UN Day in Central African Republic

Marking UN Day in Central African Republic, Secretary-General honors peacekeepers

Commemorating United Nations Day alongside UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday paid tribute to the sacrifices made by uniformed personnel in the service of peace.

Secretary-General António Guterres is greeted by residents of Bangui, Central African Republic. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Secretary-General António Guterres is greeted by residents of Bangui, Central African Republic. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

“I want to say that we need to make sure that the world fully appreciates the heroic contributions of peacekeepers protecting civilians, sometimes in extremely difficult circumstances, like the ones we face in the Central African Republic,” said Mr. Guterres at a wreath-laying ceremony for peacekeepers in the country’s capital, Bangui.

He said these ‘blue helmets,’ as UN peacekeepers are informally known, work where sometimes the peace is elusive, which means that they die, are wounded, and sacrifice their lives to protect civilians.

Noting that women and men of the UN police and military forces are the UN brand in the world, he said “your sacrifice is something that the UN will always honour.”

The 24th of October, the day in 1945 when the Charter of the United Nations entered into force, is celebrated annually as UN Day. In 1971, the General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by UN Member States as a public holiday.

At UN Headquarters in New York, the Organization’s Department of Public Information will organize a concert featuring the Slovak National Folklore Ballet, Lúènica.

The theme of the concert is ‘Potential in Diversity’ and is sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Slovakia to the UN.

Also, Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, on behalf of the Secretary-General, will present the 2017 Secretary-General Awards in categories, including innovation and creativity; implementing efficiencies; gender equality and parity; and champion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr. Guterres, in his first UN Day message, called on people around the world to overcome their differences to address global challenges that go beyond national borders.

“Our world faces many grave challenges. Widening conflicts and inequality, extreme weather and deadly intolerance, [and] security threats – including nuclear weapons,” said Mr. Guterres in a video message.

“We have the tools and wealth to overcome these challenges. All we need is the will.”

In his message, the UN chief stated that the challenges faced by the world transcend borders and, therefore, everyone needs to transcend their differences to transform our future.

“When we achieve human rights and human dignity for all people – they will build a peaceful, sustainable and just world,” he added, urging humanity – noted in the UN Charter as ‘We the Peoples’ – to make this vision a reality.

President Trump and UN Secretary-General Guterres Meet

Today in Washington, DC UN Secretary-General António Guterres met with President Donald Trump at the White House. The Secretary-General and the President discussed UN effectiveness and reform, as well as global issues of mutual concern, including Myanmar, the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the situation in the wider Middle East, and the fight against global terrorism.  The two committed to work together to address these and other common challenges in the coming months.

 

 

Remarks by President Trump and United Nations Secretary-General Guterres in Meeting

Oval Office

12:25 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. It’s great to have the Secretary-General with us. We’ve become friends. Even before I was doing what I’m doing right now, we were friends; we knew each other.

You have done a very, very spectacular job at the United Nations. And I can tell you, speaking for the United States, we appreciate it.

And I know you’re working with our ambassador. Nikki is in a very, very unique class. She is — we’re very proud of you, and we want to thank you for the job you’re doing.

But it’s an honor to have you, and thank you very much for being here. A lot to discuss.

SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I must say that I’m extremely grateful, first of all, for the support that you have given us in relation to our reform process, coming to the General Assembly.

I am a true believer that we live in a messy world but we need a strong reforms and modernized U.N. We need a strong United States, engaged based on its traditional values — freedom, democracy, human rights. And we need a very solid cooperation between the U.S. and the U.N. And it’s a great pleasure to be here.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: I have to say, the United Nations has tremendous potential. It hasn’t been used over the years nearly as it should be, but the United Nations — perhaps almost more than any other thing I can think of.

And I will tell you, I also happen to think that the United States, even as well as we’re doing right now, has additionally tremendous potential. We have just started.

But the United Nations has this great, great — it’s almost a power to bring people together like nothing else. It hasn’t been used. You are starting to really get your arms around it, and I have a feeling that things are going to happen with the United Nations like you haven’t seen before.

I mean, to have this group of nations in one location with one person — which is you — leading it strongly, I think, is — in terms of world peace and other things and other — many other things that you’re working on — I just wish you luck because the potential that you have is really unlimited. Good luck.

SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES: Thank you very much. And I need all of the luck — (laughter) —

THE PRESIDENT: No, you need luck — you need luck and you need talent. Okay? You need talent. And he’s got the talent. Now we’ll see what happens. I’ll report back to you in about seven years what I think.

Okay, thank you all very much. Thank you.

END

12:28 P.M. EDT

UN chief urges action to address root causes of poverty

UN chief urges action to address root causes of poverty

Highlighting the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure a life of dignity for all, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for redoubling of efforts to eradicate poverty it in its entirety.

“This globally agreed agenda, pledges to secure a healthy planet and build peaceful and inclusive societies to ensure lives of dignity for all,” said the Secretary-General in a video message marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

“Its pledge to leave no one behind will require innovative approaches, partnerships and solutions.”

In particular, he called for addressing the root causes of poverty to eradicate it in its entirety, and in doing so to listen to the views and guidance of people living in poverty and acting together with them.

Despite progress to eliminate poverty, more than 800 million people around the world continue live in extreme poverty and many more are threatened by alarming rates of unemployment, insecurity, inequality, conflict as well as the effect of climate change.

Eliminating poverty, and alleviating the suffering and building resilience of those living in poverty is the target for Goal 1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty in all its forms everywhere.

SDG 1 - No Poverty

No Poverty

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the decision by the General Assembly, designating 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.The Goal also aims to ensure social protection for the poor and vulnerable, increase access to basic services and support people harmed by climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is Answering the Call of October 17 to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies.

It recognizes the knowledge and courage of families living in poverty throughout the world, as well as the importance of reaching out to the poorest and building an alliance with citizens from all backgrounds to end poverty.

Director-General of UNESCO on the Withdrawal of the United States from UNESCO

Director-General of UNESCO on the Withdrawal of the United States from UNESCO

After receiving official notification by the United States Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, as UNESCO Director-General, I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO.

Universality is critical to UNESCO’s mission to strengthen international peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity.

In 2011, when payment of membership contributions was suspended at the 36th session of the UNESCO General Conference, I said I was convinced UNESCO had never mattered as much for the United States, or the United States for UNESCO.

This is all the more true today, when the rise of violent extremism and terrorism calls for new long-term responses for peace and security, to counter racism and antisemitism, to fight ignorance and discrimination.

I believe UNESCO’s work to advance literacy and quality education is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to harness new technologies to enhance learning is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to enhance scientific cooperation, for ocean sustainability, is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to promote freedom of expression, to defend the safety of journalists, is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to empower girls and women as change-makers, as peacebuilders, is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to bolster societies facing emergencies, disasters and conflicts is shared by the American people.

Despite the withholding of funding, since 2011, we have deepened the partnership between the United States and UNESCO, which has never been so meaningful.

Together, we have worked to protect humanity’s shared cultural heritage in the face of terrorist attacks and to prevent violent extremism through education and media literacy.

Together, we worked with the late Samuel Pisar, Honorary Ambassador and Special Envoy for Holocaust Education, to promote education for remembrance of the Holocaust across the world as the means to fight antisemitism and genocide today, including with, amongst others, the UNESCO Chair for Genocide Education at the University of Southern California and the UNESCO Chair on Literacy and Learning at the University of Pennsylvania.

Together, we work with the OSCE to produce new tools for educators against all forms of antisemitism, as we have done to fight anti-Muslim racism in schools.

Together, we launched the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education in 2011.

Together, with the American academic community, including 17 UNESCO University Chairs, we have worked to advance literacy, to promote sciences for sustainability, to teach respect for all in schools.

This partnership has been embodied in our interaction with the United States Geological Survey, with the US Army Corps of Engineers, with United States professional societies, to advance research for the sustainable management of water resources, agriculture.

It has been embodied in the celebration of World Press Freedom Day in Washington D.C in 2011, with the National Endowment for Democracy.

It has been embodied in our cooperation with major private sector companies, with Microsoft, Cisco, Procter & Gamble, Intel, to retain girls in school, to nurture technologies for quality learning.

It has been embodied in the promotion of International Jazz Day, including at the White House in 2016, to celebrate human rights and cultural diversity on the basis of tolerance and respect.

It has been embodied in 23 World Heritage sites, reflecting the universal value of the cultural heritage of the United States, in 30 Biosphere Reserves, embodying the country’s vast and rich biodiversity, in 6 Creative Cities, as a source of innovation and job creation.

The partnership between UNESCO and the United States has been deep, because it has drawn on shared values.

The American poet, diplomat and Librarian of Congress, Archibald MacLeish penned the lines that open UNESCO’s 1945 Constitution: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.” This vision has never been more relevant.

The United States helped inspire the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

In 2002, one year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the late Russell Train, former Head of the US Environmental Protection Agency and founder of the World Wildlife Fund, who did so much to launch the World Heritage Convention, said: “At this time in history, as the fabric of human society seems increasingly under attack by forces that deny the very existence of a shared heritage, forces that strike at the very heart of our sense of community, I am convinced that World Heritage holds out a contrary and positive vision of human society and our human future.”

UNESCO’s work is key to strengthen the bonds of humanity’s common heritage in the face of forces of hatred and division.

The Statue of Liberty is a World Heritage site because it is a defining symbol of the United States of America, and also because of what it says for people across the world.

Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed, is a World Heritage site, because its message speaks to policy-makers and activists across the globe.

Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon are World Heritage sites, because they are marvels for everyone, in all countries.

This is not just about World Heritage.

UNESCO in itself holds out this “positive vision of human society.”

At the time when the fight against violent extremism calls for renewed investment in education, in dialogue among cultures to prevent hatred, it is deeply regrettable that the United States should withdraw from the United Nations agency leading these issues.

At the time when conflicts continue to tear apart societies across the world, it is deeply regrettable for the United States to withdraw from the United Nations agency promoting education for peace and protecting culture under attack.

This is why I regret the withdrawal of the United States.

This is a loss to UNESCO.

This is a loss to the United Nations family.

This is a loss for multilateralism.

UNESCO’s task is not over, and we will continue taking it forward, to build a 21st century that is more just, peaceful, equitable, and, for this, UNESCO needs the leadership of all States.

UNESCO will continue to work for the universality of this Organization, for the values we share, for the objectives we hold in common, to strengthen a more effective multilateral order and a more peaceful, more just world.