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Thursday, 29 November 2012

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People 2012

New York, 29 November 2012 - Secretary-General's message on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

It has been 65 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, proposing the partition of the mandate territory into two States.  Achieving the two-State solution, to which both Israel and the Palestinians have committed, is long overdue.  During my recent trip to the Middle East following the dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza and Israel, I saw yet again the disastrous consequences -- in particular for the civilian populations -- of the absence of a permanent resolution of the conflict.  With the Middle East continuing to change rapidly and profoundly, it is more urgent than ever for the international community and the parties to intensify efforts towards peace.

The outlines of an agreement have long been clear, laid out in UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles -- including land for peace --the Road Map, the 2002 Arab Peace initiative and existing agreements between the parties.  What is needed now is political will and courage, as well as a sense of historic responsibility and vision for younger generations.

Final status issues can only be solved through direct negotiations.  However, much work lies ahead to create the conditions that will allow the resumption of credible and meaningful negotiations and preserve the viability of the two-state solution.

It is crucial to sustain the ceasefire concluded last week that ended more than one week of devastating violence in Gaza and southern Israel.  There must be no rocket fire from Gaza, which I have condemned repeatedly.  The issues that have been pending since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1860 in January 2009 must be resolved decisively: ending the closure, preventing the illicit trafficking of arms and achieving intra-Palestinian reconciliation.  Palestinian unity that supports a negotiated two-State solution is essential for the creation of a Palestinian State in Gaza and the West Bank.

It remains essential that the Palestinians overcome their divisions, based on the commitments of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the positions of the Quartet and the Arab Peace Initiative.

It is equally important to preserve the commendable achievements of the Palestinian Authority’s state-building efforts in the West Bank and the territorial contiguity it needs.  Continued settlement activity in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is contrary to international law and the Roadmap, and must cease.  Unilateral actions on the ground will not be accepted by the international community.  Allowing proper development and planning in Area C is also necessary, instead of demolitions and land confiscation.  Israel continues to build the wall on West Bank land, contrary to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice.  I am also concerned about rising settler violence resulting in Palestinian injuries and property damage.

Amid these many challenges to the realization of their legitimate aspirations for statehood, the Palestinians have decided to seek Non Member Observer State status in the General Assembly.  This is a matter for Member States to decide.  It is important for all concerned to approach this responsibly and constructively.
The goal remains realizing the just and lasting peace for which generations of Palestinians and Israelis have been longing -- a peace that will end the occupation that started in 1967, end the conflict and ensure that an independent, viable and sovereign State of Palestine lives side by side with a secure State of Israel.  I call on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to show vision and determination.  I also urge the international community to help them forge a credible political path that will meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides.
I pledge to do everything in my power support this goal.  On this International Day, I count on all involved to work together to translate solidarity into positive action for peace.

Statements on 29 November 2012

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

COP18.CMP8 - DOHA 2012 - UN Climate Change Conference

November 26, 2012 - December 7, 2012
Location: 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP18) in Doha, Qatar.
A series of events bringing together representatives of governments, financial institutions and civil society to discuss and debate key issues related to climate finance.
Contact:
A series of events that will bring together representatives of governments, financial institutions and civil society to discuss and debate key issues related to climate finance, share lessons learned and test new ideas to address the financing challenge associated with addressing climate change ambitiously. The themes include: Climate Finance Architecture, Green Climate Fund, Scaling Up Climate Finance and Effectiveness of Climate Finance.

Wednesday, 28 November, 13:15 – 14:45
Making the Green Climate Fund Relevant and Responsive to Indigenous People
Lead Organizer: Tebtebba Foundation
Event type: Official side event
Wednesday, 28 November, 20:15 – 21:45
The Green Climate Fund: Operationalizing the Private Sector Facility: The ‘who?’ and ‘how?’ of private finance mobilisation
Lead Organizer: UNEP-FI & CMIA
Event type: Official side event
Thursday, 29 November, 19:00 – 22:00
Scaling Up Climate Finance: Financing Models and Financial Instruments
Lead Organizer: WRI, JICA & AFD
Event type: Dinner*
Friday, 30 November, 19:00 – 22:00
Role of National and International Climate Funds and Institutions
Lead Organizer: WRI, GIZ, AFD, JICA, CA & CDKN Event type: Dinner*
Saturday, 1 December, 19:00 – 22:00
Elevating Adaptation Finance: Opportunities and Challenges for Increasing Climate Resilience
Lead Organizer: E3G, One World & WRI
Event type: Dinner*
Monday, 3 December, 08:00 – 10:00
Getting Ready to Scale Up Climate Finance
Lead Organizer: WRI, UNEP & UNDP
Event type: Breakfast*
Monday, 3 December, 20:15 – 21:45
Global Climate Finance 2012: Overall Flows and National Strategies for Effective Financing
Lead Organizer: CPI & EDF
Event type: Official side event
Tuesday, 4 December, 09:00 – 17:00
The Green Climate Fund: Operationalizing the Private Sector Facility
Lead Organizer: UNEP-FI & CMIA
Event type: Informal workshop
Tuesday, 4 December, 19:00 – 22:00
Strengthening the Transparency and Effectiveness of Climate Finance
Lead Organizer: ODI, CPI, WRI & JICA
Event type: Dinner*
Tuesday, 4 December, 20:15 – 21:45
Climate Finance: A Question of Justice and Reparations
Lead Organizer: JS-APMDD
Event type: Official side event
Wednesday, 5 December, 20:15 – 21:45
National Development Banks’ Approaches to Leveraging the Private Sector Climate Investment
Lead Organizer: KfW
Event type: Official side event
Thursday, 6 December, 20:00 – 22:00
High-level session
Raising Ambition on Climate Finance
Lead Organizer: WRI & CPI/SGG
Event type: Dinner*
*By invitation only.

ORGANIZED BY
L’Agence Française de Développement (AFD)
Climate Analytics (CA)
Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN)
Climate Markets & Investment Association (CMIA)
Climate Policy Initiative/San Giorgio Group (CPI/SGG)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt & Development (JS-APMDD)
One World
KfW Development Bank (KfW)
Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
Tebtebba Foundation
Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)
World Resources Institute (WRI)

Monday, 26 November 2012

AIE’s 50th anniversary “Serving Abroad…Through Their Eyes” photography exhibition.

In commemoration of Veterans Day, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies (AIE) and the U.S. Department of Defense proudly announce the 12 “Best in Show” featured in AIE’s 50th anniversary “Serving Abroad…Through Their Eyes” photography exhibition. A year ago on Veterans Day, Military, Civil Service and Foreign Service personnel were invited to submit photographs illustrating their life while serving abroad. More than 3,200 images were submitted, from which 161 finalists were chosen; ultimately, the 12 “Best in Show” were identified. These photographs, selected by a panel of distinguished photo-journalists, depict themes of friendship, places, faces, loss or triumph, providing a window on the complexity, diversity and courageous work performed by America’s heroes throughout the world.
Read more on : 
U.S. Department of State - Art in Embassies

Veterans Day Event

Friday, 23 November 2012

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - 25 November

Millions of women and girls around the world are assaulted, beaten, raped, mutilated or even murdered in what constitutes appalling violations of their human rights. From battlefield to home, on the streets, at school, in the workplace or in their community, up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. As many as a quarter of all pregnant women are affected.

All too often, perpetrators go unpunished. Women and girls are afraid to speak out because of a culture of impunity. We must fight the sense of fear and shame that punishes victims who have already endured crime and now face stigma. It is the perpetrators who should feel disgraced, not their victims.
My UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign is engaging governments, international organizations, civil society groups, the media and ordinary citizens.  Last year, when UNiTE asked young people around the world how they intended to help advance this critical cause, I was very encouraged by the responses. Many youth called for an end to ignorance. They said we should not condone negative attitudes. They demanded that we raise our voices to promote human rights, and join forces to help victims. One young man said simply that boys could fight violence against women “by growing up to be responsible and respectful fathers and husbands.”
The United Nations is working on all of these fronts. We are raising awareness through public outreach programmes. Our UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women just this month announced plans to disburse $8 million to local initiatives in 18 countries. Members of my expanding Network of Men Leaders are addressing violence by raising public awareness, advocating for better laws and holding governments accountable.
As we build on these efforts, we must fundamentally challenge the culture of discrimination that allows violence to continue. On this International Day, I call on all governments to make good on their pledges to end all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world, and I urge all people to support this important goal.
Ban Ki-moon

Thursday, 22 November 2012

World Fisheries Day - November 21

Why Care about Fisheries?

- Fisheries and aquaculture employ more than 43 million individuals worldwide.
 - More than 25% of the world’s dietary protein is provided by fish.
- The human population consumes over 100 million metric tons of fish annually.
- Each year the Canadian fishery lands over 1 million metric tons of fish valued in excess of 2 billion dollars.
 - Globally, annual fisheries exports are valued at 85 to 90 billion dollars.
- Pollution continues to threaten water quality and fish habitat. All natural fish stocks today contain trace amounts of mercury.

World Television Day - November 21

"Television can be a tremendous force for good. It can educate great numbers of people about the world around them. It can show us how much we have in common with our neighbours, near and far. And, it can shed light on the dark corners, where ignorance and hatred fester. The television industry is also in a unique position to promote mutual understanding and tolerance -– with content that tells the stories not just about the powerful, but about the powerless, and not just about life in the world’s richest pockets, but also in the developing countries that are home to the majority of the world’s population."

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
World Television Day message
21 November 2003
(SG/SM/9007 OBV/392)
"Recognizing its power, public television has a vital role in guaranteeing access for all people to information on their own cultures and on global events. It is certainly indispensable for the proper functioning of genuine democracies. Television is a decisive factor in globalization. It supports cultural diversity and helps to establish freedom of information."

H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan
President of the Fifty-seventh Session of the General Assembly
World Television Day message
21 November 2002
(Full text of message )

"Television, as the world’s most powerful medium of communication, has a key role to play as these changes deepen and spread further still."

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
World Television Day message
21 November 2002
(SG/SM/9007 OBV/392)
"Television can help the world to better understand the United Nations -- to understand that it is their United Nations: theirs to improve, theirs to engage, theirs to embrace. As we enter a new millennium, I look forward to working closely with the world's television professionals in pursuit of global peace and development."

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
World Television Day message
21 November 1999
(SG/SM/9007 OBV/392)

General Assembly resolutions related to television

  • Proclamation of 21 November as World Television Day : resolution adopted by the General Assembly.
    (A/RES/51/205, 28 February 1997)
  • Principles Governing the Use by States of Artificial Earth Satellites for international direct television Broadcasting.
    (A/RES/2917 (XXVII), 1983)
  • Preparation of international instruments or United Nations arrangements on principles governing the use by States of artificial earth satellites for direct television broadcasting.
    (A/RES/2917 (XXVII), 1973)
  • Preparation of an international convention on principles governing the use by States of artificial earth satellites for direct television broadcasting.
    (A/RES/2916 (XXVII), 1973)

Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly

Questions relating to information

Related Documents

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Universal Children’s Day, Tuesday 20 November 2012

  "No room for complacency to prevent and prohibit crimes against children"

GENEVA / NEW YORK (20 November 2012) – Five top United Nations child rights experts* today urged world Governments to adopt more active measures to protect children from all forms of violence, prevent the perpetration of crimes against children and to bring to justice those responsible for child sexual exploitation and for the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict.

On Universal Children’s Day, the UN experts highlighted the urgency of achieving universal ratification and effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its three optional protocols. “These treaties are key to the safeguard of children’s rights and their effective protection from violence, abuse and exploitation in peace and conflict,” the experts stressed.

In May 2010 the UN Secretary-General launched a two-year global campaign for the universal ratification of the first two Optional Protocols by 2012 with the joint support of his Special Representatives on Violence against Children, and for Children and Armed Conflict; the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, in cooperation with UNICEF and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Since the launch of the campaign, 24 Member States have ratified the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography which is now in force in 161 countries; and 18 States have become party to the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict amounting to a total of 150 ratifications.

In December 2011, the General Assembly adopted the third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, introducing a communications procedure to enable children to obtain redress for the violations of their rights.
“The multiple ongoing conflicts with the involvement of children and the heightened vulnerabilities brought about by the ongoing financial and economic crisis underscore the importance of the ratification of the Convention and its three Optional Protocols as integral safeguards for children,” said Jean Zermatten, who currently heads the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. “Accessing to the third protocol to the Convention on a complaint procedure is essential to strengthen child rights protection and to combat impunity for child rights violations.”
“There can be no room for complacency in our struggle to eliminate violence against children,” stressed Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children. “We are nearing the goal of universal ratification, strengthening children’s protection from violence and bringing to an end impunity for incidents of sexual abuse and exploitation. Ratification is a crucial step but only the start of a demanding process of implementation.”
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, highlighted that there are still 44 States that have not ratified the protocol on child soldiers. “I urge conflict-affected countries to ratify this treaty as a matter of urgency, and those at peace and with no standing armies to follow suit, in a global effort to end the inhuman practice of child recruitment and use,” she said.
“It is extremely encouraging to note the pace of progress achieved since the beginning of the ratification campaign ", said Ms. Najat Maalla M’jid, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. “However, in spite of the numerous initiatives undertaken to combat these phenomena, the sale and sexual exploitation of children in countries of all regions persist and reach sometimes alarming levels. States and the whole international community should spare no efforts to prevent children from being treated as commodities”, she pointed out.
For Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection, “these legal instruments are critical to our efforts to protect all children, everywhere. Incorporating these standards into national legal frameworks, and raising awareness about them are all part of a process of social change that is so critically important,” she added. “UNICEF supports states in their translation of laws into actions that protect children in order that they may live and grow safely, and with dignity.”
On 20 November, Universal Children’s Day, the five child rights experts insisted on the crucial need to place child rights as a priority in the policy agenda and to implement all necessary measures to ensure the effective promotion and protection of the rights of all children, without discrimination.
(*) Jean Zermatten, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children; Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; Najat Maalla M’jid, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; and Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm
The three Optional Protocols:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc-sale.htm
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc-conflict.htm
http://treaties.un.org/doc/source/signature/2012/CTC_4-11d.pdf
For additional information and media requests, please contact Imma Guerras-Delgado ( + 22 928 9249, iguerras-delgado@ohchr.org) or Bernadette Arditi (+41 22 917 9210/ Barditi@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)
UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights
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Storify: http://storify.com/UNrightswire
Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en

Africa Industrialization Day 2012 : Ban calls for more prosperous, sustainable future for Africans

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on Africa Industrialization Day, November 21, 2012, said by accelerating Africa’s industrialization and boosting intra-African trade, more prosperous and sustainable future for all African people can be ensured.

According to a press release issued by the UN Information Center (UNIC) here on Tuesday, the full text of his message reads:
"Sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth is fundamental to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the socioeconomic objectives of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). This year’s Africa Industrialization Day highlights the important role intra-African trade can play in reducing poverty, increasing food and nutrition security and supporting sustainable development.

"African economies are among the fastest growing in the world, yet intra-regional trade accounts only for 10 per cent of the continent’s commerce – significantly less than in other regions. Many constraints impede trade expansion in Africa: obsolete infrastructure, fragmented economic space, low production capacities, limited investment financing and high transaction costs. Eliminating these obstacles is a prerequisite to fully realizing Africa’s economic potential and helping to address the continent’s socioeconomic and developmental challenges. Healthy intra-African trade can free the continent from its reliance on international aid and improve its resilience to macroeconomic and other external shocks.

"Industrialization can help the expansion of intra-African trade by supporting a more diversified export economy. In particular, the development of rural and food processing industries could help to lift significant numbers from poverty. But, to facilitate trade in goods and services, it is essential to reduce distribution costs by improving and expanding road, rail and other communication infrastructure. Also, industrial growth will require greater and more reliable supplies of energy. Improved energy infrastructure -- including investments in renewable power generation and energy efficiency -- would allow countries to produce more, and more competitively.

"At the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June, governments emphasized the importance of paying more attention to Africa’s development needs. On this Africa Industrialization Day, let us heed this call. By working together to accelerate Africa’s industrialization and boost intra-African trade we can ensure a more prosperous and sustainable future for all the continent’s people."

Saturday, 17 November 2012

World Philosophy Day - November 17

 

 

Theme for 2012: “Future Generations”

World Philosophy Day was introduced in 2002 by UNESCO to honour philosophical reflection in the entire world by opening up free and accessible spaces. Its objective is to encourage the peoples of the world to share their philosophical heritage and to open their minds to new ideas, as well as to inspire a public debate between intellectuals and civil society on the challenges confronting our society.

In 2005 the UNESCO General Conference proclaimedPDF document that World Philosophy Day would be celebrated every third Thursday of November.

In 2012, World Philosophy Day will be held on 15 November. This is the tenth time the day is being marked, with events being organized at the international, national and local levels. These will enable their participants to share a multitude of views and experiences, while fully respecting cultural diversity, with regard to the main theme of the 2012 World Philosophy Day: “Future Generations”.

UNESCO leads World Philosophy Day – but does not own it. It belongs to everyone, everywhere, who cares about philosophy.

On this Day of collective exercise in free, reasoned and informed thinking on the major challenges of our time, all of UNESCO’s partners (national governments, their public institutions and organizations, including National Commissions for UNESCO, relevant non-governmental organizations, associations, universities, institutes, schools, UNESCO/UNITWIN Chairs, Associated Schools and Clubs and so forth) are encouraged to organize various types of activities - philosophical dialogues, debates, conferences, workshops, cultural events and presentations around the general theme of the Day, with the participation of philosophers and scientists from all branches of natural and social sciences, educators, teachers, students, press journalists and other mass media representatives, and the general public.

Friday, 16 November 2012

World Science Day for Peace and Development 2012

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Science Day for Peace and Development 10 November 2012

World Science Day for Peace and Development is an opportunity for us to confirm the potential of the sciences to build a better world. It is through human intelligence, scientific research and innovation that we will be able find tomorrow the answers to the challenges that today seem insurmountable. Science is our best asset for supporting inclusive and equitable development, and for building global sustainability at a time of uncertainty, and faced with the biophysical limits of the planet.

In order to succeed, we must train today the researchers of tomorrow in greater numbers. We must also place science at the service of all, while observing the fundamental rights of the individual. Above all, we must open a new chapter in scientific integration. Innovation and social transformation depend on our capacity to combine disciplines and create synergies among all sciences, natural, human and social, including local and indigenous knowledge.
The complexity of issues today goes beyond the framework of any single discipline. The economic, environmental and social challenges of sustainable development are interconnected. This was the message of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held earlier this year, in Rio de Janeiro. It was also the message of the report of the High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability:  Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing. Although modern science has been able to prosper on the principle of specialization, it is now time to build more cooperative, better integrated approaches that can combine the progress made by each science in its own field. Sustainability will  come through multidisciplinarity. It DG/ME/ID/2012/026 – page 2also requires an improved interface between the sciences, policy and society, so that each may enrich and reinforce each other. 

That is the theme of the World Day this year, “Science for Global Sustainability Interconnectedness, Collaboration, Transformation”. 

UNESCO has made transdisciplinarity the cornerstone of its work for sustainability, in its international science programmes and in its work on education for sustainable development. Ten years after the first World  Science Day, UNESCO remains determined to support international reflection on a science of global sustainability, notably through the Scientific Advisory Board of the United Nations SecretaryGeneral. It is in this spirit that I call today on governments, civil society, public and private actors, well beyond scientific circles, to mobilize so as to release the full potential of all sciences for development and peace, which are inseparable and essential for the future that we want.Irina Bokova

World Philosophy Day - November 15

Nov 15 is World Philosophy Day.

Nov 15 is World Philosophy Day. Here's our philosophical question for you today: Future generations don't yet exist. So how can we account for their rights & needs? What kind of life would you want for people living 50 years from now & what does this say about who are?

LEARN ABOUT THE DAY: http://ow.ly/fi7ZR

DISCOVER UNESCO PHILOSOPHY PUBLICATIONS: http://ow.ly/fiENb




Thursday, 15 November 2012

Secretary-General's message on World Diabetes Day 2012

Diabetes is one of the most common noncommunicable diseases. Three hundred and fifty million people worldwide live with diabetes – 80 per cent of them in the developing world – and the disease is becoming more widespread each year due to a combination of ageing populations and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles.

 Unless diagnosed and treated early, diabetes can lead to serious ill-health. Every year, more than three million people who have had diabetes die from problems such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. According to the World Health Organization, diabetes-related deaths will increase by two-thirds by 2030.

 Diabetes is a development issue. The poor are disproportionately at risk, and affected families are often pushed further into poverty. Diabetes is also straining national health systems and threatening to reverse hard-won development gains in low- and middle-income countries, as well as the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Governments across the globe are struggling to protect their citizens from factors that increase the risk of diabetes. These include unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and alcohol abuse. Many governments also face challenges in providing essential diabetes information, treatment and care to those who need them most.


 In September 2011, the United Nations General Assembly recognized diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases as a global health and development challenge, and committed to strengthen their prevention and control. At the World Health Assembly in May 2012, Governments established a new and welcome goal of reducing premature mortality caused by chronic diseases by 25 per cent by 2025.

 We can significantly advance this goal by raising awareness of the threat of diabetes. Physical activity and healthy diet are effective remedies that should be actively promoted by all governments. Primary health care should be strengthened to diagnose and treat diabetes early. Health companies can contribute by developing affordable medicines and technologies, such as low-cost devices to check blood sugar. And businesses – especially those that profit from selling processed foods to children – can commit to marketing healthier, more sustainable goods.

On this World Diabetes Day, let us commit to greater collective effort to prevent diabetes and improve the quality of life of all who suffer from it, particularly the poor and disadvantaged.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Secretary-General's message on the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict

War and armed conflict shred the fabric of sustainable development.  They expand poverty, stunt opportunity and undermine fundamental human rights.  No conflict-affected country has yet achieved a single Millennium Development Goal.  As we look beyond the 2015 MDG deadline, we must recognize peace and security as a critical “fourth dimension” of sustainable development.
We must also acknowledge that durable peace and post-conflict development depend on environmental protection and good governance of natural resources.  There can be no peace if the resource base that people depend on for sustenance and income is damaged or destroyed – or if illegal exploitation finances or causes conflict.
Since 1990, at least 18 violent conflicts have been fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources such as timber, minerals, oil and gas.  Sometimes this is caused by environmental damage and the marginalization of local populations who fail to benefit economically from natural resource exploitation.  More often it is caused by greed.
In Afghanistan, some have voiced fears that recently discovered mineral deposits – worth an estimated trillion US dollars – could perpetuate civil conflict.  In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, rich reserves of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold that could be used to raise standards of living for millions of people are instead being used to finance armed groups and prolong violence.  And throughout Africa, elephant populations are being decimated to feed the global illegal ivory trade, which in turn is funding rebels, criminal networks and other destabilizing forces.
To date, six United Nations peacekeeping missions have been mandated to support the host country’s ability to re-establish control over its resource base and stop illicit extraction by armed groups.  However, we need a greater international focus on the role of natural resource management in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to sustainably managing and safeguarding vital natural resources in times of peace and war.  Let us do more to prevent conflicts over natural resources and maximize their benefits for maintaining and building peace.  The resource curse must no longer be allowed to undermine the security of fragile and conflict-affected states and the foundations of sustainable development.

COMING UP ON NOVEMBER