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

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture 26 June

Secretary-General's Message for 2012
Twenty-five years since the entry into force of the Convention against Torture, this cruel and dehumanizing practice remains pervasive. Every day, women, men and children are tortured or ill-treated with the intention of destroying their sense of dignity and human worth. In some cases, this is part of a deliberate state policy of instilling fear and intimidating its population. In too many countries, people’s legitimate demands for freedom and human rights are met with brutal repression. Even when regimes change, torture often persists and a culture of impunity remains. On this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we express our solidarity with, and support for, the hundreds of thousands of victims of torture and their family members throughout the world who endure such suffering. We also note the obligation of States not only to prevent torture but to provide all torture victims with effective and prompt redress, compensation and appropriate social, psychological, medical and other forms of rehabilitation. Both the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have now strongly urged States to establish and support rehabilitation centres or facilities. The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture supports hundreds of organizations and entities that provide assistance to victims of torture and their family members in all regions of the world. However, the Fund has seen a significant decrease in contributions over the past two years. I strongly encourage States to reverse this trend, despite current global financial uncertainty. By concretely supporting victims of torture, the international community will prove its unequivocal determination and commitment to fight torture and impunity.

Ban Ki-moon

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

United Nations Secretary-General's on the International Day of Cooperatives

United Nations, New York, June 2012 - In 1992, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed, in its resolution 47/90 of 16 December 1992, the International Day of Cooperatives to be celebrated annually on the first Saturday of July.

Monday, 25 June 2012

IMO | Thank seafarers on 2012 Day of the Seafarer - “it came by sea, I can’t live without it!”

25 June 2012, the international Day of the Seafarer,

Day of the Seafarer 2012 IMO | Thank seafarers on 2012 Day of the Seafarer - “it came by sea, I can’t live without it!”

International Day of the Seafarer - June 25

Message by Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization.

Day of the Seafarer 2012
It came by sea and I can’t live without it

Click here for Message by Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization.

Imagine an item that you simply couldn’t live without. Maybe it’s your music player, or a pen, or your computer, something you use every day in your work, a piece of medical equipment or just your favourite toy. Now stop and think: did that item, or any part of that item, or any of the materials from which that item has been made, come by sea? The chances are, the answer is “yes”.

25 June 2012 marks the second international Day of the Seafarer. On that day, IMO is asking people around the world to use social networks to highlight just how important seafarers are to everyone on the planet, as they transport all over the world those vital items, commodities and components which are so vital to all our daily lives.

So, on 25 June 2012, the Day of the seafarer, we ask you to tell the world, through your social media connections, about an object in your daily life that you can’t live without, and which came by sea. Take a photo, write a description, record a song, make a film, whatever you prefer: and then just post it on the social platform of your choice and add the campaign slogan: “thank you seafarers”.

Seafarers leave their homes and families, often for long periods to ensure that essential items and commodities on which our lives depend arrive safely at our homes.

So show the seafarers of the world - and your friends, too – your appreciation of the extraordinary services they render every day of their professional lives, under demanding and sometimes dangerous circumstances.
Day of the Seafarer is an innovative campaign that harnesses the power of social media to raise awareness of seafarers and their unique role. Everyone, regardless of where they live, can join the campaign online.

So, on 25 June, you can join in by:
o Sharing your post on Facebook, if you have pictures, videos or any special message, please share them on our wall.
o Sending us a message @IMOHQ and @SeafarerDay using hashtag #thankyouseafarer
o On pinterest, you can pin a picture of your chosen object with the caption “Day of the Seafarer”
We invite participants to download the toolkits available here and join the campaign: (@IMOHQ) (@SeafarerDay)
Thank you very much for your support. Join the campaign, follow us on social media and let us know on the 25th June, your favourite object that came by sea and that you can’t live without!
For more information please contact:

25 June of each year is the "Day of the Seafarer", recognizing the invaluable contribution seafarers make to international trade and the world economy, often at great personal cost to themselves and their families.

To participate, join us online:

United Nations Public Service Day - 23 June

"On the annual observance of Public Service Day, we honour those who accept the responsibilities of service to humanity and who contribute to excellence and innovation in public service institutions."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

International Widows’ Day - 23 June

Secretary-General’s Message for 2012

Women can be exposed to extensive vulnerabilities when their husbands pass away. Far too many widows are shut out of any inheritance, land tenure, livelihood, social safety net, health care or education. Their children must cope not only with grief at the loss of their father, but also their own sudden loss of status and benefits in society.

At the same time, it is important to recognize the strengths and contributions of the world’s widows, who raise families, run companies and even head governments and States. Our challenge is to optimize this potential by removing discriminatory laws, policies and practices that impede widows from enjoying the dignity and equality they deserve.

Discrimination can take many forms. Widows are sometimes required to conduct their business through male guardians. Widows may be cast out from their communities, forced into marriage or physically abused with impunity. Their children are more likely to drop out of school and become trapped in intergenerational poverty.

I am especially concerned about the plight of widows in situations of conflict and natural disasters. At such times of violence and upheaval, many relatively young women find themselves suddenly widowed and victimized. We should do more than protect them; we should ensure they have the opportunity to participate in decisions on humanitarian relief and peacebuilding so they can help build a better future.
On this International Widows’ Day, let us resolve to end all discrimination against the world’s widows, and to enable them to enjoy their full human rights. The benefits will extend to their children, communities and society as a whole.

Ban Ki-moon

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2012 - Press Statement Hillary Rodham Clinton

Protecting and Assisting Refugees Worldwide

The United States is strongly committed to protecting and assisting refugees and we offer resettlement to more refugees each year than all other countries in the world combined.

Remarks by Secretary Clinton: June 2012 » World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 20, 2012

The United States joins the international community in commemorating the courage and determination of millions of refugees around the globe. The United States is strongly committed to protecting and assisting refugees and we offer resettlement to more refugees each year than all other countries in the world combined. Since 1975, more than three million refugees have made new homes in the United States, and nearly half of them have become U.S. citizens.
Refugees are contributing in ways large and small to business, academia, the arts, science and technology. Today we celebrate the success of refugees who have built new lives here and in other resettlement countries, but we also recognize the millions of refugees who remain displaced in camps, cities, and rural settlements around the world. We are proud to support the efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the many other organizations that work on behalf of refugees worldwide, and recommit ourselves to provide protection and assistance to some of the world's most vulnerable people.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

World Refugee Day: Video Message from WFP and UNHCR

They fled across the borders of Libya as the country slid into civil war. They ran for their lives through the dense bush in western Cote d’Ivoire, to reach shelter in Liberia. And, as famine loomed in Somalia, they poured into the camps of Dadaab in Kenya and Dolo Ado in Ethiopia desperate for food, water and medical attention.

ROME -- Of the 99 million people who received WFP food assistance last year, one in five was a displaced person.  Forced to flee across borders as refugees, or internally displaced within their own countries by fighting or by natural disasters, they are among the world’s most vulnerable people. Every year on World Refugee Day (20 June), we recognize their struggle.

WFP Assisting Refugees

In 2011, WFP provided food assistance to:
•    Refugees:  2,595,785
•    IDPs: 15,093,137
•    Returnees: 3,061,072
Unfortunately, many refugee crises continue for a long time. For example, WFP provides food assistance near the Sudan-Eritrea border in camps for Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees that were set up in the 1960s.
Today, among the newest camps are those in Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso, where WFP is helping tens of thousands of Malians who fled their homes following a recent coup d’etat.
WFP works closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide emergency rations to new arrivals and longer-term food assistance once refugees are officially registered.
WFP also works with the International Organization for Migration and governments to assist ‘returnees’ with reintegration packages to help them get back on their feet when they finally go home. Today, WFP is assisting thousands of returnees who are going home to South Sudan, which became the newest country in the world last July.

3 places where WFP is assisting refugees right now:  

(Malian refugees) | Watch the video
Jordan (Syrian refugees)Watch the video
South Sudan (Sudanese refugees)Watch the video

Secretary-General's Message for World Refugee Day 2012

More than 42 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced from their homes and communities. More than a million fled their countries in the last eighteen months alone due to a wave of conflicts, in Côte d'Ivoire, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Sudan and Syria. These numbers represent far more than statistics; they are individuals and families whose lives have been upended, whose communities have been destroyed, and whose future remains uncertain.

World Refugee Day is a moment to remember all those affected, and a time to intensify our support. Four out of five refugees are in developing countries, and have benefitted from the remarkable generosity of host countries that themselves face serious deprivations. The Islamic Republics of Pakistan and Iran host the largest number of refugees, with over two and half million between them. Tunisia and Liberia are also among countries that, despite their own national challenges, maintained open borders and shared scarce water, land and other resources for those suffering the impact of armed violence. Kenya’s third biggest city is a refugee camp and hosts over half a million Somalis, many in their third decade of exile. Niger, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso — suffering famine and drought — now host some 175,000 refugees fleeing conflict in Mali. These countries cannot be left to shoulder this burden alone. The United Nations — and in particular the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees — is working to address all of these challenges, while also providing protection and assistance to 15.5 million persons displaced within their own countries. We are also focusing on preventing and reducing statelessness. But humanitarian assistance is not enough.

 The recent UNHCR Global Trends report shows that displacement is outpacing solutions. We must work together to mobilize the political will and leadership to prevent and end the conflicts that trigger refugee flows. Where security is restored, we must address the underlying causes of conflict, allowing sustainable refugee return through access to livelihoods, services and the rule of law. Despite budget constraints everywhere, we must not turn away from those in need. Refugees leave because they have no choice. We must choose to help.

 Ban Ki-moon

Angelina Jolie's message: The UNHCR Special Envoy promotes a campaign of tolerance for World Refugee Day.

Angelina Jolie's message:

 Campaign of tolerance for World Refugee Day.

UNHCR Global Trends 2011 - A Year of Crises

UNHCR's "Global Trends 2011" report

UNHCR 2011 Global Trends  

Global Trends Report: 800,000 new refugees in 2011, highest this century  

GENEVA, June 18 (UNHCR) 

A report released today by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees shows 2011 to have been a record year for forced displacement across borders, with more people becoming refugees than at any time since 2000.

UNHCR's "Global Trends 2011" report details for the first time the extent of forced displacement from a string of major humanitarian crises that began in late 2010 in Côte d'Ivoire, and was quickly followed by others in Libya, Somalia, Sudan and elsewhere. In all, 4.3 million people were newly displaced, with a full 800,000 of these fleeing their countries and becoming refugees.

"2011 saw suffering on an epic scale. For so many lives to have been thrown into turmoil over so short a space of time means enormous personal cost for all who were affected," said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "We can be grateful only that the international system for protecting such people held firm for the most part and that borders stayed open. These are testing times."
Worldwide, 42.5 million people ended 2011 either as refugees (15.2 million), internally displaced (26.4 million) or in the process of seeking asylum (895,000). Despite the high number of new refugees, the overall figure was lower than the 2010 total of 43.7 million people, due mainly to the offsetting effect of large numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) returning home: 3.2 million, the highest rate of returns of IDPs in more than a decade. Among refugees, and notwithstanding an increase in voluntary repatriation over 2010 levels, 2011 was the third lowest year for returns (532,000) in a decade.
Viewed on a 10-year basis, the report shows several worrying trends: One is that forced displacement is affecting larger numbers of people globally, with the annual level exceeding 42 million people for each of the last five years. Another is that a person who becomes a refugee is likely to remain as one for many years often stuck in a camp or living precariously in an urban location. Of the 10.4 million refugees under UNHCR's mandate, almost three quarters (7.1 million) have been in exile for at least five years awaiting a solution.
Overall, Afghanistan remains the biggest producer of refugees (2.7 million) followed by Iraq (1.4 million), Somalia (1.1 million), Sudan (500,000) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (491,000).
Around four-fifths of the world's refugees flee to their neighbouring countries, reflected in the large refugee populations seen, for example, in Pakistan (1.7 million people), Iran (886,500), Kenya (566,500) and Chad (366,500).
Among industrialized countries, Germany ranks as the largest hosting country with 571,700 refugees. South Africa, meanwhile, was the largest recipient of individual asylum applications (107,000), a status it has held for the past four years.
UNHCR's original mandate was to help refugees, but in the six decades since the agency was established in 1950 its work has grown to include helping many of the world's internally displaced people and those who are stateless (those lacking recognized citizenship and the human rights that accompany this).
The Global Trends 2011 report notes that only 64 governments provided data on stateless people, meaning that UNHCR was able to capture numbers for only around a quarter of the estimated 12 million stateless people worldwide.
Of the 42.5 million people who were in a state of forced displacement as of the end of last year, not all fall under UNHCR's care: Some 4.8 million refugees, for example, are registered with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. Among the 26.4 million internally displaced, 15.5 million receive UNHCR assistance and protection. Overall, UNHCR's refugee and IDP caseload of 25.9 million people grew by 700,000 people in 2011.
The Global Trends report is UNHCR's main annual report on the state of forced displacement. Additional data is published annually in the agency's Statistical Yearbooks, and in twice-yearly reports on asylum applications in industrialized nations.


Monday, 18 June 2012

No one chooses to be a refugee.

UNHCR's 2012 World Refugee Day global social advocacy campaign, "Dilemmas", aims to help fight intolerance and xenophobia against refugees. 

UNHCR Goodwill Envoy Khaled Hosseini and a host of other celebrities echo the same strong message:
No one chooses to be a refugee.

You can help: Visit now to make a difference.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Message of UNCCD Executive Secretary on World Day to Combat Desertification, 17 June 2012

Essentially, all life depends upon the soil. There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together”, American naturalist Charles Kellogg wrote in 1938. Fertile soil is indeed among the world’s most significant non-renewable and finite resources. It is a key element, which sustains life on the Earth and provides us with water, food, fodder and fuels.

But, as the global population is growing, competing claims on this finite resource are sharply increasing. Productive land is under pressure from agriculture and pastoral use as well as infrastructure growth, urbanization and extraction of minerals. To make things worse, policy-makers often overlook or misguide land use.

By 2030, the demand for food is expected to grow by 50 percent and for energy and water for 45 and 30 percent respectively. The demand for food alone is likely to claim an additional 120 million hectares of productive land – an area equal to the size of South Africa. Unless degraded land is rehabilitated, forests and other lands will have to make way for the required food production.

The rates of land depletion are especially worrying in the drylands, areas highly vulnerable to degradation due to aridity and water scarcity. Land degradation is called desertification here because it often creates desert-like conditions.  Each year due to desertification and drought, 12 million hectares of land - the area equal to half the size of UK - are lost. This is an area, where 20 million tons of grain could have been gown.

Drylands make up 44 percent of all the world’s cultivated systems and account for 50 percent of its livestock. If we want to be able to meet the three biggest global challenges in the next twenty years – food, water and energy security – we need to do everything it takes to combat desertification and to restore degraded lands.
The global observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification this year takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, just a few days before the Rio+20 Conference. To this end, world leaders at Rio+20 need to adopt a stand-alone goal on sustainable land use for all and by all. To achieve this goal, we need to avoid land degradation in the non-degraded areas and restore soil fertility in the already degraded lands. We also need to avoid deforestation and adopt drought preparedness policies in all drought-prone countries and regions.

In the past, zero net land degradation was unattainable. But success stories in land restoration, scientific findings and technical know-how today indicate that the goal is realistic. Practical solutions to desertification exist and are already being employed by local communities around the world. Sustaining healthy soil and restoring degraded land ensure food security, alleviate rural poverty and hunger and build resilience to major environmental challenges.

More than two billion hectares of land worldwide are suitable for rehabilitation through agro-forestry and landscape restoration. Of that, about 1.5 billion hectares are suitable for mosaic restoration by means of agroforestry and smallholder agriculture. We need to promote sustainable land and water management techniques, agroforestry and re-greening initiatives and support them on the political level and through new inclusive business models. Only this way can we become a land-degradation neutral society.

To make it happen, we need your support. Governments should introduce sustainable land-use into their policies, make it their priority and set up national targets to halt land degradation. Businesses should invest in practices that increase efficiency in land-use. Scientists, media and civil society should help us spread the word that this goal is crucial. Together, we can make this paradigm shift.

It is my pleasure to wish you all a memorable celebration of the World Day to Combat Desertification. This is an important reminder for us that despite some progress, land degradation, desertification and drought are still our reality. We should not let them dry up our soil, the very foundation of the Future We Want.

Therefore, let us go land-degradation neutral.

World Day to Combat Desertification is observed every year on 17 June.

12 June 2012

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

‘Without Healthy Soil, Life on Earth is Unsustainable,’ Says Secretary-General, Urging States to Ensure Sustainable Land Management Part of Rio+20 Legacy

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on the World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed 17 June:

The World Day to Combat Desertification falls this year on the eve of the
United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.  Global efforts to halt and reverse land degradation are integral to creating the future we want.  Sustainable land use is a prerequisite for lifting billions from poverty, enabling food and nutrition security, and safeguarding water supplies.  It is a cornerstone of sustainable development.

The people who live in the world’s arid lands, which occupy more than 40 per cent of our planet’s land area, are among the poorest and most vulnerable to hunger.  We will not achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 without preserving the soils on which their subsistence depends. 

Nor will we be able to guarantee our freshwater resources, 70 per cent of which are already used for agriculture.  By 2030, the demand for water is projected to rise by 35 per cent.  Unless we change our land-use practices, we face the prospect of diminishing and inadequate water supplies, as well as more frequent and intense droughts. 

Further, by 2050, we will need sufficient productive land to feed an estimated 9 billion people with per capita consumption levels greater than those of today.  This will be impossible if soil loss continues at its current pace — an annual loss of 75 billion tons.  Important land-use decisions need to be made, as well as critical investments ranging from extension services for small farmers to the latest technology to support environmentally sustainable mass food production.

Rio+20 is our opportunity to showcase the many smart and effective land management systems and options that exist or are in the pipeline.  Twenty years on from the adoption of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, let us ensure that a commitment to sustainable land management features prominently in the official outcome at Rio and in the wider mobilization for sustainability that will also be part of Rio’s legacy.  Without healthy soil, life on Earth is unsustainable.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record

UN officials stress importance of healthy soils to sustainable development


Photo: WFP/Phil Behan
Photo: WFP/Phil Behan

17 June 2012 Top United Nations officials have called for greater efforts to preserve the soils on which human subsistence depends and to halt and reverse land degradation.
“Without healthy soil, life on Earth is unsustainable,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in his message for the World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed annually on 17 June and falls this year on the eve of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

“Global efforts to halt and reverse land degradation are integral to creating the future we want,” Mr. Ban said. “Sustainable land use is a prerequisite for lifting billions from poverty, enabling food and nutrition security, and safeguarding water supplies. It is a cornerstone of sustainable development.”

The upcoming sustainable development conference, to be held from 20 to 22 June in Rio de Janeiro, follows on from the Earth Summit held in the same city in 1992, during which desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development.

Over 100 heads of State and government, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders will gather at “Rio+20” to shape new policies to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.

“Rio+20 is our opportunity to showcase the many smart and effective land management systems and options that exist or are in the pipeline,” said Mr. Ban, calling on countries to ensure that a commitment to sustainable land management features prominently in the meeting's outcome.

Speaking to reporters in Rio yesterday, Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), called on countries to reiterate their commitment at the conference to combat desertification and achieve zero net land degradation by 2030.

“Efforts to combat desertification by fostering sustainable land management practices have potential co-benefits for climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use through protecting and restoring the productive potential in drylands,” he stated.

While only three per cent of the Earth is fertile land, 75 billion tonnes of fertile soil are lost every year, Mr. Gnacadja said, making it more essential to focus on policies that will help regenerate the soil.

In a separate message to mark the Day, Mr. Gnacadja noted that, as the global population is growing, competing claims on this finite resource are sharply increasing.

By 2030, the demand for food is expected to grow by 50 per cent and for energy and water for 45 and 30 per cent respectively. The demand for food alone is likely to claim an additional 120 million hectares of productive land – an area equal to the size of South Africa. Unless degraded land is rehabilitated, forests and other lands will have to make way for the required food production.

Mr. Gnacadja said world leaders at Rio+20 need to adopt a stand-alone goal on sustainable land use for all and by all. “To achieve this goal, we need to avoid land degradation in the non-degraded areas and restore soil fertility in the already degraded lands. We also need to avoid deforestation and adopt drought preparedness policies in all drought-prone countries and regions.”

He added that governments should introduce sustainable land-use into their policies, make it their priority and set up national targets to halt land degradation. Businesses should invest in practices that increase efficiency in land-use. Scientists, media and civil society should help spread the word that this goal is crucial.

“Together, we can make this paradigm shift,” said the Executive Secretary.

As part of the events in Rio to mark the Day, the winners of the Land for Life Award will be announced today by the reigning Miss Universe 2011, Leila Lopes, who is also the UNCCD Drylands Ambassador. The award, with a total prize fund of $100,000, recognizes innovations from around the world that show tangible evidence of combating land degradation, but need scaling up.

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Message of the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, on the occasion of World Blood Donor Day 2012

Message of the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, on the occasion of World Blood Donor Day 2012

Each year, on June 14, we commemorate World Blood Donor Day. This event provides an opportunity to draw public attention to the importance of blood donation in saving lives. The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Every blood donor is a hero”.
This theme acknowledges the heroic gesture of donating blood to save lives and encourages all healthy people to voluntarily donate blood. It also draws attention to the importance of mobilizing adequate resources to support efforts to achieve 100% voluntary blood donations. Safe and adequate supplies of blood are needed to save lives because blood is often the only means of survival. However in the African Region a significant number of patients needing transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood.  Blood- transmitted diseases, haemorrhage and anaemia during difficult childbirth, road accidents, and others are evidence of the scale of the unmet need in the region.
A lot of progress has been made in the WHO African Region since the adoption of the regional strategy on blood safety in 2001. Many countries developed policies as well as implementation plans to ensure the provision of adequate safe blood supply by improving blood donor recruitment, testing of blood, appropriate clinical use of blood and establishment of quality systems. However, it is regrettable that others are far from reaching the target of collecting at least 80% of donated blood from voluntary and regular donors. Today, about 20 out of the 46 countries of the WHO African Region collect more than 50% of their units of blood from replacement family donors. In spite of the laudable efforts and progress in recent years, the total units of blood collected remain inadequate.
Improving the health of the people is an essential component in the sustainable development of every country. Safe blood donations play a vital role particularly in the effective and prompt provision of care for women, children and men suffering from haemorrhage and severe anaemia. In recognition of this, WHO adopted a number of resolutions urging Member States to organize their blood services in a manner that will minimize the occurrence of untoward effects while ensuring adequate safe blood supply for their populations. While yearly needs are estimated at 8 million units of blood, countries of the Region are able to collect only a half of the required quantity. The gap to be filled is still substantial especially in rural areas where the majority of the population and patients live.
Donating blood is an act of generosity, solidarity and humanism. Furthermore, this year’s theme reminds us that it is indeed an act of heroism that brings immense joy to blood donors whose sole aim is to give back life and hope to patients who would otherwise not survive without this selfless act. While thanking all voluntary donors for their loyalty and commitment, I appeal to everyone to emulate this gesture by donating blood to ensure that there is adequate supply in health facilities.
As we commemorate World Blood Donor Day, I call upon countries to accelerate efforts in mapping out new strategies to convert family donors into voluntary, regular donors because they constitute the cornerstone of any reliable and sustainable blood transfusion system. We should also redouble our efforts to raise public awareness of the importance of blood donation, the recruitment and retention of new donors to ensure availability of blood in a sustainable way by blood transfusion services.
For its part, the WHO Regional Office for Africa will continue to support all initiatives helping to improve blood transfusion safety in general and to increase blood collection from voluntary and regular donors in particular.

Ten facts you need to know about blood transfusion

June 14 is World Blood Donor Day. 

Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health, but many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. The need for blood transfusion may arise at any time in both urban and rural areas. The unavailability of blood has led to deaths and many patients suffering from ill-health.  Around 92 million units of blood donations are collected globally every year. Nearly 50% of these blood donations are collected in high-income countries, home to 15% of the world’s population. An adequate and reliable supply of safe blood can be assured by a stable base of regular, voluntary, unpaid blood donors. Regular, voluntary, unpaid blood donors are also the safest group of donors as the prevalence of blood borne infections is lowest among these donors.

 Ten facts you need to know about blood transfusion

1. Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health.
However, many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. Every country needs to ensure that blood supplies are sufficient and free from HIV, hepatitis viruses and other infections that can be transmitted through unsafe transfusion.

2. Transfusions are used to support various treatments.
In high-income countries, transfusion is most commonly used to support advanced medical treatment and complex surgeries like open-heart surgery and advance trauma care. In low- and middle-income countries it is used often for management of pregnancy-related complications, childhood malaria complicated by severe anaemia and trauma-related injuries.

3. An adequate supply of safe blood can only be assured through regular donation by voluntary unpaid blood donors.
Adequate supply of safe blood can only be assured through regular donation by voluntary unpaid blood donors, because the prevalence of blood borne infections is lowest among these donors. It is higher among donors who give blood only as a replacement when it is required for a family and among those who give blood for money or other forms of payment.

4. Voluntary unpaid donors account for 100% of blood supplies in 62 countries.
Since the inception of World Blood Donor Day in 2004, 111 countries have reported an increase in the number of voluntary donations. But in 40 countries, less than 25% of blood supplies come from voluntary unpaid donors.

5. Around 92 million blood donations are collected globally every year.
About 50% of these are donated in low- and middle-income countries where nearly 85% of the world’s population lives. The average blood donation rate is more than 13 times greater in high-income countries than in low-income countries.

6. Collections at blood centres vary according to income group.
About 8000 blood centres in 159 countries report collecting, on an average, 10 000 blood donations per centre (range from 20 to almost 500 000). The average annual collection per blood centre is 30 000 in high-income countries, 7500 in middle-income countries and 3700 in low-income countries.

7. People in high-income countries donate blood more frequently than in low- or middle-income countries.
The median blood donation rate in high-income countries is 36.4 donations per 1000 people. This compares with 11.6 donations per 1000 people in middle-income countries and 2.8 donations in low-income countries.

8. Donated blood should always be screened.
All donated blood should always be screened for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis prior to transfusion. Yet in 39 countries not all donated blood is tested for one or more of these infections. Testing is not reliable in many countries because of staff shortages, poor quality test kits, irregular supplies, or lack of basic laboratory services.

9. A single unit of blood can benefit several patients.
Separating blood into its various components allows a single unit of blood to benefit several patients and provides a patient only the blood component which is needed. About 91% of the blood collected in high-income countries, 72% in middle-income countries and 31% in low-income countries is separated into blood components.

10. Unnecessary transfusions expose patients to needless risk.
Often transfusions are prescribed when simple and safe alternative treatments might be equally effective. As a result such a transfusion may not be necessary. An unnecessary transfusion exposes patients to the needless risk of infections or severe transfusion reactions.

Content Courtesy: WHO

Announcing World Blood Donor Day, 14 June 2012

Monday, 11 June 2012

World Development Indicators 2012

Looking for accurate, up-to-date data on development issues? 'World Development Indicators' is the World Bank's premier annual compilation of data about development. This indispensable statistical reference allows you to consult over 800 indicators for more than 150 economies and 14 country groups in more than 90 tables. It provides a current overview of the most recent data available as well as important regional data and income group analysis in six thematic sections: World View, People, Environment, Economy, States and Markets, and Global Links. 'World Development Indicators 2012' presents the most current and accurate development data on both a national level and aggregated globally. It allows you to monitor the progress made toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals endorsed by the United Nations and its member countries, the World Bank, and a host of partner organizations. These goals, which focus on development and the elimination of poverty, serve as the agenda for international development efforts. World Development Indicators 2012

Rio+20: Concrete outcomes are needed at key forum on sustainable development, Ban says-

Rio+20 must result in ‘concrete’ decisions to advance sustainable development – Ban


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) greets journalists before his briefing on the upcoming UN Sustainable Development Conference. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

6 June 2012 – With just two weeks until the start of a major United Nations sustainable development conference, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged countries to step up efforts to achieve concrete decisions to reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy and more sustainable and fair use of resources.
Rio+20 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make real progress towards the sustainable economy of the future,” Mr. Ban told a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York, referring to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) that will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June.
More than 100 heads of State and government, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, Chief Executive Officers and civil society leaders are expected to attend Rio+20 to shape new policies to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.
The gathering follows on from the Earth Summit in 1992, also held in Rio de Janeiro, during which countries adopted Agenda 21 – a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.
Mr. Ban said that there is still much work ahead, but foundations are in place for agreement on the remainder of the negotiating text that is expected to become the outcome of the conference.
“I expect the negotiators to accomplish this in the days before ministers and world leaders arrive in Rio. Leaders will then act to resolve all outstanding issues,” he stated. “Their job is to achieve renewed political commitment for sustainable development. We aspire to nothing less than a global movement for generational change.”
Negotiators concluded the last round of Rio+20 preparatory talks – focussed on the gathering’s outcome document – in New York last Saturday, and they have now reached agreement on more than 20 per cent of the document, with many additional paragraphs close to agreement.
The Secretary-General cited several “concrete outputs” he expected from Rio+20, which he said will improve the lives of people around the world.
The first is to agree to define a path to an inclusive green economy that will lift people from poverty and protect the global environment, he said, adding that this requires international collaboration, investment, and an exchange of experiences and technology among countries.
Second, leaders should agree to define sustainable development goals with clear and measurable targets and indicators. These so-called “SDGs” will be a central part of the post-2015 global development framework, he stated.
Also needed are decisions on key elements of the institutional framework for sustainable development, as well as strong, action-oriented outcomes on a wide range of cross-cutting areas, such as food security and sustainable agriculture, oceans, gender equality and women’s empowerment, education and energy.
Progress is also required in the area of implementation, including reaffirming past commitments and initiatives on trade, financing for development, technology transfer and capacity building, the UN chief said.
In addition, more partnerships with civil society and the private sector – strategic alliances that can galvanize global public support and drive change – are important.
“Ultimately, Rio+20 will be measured in the transformation it sets in motion – the lives it changes for the better,” said Mr. Ban.
“Our hopes for future prosperity, health and stability rest on finding a path that integrates the economic, social and environmental pillars of development,” he added. “Sustainable development is an idea whose time has come. It is the future we want.”
Following the latest round of negotiations in New York, the next and final preparatory talks will be held in Rio de Janeiro from 13 to 15 June, just ahead of the Conference.
“I sense a real dialogue – a real willingness to find common ground,” said the Secretary-General of Rio+20, Sha Zukang, in the wake of the New York talks. “This spirit is encouraging and we must carry it to Rio.”
Addressing a press conference at UN Headquarters today, the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, said that it is important that the negotiations focus on the “big picture” and not just individual national interests or individual group interests.
“Rio+20 is about setting the world on the right course for sustainable growth for future generations,” he told reporters. “The real work will begin after the conference is over, when we will need concrete action on various key areas of concern.”

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Rio+20: Concrete outcomes are needed at key forum on sustainable development, Ban says

Meet Me in Rio : 13-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

8 Jun 2012 - Leaders from around the world explain why they are going to Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 to attend the Rio+20 conference and the Corporate Sustainability Forum, hosted by the UN Global Compact. (15-18 June 2012, Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro) Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Meet Me in Rio

8 Jun 2012 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlights the role of the private sector leading up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and invites business to participate in the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, organized by the UN Global Compact.

Sunday, 10 June 2012


Oceans provide indispensable food reserves and livelihoods and account for two thirds of the value of all natural services essential to our quality of life. But, we are allowing this vital lifeline to be devastated by unsustainable human impact… The health and security of our oceans are our collective responsibility – one that we cannot afford to ignore as safe, healthy and productive seas and oceans are integral to human well-being, economic security and sustainable development.

Keywords: Oceans | marine environment | regional seas |
Thematic Areas:Ecosystem management

Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5)

Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5)

UNEP’s flagship publication Global Environment Outlook (GEO) report series keeps the state,

The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit, assessed 90 of the most-important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four.

More on the report findings at

Blue Carbon: 2 Ocean Minutes with Jim Toomey

Blue Carbon: 2 Ocean Minutes with Jim Toomey

Keywords: OCEANS
Thematic Areas: Climate Change

The Big SHFT: Changing the World with Innovation

The Big SHFT: Changing the World with Innovation

SHFT is a multi-media platform, founded by film producer Peter Glatzer and actor-activist Adrian Grenier, whose mission is to convey a more sustainable approach to the way we live through video, design art and culture. The Big SHFT, launched on WED, will focus on the trailblazers who are cutting a path to a more sustainable future and greener economy. Directed by filmmaker Gilly Barnes, the 10-part documentary series is presented in conjunction with Ford Motor Company, whose manufacturing innovations forever changed the way that things are made.

"Sustainability is the biggest issue facing business in the 21st century, and the problem will not be solved by one person or group," says Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company. "How we answer the challenge of the future of mobility will have a lasting impact on generations to come. By partnering with organizations like SHFT, we are able to inspire people to make smart decisions about the products they choose today."

As executive producers of the series, SHFT co-founders Peter Glatzer and Adrian Grenier curate a vast array of topics ranging from food and fashion to urbanization, technology and design.
"Innovation is not dead in America, but it's not just about innovation in industry," says Grenier. It is about innovation of the heart and the spirit. You'll find a lot more social entrepreneurs cropping up in America these days. We're very excited about that. Those are the types of stories we want to highlight."
UNEP Priority Areas:  climate change |  ecosystem management |  environmental governance |  resource efficiency 

TRAILER:  The Big SHFT: Changing the World With Innovation

If necessity is the mother of invention, then the state of the environment should be driving innovation around the world. And indeed it is.

In our new series "The Big SHFT: 10 Innovators Changing Our World," we team up with Ford Motor Company to profile leading innovators who are shaping new sustainable businesses and influencing positive change around the world.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The GEO-5

Open publication - Free publishing - More geo5
The GEO-5 process began with UNEP convening an Intergovernmental and Multi-stakeholder consultation on GEO-5 which agreed on the scope, objectives and process for GEO-5.

Ask A Question allows stakeholders to interact with GEO-5 experts and the UNEP Secretariat by joining in on The global discussion on the environment.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea at 30

New York, 8 June 2012 - Welcoming Remarks at Roundtable Panel Discussion "the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea at 30" Happy World Oceans Day. I am delighted to join you to mark both World Oceans Day and the thirtieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The “Constitution of the Oceans” has given the world real results. The Convention set up the three institutions represented here today. Each is active in its field, dealing with the settlement of disputes … the continental shelf … and the international seabed. In addition, the Convention provided the legal framework to settle disputes through the International Court of Justice or through arbitration. The treaty has proved the truth of its preamble, which states that the Convention has historic significance as “an important contribution to the maintenance of peace, justice and progress for all peoples of the world.” Unfortunately, humankind has not returned the favour. Countries and companies use oceans as dumping grounds for millions of tons of waste, some of it toxic and hazardous. Fisheries are depleted. Climate change worsens this assault. We will have an opportunity to address these urgent problems when the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development opens in less than two weeks. This will be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the future we want. At Rio+20, I expect all partners to take steps to improve the management and conservation of oceans. We need to curb overfishing … better protect the marine environment … and cut pollution. In this effort, we can learn from three decades of experience with the Convention, which should continue to be our guide in establishing the rule of law on the world’s oceans and seas. That is why I am so eager to hear from the experts in the room. I hope you can help us identify ways to better use this treaty for sustainable development. This would be the best way to mark the Convention’s thirtieth anniversary and World Oceans Day. In that spirit, I wish you great success. Thank you very much.

Secretary-General's message on World Oceans Day 2012

New York, 8 June 2012 - Secretary-General's message on World Oceans Day This year’s World Oceans Day falls as the international community marks an important milestone: the thirtieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. When the Convention opened for signature on 10 December 1982, it was rightly characterized as a “constitution for the oceans.” Forged through a process of negotiation among more than 150 States, the treaty is a living monument to international cooperation. When it was adopted, the Convention on the Law of the Sea made treaty history. With 320 articles and 9 Annexes covering every aspect of the oceans and marine environment, the Convention sets out a delicate balance of rights and duties. The protection of the world’s oceans and coasts is among the key goals of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which will open in Rio de Janeiro in just 12 days. The Convention is contributing to this goal through its provisions, including on the preservation of the marine environment, marine scientific research and the transfer of marine technology. We must do more for our world’s oceans, which are threatened by pollution, depleted fishery resources, the impacts of climate change and the deterioration of the marine environment. Rio+20 must mobilize the United Nations, governments and other partners to improve the management and conservation of oceans through initiatives to curb overfishing, improve protection of the marine environment and reduce ocean pollution and the impact of climate change. There could be no more fitting way to commemorate World Oceans Day than for all countries that have not yet done so to ratify the Convention on the Law of the Sea. Let us make 2012 another milestone year for the world’s oceans, so that we can set sail toward the future we want.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Your life would not exist without Water.

Here is Water. You have met before. In fact, you come across Water in everything you do. Your life would not exist without Water. But Water is not infinite and we are draining our supplies. We need to rethink the way we are using Water. Every drop counts.


June the 5th marks World Environment Day. It is an event celebrated every year to raise global awareness about the need to take positive environmental action.

The 2012 theme for World Environment Day is the "Green Economy: Does it include you?" A Green Economy is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. However, China's economic and social development has come at the cost of resources and the environment.

To improve the environment, China has made great efforts in recent years. While restructuring the economic development mode, China encourages enterprises to gain economic benefits through developing green industries.

Meanwhile, air quality has been a major concern to people in China. In today's press conference, top Chinese environmental protection officials said the country will launch new air quality standards in pilot cities this year.

Wu Xiaoqing, Vice Minister of Ministry of Environmental
Protection, is outlining the country's environmental
protection policies.

Chinese seas', bays' water quality "extremely poor"
The quality of both near-shore water in north China's Bohai Sea and the East China Sea and water in five of the nine bays along China's coast has been slammed by the country's Ministry of Environmental Protection. Full story>>

China establishes more nature reserves in 2011
China has established a total of 2,640 different types of nature reserves by the end of 2011, covering 14.9 percent of the country's land territory, announced vice minister of environmental protection Wu Xiaoqing on Tuesday. Full story>>

China 2011 air quality fails new standards
Fine particulate matter in the air of most Chinese cities in 2011 exceeded the new air quality standards set by the country, with an average level of 58 micrograms per cubic meter, Wu Xiaoqing, vice minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection announced on Tuesday. Full story>>

Secretary-General's message on World Environment Day

Latest Statements

New York, 5 June 2012 - Secretary-General's message on World Environment Day

As the world gears up for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), World Environment Day is an opportunity to highlight the need for a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable world.  This year’s theme, “Green Economy: Does it include you?”, underscores the need for everyone to play their part in keeping humankind's ecological footprint within planetary boundaries.
The world’s population stands at 7 billion and may rise to more than 9 billion by 2050.  This means greater pressure on already crowded cities – where more than half of all people now live – and on natural resources, as demand for food, water and energy rises.  It also means more people in search of decent jobs.  Globally, 1.3 billion people are currently unemployed or under-employed.  An estimated half billion more will join the job market over the next decade.
Sustainability entails providing opportunity for all by balancing the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development.  We have to rebut the myth that there is conflict between economic and environmental health.  With smart policies and the right investments, countries can protect their environment, grow their economies, generate decent jobs and accelerate social progress.
Rio+20 is our opportunity to deepen global commitment to sustainable development.  In Rio, we should agree that measuring growth and wealth by Gross Domestic Product alone is inadequate.  We should agree that the world needs a set of sustainable development goals that will build on the Millennium Development Goals.  And we should make progress on some of the building blocks of sustainability – energy, water, food, cities, oceans, jobs and the empowerment of women.
Sustainability is gaining prominence on the public policy agenda in both developed and developing nations.  The UN itself is working towards climate neutrality and sustainable management of our offices and activities.  In Rio, we must mobilize the partnerships we need to shift the world onto a more sustainable trajectory of growth and development.  On this World Environment Day, in advance of this historic conference, I urge governments, businesses and all members of society to make the holistic choices that will ensure a sustainable future – the future we want.

Get involved in the Green Economy!

World Environment Day 2012 logo

Celebrate World Environment Day 2012

And get involved in the Green Economy!
A Green Economy as an economic environment that achieves...

low carbon emissions, reduces pollution, uses natural resources efficiently and improves our well-being, whilst preventing the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems which provide numerous service we need to live for free.
Find out ten ways you can be part of a greener economy…
UNEP WED2012 Energy
1 - Energy
Our lifestyles demand energy but mainstream sources of oil, coal and gas are not sustainable and are harmful to our health and environment. You can help us build a Green Economy by being a model of energy efficiency and showing support for clean, sustainable energy sources in your home, business and local community...
  • Choose businesses & products which invest in clean, renewable energy
  • Invest in greener energy yourself - Find what type is suitable for you
  • Be more energy efficient - Find tips on how to save energy on our Energy Saving Tips webpage
  • Loan an electricity monitor kit from our libraries to find out where you can save energy. We currently have monitors available for residents to loan, and will shortly have kits for businesses and community groups to loan as well.

UNEP WED2012 Water2 - Water
Billions of people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water. More of our rain is falling in heavy downpours and we will see more in winter, less in summer. Resource efficiency is key for a Green Economy and water is one of our most precious and important resources, so we need to use it wisely...

We can get more water wise today:
  • Turn off taps when you are not using them, to save 6 litres / min
  • Ensure you do full loads for laundry or dishwashing
  • Limit shower time; some powershowers use more water than baths!
  • Don't water your lawn after it has rained
Be Water Wise and find more ways to save water on our Water Saving Tips webpage
UNEP WED2012 buildings
3 - Buildings
Take charge of your buildings to help support a resource-efficient Green Economy
UNEP WED2012 transport

4 - Transport
When you choose alternative methods of travel, you support a Green Economy whilst reducing environmental impacts & often saving yourself money...
UNEP WED2012 waste5 - Waste
By reducing waste going to landfill, you are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, other environmental impact and supporting a resource-efficient Green Economy.

UNEP WED2012 Industry6 - Manufacturing & Industry
When you choose a sustainable product or business instead of a 'business-as-usual,' you send the message to industry & manufacturing that it's time to move towards a Green Economy
Be a wiser consumer & buy from businesses with
  • Sustainability plans
  • Investments in renewables
  • Eco-labels - some examples are:
Digital Rutland Web Logo
Supporting greener businesses & homes
Superfast broadband will be available from 2013 for our businesses & homes in Rutland, helping you to reduce your travel costs and increase your efficiency, whilst reducing our carbon emissions and other impacts of travel on our environment. Find out more at
UNEP WED2012 tourism7 - Tourism
You can help your destinations achieve economic growth without sacrificing environmental well-being and social well-being by supporting ecotourism.
  • Find out which businesses support ecotourism before you go
  • Buy local - Find out about local food producers and markets at the local tourism information office
  • Travel with others to save money and carbon on holiday
  • Limit water and energy use - Find tips on our webpages
  • Find out how you can limit your impact on sensitive habitats by observing any local requirements and advice, and by following the Countryside Code
  • Holiday at Home to save time and travel, as well as money and reducing your impact on our environment - Find out about activities available in Rutland at
UNEP WED2012 forestry8 - Forestry
By buying certified sustainable forest products, you help to support sustainable livelihoods and communities as well as a healthly ecosystems. When our forests are managed sustainably, we reduce our damage to the environment, our climate and our wildlife, by preventing unsustainable deforestation. Here are some tips to help protect our forests:
  • Use certified sustainable forest timber & paper products - Look for the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) logo or the PEFC logo on products
      FSC logo greenPEFC
  • Find out more at and
  • Use electronic files to reduce the need for paper for printing
  • Reuse & recycle - See our tips above on managing your waste more sustainably
UNEP WED2012 agriculture
9 - Agriculture
Send a message of your support for a Green Economy to producers by buying local, organic, and sustainable food products. Here are a few ways you can reduce the impact of your daily or weekly shop:
UNEP WED2012 Fisheries10 - Fisheries
Overfishing threatens to deplete our future fish stocks & has impacts on other sea life. We can avoid this by choosing sustainably harvested seafood, sending a message of your support of a Green Economy to producers.

Buy sustainably harvested seafood with the Marine Marine Stewardship Council logo
Stewardship Council label and find sustainable products & suppliers at

World Environment Day 2012 logoFind out more about World Environment Day, events and activities taking place in the UK and around the world and the Green Economy at