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UN Daily News
Monday, 23 May 2016

Issue DH/7164

In the headlines:
WHS: We need to resolve humanitarian crises

Ban condemns terrorist attacks killing dozens of

WHS: New fund launched at UN humanitarian

UN Environment Assembly opens in Nairobi aiming

WHS: UN humanitarian summit to 'shape a

On International Day, UN urges end of obstetric

together, says UNESCO envoy Forest Whitaker


summit to address education in crisis zones

different future,' Ban tells thousands at opening


ceremony

WHS: At screening of new Sean Penn film, Ban


says movie industry can spotlight humanitarian
work

WHS: World Humanitarian Summit will be 'wake-up


call' for action and 'launch pad' for new initiatives

DR Congo: UN envoy urges patriotic reawakening

civilians in two coastal Syrian cities

to ensure healthy planet, with healthy people


fistula within a generation

UN envoy welcomes resumption of cement


deliveries into Gaza

UN health agency spotlights role of health in

sustainable development as governing body begins


session

In Vienna, UN Crime Commission opens with call to


advance justice, rule of law

to ease rising political tensions

More stories inside

WHS: We need to resolve humanitarian crises together, says


UNESCO envoy Forest Whitaker
23 May On the opening day of the World Humanitarian Summit in
Istanbul, the Special Envoy of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Forest Whitaker,
called on individuals, governments and international organizations to
act collectively to improve humanitarian action and invest more in
development aid.
"We are facing a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented magnitude in
the history of the planet," the Academy Award-winning actor said in
an interview with the UN News Centre on one of the terraces of the
venue in Turkish city, which hosts the Summit through tomorrow
evening.
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation Forest
Whitaker. Photo: Video screen capture
"One of the Summit slogans is: 'A common humanity shared
responsibilities,' and I think that's what we need to achieve today,"
said Mr. Whitaker, who is also the founder of Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, as well as one of the eminent
personalities chosen by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to advocate on behalf of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable

For information media not an official record

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Development.
The Special Envoy urged the international community to build on the work of the Summit, convened by the SecretaryGeneral to ensure that humanity peoples safety, dignity and the right to thrive are placed at the heart of global decisionmaking, to transform humanitarian aid to development assistance.
"I talked to many people [during the first day], and we hope that a number of proposals concerning education, conflict and
poverty will tackle these problems," said Mr. Whitaker.
"I hope that this Summit will help raise awareness that we need to solve these problems together, both at the level of NGOs
[non-governmental organizations], government agencies and individuals. Together, we can find solutions to some of the
problems we face on the planet, he stressed.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Whitaker had participated in the opening ceremony of the Summit, where he addressed delegations
just after a former child soldier from Uganda, Victor Ochen.
"I talked with Victor Ochen. He spoke of our humanity, of being human [] and we are concerned about the fate of other
human beings. I always try to remain aware that what affects others affects me too, explained Mr. Whitaker. This is what
people are trying to achieve all over the world. They thought [the problems] were [far away] from them, but those problems
arrived at their doors.
For example, he noted the situation of refugees, emphasizing that some 60 million people are currently displaced worldwide.
These people must have a place to go. This affects us all, he said.
Mr. said the he hopes this first-ever World Humanitarian Summit will help individuals to realize that they are not
disconnected from the dramas faced by the worlds most vulnerable people. These problems and sufferings also affect our
lives," he said.

WHS: New fund launched at UN humanitarian summit to


address education in crisis zones
23 May The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today
announced the launch of a new fund to better coordinate support for
and drive investment in education for children and youth affected by
humanitarian emergencies and protracted crises.
Action now has to happen urgently because of the sheer scale of
numbers of children impacted, said UN Special Envoy for Global
Education Gordon Brown, who presented the 'Education Cannot Wait'
fund at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), a two-day
conference that opened today in Istanbul, Turkey.

Nigerian refugee children at the Minawao refugee camp in Northern


Cameroon. Photo: UNICEF/Karel Prinsloo

Specifically designed for education in emergencies, the fund aims to


reach more than 13.6 million children and youth living in crisis
situations, such as conflict, natural disasters and disease outbreaks,
with quality education over the next five years.

These young people are missing out on schooling and this is becoming a full-blown global crisis that will haunt the world
for generations, Mr. Brown stressed.
On average, the UN estimates that less than two percent of humanitarian aid currently goes towards funding education.
Moreover, education systems equipped to cope with protracted crises cannot be built on the foundations of short-term and
unpredictable appeals.

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'Education Cannot Wait,' which has a funding target of $3.85 billion over five years, aims to bridge the gap between
humanitarian interventions during crises and long-term development afterwards, through predictable funding.
As thousands of participants gathered at the Summit to discuss how to strengthen the humanitarian system to alleviate and
prevent the suffering of millions worldwide, UNICEF warned that one in four of the world's school-aged children nearly
half a billion live in countries affected by crises. Around 75 million of these children and youth are either already missing
out on their education, receiving poor quality schooling or at risk of dropping out of school altogether.
A special session at the Summit underlined how education systems are being destroyed by violent armed conflict, natural
disasters and health emergencies, robbing children of the skills they need to build safe, strong communities and economies
when they reach adulthood.
Sarah Brown, the Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education and President of the children's charity
TheirWorld, is giving a voice to refugee children by displaying some of their artwork at the Summit. Youth worldwide,
many of whom fled the Syrian crisis, illustrated what a safe school means to them.
Children don't need education even in emergencies; they need education especially in emergencies, stressed UNICEF's
Executive Director, Anthony Lake.
Without an education, how will they gain the knowledge and skills to chart their own futures and to someday lend their
hands to building more peaceful, stable futures for their societies? And how can we hope to reach our global development
goals for education if we don't focus on children trapped in humanitarian emergencies who represent almost half of all
children out of school today? Mr. Lake asked.
Answers to these questions will continue to be raised on the second and last day of the World Humanitarian Summit, as
government representative and leaders from the private and public sectors work together to commit to the five core
responsibilities of the UN Secretary-General's Agenda for Humanity:

Prevent and end conflict


Respect rules of war
Leave no one behind
Working differently to end need
Invest in humanity

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WHS: UN humanitarian summit to 'shape a different future,'


Ban tells thousands at opening ceremony
23 May At the opening of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS)
in Istanbul today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
joined the President of Turkey, relief activists and international
celebrities to urge the global community to shape a different future for
the world.
We are all here because global humanitarian action is
unprecedentedly strained, Mr. Ban told thousands of participants
attending the opening ceremony, which featured creative
performances and inspiring words by renowned stars including
Forest Whitaker, Ashley Judd and Daniel Craig.
I proposed this Summit four years ago out of concern for rising
humanitarian needs and declining political will. Today, the urgency
has only grown, the Secretary-General stressed.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opens the first-ever World


Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. 23 May 2016. Photo:
UNOCHA

As part of a moving spectacle that emulated dust storms and earthquakes, and projected images of authentic footage inspired
by personal human stories, Malian singer Inna Modja kicked off the historic Summit with a soulful poem.
The United Nations estimates that a record number of people 130 million currently need aid to survive. More people
have been forced from their homes than at any time since the end of the Second World War.
This is a 21st century United Nations gathering, the Mr. Ban said describing the Summit, adding that its Agenda for
Humanity, the document he recently issued to guide discussions and action, is based on three years of consultations with
23,000 people in more than 150 countries.
Over the next two days in the Turkish capital, WHS is bringing together stakeholders who have a vested interest in
improving the global humanitarian system, including more than 65 Heads of State and Government as well as leaders from
the public and private sectors.
The UN chief underlined that the world is looking to them for commitments to five core responsibilities:

Prevent and end conflict


Respect rules of war
Leave no one behind
Working differently to end need
Invest in humanity

We are here to shape a different future, Mr. Ban concluded. Today we declare: We are one humanity, with a shared
responsibility.
In his remarks to the opening ceremony, UN General Assembly president Mogens Lykketoft said that expectations high for
Summit. People around the world are demanding that we move beyond fine words; that we build on the generosity we
already see; and live up to our core responsibilities, he said.
Now is the time to end the conflicts at the root of the current crisis; to ensure adherence to international humanitarian law
and accountability for violations; to make the humanitarian system more efficient and more effective; [and] to stand up for
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those we are leaving behind, the Assembly president said, also underscoring the need to secure the extra $15 billion
required to meet humanitarian needs just one cent out of every $50 of todays global economy.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope that the Summit would lead to auspicious outcomes
for hundreds of millions of people struggling to sustain their lives under great distress.
Pain knows no colour, race, language or religion, Mr. Erdogan said, noting that it was with that in mind that Turkey
carried out its aid and development projects in more than 140 countries around the world, hosting more than three million
refugees from Syria and Iraq.
We will never close our doors or our borders to people, he insisted. We as leaders and responsible individuals of the
international community can only succeed if we work under common principles and goals.
The President also stressed that Turkey would not stop pursuing blood-shedding dictators and will ensure that crimes
against humanity do not go unpunished.
Prior to these remarks, survivors of humanitarian catastrophesboth human-made and naturalspoke to the audience in
emotional addresses, recounting their ordeals and how they overcame them with the desire to now support others.

Victor Ochen, a former child solider from northern Uganda, spoke about growing up with violence everywhere around
him. At the age of 13, he chose a different path, forming a peace club in his refugee camp to discourage children and young
people from joining the armed forces. Peace comes from within, he said. Be human and act human.

Victoria Arnaiz-Lanting described her experience surviving Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines in 2013, saying
that it was a miracle she survived. She lost many friends and colleagues in the storm, dead bodies filled the streets, and trees
and electric posts fell to the ground like match sticks. The typhoon also made thousands of people internally displaced, who,
driven by hunger and grief, looted the supermarkets.
And yet, she expressed how unbelievable it was to see how quickly people started to rebuild their lives. The Philippines Red
Cross and victims themselves began treating the wounded and liaising with the Government and other humanitarian actors.
This is humanity in action, she said, noting that disasters affected more than 200 million people a year and that
preparedness must become a way of life. She encouraged every nation, large and small, to invest in local actors.
Speaking of the Syrian conflict, Adeeb Ateeq said war has inflicted much suffering on the people. Mines have blown apart
men, women, and children, with many afraid to seek medical care for fear of encountering other unexploded ordnance.
I have decided to harness my experience of demining to end the loss of life, he said, describing a volunteer team he has
established to educated young people about the lethal nature of unexploded land mines.
Recalling his own experience of losing a leg after encountering an unexploded device, Mr. Ateeq explained how he had
been bound to a wheelchair until being fitted with an artificial limb; this led him to try to help others.
My goal is to save the lives of innocent civilians, he said, calling on all to provide assistance in that quest and in
safeguarding humanity.

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WHS: At screening of new Sean Penn film, Ban says movie


industry can spotlight humanitarian work
22 May Spotlighting a new film by director Sean Penn, United
Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today underlined the
importance of the entertainment industry to help raise awareness
about the state of humanitarian affairs worldwide.
When you have a global star, [the message] can go far and wide and
there is no time limit, Mr. Ban told viewers invited to the global
premiere of Mr. Penn's latest movie, The Last Face.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right), UN Emergency Relief


Coordinator Stephen OBrien (2nd to the left) and actor Sean Penn
(centre), before the screening of The Last Face at the World
Humanitarian Summit. 22 May 2016. Photo: UNOCHA

Screened on the eve of the opening of the World Humanitarian


Summit (WHS) in Istanbul, Turkey, a two-day conference dedicated
to finding more effective ways of alleviating and preventing the
suffering of the world's most vulnerable people, the movie features
Academy Award-winning actors Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem
as relief workers faced with difficult situations during civil unrest in
an African nation.

The main purpose of having the World Humanitarian Summit for the first time in the history of the United Nations is to
raise [awareness on the] importance, seriousness, urgency and gravity of the situation, said Mr. Ban, adding that world
leaders must be committed to global action.
He recalled a visit to Haiti after the devastating earthquake of 2010, when he met tens of thousands of people living under
extremely difficult conditions in makeshift tents. Amid the chaos, he noticed a very busy man who was trying to help those
around him recover. He didn't immediately recognize him, but later realized it was Sean Penn.
I didn't expect such a celebrity, a movie star of the world, would be around so many refugees and displaced people. I was
so moved, the UN chief shared with the audience, which burst into applause.
When I went [to Haiti] a second time, he was still there, he added.
Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will be alongside more celebrities at the opening of the Summit, including Forest
Whitaker, a peacebuilding advocate for the UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and
Academy Award-winning actor. Together, they will urge world leaders to commit to five core responsibilities featured in
the UN's Agenda for Humanity:

Prevent and end conflict


Respect rules of war
Leave no one behind
Working differently to end need
Invest in humanity

Starting tomorrow, the Summit will bring together all stakeholders who have a vested interest in improving the global
humanitarian system. Of the more than 6,000 expected participants, there are those who have been recipients of
humanitarian assistance, those who can hopefully make a difference such as entrepreneurs and celebrities like Sean Penn, as
well as many others who are dedicated to helping alleviate the plight of millions of people in need of relief assistance around
the world.

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WHS: World Humanitarian Summit will be 'wake-up call' for


action and 'launch pad' for new initiatives
22 May Just hours away from the opening of the first-ever World
Humanitarian Summit (WHS), United Nations senior officials today
highlighted that the global event is to serve as a wake-up call for
action in the service of common humanity, providing a launch pad for
new initiatives.
We have tremendous suffering in the world today. There is huge
need for us to show solidarity with those who are affected by natural
disasters and man-made disasters, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan
Eliasson told reporters at a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey,
where the two-day conference is beginning tomorrow.
The family living in this tent in Baghdad, Iraq, explained that the
camp and the tents were not ready for winter. September 2015. Photo:
WFP/Mohammed Al Bahbahani

In the meeting here in Istanbul, always think of the people who are
affected the victims. This conference is about the victims, and
having a more effective way of reaching out to help them, he
continued, recalling his recent visits to Nepal and Vietnam where he
met with vulnerable communities to learn directly about their plight.
More than 65 Heads of State and Government are expected to join representatives from the UN community, civil society,
the private sector, academia and thousands of other participants. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) the Summit's organizing entity the goal is to strength the humanitarian system so that
preparedness and resilience are taken more seriously.
Speaking from the podium alongside the Deputy Secretary-General, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian
Affairs and head of OCHA, Steven O'Brien, said the world needs a Summit so it can make the scale of change that is
necessary to help meet the needs.
In this ever globalizing world where we know things so quickly, we need to be able to reach the people who have the
greatest vulnerability and need, and the ones who are furthest behind first, Mr. O'Brien stated.
It is people caught up in crisis through no fault of their own who need us to be even better at delivering humanitarian action
of food and shelter, and making sure that water and sanitation and medical treatment is available to them, he added.
On his way to the Summit, Mr. O'Brien stopped in the Lake Chad basin in western central Africa. He visited Diffa, a
commune in Niger which borders Nigeria, where hundreds of thousands of people have fled to escape the terrorist group
Boko Haram.
It is an area that is already deeply challenged by the huge scarcity of resources brought about by climate and weather effect,
and so here you have a confluence of all contributory factors that lead to humanitarian need, he explained, adding that he
also stopped in Maiduguri, Nigeria, where he met with people who were torched out of their homes 11 months ago.
These are the stories we carry with us, he underlined. [The World Humanitarian Summit] is a once in a generation
opportunity to set in motion an ambitious and far reaching agenda to change the way that we alleviate, and most importantly
that we prevent, the suffering of the world's most vulnerable people.
Four years ago, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the World Humanitarian Summit to be organized,
recognizing that the status quo could not continue. Since then, 23,000 people were consulted in over 150 countries. The
outcome of this global exercise is the Agenda for Humanity, a guiding document for the Summit in which Mr. Ban calls

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for people's safety, dignity and right to thrive.


It calls on world leaders to commit to five core responsibilities:

Prevent and end conflict


Respect rules of war
Leave no one behind
Working differently to end need
Invest in humanity

I call upon the world leaders, be they of States or of organizations, be they NGOs or civil society organizations or the
private sector, to make sure that we can try here in Istanbul to give us the platform where we turn the Secretary-General's
Agenda for Humanity into reality for the people who need us, Mr. O'Brien concluded.
This Summit brings together all stakeholders who have a vested interest in improving the global humanitarian system. Of
the more than 5,000 participants expected at the Summit, there are those who have been recipients of humanitarian
assistance, those who can hopefully make a difference such as entrepreneurs and those who have pioneered innovations to
help register refugees.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will deliver remarks at tomorrow's opening event, alongside representatives of affected
communities, UN Ambassadors, and celebrities, kicking off seven roundtables, 15 special sessions, and hundreds of side
events.

DR Congo: UN envoy urges patriotic reawakening to ease


rising political tensions
23 May The top United Nations official in the Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC) has expressed deep concern about the increasing
political tensions in some parts of the Central African country, urging
both the majority and opposition sides to reawaken their patriotism.
The current situation and the dangers weighing upon it need patriotic
reawakening both on the part of the majority as well as the opposition,
to place the interests of the country above any other consideration,
Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and
Head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic
Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), said in a press release over the
weekend.
Special Representative and head of the UN Stabilization Mission in
the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) Maman Sidikou
(centre) greeting children of Oicha, North Kivu. Photo:
MONUSCO/Abel Kavanagh

He noted that increasing the number of judiciary proceedings and


actions likely to shrink the political space will only exacerbate the
tensions and make it even more difficult to hold the political dialogue

insistently called for by President Joseph Kabila.


Mr. Sidikou urged strict respect for the rule of law and the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.
Only a genuinely inclusive political dialogue, Constitution-abiding, will help Congolese actors to successfully overcome
the current challenges, more particularly the ones relating to the electoral process, he said.
Citing Security Council resolution 2277, he said that the UN stands resolutely with the African Union and its appointed
facilitator, former Togolese Prime Minister Edem Kodjo, to facilitate the launch of the political talks.
The Special Representative further expressed the UN readiness to assist an independent nation electoral commission in
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organizing free and transparent elections to mark a new step forward in the advancement of the democratic process in the
DRC.

Ban condemns terrorist attacks killing dozens of civilians in two


coastal Syrian cities
23 May Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the
terrorist attacks today that claimed the lives of dozens of civilians in
the Syrian coastal cities of Jableh and Tartous.
A statement attributable to his spokesperson said that the SecretaryGeneral takes note with great concern of the escalating military
activity in many areas in and around Damascus.
The violence, particularly in Daraya, Aleppo and Idlib, and in the
northern countryside of Homs, especially Al-Houla, is causing
mounting civilian casualties, the Secretary-General said.
Destruction in Salah Ed Din neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria. Photo:
OCHA/Josephine Guerrero

According to media reports, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL/Daesh) claimed responsibility for the attacks, in which more
than 140 people were reportedly killed and many others wounded by
at least five suicide bombers and two devices planted in cars.

In his statement, Mr. Ban also reiterated a call on all parties to the Syrian conflict to refrain from attacks on the civilian
population, adding that those perpetrating such attacks must be held accountable for their crimes.
Reminding all parties to the cessation of hostilities of their duty to abide by its terms, in accordance with Security Council
resolution 2268 (2016), the Secretary-General also called on all Member States to take immediate, collective and decisive
action to bring the tragedy unfolding in Syria to an end, in line with their commitments in accordance with Security
Council resolutions 2254 (2015) and 2268 (2016).

UN Environment Assembly opens in Nairobi aiming to ensure


healthy planet, with healthy people
23 May Hundreds of key global decision-makers are gathering in
Kenya today for the second United Nations Environment Assembly
(UNEA-2), aiming to tackle some of the most critical issues facing
our planet, from the air pollution that kills millions of people every
year to an illegal trade in wildlife that is pushing species to the brink
of extinction.
Held at the headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
in Nairobi, UNEA is the worlds most powerful decision-making body
on the environment. This year, leaders will seek to pass a raft of
resolutions, including those on food waste, the fading health of
oceans, the worlds natural capital, and sustainable consumption and
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner (on monitor) addresses the
production.
second United Nations Environment Assembly. Photo: UNEP

Addressing the opening session, UNEP Executive Director Achim


Steiner noted that since the first UNEA held in 2014, the environment has shifted from the margins of attention to the
centre of global decision making.
It now runs through the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreementon climate
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change, establishing UNEA as the World Parliament for the Environment, he said, stressing that UNEA is the only
platform outside of the UN General Assembly to have universal representation.
UNEA also works with stakeholders and experts from the financial, legislative and scientific communities, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector and provides an interface between science, policy and action.
Mr. Steiner urged participants to focus on action and use this first global decision-making platform since the 2030 Agenda
and Paris Agreement to review and accelerate progress.
He said UNEA-2, which will continue through 27 May, will feature a three-day Sustainable Innovation Symposium to
garner private sector engagement, the launch of a new global campaign to end the illegal trade in wildlife, and the mid-term
review of the Montevideo Programme on Environmental Law.
He urged UNEA to show we can move fast enough and hard enough to create a healthy planet, with healthy people, which
leaves no one behind which means less talk, more action.
Environmental impacts are responsible for the deaths of more than one quarter of all children under the age of five
A series of ground-breaking UNEP reports will also be released during UNEA-2. Published today, Healthy Environment,
Healthy People warns that environmental impacts are responsible for the deaths of more than one quarter of all children
under the age of five, the report states.
The report compiled by UNEP, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),
the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer, and the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions
estimates that environmental degradation and pollution cause up to 234 times as many premature deaths as occur in conflicts
annually, highlighting the importance of a healthy environment to achieving the 2030 Agenda.
The report finds that in 2012, an estimated 12.6 million deaths were attributable to deteriorating environment conditions, or
23 per cent of the total.
Climate change is exacerbating the scale and intensity of environment-related health risks. Estimates from the WHO
indicate that 250,000 additional deaths could occur each year between 2030 and 2050, mostly from malnutrition, malaria,
diarrhoea and heat stress, as a result of climate change.
Mr. Steiner said, By depleting the ecological infrastructure of our planet and increasing our pollution footprint, we incur an
ever-growing cost in terms of human health and well-being. From air pollution and chemical exposure to the mining of our
natural resource base, we have compromised our life support systems.
Other reports include Marine Plastic Debris and Microplastics: Global Lessons and Research to Inspire Action and Guide
Policy Change, which found that between 4.8-12.7 million tonnes of global plastic production ended up in the ocean as a
result of inadequate solid waste management in 2014.
Gender and Plastic Management looked at the differing roles of men and women in plastic use and consumption,
identifying women in wealthy regions as important stakeholders in reducing plastics in basic consumer goods.
2016 Global Report on the Status of Legal Limits on Lead in Paint found that efforts to tackle lead in paint are advancing.
As of early 2016, 70 of 196 countries worldwide, or 36 per cent, had established legally binding limits on lead in paint.
UNEP Frontiers found that there has been a worldwide increase in emerging zoonotic diseases, outbreaks of epidemic
zoonoses, a rise in foodborne zoonoses and a troubling persistence of neglected zoonotic diseases in poor countries.

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On International Day, UN urges end of obstetric fistula within a


generation
23 May Obstetric fistula is a preventable and treatable condition
causing added suffering and isolation to at least two million poor and
marginalized women and girls worldwide, the United Nations
spotlighted on the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.
The persistence of fistula in some countries and regions is an
indicator of very poor access to quality maternal health services,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the Day,
marked annually on 23 May.

A fistula patient lies on a hospital bed in Juba, Sudan. Obstetric


fistula is a hole in the birth canal, which occurs as a result of
prolonged or obstructed labour without medical intervention. UN
Photo/Tim McKulka

To end it, we must strengthen health systems and address broader


development and human rights issues affecting women and girls:
poverty, gender inequality, early marriage, early childbearing, and
lack of education, Mr. Ban added.

The Day aims to raise awareness about, generate new support for and
speed up efforts to end an injury that harms women physically, socially and economically. The theme of this years Day is
End fistula within a generation.
In his message, the Secretary-General stressed that during his recent visit to Mauritania, he had the opportunity to visit
fistula patients at a hospital in Nouakchott, and was moved and impressed by their courage and resilience.
It pains me deeply that this preventable and treatable condition still exists in our world, mainly affecting the poorest and
most marginalized women and girls, causing them even greater suffering and isolation, the UN chief said.
He noted that among the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 1 on ending poverty, SDG 3 on healthy lives,
SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 10 on reducing inequality should make an enormous contribution to preventing and
ending fistula.
Noting that there are between 50,000 and 100,000 new cases of fistula every year, Mr. Ban emphasized that at present rates,
most of those women and girls will die without ever receiving treatment a heart-breaking and unacceptable situation, he
said.
Fistula has virtually been eliminated in most high- and middle-income countries around the world, so we know that it can
be eliminated in every country, the Secretary-General said.
Today, on the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, I call for an end to fistula within a generation. Let us use the
momentum of the SDGs together with strong political leadership, accelerated investment and action, and passionate and
committed champions, to achieve this historic and transformative goal, he added.
Highlighting the story of an 83-year-old woman from Malawi who had lived with obstetric fistula since she was 17 and
finally had surgery this past November, Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
emphasized that the condition almost exclusively afflicts the poorest, most vulnerable and most marginalized women and
girls.
It afflicts those who lack access to the timely, high-quality and life-saving maternal health care that they so desperately
need and deserve, and that is their basic human right, he said.

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UNFPA leads the global Campaign to End Fistula, which was launched in 2003.

UN envoy welcomes resumption of cement deliveries into Gaza


23 May The United Nations envoy for the peace process in the
Middle East today welcomed the decision to resume the private
import of cement into Gaza after nearly 45 days of suspension.
In a statement, Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for
the Middle East Peace Process, said the import became possible
because of efforts by both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
All sides need to ensure that cement deliveries reach their intended
beneficiaries and are used solely for civilian purposes, the envoy
said.
Old industrial area in North Gaza, where scrap metal is recycled and
debris from the Gaza war is turned into low-quality cement and
building-blocks. Photo: World Bank/Arne Hoel

Noting that humanitarian challenges in Gaza remain vast, the envoy


emphasized that all efforts should be made to resolve the housing,
electricity and water crises.

It is critical for the security of both Palestinians and Israelis that Gaza remains calm and hope is restored to its people, he
said.
Mr. Mladenov also reiterated that the UN continues to call for the full lifting of all closures on Gaza, as envisioned in
Security Council resolution 1860 (2009).
A permanent end to the suffering of the Palestinian people can only be achieved through reuniting Gaza and the West Bank
under a single, legitimate and democratic Palestinian national authority and the realization of the two-state solution, he
stressed.
In April, the envoy said the UN was working closely with Palestinian and Israeli authorities following Israels suspension of
cement deliveries to private companies in the Gaza Strip.

UN health agency spotlights role of health in sustainable


development as governing body begins session
23 May Health holds a prominent and central role that benefits the
entire sustainable development agenda, because the ultimate objective
of all development activities is to sustain human lives in good health,
the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said today, calling
for greater efforts to combat the major challenges of antimicrobial
resistance, the world drug problem and the high costs of noncommunicable diseases on the road to strengthening health systems.
We have entered an ambitious new era for health development,
WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said in an address to the
sixty-ninth annual session of the World Health Assembly, the
agencys decision-making body.
WHO, together with its multiple partners, is poised to save many
more millions of lives. I ask you to remember this purpose as we go
through an agenda that can mean so much for the future, she added.

UN News Centre www.un.org/news

Director-General of the World Health Organization Margaret Chan


addresses the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
Photo: WHO

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Dr. Chan noted that public health constantly struggles to hold infectious diseases at bay, to change lifestyle behaviours, and
to find enough money to do these and many other jobs, but sometimes the world needs to step back and celebrate.
Commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) brought focus, energy, creative innovation, and above all
money to bear on some of the biggest health challenges that marred the start of this century, she said.
As such, the world can celebrate the 19,000 fewer children dying every day, a 44 per cent drop in maternal mortality, and
the 85 per cent of tuberculosis cases that are successfully cured. Africa, in particular, can celebrate the 60 per cent decline in
malaria mortality, while as the result of the fastest scale-up of a life-saving treatment in history, more than 15 million people
living with HIV are now receiving antiretroviral therapy, up from just 690,000 in 2000, the Director-General stressed.
A culture of measurement and accountability evolved to make aid more effective. Greater transparency brought the voice
of civil society to bear in holding governments and donors accountable for their promises, Dr. Chan said.
The profile of health changed, from a drain on resources to an investment that builds stable, prosperous, and equitable
societies, she added.
An interconnected world leads to global health threats
In an interconnected world characterized by profound mobility of people and goods, few threats to health are local anymore,
Dr. Chan said.
Highlighting some of the main global health concerns, the Director-General underscored that air pollution is a transboundary
hazard that affects the global atmosphere and contributes to climate change, while drug-resistant pathogens, including the
growing number of superbugs, travel well internationally in people, animals and food. In addition, the marketing of
unhealthy foods and beverages, especially to children, is now a global phenomenon, while safeguarding the quality of
pharmaceutical products has become much harder, with complex manufacturing procedures and supply chains spanning
multiple companies and countries, she said.
Moreover, she noted that ensuring the quality of the food supply is also much harder when a single meal can contain
ingredients from all around the world, including some potentially contaminated with exotic pathogens. Furthermore, the
Ebola outbreak in three small countries had paralyzed the world with fear and travel constraints, while the rapidly evolving
outbreak of Zika warns us that an old disease in Africa and Asia can suddenly wake up on a new continent to cause a global
health emergency.
For infectious diseases, you cannot trust the past when planning for the future, Dr. Chan said.
Changes in the way humanity inhabits the planet have given the volatile microbial world multiple new opportunities to
exploit. There will always be surprises.
Outbreaks illuminate the fault lines in our collective preparedness
Outbreaks that become emergencies always reveal specific weaknesses in affected countries and illuminate the fault lines
in our collective preparedness, Dr. Chan said.
For Ebola, it was the absence of even the most basic infrastructures and capacities for surveillance, diagnosis, infection
control and clinical care, unaided by any vaccines or specific treatments.
For its part, Zika reveals an extreme consequence of the failure to provide universal access to sexual and family planning
services, the Director-General said, noting that Latin America and the Caribbean have the highest proportion of unintended
pregnancies anywhere in the world.
Above all, the spread of Zika, the resurgence of dengue, and the emerging threat from chikungunya are the price being paid
for a massive policy failure that dropped the ball on mosquito control in the 1970s, Dr. Chan said.
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Let me give you a stern warning. What we are seeing now looks more and more like a dramatic resurgence of the threat
from emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. The world is not prepared to cope, she emphasized.
Welcoming the current joint external evaluations that are looking at preparedness and response capacities in several
countries, Dr. Chan said the evaluations need to continue with the utmost urgency, as a tool under WHO authority and
coordination.
Given what we face right now, and the next surprises that are sure to come, the item on your agenda with the most
sweeping consequences, for a danger that can quickly sweep around the world, is the one on the reform of WHOs work in
health emergency management, she said.
Few health threats are local anymore. And few health threats can be managed by the health sector acting alone, she added.
Slow-motion disasters shaping the global health landscape
In addition, the Director-General highlighted that as the international community enters the era of sustainable development,
the global health landscape is being shaped by three slow-motion disasters: a changing climate, the failure of more and
more mainstay antimicrobials, and the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases as the leading killers worldwide.
These are not natural disasters. They are man-made disasters created by policies that place economic interests above
concerns about the well-being of human lives and the planet that sustains them, she said. This is the way the world works.
The burning of fossil fuels powers economies.
Unchecked, these slow-motion disasters will eventually reach a tipping point where the harm done is irreversible, she
added.
For its part, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is attempting to ensure that these and many other disasters
are averted, the Director-General said.
The agenda aims to do nothing less than transform the way the world, and the international systems that govern it, work,
Dr. Chan said.
Health holds a prominent and central place that benefits the entire agenda. In the final analysis, the ultimate objective of all
development activities, whether concerning the design of urban environments or the provision of modern energy to rural
areas, is to sustain human lives in good health, she added.
The World Health Assembly, which meets every May, is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States. Its main
functions are to determine the policies of the health agency, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the
proposed programme budget.

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In Vienna, UN Crime Commission opens with call to advance


justice, rule of law
23 May The main United Nations anti-crime forum opened in
Vienna today with calls to strengthen justice and the rule of law and
help build resilient institutions in support of the global development
goals, which recognize the connections between poverty, security,
crime and corruption.

Opening of the 25th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention


and Criminal Justice in Vienna, Austria. Photo: UNODC

I hope that at this session, you will seek to advance effective


responses based on the tried and tested international framework
provided by the conventions against transnational organized crime and
corruption, the international counterterrorism instruments, and the
standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, said
Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and
Crime (UNODC) in opening remarks to the 25th Session of the
Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which
runs through 27 May.

He said this work is needed to disrupt criminal networks and terrorist outrages, and to counter violent extremism and
radicalization to violence. It was also necessary to confront corruption and to enhance the administration of justice,
including for children, as well as to respond to violence against women.
Mr. Fedotov noted that UNODCs work supported the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and was part of
the unified responses needed to confront the many crises the world is facing.
He emphasized that the implementation of the Doha Declaration, endorsed at the 13th Crime Congress last year, and the
follow-up to the Sixth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption in Saint
Petersburg in late 2015, were also key enablers for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly
Goal 16 on justice and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.
This years Crime Commission features about 50 side events and 14 exhibitions on crime prevention and criminal justice
matters.
Six draft resolutions have been tabled on trafficking in human organs and trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ
removal; promoting legal aid; restorative justice; strengthening technical assistance for the prevention of crime, including
terrorism; follow up to the 13th Crime Congress and preparations for the 14th Crime Congress to be held in Japan in 2020;
and youth crime prevention.
On the margins of this session, UNODC, with the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC)
partners, will launch the first-ever World Wildlife Crime Report.
INTERPOL and UNODC will sign an agreement to further enhance cooperation and contribute to effective action against
terrorism, organized crime, smuggling of migrants and drug trafficking.
A tool developed by UNODC to assist in implementing the International Guidelines for crime prevention and criminal
justice responses to trafficking in cultural property will be launched.
Mr. Fedotov said that the Commission has been at the forefront of efforts to improve justice system responses to such
challenges as the flow of migrants and refugees, and UNODC remains fully engaged in advancing this work, also in view of
the un General Assembly Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants to be held in September.
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Yemen: UN-mediated peace talks continue following trilateral


meeting with Ban in Qatar
23 May The delegation of the Government of Yemen returned to the
negotiating table in Kuwait in the latest round of peace talks today,
with the United Nations envoy for the conflict-torn country holding a
plenary this morning with both delegations, a UN spokesperson said.
In Qatar over the weekend, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
participated in a trilateral meeting with the Amir of Qatar and
President Hadi of Yemen, which the Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail
Ould Cheikh Ahmed, also attended, according to a statement issued
by Mr. Bans office.
To President Hadi, the Secretary-General underlined that peace
negotiations are rarely smooth, but that there was a need for
commitment and perseverance by all sides.

Boy playing on piece of exploded artillery shell which landed near his
home, in the village of Al Mahjar, a suburb of Sanaa, Yemen. Photo:
UNICEF/Mohamed Hamoud

He said he strongly hoped that the talks that will shortly resume in Kuwait will lead to concrete results, and he appreciated
Qatars support, said the statement, which is dated 21 May.
During the meeting, Mr. Ban also requested the special envoy to respond to the recent letter received from the Government
of Yemen. At the time, the President of Yemen confirmed that he would send the Governments delegation back to the talks
as requested by the Amir of Qatar and the Secretary-General, according to the statement.
The Secretary-General added that, in parallel to the peace talks, all parties needed to redouble their efforts to provide and
facilitate humanitarian and other supplies, including fuel, to alleviate the appalling living conditions of millions of Yemeni
citizens, the statement said.

On International Day, UN highlights biodiversity's role in


underpinning development
22 May Biodiversity and the ecosystem services it supports are the
foundations for life on Earth and the livelihoods and well-being of
people everywhere, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
said today on the International Day for Biological Diversity, as he
urged the international community to preserve and sustainably
manage the variety of life on the planet.
Protecting biodiversity and preventing further losses is an essential
investment in our collective future, Mr. Ban said in his message
marking the Day.
Fishing boats, Mexico. Photo: World Bank/Curt Carnemark

On this International Day for Biodiversity, I urge all Governments


and stakeholders to preserve and sustainably manage the variety of
life on Earth for the benefit of current and future generations, he

added.
The Day is marked around the world every year on 22 May. This year's theme is 'Mainstreaming Biodiversity; Sustaining

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People and their Livelihoods.'


In his message, the Secretary-General highlighted that biodiversity is an important cross-cutting issue in the message
marking the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In addition, he noted that Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 explicitly recognizes the importance of halting
biodiversity loss, and other SDGs recognize the importance of biological diversity for eradicating poverty, providing food
and fresh water, and improving life in cities.
It is critical that we make progress in mainstreaming biodiversity and transforming how societies value and manage it, the
UN chief said.
Mr. Ban noted that despite numerous commitments, biodiversity loss continues to accelerate in all regions. Only 15 per cent
of countries are on track to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets by the agreed-upon date of 2020.
In addition, he said that the anticipated expansion of sectors that both depend on and affect biodiversity including
agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture will pose a significant challenge to halting biodiversity loss in the coming
decades.
Reversing these trends will require action by all sectors and stakeholders, from UN Member States and agencies to civil
society, academia and business, the Secretary-General said.
We need better research, and we need to act on the evidence that biodiversity is integral to achieving social and economic
goals, he stressed.
Mr. Ban also emphasized that the responsible use of natural resources is essential to sustainable development, as
mainstreaming biodiversity will ensure that addressing development needs and protecting the environment are mutually
supportive.
Preserving biological diversity is a vital part of our compact with each other and the planet that nurtures us, the SecretaryGeneral concluded.
In his message on the Day, Achim Steiner, Executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said that while
marvel at iconic species in other parts of the world and on our digital screens, such as elephants, tigers and pandas, many of
us are much less familiar with the sheer magnitude of diversity of plants and animals on this planet or the habitats that
support them.
Awareness about our current global challenge of biodiversity loss is also low a challenge that will expand along with the
sectors affecting biodiversity, such as agriculture or forestry, he said, stressing at the same time, that biodiversity provides
us with the ecosystem services that are our
foundations for life, everywhere on this planet, from fishermen depending on coastal waters, to farmers depending on crops,
to tropical communities depending on forests.
We need to better integrate biodiversity into how we think and into everything that we do. And we all need to do more to
prevent its loss, the UNEP chief said, echoing the theme of this year's Day.
In another message on the Day, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Braulio F. de Souza
Dias, stressed that addressing the indirect and direct drivers of biodiversity loss requires a focus on primary sectors, such as
agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture.
These sectors both impact biodiversity and are dependent on biodiversity, he said. The demand for the goods and
services produced by these sectors is projected to increase over the coming decades as a result of population growth,
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increasing average wealth, and other demographic changes.


He noted, for example, that demand for food, wood, water and energy is projected to increase 1.5 to two times by 2050 due
to increasing population and average wealth, with a concomitant and negative effect on biodiversity.
Therefore, mainstreaming biodiversity considerations across these sectors is essential in ensuring
not only the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity but also the continued vitality of
these sectors, he said.

In Cairo, UN Security Council consults with Arab League on


regional, global issues
21 May The United Nations Security Council today held an
unprecedented consultative meeting in Cairo with delegations of
member States of the League of Arab States, discussing, among
others, developments of the Palestinian issue, the Middle East peace
process, updates on the situation in both Libya and Somalia.
The mission, led by Amr Abul Atta, the Permanent representative of
Egypt to the United Nations and current Council President, arrived in
the Egyptian capital from Nairobi, Kenya, after a brief visit to
Somalia to discuss preparations for elections there in August and lend
support to the process.
United Nations Security Council meets in Cairo, Egypt, with League
of Arab States. Photo: UNIC Cairo

Among the other issues discussed with Arab League members were
the challenges posed by the surging numbers of refugees, displaced
persons and illegal immigrants.

After a meeting with Arab League Secretary General Nabil El Araby, the joint consultative meeting between delegations of
the two entities was held under the co-chairmanship of Egypt as Council President and Bahrain, which chairs the current
session of the League of Arab States.
The meeting opened with a keynote address in which Mr. El Araby stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation and
coordination between the UN and League of Arab States on various issues, particularly those relating to international peace
and security, and stability in the Arab region and around the world. Many representatives from both sides urged that such
consultative meetings become regular, with some diplomats calling for converting them into a fixed mechanism between the
two organizations.
Mr. El Araby also stressed the need to reconsider the way the Security Council operates in order to become better able to
shoulder responsibilities entrusted to it in dealing with crises that threaten international peace and security and resolving
disputes by peaceful means. He pointed out the significant role played by regional organizations in that regard, which he
said was also underlined in the charters of both the UN and League of Arab States.
Following the League's meeting, the Security Council mission went to meet Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and
some of his top aides. Their talks revolved around the Palestinian issue, developments in both Libya and Somalia, and the
conflict in Syria.

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'Together, we can move from aspiration to action,' Ban tells


global, regional leaders in Qatar
21 May With the Doha Forum meeting at a time of fragility and
vulnerability, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said
today that while progress on the UN's 2030 Agenda is crucial to usher
in sustainability and equity, more must be done now to end conflict
and suffering.
Our world faces multiple armed conflicts, rising extremism and the
widening impacts of climate change. One hundred and thirty million
people need life-saving humanitarian assistance. War and persecution
have forced 60 million people from their homes, Mr. Ban told world
and regional leaders gathered in Qatar for the opening of the annual
Forum.
Secretary-General at 2016 Doha Forum in Qatar. UN Photo/Eskinder
Debebe

Indeed, he continued, in the Middle East and Gulf region, millions of


people are suffering the consequences of conflict, terrorism,
inequality, regional rivalries and severe deficits in basic freedoms. The scale of these challenges demands a more concerted
global response, he said.
Stressing that encouragement could be drawn from recent landmark agreements, including the Paris Agreement on climate
change, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which he called an integrated and inspiring blueprint for
peace and prosperity on a healthy planet, that takes aim at many of the drivers of instability and anger around the world.
It calls on us to fight corruption and joblessness, and to ensure that natural resources are managed for the many, not the
few. It highlights the importance of building accountable institutions capable of providing services and justice for all, said
the UN chief, adding that at its core, the Agenda's commitment is to leave no one behind.
[Yet] as we set our sights on the year 2030, we must do far more to end conflict and suffering in 2016. We are striving to
build a culture of prevention by stressing the peaceful resolution of disputes, and by focusing early on violations of human
rights before they escalate, the Secretary-General underscored.
On one of the major prevention challenges of our times violent extremism he said the international community must
avoid short-sighted policies and heavy-handed approaches that only exacerbate the problem and give terrorists their best
recruitment tools.
Mr. Ban said that the UN is also strengthening peace operations to deploy quickly, with the right mandate at the right time,
and with the necessary capabilities to make a difference. The Organization is also placing new emphasis on sustaining peace
by addressing root causes, promoting reconciliation, and moving towards recovery, reconstruction and development.
It is crucial to bring more voices to the table. Women have a vital role to play, not just as recipients of protection but as
agents of peace. Young people are seen too often today as potential threats; we must empower them to realize their potential
as peacebuilders, he stressed, adding that civil society must also play its crucial role and he expressed his profound concern
about new laws and attacks that infringe on the rights of non-governmental organizations.
Finally, we must do all we can to end the conflicts and violence that have set this region aflame, from Syria and Yemen to
Libya, Iraq and Palestine, said the Secretary-General, noting, specifically on Yemen that the talks in Kuwait are critical for
peace and he strongly urged the leaders of all parties to show the flexibility and wisdom needed to reach an agreement that
will allow Yemenis to heal the wounds of this war and look ahead to a better future.

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Turning to Syria, Mr. Ban said the country's Government continues to drop barrel bombs on civilians, and place
unconscionable and unlawful obstacles in the way of humanitarian aid. A few days ago, even a consignment of baby food to
a desperately deprived besieged area was deliberately blocked by the Government, he recalled.
My Special Envoy continues to work intently with the parties towards meaningful talks. We need a full and immediate
cessation of hostilities. Just as important, we need to begin discussions on the transition. I fear that without such a political
horizon, a further escalation is all too likely, warned the Secretary-General, calling again on all regional and international
actors to use their influence on the parties, and to persuade them to negotiate in good faith on transitional arrangements.
Finally, Mr. Ban told the Forum that tomorrow will head to Istanbul for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit. And
with humanitarian needs rising, outpacing the global response, and disaster striking with greater frequency and force, the
Summit is a chance for all of us Governments, humanitarians and business leaders to agree on ways to better protect
people, ensure access to those in need and build resilience.
Vulnerable people across the world are rightly asking, 'where is the humanity? The World Humanitarian Summit is our
opportunity to show we are listening and acting to uphold it, the UN chief emphasized, adding: Together, we can move
from aspiration to action, and set the world on a path towards the theme of this forum: stability and prosperity for all."

Venezuelan Government and opposition should address


challenges through dialogue Ban
21 May United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon continues
to follow events in Venezuela and is encouraged by the ongoing
initiatives by former Heads of State and Government to promote
dialogue between the Government of Venezuela and the opposition,
under the auspices of the Union of South American Nations
(UNASUR).
A statement issued today by Mr. Ban's spokesperson says the UN
chief has also taken note of regional calls for dialogue.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard (file)

statement concluded.

UN News Centre www.un.org/news

[The Secretary-General] reiterates his strong conviction that the


Government and the opposition should address the country's current
challenges through meaningful dialogue, adhering to the rule of law
and the Constitution, for the benefit of the Venezuelan people, the

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On World Day, UN hails potential of cultural diversity to boost


development
21 May Cultural diversity is an outstanding source of exchange,
innovation and creativity, and has the enormous potential to accelerate
sustainable development, the United Nations cultural agency declared
today.
In a message marking the World Day for Cultural Diversity for
Dialogue and Development, Irina Bokova, Director-General of the
UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
highlighted that celebrating cultural diversity is a way of recognizing
that the wealth of cultures is the constitutive power of humanity and
an important asset for peace and development, the promotion of which
is inseparable from the observance of human rights.
Members of Mongolias National Academic Ensemble of Folk Song
and Dance perform at UN Headquarters celebrating cultural
diversity. UN Photo/Ryan Brown (file)

Celebrating cultural diversity also means being aware of the ties that
bind us to our environment, because cultural diversity is as necessary
for humankind as biodiversity is for nature, she added, as stated in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural
Diversity, adopted in 2001.
In particular, Ms. Bokova noted that celebrating cultural diversity means opening up new perspectives for sustainable
development and promoting creative industries and cultural entrepreneurship as sources of millions of jobs worldwide
particularly for young people and especially for women.
The Director-General also stressed that culture is a sustainable development accelerator whose potential has been recognized
in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN.
Culture offers the unique opportunity to reconcile the economic and social aspects of development cultural goods and
services have identities, reference points and values, while enabling millions of creators, artists and professionals to make a
living from their work, Ms. Bokova said. Celebrating cultural diversity means enabling them to practice their trade and
helps them to enrich the cultural landscape, which in turn enriches us.
In fact, she said, the core of UNESCO's mandate for heritage, education, information and knowledge-sharing is based on
celebrating cultural diversity that broadens our horizons and human rights that unite us.
The enemies of human rights always attack cultural diversity, which symbolizes the freedom to be and to think, and which
is unbearable to them, Ms. Bokova said.
On this Day, let us dare to respond to them collectively: I call upon all Member States to strengthen the spirit of this day, as
a peaceful weapon against the temptations of isolationism, closure and exclusion, which lead humanity to renounce itself,
ignoring its own wealth, she concluded.
The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in
December 2002 and celebrated annually on 21 May, provides an opportunity for mobilization on the part of governments,
policy makers, civil society organizations, communities and cultural professionals to promote culture in its diversity and in
all its forms, according to UNESCO.
Special attention is given to national cultural policies that recognize the contribution of traditional knowledge, particularly
when it to comes to the protection of the environment and the management of natural resources.
The UN Daily News is prepared at UN Headquarters in New York by the News Services Section
of the News and Media Division, Department of Public Information (DPI)