1 January 2018: Dear friends around the world, Happy New Year. When I took office one year ago, I appealed for 2017 to be a year for peace. Unfortunately – in fundamental ways, the world has gone in reverse. On New Year’s Day 2018, I am not issuing an appeal. I am issuing an alert — a red alert for our world. Conflicts have deepened and new dangers have emerged. Global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War. Climate change is moving faster than we are. Inequalities are growing. We see horrific violations of human rights. Nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise. As we begin 2018, I call for unity. I truly believe we can make our world more safe and secure. We can settle conflicts, overcome hatred and defend shared values. But we can only do that together. I urge leaders everywhere to make this New Year’s resolution Narrow the gaps. Bridge the divides. Rebuild trust by bringing people together around common goals. Unity is the path. Our future depends on it. I wish you peace and health in 2018. Thank you. Shokran. Xie Xie. Merci. Spasiba. Gracias. Obrigado.
This year’s commemoration of Human Rights Day marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of seven decades since the adoption of one of the world’s most profound and far-reaching international agreements. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes the equality and dignity of every human being and stipulates that every government has a core duty to enable all people to enjoy all their inalienable rights and freedoms.
All of us have a right to speak freely and participate in decisions that affect our lives. We all have a right to live free from all forms of discrimination. We have a right to education, health care, economic opportunities and a decent standard of living. We have rights to privacy and justice. These rights are relevant to all of us, every day. They are the foundation of peaceful societies and sustainable development.
Since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration in 1948, human rights have been one of the three pillars of the United Nations, along with peace and development. While human rights abuses did not end when the Universal Declaration was adopted, the Declaration has helped countless people to gain greater freedom and security. It has helped to prevent violations, obtain justice for wrongs, and strengthen national and international human rights laws and safeguards. Continue reading →
Our world faces many grave challenges.
Widening conflicts and inequality.
Extreme weather and deadly intolerance.
Security threats – including nuclear weapons.
We have the tools and wealth to overcome these challenges. All we need is the will.
The world’s problems transcend borders.
We have to transcend our 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.
On United Nations Day, let us, ‘We the Peoples’, make this vision a reality.
Thank you. Shokran. Xie Xie. Merci. Spasibo. Gracias. Obrigado. Yet
Upon taking up my duties as Secretary-General in January of this year, my very first act was to issue an appeal for peace — a call on citizens, governments and leaders everywhere to put peace first.
The International Day of Peace, observed every year on 21 September, embodies our shared aspiration to end the needless suffering caused by armed conflict. It offers a moment for the peoples of the world to acknowledge the ties that bind them together, irrespective of their countries of origin. It is a day on which the United Nations calls for a 24-hour global ceasefire, with the hope that one day of peace can lead to another, and another, and ultimately to a stilling of the guns.
Yet there is more to achieving peace than laying down weapons. True peace requires involves building bridges, combating discrimination and standing up for the human rights of all the world’s people.
That is why this year’s theme for the International Day of Peace is: “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All”, focusing in particular on the plight of refugees and migrants throughout the world. Our obligation as an international community is to ensure that everyone forced to flee their homes receives the protection to which they are entitled under international law. Our duty as a human family is to replace fear with kindness. Continue reading →
The oceans make our home a blue planet. The oceans regulate climate, generate oxygen, and provide ecosystem services, energy and minerals. The life teeming below their surfaces and along the shorelines is a source of food and medicines. Oceans connect all of us, linking people and nations in cultural ties, and they are essential for sharing goods and services across the world. The importance of our oceans to every single living being on our planet cannot be overstated. Today, we celebrate all that the oceans give us, and reaffirm our commitment to being good stewards.
On this World Oceans Day, we look to the future. Caring for, and using, our oceans in sustainable ways is critical to achieve ecological and economic goals for communities everywhere. However, the future of our oceans is burdened by numerous threats – such as climate change and ocean acidification, pollution, unsustainable and destructive fishing practices, – and the lack of capacities to address these threats. Continue reading →
As United Nations Secretary-General over the last decade, I have repeatedly stressed the interdependence of the three pillars of the United Nations — peace, sustainable development and human rights. Together, they form the basis of resilient and cohesive societies rooted in inclusion, justice and the rule of law.
I have also underscored that human rights are at the heart of the work and identity of the United Nations. This understanding is at the core of our Human Rights up Front initiative. Continue reading →
Volunteers work tirelessly to create a better future for all. They contribute to national well-being and show global solidarity at times of crisis. We see this in action all over the world, most notably over the past year as volunteers have provided shelter and wide-ranging support to millions of refugees forced from their homes by armed conflict and persecution.
Volunteers help to eliminate poverty and reduce the impact of disasters. In Haiti, we saw the efforts of thousands during the recent floods, helping to re-build devastated communities. In Sri Lanka, volunteers were instrumental in achieving the great feat of eradicating malaria. In Mali and Colombia, UN Volunteers are among those working to achieve peace. Continue reading →
Ten years ago this month, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. One of the most widely ratified international human rights instruments, with 169Parties, the Convention has spurredsignificant progress in commitment and action for equality, inclusion and empowerment around the world, with disability being increasingly incorporated into the global human rights and development agendas.
This year, United Nations Member States have embarked on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our blueprint for peace, prosperity, dignity and opportunity for all on a healthy planet. With its 17 interdependent Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda is based on a pledge to leave no one behind. Achieving this requires the full inclusion and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society and development. Continue reading →
This year’s observance of United Nations Day occurs at a time of transition for the world and for the United Nations.
Humanity has entered the era of sustainability – with a global commitment to fulfil the great promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this, the Organization’s 71st year, we have 17 goals to propel us towards a better future for all on a healthy planet.
The world is also moving at long last beyond the mindset which viewed the burning of fossil fuels as the path to prosperity. At a time of record heat, Member States have embraced the Paris Agreement on climate change in record time. This landmark measure will enter into force on 4 November. Across that historic threshold lies our best chance for greener, cleaner, low-carbon growth. Continue reading →