Ban urges Israeli, Palestinian leaders to stand up to extremists on both sides, end surging violence

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/M. Garten (file photo)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/M. Garten (file photo)

New York, 20 November 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he was shocked by the recent deadly attack on a synagogue in West Jerusalem and “at this delicate and dangerous juncture” both leaders must show the courage to do everything necessary to end the surging violence.

A statement issued by the Office of the United Nations Spokesperson in New York this evening said Mr. Ban today spoke separately by telephone today with Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Mahmoud. Continue reading

Ban to take up fight against Ebola with heads of all UN organizations

Street sellers at Waterside market in central Monrovia, where there has seen a huge drop in customers over the past months due to the onset of the Ebola Virus Disease. Photo: UNDP/Carly Learson (20 November 2014)

Street sellers at Waterside market in central Monrovia, where there has seen a huge drop in customers over the past months due to the onset of the Ebola Virus Disease. Photo: UNDP/Carly Learson (20 November 2014)

Mali, 20 November 2014 – On the eve of a meeting of United Nations agency chiefs to discuss ways to jointly tackle the Ebola outbreak, the World Bank reported today Liberia’s labour sector has suffered a huge blow since the start of the crisis, as a “massive effort” was underway in Mali to halt the spread of the re-emerged virus.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will tomorrow discuss the common effort to counter the Ebola outbreak with the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), made up of 29 Executive Heads of UN Funds and Programmes, specialized agencies, including the Bretton Woods Institutions, and related organizations – the World Tourism Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Continue reading

UN champions children as ‘fundamental building blocks,’ marking 25th anniversary of historic treaty

Photo: World Bank/Natalia Cieslik

Photo: World Bank/Natalia Cieslik

New York, 20 November 2014 – As countries around the world celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations family today hailed the landmark treaty as a powerful human rights tool, while taking stock of the long-standing disparities that must be addressed to propel actions for the well-being of all children into the future.

Opening a high-level meeting this morning at UN Headquarters in New York, the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, underscored that the Convention is a collective commitment to ensure that every child worldwide has the right to a fair start in life, calling on Member States to safeguard that such rights are fully reflected in the post-2015 development agenda. Continue reading

Leveraging innovation key to advancing progress on child rights – UNICEF

Thirty million children can’t go back to school because of a record number of conflicts and crises. Photo: UNICEF/Kate Holt

Thirty million children can’t go back to school because of a record number of conflicts and crises. Photo: UNICEF/Kate Holt

New York, 20 November 2014 – Despite progress in advancing child rights over the past 25 years, including a marked reduction in the number of children dying before the age of five and increased access to education and clean water, urgent action is needed to prevent millions of children from missing out on the benefits of innovation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a new report.

“Inequity is as old as humanity, but so is innovation – and it has always driven humanity’s progress,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said on the release of the agency’s annual State of the World’s Children report. Continue reading

On World Philosophy Day, UN lauds role of dialogue, diversity in multicultural world

Sculpture "The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin. World Philosophy Day takes place every November. Photo: Hans Andersen

Sculpture “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin. World Philosophy Day takes place every November. Photo: Hans Andersen

Paris, 20 November 2014 – The head the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today marked the twelfth edition of World Philosophy Day with a widespread appeal for dialogue in diversity, adding that only by embracing the intellectual pluralism of our global society can the foundations of a truly global community be laid.

“Philosophy is an invaluable ally that draws on reflexive reasoning and engagement in dialogue, to open our minds to a wide variety of opinions and views,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in her messasge for the Day, which this year in on the theme “Social Transformations and Intercultural Dialogue.” Continue reading

UN spotlights children’s rights as world gears up to mark 25th anniversary of landmark treaty

A child with his mother. Photo: UNICEF/Naser Siddique

A child with his mother. Photo: UNICEF/Naser Siddique

New York, 19 November 2014 – As the global human rights community readies to celebrate tomorrow the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations committee charged with monitoring its implementation highlighted the right of children to actively participate – and not just be heard – in discussions that affect their lives and communities.

“Let us stop talking about ‘allowing’ young people to participate – it is, firstly, a right of the child,” the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child emphasized today in a press release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Continue reading

Ebola cases no longer rising in Guinea, Liberia, UN health agency reports

In Conakry, Guinea, a mobilizer teaches children about proper handwashing techniques, which help prevent the spread of diseases, including Ebola. Photo: UNICEF/Timothy La Rose

In Conakry, Guinea, a mobilizer teaches children about proper handwashing techniques, which help prevent the spread of diseases, including Ebola. Photo: UNICEF/Timothy La Rose

Geneva, 19 November 2014 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today that the number of Ebola cases is “no longer increasing nationally in Guinea and Liberia, but is still increasing in Sierra Leone”, and that preparedness teams have been sent this week to Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Senegal.

Earlier today, UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Robert Piper, had appealed for funding for Ebola preparedness in the swath of Africa consisting of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal making up one of the poorest regions in the world. Continue reading

Every dollar invested in water, sanitation brings four-fold return in costs – UN

Photo: UNICEF/UKLA2013-00961/Karin Schermbrucker

Photo: UNICEF/UKLA2013-00961/Karin Schermbrucker

Geneva, 19 November 2014 – For every dollar invested in water and sanitation, there is a $4.3 return in the form of reduced health care costs for individuals and society around the world, where 2.5 billion people still lack access to basic sanitation services, with 1 billion practicing open defection, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today.

WHO released a major new report behalf of UN-Water that showed that while global efforts to provide improved water and sanitation are gaining momentum, “serious gaps” in funding continue to hamper progress. Continue reading

Libya: UN mission brokers ‘critical’ 12-hour humanitarian truce in Benghazi

The city of Benghazi, Libya, in the early morning sunlight. Photo: UNSMIL/Iason Athanasiadis

The city of Benghazi, Libya, in the early morning sunlight. Photo: UNSMIL/Iason Athanasiadis

Libya, 19 November 2014 – The head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) announced today that all parties to the conflict in Benghazi have agreed to an unconditional humanitarian truce to evacuate civilians and retrieve the bodies of the dead.

The truce, which was facilitated by the Mission, and announced by UNSMIL chief Bernardino Leone, commenced at 7 a.m. local time this morning, 19 November, for a period of 12 hours, subject to extension by the parties, according to a statement.

This humanitarian truce is critical to giving the people of Benghazi, where fighting has been the fiercest, a much-needed reprieve from violence, the Mission explained. Continue reading

At high-level debate, UN, Security Council renew pledge to counter foreign terrorist fighters

Security Council holds open debate on international cooperation in combating terrorism and violent extremism. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

Security Council holds open debate on international cooperation in combating terrorism and violent extremism. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

New York, 19 November 2014 – As foreign fighters continue to flood the world’s zones of conflict, exacerbating already tenuous security situations and further destabilizing States, the United Nations Security Council reiterated today its pledge to counter the global terrorist threat by adopting a statement reaffirming its commitment towards the preservation of international peace and security.

At a high-level debate held today in UN Headquarters in New York, the 15-member body unanimously approved the text, which calls on Member States to increase cooperation in their efforts to address the perils posed by foreign terrorist fighters around the world – from helping each other build capacities to address terrorist threats to collaborating in suppressing the transit of violent extremists between states. Continue reading