those partnerships with individual Member States, United Nations Peacekeeping works closely with UN agencies, funds and programmes in support of humanitarian and development work on the ground. Creative partnerships with international and regional organizations are also becoming a regular feature in UN Peacekeeping to create a common vision, build capacity and share costs. A recent example includes the African Union (AU) in the work of the joint African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur. Working together to address threats to global security and to save lives they are a beacon of hope to millions of people around the world.


UN Peacekeeping works with Member States, host countries, UN partners and regional organizations to address threats to international peace and security.

MINURSO Team Navigates through Western Sahara

Peacekeepers with the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) consult a map as they drive through vast desert areas in Smara, Western Sahara.

UN  Photo/Martine Perret

Monday, 14 May 2012

ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Touré - World Telecommunication and Information Society Day [ITU] - May 17

ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Touré


"Women and Girls in ICT"

ICTs play a catalytic role in creating opportunities for people in every walk of life, especially for those among us who are vulnerable and disadvantaged, while providing the framework for long-term sustainable development.

This year, on World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, we are determined to harness the full potential of ICTs for the benefit of women and girls by eliminating gender disparities and empowering them to meet their goals and aspirations. The theme of this year’s WTISD, “Women and Girls in ICT”, aims to ensure that this significant, female half of the world’s population will march forward as equals.

Women are the bedrock of our societies. They are the pillars of strength in every family and community. Yet gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched. Women and girls are denied access to basic health care and education and to equal opportunities at work. They face segregation in economic, political and social decision-making and often suffer violence and discrimination.

This situation is unacceptable and we must address it with all the means available to us.

Gender equality is a basic human right enshrined in the UN Charter, and it is one of the main objectives of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). ICTs are tools that can help accelerate progress towards achieving this target, and it is for this reason that ITU Council proposed that we focus our efforts this year on women and girls, using the power of ICTs to provide new digital opportunities to end discrimination and empower women and girls to achieve their rightful place as equals in the world. This effort with ICTs must begin not only from the cradle, but from antenatal health care, reaching out to the remotest communities through telemedicine and other means ― with every mother, every girl and every woman guaranteed her birthright.

I call upon ITU Member States, Sector Members and Associates as well as academia and citizens’ groups to pull together every conceivable resource to ensure that women and girls in every community around the world have full access to ICTs in order to empower them with information and knowledge, to know their rights, and to seize every available digital opportunity.

I also call upon our other partners and stakeholders ― political leaders, policy makers, regulators, operators, industry and civil society ― to adopt policies and strategies that will promote ICT opportunities for women and girls.
National governments, private sector, donors, civil society and educationists need to acknowledge and support the central role professional women can play in further developing and servicing a dynamic and competitive ICT sector. The growing demand for a range of ICT skills around the globe present a unique window of opportunity to properly position girls and women in the industry and provide them with the tools necessary to succeed.

The ICT sector in particular can pave the way by providing avenues of advancement to professional women at the highest echelons of decision making and by encouraging young women to seek new careers within the sector.

I urge you to celebrate World Telecommunication and Information Society Day this year by paying particular attention to the special needs of women and girls, extending to them the benefits of ICTs so as to create a paradigm shift in opportunities offered now and in the future. An egalitarian and just society is the basis for a peaceful and prosperous world.

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
ITU Secretary-General

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day [ITU] - May 17 : Message of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon


I welcome the focus on women and girls as the theme of this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.
Information and communications technologies are already benefiting women and girls in numerous ways.  E-commerce is expanding opportunities for entrepreneurship. Mobile telephones are enabling midwives to make childbirth safer.  Electronic social networks are allowing women around the world to mobilize as never before for democracy, dignity and human rights. 

At the same time, we know that information and communications technology has the potential to cause harm.  Cyberbullying, Internet-driven human trafficking and other abuses are often targeted at women and girls.  We must do everything possible to stop these crimes and promote greater online security for all people.

More broadly, we should work to optimize the power of information and communications technology to support sustainable development.  By gathering, disseminating and analyzing information, we can accelerate action to protect natural resources, combat climate change and help vulnerable people, including women and girls.

This is especially important in the context of the “Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held next month in Brazil.  In the final run-up to the Conference, and then especially afterwards as we implement the decisions taken there, information and communications technology can make possible new approaches and solutions for a sustainable future.

On this World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, I call again for wide-ranging efforts to close both the digital divide and the gender gap.  All people must be able to make the best use of information and communications technology to help create the future we want.

Ban Ki-Moon
UN Secretary-General

Sunday, 13 May 2012

"Ensuring work-family balance " International year of Families 2012 theme.

Family issues became an object of increasing attention at the United Nations during the 1980s. In 1983, acting on the recommendation of the Commission for Social Development at its twenty-eighth session, the Economic and Social Council, in its resolution on the role of the family in the development process(1983/23), requested that the Secretary-General "enhance awareness among decision makers and public of the problems and needs of the family, as well as effective ways of meeting those needs." In its resolution 1985/29 of 29 May 1985, the Council invited the General Assembly to consider the possibility of including "an item entitled 'Families in the development process', with a view to considering a possible request to the Secretary-General to initiate a process of development of global awareness of the issues involved."
Subsequently, acting on the recommendation of the Commission for Social Development at its thirtieth session and the Council at its first regular session of 1987 (resolution 1987/42 of 28 May 1987), the Assembly, in its resolution 42/134 of 7 December 1987, invited "all States to make their views known concerning the possible proclamation of an international year of the family and to offer their comments and proposals." It also requested "the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its forty-third session a comprehensive report, based on the comments and proposals of Member States, on the possible proclamation of such a year and other ways and means to improve the position and well-being of the family and to intensify international co-operation as part of global efforts to advance social progress and development".
1994 was proclaimed the International Year of the Family by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 44/82 of 9 December 1989.

Event for 2012

Panel discussion on “Ensuring work-family balance”

Organized by the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) in cooperation with the NY NGO Committee on the Family
Tuesday, 15 May, 2012
Conference Room 6, 1:15 – 2:45 p.m.
United Nations, New York


  • Moderator
    Professor Margaret O’Brien
    Co-Director, Centre for Research on the Child and Family
    University of East Anglia
  • Dr. Jody Heymann
    Canada Research Chair in Global Health and Social Policy
    McGill University
    Families at Work: What we Know about Conditions Globally
  • Dr. Meejung Chin
    Department of Child Development & Family Studies
    Seoul National University
    Demographic Changes and Work-Family Balance Policies in East Asia
  • Dr. Corina Rodríguez Enríquez
    Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas,
    Centro Interdiciplinario para el Estudio de Políticas Públicas, Argentina
    Work-family balance issues in Latin America: a Roadmap for National Care Systems
  • Dr. Nurper Ulkuer Chief, Early Childhood Development Unit
    United Nations Children’s Fund
    The Importance of Quality Child Care for Work-Family Balance
  • Discussion
Download programme PDF document

United Nations Secretary-General's Message for International Day of Families 2012

Secretary-General's Message for 2012

This year’s International Day of Families highlights the need for work-family balance.  The aim is to help workers everywhere provide for their families financially and emotionally, while also contributing to the socio-economic development of their societies.

Current trends underscore the growing importance of work-family policies.  These include greater participation by women in the labour market, and growing urbanization and mobility in search for jobs.  As families become smaller and generations live apart, extended kin are less available to offer care, and employed parents face rising challenges.

Millions of people around the world lack decent working conditions and the social support to care for their families.  Affordable quality childcare is rarely available in developing countries, where many parents are forced to leave their preschool children home alone.  Many young children are also left in the care of older siblings who, in turn, are pulled from school.

A number of countries offer generous leave provisions for mothers and fathers.  Many more, however, extend few comprehensive benefits in line with international standards. Paternity leave provisions are still rare in the majority of developing countries.

Flexible working arrangements, including staggered working hours, compressed work schedules or telecommuting, are becoming more widely available – but there is much room for improvement everywhere.  I am committed to this in our own organization, where we are currently looking at our own arrangements, and seeing what we can do better.

We need to respond to the ever-changing complexities of work and family life.  I welcome the establishment of family-friendly workplaces through parental leave provisions, flexible working arrangements and better childcare.

Such policies and programmes are critical to enhancing the work-family balance.  These actions can also lead to better working conditions, greater employee health and productivity, and a more concerted focus on gender equality.

Work-family balance policies demonstrate both a government’s commitment to the well-being of families and the private sector’s commitment to social responsibility.
On this International Day of Families, let us renew our pledge to promote work-family balance for the benefit of families and society at large.
Ban Ki-moon

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Hunger: The World's Greatest Solvable Problem

6 Reasons The Next Generation Needs Us To Solve Hunger


Here are six facts and stats that illustrate this point:

1. Science has proven that a child’s first 1,000 days – in the womb and up to 2 years old – are critical to their physical and mental development.  Children who are critically undernourished suffer irreversible damage.

2. Nourished women have healthier babies whose immune systems are stronger for life. Conversely, undernourished mothers pass malnutrition on to the next generation by giving birth to smaller, weaker babies.

3. Proper nutrition during the first two years of life can result in an increase in lifetime earnings by as much as 46 percent. (J. Hoddinott, The Lancet).

4. The combination of low birth weight, stunting and iodine deficiency can result in a reduction of up to 30 points in IQ and the body’s inability to resist disease for life. (World Bank).

5. Studies show it is more difficult for children to learn without adequate food and nutrition. There are 66 million primary school-age children who attend classes hungry across the developing world.

6. A  third of all deaths in children under the age of five in developing countries are linked to hunger. (UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality).

Friday, 11 May 2012

2012 Global Poverty Update


World Bank Sees Progress Against Extreme Poverty

Says many people remain poor and vulnerable in all regions despite gains.
 Report (PDF) | Release
1 billion : Estimated number of people living on less than $1.25 a day in 2005

The public can access all statistics underlying the new international estimates via the online tool, PovcalNet, which allows users to calculate poverty rates using global, regional and national numbers. Many data, especially those from middle-income countries and regions, are more recent than 2008.

“PovcalNet is the Bank’s interactive, open-data tool for poverty and inequality measurement,” says Shaohua Chen, senior statistician in the Bank’s Research Group who manages PovcalNet. “With our newly-revamped site, users can easily duplicate our results, or conduct their own research using any line or country grouping
to their liking.”

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Secretary-General's Message for the Day of Vesak 2012

DAY OF VESAK - 5 may 2012

We commemorate this year’s Day of Vesak as the international
community enters the final preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro — a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set the world on a more equitable and sustainable path of development.

Buddhism has much to offer that process. The Buddha’s assertion that, “The way to change the world is to change the nature of man” offers a critical insight into how to improve conditions for our planet and its inhabitants.

The spirit to care not just for ourselves but for others based on an awareness of our interlinked fates lies at the heart of Buddhism — and indeed all of the world’s great religions.

These teachings challenge families, communities and nations to act in concert for the advancement of our common well-being. That is the best way to secure individual and collective progress in an interdependent world.

We must also change longstanding assumptions and open our minds to new ideas and possible solutions if we are to address major global threats, from the proliferation of deadly weapons to intolerance and inequality.

I invite Buddhists and people of all traditions to use the occasion of the Day of Vesak to reflect on how we can change our actions to pave the way for a more sustainable future.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Angelina Jolie in Ecuador

23 avril 2012 - Angelina Jolie meets Colombian refugees in Ecuador during her first field visit as Special Envoy of the High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

World Press Freedom Day: UN says free, pluralistic media key for healthy, vibrant societies

World Press Freedom Day Event “New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies”

World Press Freedom Day Logo English Version

DPI-NGO briefing: World Press Freedom Day Event “New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies”

“Protecting journalists: Lessons learned and prospects 5 years after resolution 1738”

Round-table Discussion on “Protecting journalists: Lessons learned and prospects 5 years after resolution 1738”

Special event co-organized by the Permanent Missions of France and Greece, in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

Security Council Resolution 1738 (2006)


World Press Freedom Day website:

World Press Freedom Day - 3 May

Theme 2012:
New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day. It is an opportunity to:
  • celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The recent uprisings in some Arab States have highlighted the power of the media, the human quest for freedom of expression and the confluence of press freedom and freedom of expression through various traditional and new media.
This has given rise to an unprecedented level of media freedom. New media have enabled civil society, young people and communities to bring about massive social and political transformations by self-organizing, and engaging the global youth in the fight to be able to freely express themselves and the aspirations of their wider communities.
Yet, media freedom is fragile, and it is also not yet within the reach of everyone. Furthermore, as more reporting is transmitted online, more and more online journalists including bloggers are being harnessed, attacked and even killed for their work.



Freedom of Expression, a Human Right

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
Media freedom and access to information feed into the wider development objective of empowering people. Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social and political process that helps people gain control over their own lives. This can only be achieved through access to accurate, fair and unbiased information, representing a plurality of opinions, and the means to actively communicate vertically and horizontally, thereby participating in the active life of the community.

2011 in figures

  • 66 journalists killed
  • 71 journalists kidnapped
  • 1,044 journalists arrested
  • 1,959 journalists physically attacked or threatened
  • 499 media censored
  • 68 countries subject to Internet censorship
Source: Reporters Without Borders

However, in order to make freedom of expression a reality, there must be:
  • a legal and regulatory environment that allows for an open and pluralistic media sector to emerge;
  • a political will to support the sector and rule of law to protect it;
  • laws ensuring access to information, especially information in the public domain; and
  • the necessary media literacy skills among news consumers to critically analyze and synthesize the information they receive to use it in their daily lives and to hold the media accountable for its actions.
These elements, along with media professionals adhering to the highest ethical and professional standards designed by practitioners, serve as the fundamental infrastructure on which freedom of expression can prevail. On this basis media serves as a watchdog, civil society engages with authorities and decision-makers, information flows through and between communities.

Freedom of Information

The fuel that drives this engine is information and therefore access to information is critical. Freedom of information laws, which permit access to public information are essential, but so are the means by which information is made available, be it through ICTs or the simple sharing of documents.
Information can change the way we see the world around us, our place in it, and how to adjust our lives in order to maximize the benefits available through our local resources. Fact driven decision-making can significantly alter our political, social and economic perspectives. Therefore, open and pluralistic media are, perhaps, most precious when they simply provide the mirror for society to see itself. These moments of reflection are instrumental in defining community objectives, making course corrections when society or its leaders have lost touch with each other or gone astray.
The right to access information can be interpreted within the legal frameworks that support freedom of information as it applies to information held by public bodies, or in a wider sense to encompass both access and circulation of information held by other actors, where it becomes intrinsically linked to freedom of expression.
Freedom of information and the transparency it promotes, has a direct consequence on fighting corruption, which in turn has a tangible impact on development. Former World Bank president James Wolfensohn often identified government corruption as the primary hindrance to development and an independent media sector as the number one tool to fight public corruption.

Press Freedom and Governance

Ensuring freedom for the media around the world is a priority. Independent, free and pluralistic media are central to good governance in democracies that are young and old. Free media:
  • can ensure transparency, accountability and the rule of law;
  • promote participation in public and political discourse, and
  • contribute to the fight against poverty.
An independent media sector draws its power from the community it serves and in return empowers that community to be full a partner in the democratic process.
Freedom of information and freedom of expression are the founding principles for open and informed debate. New technology will continue to evolve and allow citizens to further shape their media environments as well as access a plurality of sources. The combination of access to information and citizen participation in media can only contribute to an increased sense of ownership and empowerment.

Secretary-General's message for World Press Freedom Day 2012

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

New York, 3 May 2012 - Secretary-General's message for World Press Freedom Day

 In an era of rapid and often momentous change, the value of a vigorous, independent and pluralistic press is undeniable.

Over the past year and a half of transformation across the Middle East and North Africa, social media, mobile telephones and satellite television have played a central part in generating an extraordinary ripple effect: from a vegetable seller’s simple cry for human dignity to the fall of autocratic regimes and the possibility that millions of people will enjoy, for the first time, democracy and opportunities so long denied.

This role is highlighted by the theme of this year’s observance of World Press Freedom Day: New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies.

A free press gives people access to the information they need to make critical decisions about their lives. It holds leaders accountable, exposes corruption, and promotes transparency in decision-making.  It raises awareness and offers an outlet for different voices, especially those that would otherwise go unheard.

But press freedom remains fragile.  Every day, journalists face dire threats as they try to carry out their work.  Last year, more than 60 journalists were killed worldwide, and many more were injured.  As of 1 December 2011, 179 journalists were detained, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists – an increase of 20 per cent over the year before, and the highest level since the 1990s.  Countless others were silenced or censored by governments, corporations and powerful individuals.  Yet impunity for those who attack or threaten journalists remains disturbingly prevalent.

I am outraged that attacks on journalists are on the rise.  I call on all concerned to prevent and prosecute such violence.  Defenders of a free press are safeguarding our rights and we must, in turn, ensure theirs.

In September last year, the United Nations held its first-ever inter-agency meeting devoted to the safety of journalists.  The meeting produced a comprehensive Plan
of Action, and the UN system is now mobilizing to intensify our efforts to raise awareness, help Member States strengthen legal frameworks and encourage them to investigate attacks against journalists.

As we mark World Press Freedom Day, let us pledge to do our utmost to ensure that journalists can perform their work -- in new and traditional media alike -- which makes an indispensable contribution to building stronger, healthier and more peaceful societies.

Statements on 3 May 2012

IRINA bokava Message for World Press Freedom Day 2012

World Press Freedom Day Logo English Version
UNESCO Director-General message on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

World Asthma Day 2012 - NIH statement

For Immediate Release
Monday, April 30, 2012

NIH statement on World Asthma Day 2012 - May 1, 2012

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,
Susan B. Shurin, M.D., Acting Director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute,
Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences,
Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

On World Asthma Day 2012, we at the National Institutes of Health stand with the Global Initiative for Asthma to renew our dedication to improving the quality of life for the millions of people living with asthma.
Asthma affects more than 230 million people worldwide, including more than 25 million people in the United States. There is no way to prevent, or to cure, asthma. Existing treatments focus on preventing or controlling disease symptoms, such as wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. Despite these efforts, each year more than half of children and one-third of adults with asthma in the United States miss school or work because of the disease, approximately 17 million people require medical attention because of an asthma episode, and more than 3,000 asthma-related deaths occur.
Four NIH institutes — the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI); the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS); and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) — support basic and clinical research to understand the causes of asthma and the factors that contribute to its progression. Although each institute has a different focus, we all work together to help develop effective prevention and treatment strategies for the disease.
In March 2012, NIH, together with the Merck Childhood Asthma Network Inc., and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published a report that for the first time promotes standardization across asthma clinical studies. Asthma Outcomes in Clinical Research: Report of the Asthma Outcomes Workshop establishes common measures and data-collection methods to enable researchers to compare their results more efficiently. This standardization promises to enhance asthma clinical research and lead to improvements in the quality of asthma care.
In August 2011, NIH held a workshop, The Early Life Origins of Asthma: Strategies for Primary Prevention. Asthma typically begins early in childhood, and the goal of the workshop was to identify specific factors that may predict a person’s risk of developing asthma during the first 1,000 days of life. Such factors include environmental exposures, genetics and events that occur in pregnancy and early infancy. Workshop attendees concluded that understanding the early risk factors for asthma may provide an opportunity to prevent asthma before it begins.
NIH remains committed to working with individuals, families and health care professionals to reduce the worldwide burden of asthma. We commend our investigators who continue to make significant progress in asthma research, and we thank the people who have participated in NIH-sponsored asthma clinical studies, as well as to the nongovernmental organizations that provide support for those affected by this disease. We all share the hope that further research will uncover the causes of asthma so that the disease can one day be effectively prevented.
NIAID supports studies of the immune system's role in the development of asthma and evaluates new approaches to treat and prevent the disease. NHLBI funds a broad asthma research portfolio — including studies on risk factors, mechanisms that influence disease severity, and identifying novel therapies — and the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, which translates research into clinical practice to improve asthma control and quality of life. NIEHS supports research to understand how exposures to environmental agents trigger asthma, and how we can better prevent, diagnose and treat such exposures. NICHD conducts and supports research on all stages of human development, including research directed to those early life stages when chronic diseases such as asthma might be prevented.
NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at
Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at
The NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of NIH. For more information on environmental health topics, visit Subscribe to one or more of the NIEHS news lists ( to stay current on NIEHS news, press releases, grant opportunities, training, events, and publications.
About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site at NICHD support was provided through the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act program, which seeks to improve pediatric therapeutics through preclinical and clinical drug trials that lead to drug labeling changes.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit
NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health