1 July 2017 – Marking the 15th anniversary of the entry into force of the Rome Statute, the Secretary-General paid tribute to the International Criminal Court for its efforts to end impunity. In a video message that will be part of a campaign on Facebook, the Secretary-General recalled his experiences in Portugal under the Salazar dictatorship, noting that the suppression of democratic freedoms during that period led him to develop his own commitment to justice at home and around the world.
9 July 2017 – Speaking to the press in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on all sides to fully respect the ceasefire and underscored the Organization’s support to the country and its people.
He added that the UN is ready to support all efforts, including those of the Normandy Four, the Trilateral Contact Group and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
In his remarks, the Secretary-General also highlighted the UN’s support to humanitarian activities in the country and said that it would enhance its cooperation with the Government and that it will work to overcome any challenges in reaching the populations in distress.
More than 1.7 million people have been displaced in Ukraine since the start of the conflict.
5 July 2017 – Stating that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the “boldest agenda for humanity” and requires equally bold changes in the United Nations development system, Secretary-General António Guterres today outlined steps to better place the Organization to deliver tangible results in the lives of the people it serves.
Mr. Guterres noted that his report to the Council (on repositioning the UN development system) is an integral component of the broader reform agenda at the UN to better meet the world’s complex and interlinked challenges.
He added that his ideas and proposals are intended to spur further discussions in the Council and to solicit the views of Member States on a number of key areas. A more detailed report will be submitted in December.
This year, the world has embarked on implementing the ambitious and transformational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With its 17 universal, integrated and interdependent Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda is an action plan for people, planet, partnership and peace.
Literacy stands at heart of the 2030 Agenda. It is a foundation for human rights, gender equality, and sustainable societies. It is essential to all our efforts to end extreme poverty and promote well-being for all people. That is why the Sustainable Development Goals aim for universal access to quality education and learning opportunities throughout people’s lives.
One of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4 is to ensure that all young people achieve literacy and numeracy and that a substantial proportion of adults who lack these skills are given the opportunity to acquire them.
Fifty years ago, International Literacy Day was proclaimed to promote literacy as a tool to empower individuals, communities and societies. We have made significant progress over the past five decades, but the world is still very far from universal literacy. And today, with the world becoming increasingly digitized and information rich, new opportunities and challenges are emerging.
More than 750 million adults are illiterate, including 115 million young people. Two thirds are female. Some 250 million children of primary school age lack basic literacy skills and 124 million children and adolescents receive no schooling at all.
These obstacles to sustainable development can and must be overcome by developing and implementing the right policies, backed up by commitment and resources. We need to ensure that those out of school get access to quality learning opportunities, we need to improve the quality of schooling, and we need to promote adult education and learning.
On this International Literacy Day, I call on governments and their partners, including in the private sector, to join forces for universal literacy so we can translate the vision of the 2030 Agenda into reality and build peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable societies.
29 August 2016
For nearly a decade as United Nations Secretary-General, I have witnessed many of the worst problems in the world as well as our collective ability to respond in ways that at times seemed impossible. Our ambitious new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change have demonstrated the power of political will to break longstanding deadlocks. On this International Day against Nuclear Tests, I call on the world to summon a sense of solidarity commensurate with the urgent need to end the dangerous impasse on this issue.
Today marks a quarter of a century since the closure of the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan, ground zero for more than 450 nuclear tests. The victims there are joined by others scattered across Central Asia, North Africa, North America and the South Pacific.
A prohibition on all nuclear testing will end this poisonous legacy. It will boost momentum for other disarmament measures by showing that multilateral cooperation is possible, and it will build confidence for other regional security measures, including a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
When I visited Semipalatinsk in 2010, I saw the toxic damage – but I also witnessed the resolve of the victims and survivors. I share their determination to strive for a world free of nuclear weapons.
Since its adoption 20 years ago by the General Assembly, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has yet to enter into force. Given the catastrophic risks posed by nuclear weapons to our collective human and environmental security – even our very existence – we must reject this stalemate.
I urge Member States to act now. Those States whose ratification is required to bring the Treaty into force should not wait for others. Even one ratification can act as a circuit breaker. All States that have not done so should sign and ratify because every ratification strengthens the norm of universality and shines a harsher spotlight on the countries that fail to act.
The 2016 Olympics have already shattered records, but even before the first competition began, these Games made history by giving athletes who have no country to call home a place on the starting line.
I expressed my appreciation to the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, for his compassionate leadership in forming the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team, whose members I had the privilege of meeting. Their strength in surviving the horror of displacement and the pain of loss was remarkable. Although nothing can change the past, these athletes are proving that even the most impossible odds can be beaten. Whether or not they earn the chance to stand on the podium, they are already towering winners.
I saw in these young refugees the passion and promise possessed by millions of youth in our world. At this time of rampant poverty, hateful discrimination, rising violent extremism, environmental degradation and other global threats, we must look to those hardest hit, especially young people, for solutions.
The United Nations is committed to working for and with youth. I appointed the first-ever UN Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, when he was 28 years old. We are working on the ground to ensure every young person has the education, health, employment and rights they deserve. Every year, the UN’s Economic and Social Council Youth Forum brings together senior government officials and young activists to discuss the most pressing global concerns. And the United Nations is partnering more and more with youth-led and youth-focused organizations to promote peace and development around the world.
International Youth Day, observed annually on August 12th, should be a time for real commitments. This year, I used the occasion to announce new steps to empower young people.
One serious injustice I have been seeking to correct is the exclusion of youth from security matters. It seems plain to me that if young people are considered good enough to die in wars, they should also have a seat at the table when leaders negotiate peace.
The United Nations Security Council finally recognized this last December when it adopted Resolution 2250 on supporting young peacebuilders.
To study progress on this unprecedented measure, I announced the members of a new Advisory Group. Like most other such panels, the Group is diverse and international – but it has the added benefit of including people who have lived the issue at stake. Nearly half of the Group’s members are young. One lost her father in war. A second survived being shot. Others were refugees. With the combined expertise of all the members, I expect their report will lead to new advances.
Young people have all the skills and energy needed to contribute to society – but they lack opportunities for decent work. Globally, more than 70 million are unemployed. To help rise to this challenge, I named a new Special Envoy for Youth Employment, former Chancellor of Austria Mr. Werner Faymann. He will work with my Youth Envoy and the UN’s experts on this issue, including in the International Labour Organization, to make a difference.
In our view, youth can do more than fill jobs – they can create them. I have called on young people to take risks based on the understanding that every successful entrepreneur climbed to the top on a stack of failures.
Young people everywhere can help realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our global plan for people, the planet and prosperity.
This year, the United Nations will name the first-ever class of UN Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals – 17 outstanding young individuals, chosen from more than 18,000 nominations. We will bring the appointees to UN Headquarters in September to hear their ideas for our common future.
These steps may seem small and largely symbolic. After all, 17 sustainable development leaders are just representative of the change we will need. The Advisory Group on youth and peacebuilding has only a handful of members. And a new appointment may not seem game-changing.
Of course I understand these measures will not solve global problems overnight – and I am calling on all people, especially youth, to do their part. Everywhere I go and every chance I get, I urge young people to be global citizens, raise their voices and change our world. Tens of thousands of young people are already leading successful efforts. We need millions more to reach the Goals.
Incremental progress adds up. I remember holding my children in my arms, and now they have children themselves. You might not notice a young person growing little by little each day but you will surely see a dramatic difference over time. When we steadily support the world’s youth, they can create a safer, more just and more sustainable future for generations to come,
A record 130 million people are dependent on humanitarian assistance to survive. Grouped together, these people in need would comprise the tenth most populous nation on Earth.
These figures are truly staggering, yet they tell only a fraction of the story. Hidden behind the statistics are individuals, families and communities whose lives have been devastated. People no different to you and me: children, women and men who face impossible choices every day. They are parents who must choose between buying food or medicine for their children; children who must choose between school or working to support their families; families who must risk bombing at home or a perilous escape by sea.
The solutions to the crises that have plunged these people into such desperate hardship are neither simple nor quick. But there are things we can all do – today, and every day. We can show compassion, we can raise our voices against injustice, and we can work for change.
World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering. It is also an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the frontlines of crises. I pay tribute to these dedicated women and men who brave danger to help others at far greater risk.
Today, I urge everyone to sign on to the United Nations “World You’d Rather” campaign. As well as raising awareness and building empathy, the campaign has a concrete goal: to raise money for the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund and to enrol the support of individuals everywhere as Messengers of Humanity. We need everybody to demand that their societies and governments put humanity first.
Earlier this year, 9,000 participants gathered in Istanbul for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit. World leaders committed to transform the lives of people living in conflict, disaster and acute vulnerability. They rallied behind the Agenda for Humanity and its pledge to leave no one behind.
This promise is also at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals. With their focus on human rights, resilience and poverty eradication, these 17 global goals offer a 15-year plan to reduce needs and vulnerability and promote a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all. To succeed on this collective journey, we need everyone to play their part. Each one of us can make a difference. On this World Humanitarian Day, let us unite in the name of humanity and show that we cannot and will not leave any one behind.
21 March 2015
The annual observance of Nowruz is a wonderful opportunity for people to jointogether to celebrate cultural diversity, dialogue and mutual respect. It is a moment ofunity and solidarity, within and among societies, that is all the more important at times ofstrife and division.
This year’s Nowruz also takes on special meaning as the United Nations worksto shape a new vision for sustainable future and adopt a meaningful universal climateagreement. These priorities for 2015 are in line with the spirit of Nowruz, which promotes harmony with nature and all peoples to foster cooperation for lasting peace.
This ancient New Year tradition coincides with the arrival of spring, giving rise to a rich array of customs, rituals and festivities, from communities in Western, Central and Southern Asia, to the Caucasus, Balkans and other regions. Nowruz is inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, under UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
I wish joyous and peaceful celebrations to all. May the spirit of Nowruz live on throughout the year.