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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on events on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea

NEW YORK, 15 June 2016-The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by reports of fighting on 12 and 13 June on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The Secretary-General discussed the issue in his meeting in Brussels today with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, while the Deputy Secretary-General called the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Eritrea. They urged both Governments to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from any act or statement that could exacerbate the situation. They also called on both Governments to resolve their differences through peaceful means, including by ensuring the full implementation of the peace agreement they signed in 2000. The United Nations remains available to assist the two countries in this endeavour.

UN Secretary-General’s remarks to ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development

18 April, 2016, New York: I am pleased to join the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in welcoming you to the inaugural session of the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development. And I am particularly pleased to see many ministers, Finance and Development Ministers and the EU Commissioner and Heads of United Nations Agencies, who are taking part in this important forum.

2015 was a year of crucial milestones for development. In July, world leaders gathered in Addis Ababa and adopted a comprehensive framework to mobilize and deliver the resources, technology and partnerships needed for sustainable development.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, together with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris agreement on climate change, are triumphs of multilateralism. I look forward to the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement here in New York later this week.

These are historic agreements to eradicate poverty, build resilient societies, address climate change and put the world on a sustainable development path.

We have the collective responsibility to turn these landmark agreements into tangible actions.
The time for implementation is now.

Following-up on the Addis Agenda is the right starting point.
I am encouraged by your enthusiasm for the task at hand.

Excellencies,

The financing requirements to achieve the SDGs are estimated to be in the order of trillions of dollars annually. Mobilizing these resources will be a significant challenge, particularly at a time of continued economic uncertainty and financial constraints.

Since we met in Addis, risks and vulnerabilities have increased. Large numbers of refugees are on the move, and geopolitical tensions have escalated in some regions. Commodity prices are falling and capital flows are more volatile.

The global economic recovery remains uneven. We have not seen the strong, sustained and balanced growth needed to realize sustainable development for all.

Yet this challenge is not unsurmountable. We know that global public and private savings and investment will be sufficient – but only if they are aligned with sustainable development.

The Addis Agenda provides a full range of actions to realign financial flows and policies with economic, social and environmental priorities.

It contains over 100 concrete policy commitments that draw upon all sources of finance, technology, innovation, trade, debt and data to support the 2030 Agenda.

We must sustain our political momentum and build on the unprecedented collaboration of recent years. The global response to the 2030 Agenda must match the scope of the challenge – which means tapping into the potential of all actors to achieve the large-scale transformation we need.

Excellencies,

Now is the time for smart investments in people and the planet, where they are needed, when they are needed and at the scale they are needed.

More than 2.4 billion people still lack clean water and sanitation; 57 million of the world’s children are not enrolled in school; and more than half the world’s population lacks any social security coverage.

We must follow through on the new ‘social compact’ enshrined in the Addis Agenda to provide social protection and essential public services for all.

Billions of lives depend on it.

Investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructure are a prerequisite to achieve many of our global goals.

The new Global Infrastructure Forum, led by the multilateral development banks, which I attended last weekend in Washington D.C., is an important step towards bridging this gap.

But more needs to be done. We need to step up our efforts to implement the Addis Abba Action Agenda in it its entirety.

The private sector must be an active partner, in particular in areas such as the provision of urgently-needed social goods.

The growing importance of South-South cooperation must also to be recognized. This is now driving innovation and demonstrating its effectiveness in many developing countries.

The United Nations must be the forum where leadership and strategic collaboration among very different actors can transform our development model.

Developing countries hosting large numbers of refugees should have access to concessional loans – and I am glad to see progress on that front.

We also call for stronger commitment to humanitarian financing, which will be one focus of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit that I am convening in Istanbul on 23rd and 24th May.

But development aid plays a critical role in addressing the root causes of conflict. That is one reason why we make sure that efforts to increase the share of ODA to Least Developed Countries should continue.

Delivering on the new Paris Agreement will require countries to implement their national climate plans, as well as increase their ambitions over time. Achieving both of these goals requires a key item: finance.

I urge developed countries to meet the agreed goal of $100 billion per year by 2020 and the private sector to make financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low-emissions, climate-resilient development.

Excellencies,

Implementation will be the test of our commitment. The Addis Agenda provides the foundation for a renewed and strengthened global partnership for sustainable development.

I urge each and every one of you to take action and show leadership. We must all play our part in this global endeavour, from governments and international organisations, to financial and trade institutions, the private sector and civil society.

Accurate and comprehensive monitoring of actions at all levels will be crucial for success.

The Inter-Agency Task Force, which I convened at the end of 2015, will report annually on progress in implementing the financing for development outcomes and the 2030 Agenda.

I thank all UN agencies and other international organizations for their effective collaboration in putting together a comprehensive report under very tight time constraints.

I urge you to make good use of this Forum to usher in a new era of international cooperation on financing for sustainable development.

With a spirit of true partnership, shared responsibility and solidarity, we can transform our global vision into better lives and greater opportunities for people everywhere.

Thank you.

UN Secretary-General’s message on World Health Day

07 April, 2016: New York: Today is World Health Day. Below is the UN Secretary General’s message to mark the day;
“Diabetes is an ancient disease that is taking a growing toll on the modern world. In 1980, 108 million adults were living with diabetes. By 2014, that number had risen to 422 million – 8.5 per cent of adults — reflecting a global increase in risk factors such as being overweight or obese. Even though we have the tools to prevent and treat it, diabetes now causes some 1.5 million deaths a year. High blood glucose causes an additional 2.2 million deaths.

This year, the World Health Organization has issued its first Global Report on Diabetes, outlining the scale of the problem and suggesting ways to reverse current trends. The burden of diabetes is not equally shared, within or between countries. People in low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected, but wherever we find poverty we also find disease and premature deaths.

Diabetes affects countries’ health systems and economies, through increased medical costs and lost wages. In 2011, world leaders agreed that non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, represent a major challenge to achieving sustainable development. Last year, Governments adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which include the target of reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one-third.

We can limit the spread and impact of diabetes by promoting and adopting healthier lifestyles, especially among young people. This includes eating better and being physically active. We must also improve diabetes diagnosis and access to essential medicines such as insulin. Governments, health-care providers, people with diabetes, civil society, food producers and manufacturers and suppliers of medicines and technology must all contribute to changing the status quo.

On this World Health Day, let us all commit to working together to halt the rise in diabetes and improve the lives of those living with this dangerous but preventable and treatable disease.

UN Secretary-General’s remarks upon receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Loyola Marymount University

LOS ANGELES, 06 April,2016: Thank you so much for your warm welcome.

It is a pleasure to be here at Loyola Marymount University. I would like to express my great appreciation for this honorary degree. I know you are recognizing not just me, but also the United Nations. Thank you for this vote of support for our efforts to advance peace, development and human rights across the world.

I thank my good friend Professor Tom Plate for his kind introduction. My connection with LMU starts with him.

Our friendship goes back decades. He was a long-time journalist, specializing in East Asia. I was a senior official in the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and eventually became Foreign Minister. Professor Plate and I came to know each other, and talked often about Asian affairs. When I became Secretary-General, our talks turned to global issues.

It was early in my tenure that he told me about Loyola Marymount University — a wonderful community, he said, that is strongly committed to the ideals of the United Nations. “You must visit”, he said. Since there is nothing I like as much as spending time with young people, here I am!

You may recall that I greeted the Loyola community by video last October when Professor Snyder was inaugurated as your President. I am glad now to have this opportunity to congratulate him in person. I especially welcome this chance to share a few thoughts about this moment in world affairs — and how Loyola can continue helping the world to meet the tests of our time.

Loyola Marymount’s spirit of civic engagement is visible in so many ways.

The long-standing De Colores programme evolved from constructing houses in Mexico to a partnership where you learn from and support each other. You have gone from building homes to building bridges between people. This is just what we need at a time when extremist groups and too many politicians strive to divide.

I commend the LMU alumna who founded the Press Institute for Women in the Developing World, which is offering training in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal, Rwanda and elsewhere

Professor Jok Madut Jok has been doing admirable work to advance education in South Sudan.

I welcome Loyola’s newly established World Policy Institute. Professor Plate’s Asian Media Centre is another important forum.

And you have taken an important stand for human rights by joining other Jesuit colleges and universities in speaking out against racial inequality.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

President Snyder spoke at the inauguration ceremony about the importance of “global imagination” in illuminating pathways into our future.

My own global imagination was profoundly influenced by the Organization I now serve and lead.

You could say I am a child of the United Nations.

During the Korean War, when my family had no food, the United Nations fed us. When our schools were burned down, the United Nations gave us books. When our economy collapsed, the United Nations mobilized support. The troops of many nations defended us while serving under the UN blue flag.

Now, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I strive daily to do for others what the United Nations did for me.

Over the past ten years, I have sought to empower the world’s women, defend human rights, strengthen peace operations, promote social justice, and modernize the United Nations itself.

We now have an ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is our 15-year plan to end global poverty, fight inequality, promote the rule of law and build peaceful societies.

The new Paris Agreement on climate change is our potential peace pact with the planet.

These agreements open exciting new horizons.

Yet our hopes are threatened by armed conflict, terrorism, extremism and brutal acts that defy all norms of humanity. More people have fled their homes than at any time since the Second World War. Humanitarian needs are reaching new heights — but life-saving relief efforts are struggling for funds while vast sums are being squandered on weapons of war.

That is why we are bringing all countries together at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit on May 23rd and 24th in Istanbul. We need to do more to help suffering people now – and prevent emergencies in the future.

The nightmare in Syria has just entered its sixth year.

The United Nations is leading diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, and those talks are showing the first signs of hope in years. A cessation of hostilities has held for more than a month. UN-led negotiations resume later this week in Geneva.

The United Nations and our partners are managing to finally get some humanitarian supplies through, but there are still people in besieged areas who have not received aid in months or even years.

I am very moved by your decision, taken just days ago, to help Syrian students and scholars who have been torn from their homes and schools.

Syrian refugees want to go home, but cannot. I have been pressing all countries to resettle Syrians and refugees of so many other nationalities who have a right to asylum. Yet too many countries are erecting barriers or not doing their fair share. This hurts refugees and the host communities themselves, which are missing out on potentially enormous contributions. With a little support, refugees will become doctors and caregivers, workers and entrepreneurs, bright students and researchers who advance human progress for all.

I thank you for recognizing that these refugees are an asset to your community.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me say a special word to the young people here today:

You are part of the largest generation of young people the world has ever known. You are also part of one of the most important ways that the United Nations has changed to keep up with the times: we are focusing on the power of young people as never before.

When I look around this room, I see more than leaders of the future – I see leaders for today.

Too often, youth are regarded as problems or easy prey for terrorists. But where some see trouble, I see an underutilized powerhouse for human progress.

That is why I appointed the first-ever UN Youth Envoy, and why the UN system recently launched a youth employment initiative. Last December, the Security Council adopted a landmark resolution that aims to bring youth to the table as peacebuilders — where they belong but have been long absent.

Young people today have wide-ranging opportunities to contribute, to link up with like-minded peers, and to pursue their dreams.

Whatever path you choose, the world needs you to show allegiance not just to your immediate family, community, or nation, but to the wider global community.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

LMU is a place to learn, to question and to challenge. Universities need to be places where we can listen to each other, and each other’s ideas, in peace.

This hilltop campus gives you a beautiful view of the Pacific ocean.

But I know you also look within, in keeping with the Jesuit nature of this school.

I saw that character up close last September, when His Holiness Pope Francis visited the United Nations. I recall his moving words on that occasion. “The full meaning of individual and collective life”, he said, “is found in selfless service to others and in the sage and respectful use of creation for the common good”.

I look forward to the contributions you will make as global citizens and — if you make the choice I made decades ago — as public servants.

Let us reach out to the vulnerable and the excluded. Let us fulfill our duty to leave no one behind — and to reach the farthest behind, first.

Together, we can usher in an era of dignity for all.

Thank you.

UN Secretary General message on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide

07 April,2016: Today, the world marks 22 years since the genocide in Rwanda. Below is the UN Secretary general, Ban Ki-moon message for the day: “In 1994, more than 800,000 people were systematically murdered throughout Rwanda. The vast majority were Tutsi, but moderate Hutu, Twa and others were also targeted. On this Day, we remember all who perished in the genocide and renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities from ever being repeated, anywhere in the world.

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

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

Genocide is not a single event. It is a process that takes time and preparation. History has repeatedly demonstrated that no part of the world is immune. One of the key warning signs is the spread of hate speech in public discourse and the media that targets particular communities.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Fighting Genocide Ideology”. It is essential that Governments, the judiciary and civil society stand firm against hate speech and those who incite division and violence. We must promote inclusion, dialogue and the rule of law to establish peaceful and just societies.

The history of Rwanda teaches us an essential lesson. While the capacity for the deepest evil resides in all societies, so too do the qualities of understanding, generosity and reconciliation. Let us nurture these hallmarks of our common humanity to help build a life of dignity and security for all.