Month: October 2021 (Page 2 of 2)

UN chief urges ‘quantum leap in support’ for vulnerable nations.

Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must be sustainable and inclusive, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in remarks to a major UN trade conference which opened on Monday in Barbados, unveiling “an urgent four-point debt crisis action plan.”

Warning that uneven recovery is leaving much of the world behind, Mr. Guterres urged greater support for vulnerable nations as they tackle the challenges of debt distress, lack of investment, unfair trade and the climate emergency.

While highlighting the urgent need for vaccine equity now, it is but “the first step in a much longer race”, he said, as the pandemic is putting decades of development progress at risk.

“We need to turn this around with a bold, sustainable and inclusive global recovery,” Antonio Guterres told the latest ministerial conference of the UN trade and development agencyUNCTAD.

“One that benefits the many, rather than the few.

One that delivers hope to people, and healing to our planet. 

And one that levels the playing field for all countries as they support their people during this extraordinary moment in history.”

Countries cannot build back from the pandemic if they are held down by debt, which the UN chief described as “a dagger through the heart of global recovery”.

While welcoming the recent issuance of $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), a type of foreign reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he appealed for “a quantum leap in support.”

Action against debt

His four-point debt action plan calls for re-allocating unused SDRs to vulnerable countries, including middle-income nations, and for the G20 wealthy economies to extend their debt suspension initiative, established in May 2020, through next year.  

The UN Secretary-General also reiterated his call to reform “the international debt architecture”, particularly for middle-income countries, to examine innovative measures such as debt swaps, buybacks and exchanges.

Fourth and finallywe need private finance to help fill the gap,” he said. 

It is deeply unfair that rich countries can borrow cheaply and spend their way to recovery, while low and middle-income countries struggle to keep their economies afloat”, according UN News.

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UN chief: International Day of Non-Violence provides opportunities.

In his message for the International Day of Non-Violence, on Saturday, the UN chief noted that the day provides an opportunity to usher in a “new era of peace, trust and tolerance”.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out that it was no coincidence that the day coincides with the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of India’s independence movement and a founder of the principles of non-violence.

For Gandhi, non-violence, peaceful protest, dignity and equality were more than words.

They represented a guiding light for humanity, a map to a better future”, he said.

The UN chief also pointed to the movement as “a template” to confront today’s troubled times.  

Conflicts and climate change.

Poverty and inequalities.  

Mistrust and divisions.  

All under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to devastate people and economies alike”, he said.

The UN chief underscored that the solution to these challenges “is in our hands: solidarity”.    

Solutions ‘in our hands’

The principle of non-violence, also known as non-violent resistance, rejects the use of physical force to achieve social or political change and has been adopted globally in campaigns for social justice.

 “We need to recognize, as Gandhi did, that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.

That peace provides the only pathway to a better future for all”, he said.

Addressing global challenges means “coming together as one human family, and embracing peace like never before”, Mr. Guterres said according UN News.

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UN chief: “education is a powerful tool to counter hate speech”.

Growing polarization and intolerance are fuelling a rise in hate speech worldwide, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday, in remarks to the opening of an online forum to counter this “global firestorm” through the power of education

The online forum event brings together teachers, youth, civil society organizations, human rights experts, tech and social media companies, and government representatives.

Mobilizing against hatred

“Across the globe, public discourse is being coarsened, democratic values threatened, and social cohesion undermined,” the UN chief said.

While social media is contributing to hate speech being disseminated more quickly than previously imaginable.

This is especially alarming when we consider that mass violence never arises in the absence of hate speech. 

It is the fuel that allows the fire to ignite, and it is a direct threat our common cause of peace, stability, sustainable development and human dignity.”

The UN Secretary-General pointed to the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, which addresses the issue holistically, including root causes, drivers and the impact on victims and societies, according UN News.

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United Nations calls for ‘digital equality’ for all, young or old.

Marking the International Day of Older Persons this Friday, the United Nations is driving home the message that “digital equality” online, needs to be inclusive of everybody, regardless of age.  

In his message, the UN Secretary-General said that as each individual faces the challenge of navigating the world’s growing reliance on technology, “perhaps no population could benefit more from support, than older persons.”

For António Guterres, these technologies can help older citizens stay connected with loved ones, attend a religious service or take a stance. 

All of these actions and many more are increasingly carried out online, especially as individuals and communities grapple with restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Older persons have often been left more isolated during the pandemic and they are also at greater risk of suffering from the rising threat of cybercrime.

While taking all possible measures to hold to account those unscrupulous criminals preying on older persons, we must also work to strengthen the digital skills of the elderly as an important defence, and means to improve their well-being,” Mr. Guterres said.  

For him, older persons are far more than a vulnerable group: “They are a source of knowledge, experience and rich contributions to our collective progress.” 

The UN Secretary-General also argued that, when older persons can access and use new technology, they will be better equipped to contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

He concluded asking for more inclusive policies, strategies and actions to achieve digital equality for people of all ages, according UN News.  

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Ethiopian Government: ‘7 UN officials to leave country within 72 hours’.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres voiced his shock on Thursday after the Ethiopian Government declared seven UN staff persona non grata, ordering them to leave the country within 72 hours.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet that five members of the UN humanitarian affairs officeOCHA, including senior leaders, were being ordered out of the country.

And as well the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative, and a team leader from the UN human rights officeOHCHR.

As a reminder that all UN humanitarian operations are guided by “the core principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence”, the UN chief’s statement reacting to the expulsion order.

Antonio Guterres added that in Ethiopia, “the United Nations is delivering lifesaving aid, including food, medicine, water, and sanitation supplies, to people in desperate need”.

Some 5.2 million people currently need help in the country’s northern regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar, after heavy fighting erupted last November between central Government troops and those loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The tweet from the foreign ministry, said that it was ejecting the UN officials for allegedly “meddling in the internal affairs of the country”, according UN News.

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