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25 Jul 2001
Indonesia's delicate transition

Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed hope that the political process in Indonesia would remain peaceful after President Abdurrahman Wahid was removed from office and his Vice President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, sworn-in as the country's next leader. "What is important is that the democratic process is being followed," Mr. Annan said to reporters as he entered the United Nations Headquarters in New York. "I hope that the kind of change taking place will remain peaceful, that it will be democratic and the nation will come together to get themselves out of this difficulty." The Secretary-General also wished Ms. Megawati and the country every success. "Indonesia is an important nation for the region and the world," he said. ”

From: UN News Centre

24 Jul 2001
Making the Kyoto Protocol a reality

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the broad political agreements reached in Bonn by the 180 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on the operational rulebook for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which sets legally binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Annan said the breakthrough gave a "strong signal" to the global economy that emission limitation must become part of production and consumption processes. The new agreements recognize the need for more financial and technological support for developing countries to engage in a global strategy against climate change, and provide a solid political basis for industrialized countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and bring it into force in time for the Johannesburg Summit in September 2002, the statement said. ”

From: UN News Centre

23 Jul 2001
UNHCR helps Ecuador help Colombian refugess

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is supporting Ecuador's efforts to cope with scores of Colombians who have sought protection in the country after fleeing conflict in their homeland, a spokesman for the agency said today. UNHCR is providing basic emergency assistance, including food packages, medical supplies, education and housing support to the refugees. [...] Mr. Janowski lauded Ecuador, a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, for its "generosity" towards those who have fled to the country. ”

From: UN News Centre

20 Jul 2001
Advances in the fight against AIDS

The global movement to fight AIDS has been galvanized in recent years, offering hope that it will be possible to beat back the pandemic, a senior United Nations official told the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today. "It is just 20 years since the world first heard about AIDS and now, for the first time, a global response is emerging that matches the devastating scale of the epidemic itself," said Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), introducing a new report by the agency to ECOSOC's meeting in Geneva. AIDS now tops the world's political agenda, he said. "The long-standing commitment of ECOSOC to the global AIDS response has been joined by other UN organs, particularly the Security Council, the General Assembly with its recent special session on AIDS and the personal priority given to AIDS by the Secretary-General." ”

From: UN News Centre

18 Jul 2001
The community impact of small arms

Government delegates today heard from representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as a United Nations conference on small arms and weapons began its second week in New York. As part of the official programme of the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, 42 representatives of NGOs made presentations on themes such as injuries and health, vulnerable populations and impacts on communities and development. Humanitarian and human rights concerns and domestic controls were also among the topics presented. Twelve representatives from firearms community group were also scheduled to take the floor. ”

From: UN News Centre

17 Jul 2001
Taking responsibility for the future

Arguing that Africans, including African leaders, are now much less disposed to blame all their troubles on outsiders and more determined to take responsibility for their own future, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan [...] called for greater international backing to the continent and stressed that the UN system had a crucial role to play in mobilizing and delivering that support. "We must make ourselves Africa's advocates, not only for improved market access, but also for the reduction of the subsidies paid by rich countries to their farmers, which currently amount to one billion dollars a day," Mr. Annan told the High-Level Segment of the 2001 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which this year focuses on African development, "This lowers world prices, leading to lower incomes and poverty in Africa." ”

From: UN News Centre

16 Jul 2001
Cutting down on pollution

Ministers and diplomats will meet in Bonn over the next two weeks in an effort to finalize the rulebook for implementing the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said today. [...] "After six years of arduous and complex negotiations, it is time to finalize the system that will guide global action on climate change for the next two decades and beyond," said Michael Zammit Cutajar, the treaty's Executive Secretary. "Once the rules are finalized, governments will be in a better position to decide in what political context to apply them," he added, expressing hope that States would ratify the Kyoto Protocol. ”

From: UN News Centre

13 Jul 2001
Preventing conflict

The General Assembly today debated a set of far-reaching measures aimed at preventing the outbreak of violent conflict that were put forward in a recent report by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Offering introductory remarks, the Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Fréchette, said the report's central message was that the UN must intensify its current contribution to the prevention of armed conflict. "The costs of not preventing violence are enormous," she observed, noting that the international community had spent some $200 billion on the seven major interventions of the 1990s, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, the Persian Gulf, Cambodia and El Salvador. "And such calculations do not, of course, reflect the human costs of war," she added. The Deputy Secretary-General highlighted the report's key recommendations for the General Assembly. One recommendation calls for the promotion of a culture of prevention, she said, noting that a number of issues on the Assembly's agenda, such as development, disarmament, human rights, humanitarian assistance, democratization, environmental degradation, terrorism and AIDS, all have a conflict prevention dimension. ”

From: UN News Centre

12 Jul 2001
World Youth Forum, 6-10 August 2001

The expected outcome of the the Forum is: [1] to make an assessment of progress made by the United Nations system and the youth NGOs in implementing the Braga Youth Action Plan, and other relevant programmes of action, and [2] prepare concrete recommendations, strategies and tools to empower young people to participate in: decision-making, and in evaluation of policies and programmes on key youth issues, in order to ensure action at the local, national, regional and international level. ”

From: Youth at the United Nations

11 Jul 2001
A bridge of hope for Ethiopia and Eritrea

The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has re-opened a bridge linking the two formerly warring countries that had been destroyed during their two-year conflict. "The mandate of UNMEE is to keep two armies apart, but underlying this is a desire to bring two peoples together. How better to symbolize this than to build a bridge," UNMEE's Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Ian Martin, told assembled dignitaries, military representatives, journalists and peacekeepers at the official reopening of the bridge across the Mereb river on Saturday. [...]Using a prefabricated bridge donated by the Dutch government, UNMEE peacekeepers worked overtime to clear the area of mines and install the span in advance of the rainy season. The peacekeepers, who used floodlights in order to continue their efforts at night, completed the repair in just 15 days - about half of the normal installation time. The bridge will make easier for UNMEE to carry out its monitoring duties in the area, said the Force Commander, adding, "I hope the bridge can be used in the near future to allow people from Ethiopia and Eritrea to visit friends and relatives." The newly repaired bridge can carry up to 60 tonnes and requires very little maintenance. The Force Commander expressed hope that "the bridge between these two countries and two peoples [will] live forever." ”

From: UN News Centre

10 Jul 2001
Congolese children return home, through UNICEF

The 159 children have been under the interim care and protection of UNICEF-Uganda since February of this year, when the government of Uganda handed them over. Before being transferred to UNICEF-Uganda, the children had been undergoing political and military training since August 2000 in Kyankwanzi. Since leaving the Kyankwanzi National Political Education School, the children have been staying in a World Vision Uganda Transit Centre in Kiryandongo (Masindi District), 220 km north of Kampala, under the close supervision of UNICEF-Uganda. During the past five months, UNICEF and its partners have been providing the children with schooling, psycho-social counselling and vocational training while simultaneously tracing their families and preparing the ground for a return home. ”

From: UNICEF's Press Centre

9 Jul 2001
Small arms, weapons of mass destruction

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan describes small arms as “weapons of mass destruction” in terms of the carnage they cause. Yet there is still no global non-proliferation regime to limit their spread, as there is for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Addressing the Security Council in September 1999, the Secretary-General called the effort to constrain small arms proliferation "one of the key challenges in preventing conflict in the next century”. Since the mid-1990s the United Nations General Assembly has placed the issue of small arms and light weapons on the international agenda with a view to breaking the cycle of misery caused by illicit small arms trafficking. The United Nations addresses small arms in the context of such issues as: the protection of civilians in armed conflict; the role of the Security Council in the prevention of armed conflicts; children and armed conflict; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants in a peacekeeping environment; and post-conflict peace-building. In the field, the United Nations has been asked to collect and destroy weapons of ex-combatants in a number of its peacekeeping operations. Yet, effectively curbing the flow of clandestine small arms presents a tremendous challenge to the international community. In December 1998, the General Assembly decided to convene the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. The Conference will take place from 9 to 20 July 2001 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. ”

From: 2001 United Nations conference on small arms

6 Jul 2001
Young people advocating for each other

Some 250 children and young people, under the age of 18 years, from all around the world were in New York City this week. They will attend the third and final Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting for the UN Special Session on Children. These children and young people are members of government delegations or delegations of around 3,500 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The under-18 representatives [attended] a briefing workshop prior to the 3rd PrepCom to be well prepared for their participation in the official meetings. Some of them [took] part in a working session with Personal Representatives of Heads of State or Government. Others [participated] in a round table discussion with senior government and NGO delegates. Young participants talk to UNICEF's roving video team about their hopes for the future of children worldwide and in their home countries. ”

From: Profiles: young people at the Prepcom

5 Jul 2001
Get on the love train

The enthusiasm and anxiety of being a young adult were on display at the Youth Leadership and HIV/AIDS forum - a side event to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (25-27 June) - where creative ideas and strong personalities helped create a lively discussion. The forum explored youth-led and youth-driven initiatives to deal with the crisis around the world, with a panel of young experts sharing their experiences from various projects. Milos Stojanovic, vice-president of the Youth of Yugoslavia Association Against HIV/AIDS, talked about innovative steps being taken in his country to bring AIDS to the attention of young people. "One of the things we have is the Love Train," he explained. "This train hosts special events and on Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve travels the extent of Yugoslavia playing loud popular music, inviting young people to get on board and party." But the train is about much more than partying. It gives young people crucial information and other support to help them protect themselves against HIV/AIDS. ”

From: UNICEF article, "Youth on AIDS: 'We have power'"

4 Jul 2001

The head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) today presented the first State of the Nation address to the East Timorese National Council, giving an in-depth overview of the progress to date and the challenges that lie ahead. "The past 20 months have been intensive for all. We have shared a remarkable experience so far, and I suspect this will continue until - and possibly beyond - your independence," Sergio Vieira de Mello said before National Council Members, Cabinet, diplomatic corps and the public. The one-hour speech covered 12 main areas: security and law and order, justice and human rights, humanitarian, reconstruction, finance, the role of UNTAET, public services, economic development, administrative transition, international relations, political process, and the post-UNTAET mission. Mr. Vieira de Mello reaffirmed that preparations are on schedule for East Timor's full independence, with the results of the 30 August elections to be announced by 10 September, and the appointment of a second Cabinet by 15 September. "I believe strongly that the East Timorese should be as united as possible as they face the extraordinary challenges of independence. Therefore, I will support the formation of a Government of National Unity, based on the spirit of a Pact of National Unity that I am currently encouraging political parties to conclude," he said. ”

From: UN News Centre

3 Jul 2001
Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS

The 16-page Declaration, entitled "Global Crisis - Global Action," addresses a wide range of issues: leadership; prevention; care, support and treatment; HIV/AIDS and human rights; reducing vulnerability; children; alleviating the disease's social and economic impact; research and development; HIV/AIDS in conflict and disaster-affected regions; resources, and follow-up. "The HIV/AIDS challenge cannot be met without new, additional and sustained resources," states the Declaration. It calls for reaching, by 2005, the overall target of $7-$10 billion annual expenditure on the epidemic in low and middle-income countries and those experiencing or at risk of rapid expansion. The text also supports the establishment of a Global HIV/AIDS and Health Fund "to finance an urgent and expanded response to the epidemic based on an integrated approach to prevention, care, support and treatment." The Declaration calls for the adoption of national strategies and financing plans for fighting HIV/AIDS by 2003. Also by that date, HIV/AIDS priorities should be integrated into the mainstream of development planning. Prevention "must be the mainstay of our response," the Declaration states. It calls for the establishment of national goals for reducing HIV prevalence rate among people aged 15-24 by 25 percent by 2005. Prevention targets should be in place by 2003, as should universal precautions in health-care settings to prevent HIV transmission. ”

From: UN News Centre

2 Jul 2001
Annan reappointed SG

Six months before the end of his current mandate, Kofi Annan, a native of Ghana, was unanimously appointed today by the General Assembly for a second five-year term as Secretary-General of the United Nations. Saying he was "deeply honoured" by the re-appointment, Mr. Annan pledged to bring the United Nations closer to the peoples who it was founded to serve, so that five years from now, they will feel that it is "working better to fulfil their needs, and putting their individual welfare at the centre of everything it does. Only if their confidence in the United Nations has been strengthened, will your confidence in me have been justified," he added. ”

From: UN News Centre

29 Jun 2001
Milosevic transferred to War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague

Mr. Annan called the event "a day few had imagined, but many had hoped for." In a statement released in New York, he expressed hope that today would bring to the victims of the Balkan wars of the past decade "some measure of comfort, some sense that even the most powerful leader can be brought to justice, and face the consequences of his actions. To the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, I hope this day will mark a true break with the past, and the beginning of a new spirit of coexistence throughout the former Yugoslavia," he said. The indictment against Mr. Milosevic charges him and four others with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war during a "systematic attack directed against the Kosovo Albanian civilian population of Kosovo in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY)." Among other criminal acts committed under Mr. Milosevic's leadership, the forces of the FRY and Serbia "forcibly expelled and internally displaced hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians from their homes across the entire province of Kosovo" by using threats and violence to create an atmosphere of fear and oppression, according to the indictment. ”

From: UN News Centre

28 Jun 2001
SC wants Kofi Annan for Secretary-General

The United Nations Security Council this morning unanimously recommended Kofi Annan, a native of Ghana, to serve a second five-year term at the UN's helm. In accordance with the UN Charter, the Council's recommendation, which was decided on during a private meeting, will be forwarded to the General Assembly for action. The Assembly is scheduled to take up the matter on Friday. ”

From: UN News Centre

27 Jun 2001
Big Business Needs to Fight AIDS

Underscoring the unique strengths of corporations in the fight against AIDS, Mr. Holbrooke said, "in most cases, businesses are more efficient in reaching both their own workers and consumers than governments, particularly in war-torn areas." Companies could cut through the political constraints which impeded the work of States, he added. "If we fight wars, if we engage in UN peacekeeping operations, we should also engage in this fight," Mr. Holbrooke said, calling AIDS the "most serious problem" facing the world today. "Not only is it the worst health crisis in 700 years, but it is also a direct attack on the social, political and economic structure of nations all over the world." Bill Roedy, the President of MTV Networks International and a member of the Global Business Council, joined the call for enterprises to do more. "In the aggregate, given the capability of business around the world, and given the magnitude of the problem, we still have not done enough," he said. "The AIDS fight needs exactly what business can offer: everything from leadership and influence to marketing and sales, to media and communications skills, supply chains, distribution, organization and infrastructure, and most importantly, people." ”

From: UN News Centre

26 Jun 2001
A Red Ribbon for the Secretariat

Providing a visual curtain-raiser to the United Nations special session on HIV/AIDS, which opened [yesterday] at UN Headquarters, over the past two nights the Secretariat Building stood out against the New York skyline emblazoned with a red ribbon - the symbol of solidarity in the fight against the epidemic. The special lighting, which began on 23 June, aims to send a strong message of UN commitment to the battle against HIV/AIDS, while focusing attention on the special session. The large AIDS ribbon was inscribed on the building by using red plastic film, which was temporarily attached to 550 designated windows on both the east and west sides of the Secretariat building. The materials were provided by Alkit Digital Imaging of New York City, which helped to make the project possible by offering concessionary prices to the UN. The resulting image will be used on a special stamp issued early next year by the UN Postal Administration. ”

From: UN News Centre

25 Jun 2001
UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS

Alarmed by the accelerating epidemic and its global impact, the United Nations General Assembly has decided to convene a special session on HIV/AIDS at the highest political level. To be held from 25 to 27 June 2001 in New York, the special session will aim to intensify international action to fight the epidemic and to mobilize the resources needed. "The evidence demonstrates that we are not powerless against this epidemic, but our response is still at a fraction of what it needs to be," said Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in a June 2000 status report. "The real task now," he added, "is to increase, massively, the political will, resources, systems and social commitment needed to turn the tide of the epidemic." ”

From: Special Session on AIDS website

21 Jun 2001
DADO Says Yes for Children

Over 8,000 people joined one of Uzbekistan's most popular pop groups "DADO" + Friends in saying Yes for children at sell-out charity concerts in Tashkent on 12 and 13 April. The concert, marking the launch of Say Yes, is one of a series of events organized by the National Alliance for Children, a body created in November 2000 by the cabinet of ministers, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, and with members from government, NGOs and the private sector. ”

From: UNICEF's "Say Yes for Children"

20 Jun 2001
Say Yes for Children, All Over the World

Say Yes for Children is a global campaign that will penetrate into every part of the world, to mobilize people from all walks of life around the issues that affect children's lives. Please take a minute to say yes right now. You can also check back frequently to follow the progress of Say Yes for Children - to see results on how many people worldwide have pledged their support so far, and to read stories about how the pledge is being taken to millions of people in all parts of the world. Take the quiz and look at the world wide map. ”

From: Netaid.org's "Say Yes for Children"

19 Jun 2001
Back to School, After the Earthquake

Less than 5 months after a devastating earthquake, more than 400,000 children are going back to school for the first time in Gujarat today. As the result of an unprecedented joint effort by the Government of Gujarat and UNICEF, over 2,000 schools, fully equipped, have re-opened. “Education has been a priority for UNICEF because our experience shows that it is one of the best tools to help children overcome their trauma and find a sense of normalcy. In Gujarat, it took only 15$ (700 Rs) to bring back a child to school. UNICEF has invested nearly 7 million dollars in this effort,” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF representative in India during her visit to Bhuj and surrounding villages on 14th June. The total commitment of UNICEF to the relief and rehabilitation of Gujarat has reached 21 million dollars, UNICEF’s largest emergency assistance to India. ”

From: UNICEF press release: "Children return to school in Kutch"

15 Jun 2001
Global Movement for Children

The Global Movement for Children is a force for change involving each and every one of us. Every citizen of every nation. Every public and private entity. Every national leader. Every child and every adolescent. The changes needed throughout the world to protect the rights and secure the lasting betterment of children’s lives begin with actions taken by you, the mothers and fathers. You, the teachers and students. You, the professionals in every field. You, the children and young people who hold the future in your hands. By each one of us. ”

From: Global Movement for Children, on UNICEF

14 Jun 2001
Teachers Talking about Learning

Successful learning in the classroom is dependent on the values and involvement of families, community leaders, and other members of the community. The efforts in Bhopal discussed in this month's Teachers' Forum build on the critical link between Learning and the community. ”

From: UNICEF's "Teachers Talking about Learning"

13 Jun 2001
Chatting with UNICEF about Youth and Media

Some 70 young media activists from 17 countries, many of whom produce their own news reports, journalistic features or television programmes for youth, participated recently in an Internet chat with UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. Their nearly unanimous feeling: the mass media does not respond to the needs of youth. During the chat, many of the participants described their creative ideas for educating other young people about their rights. They said they are looking for opportunities to get the message out. Challenges faced by young journalists include difficulty in getting space in mainstream media and lack of support, or even censorship, from governments and the mainstream media industry. ”

From: Voices of Youth's Chat with UNICEF director Carol Bellamy and youth media activists

12 Jun 2001
Millions of Signatures for Children

With 15 weeks to go before world leaders gather in New York for a summit devoted to children, a grassroots pledge campaign is racking up millions of votes from citizens demanding that world leaders do more for children and young people. The pledge campaign, called Say Yes for Children, urges world leaders to commit themselves to ten basic principles that seek to protect and improve the lives of children. The campaign is being sponsored by a global partnership of individuals and organisations committed to improving the world with children. Speaking on behalf of the Say Yes partners, UNICEF announced today that at least 2.5 million pledges had been registered over the last six weeks, both through community outreach efforts and via the Web. People can Say Yes for Children at www.gmfc.org. ”

From: "Say Yes for Children Pledge Campaign Is Racking Up Votes", UNICEF Press Release

11 Jun 2001
Uganda says "Yes" to Children

Children and young people all over Uganda are being called to participate in Say Yes, in collaboration with national, district and community networks, including the Girl Guides and Scouts, Interact clubs and teachers' associations. The pledge form has been simplified and made more child-friendly - featuring colorful cartoon characters - and translated in 4 local languages for non-English speakers. As part of media outreach, a national programme organized by children and young people called "Know your Rights" will run every week on one of the top local radio stations. ”

From: UNICEF's "Say Yes for Children"

8 Jun 2001
Dream Stories in Nagaland

In the Indian state of Nagaland, UNICEF India has pioneered a fascinating project to help the country join the international community's efforts for children. In the first phase of the innovative "Imagine Nagaland", children and young people came together for "72 hours of positive thinking" on enabling action on the Rallying Call in Nagaland. The group is now committed to collecting "dream stories" from 20,000 residents of the country, related to five themes: peace, unity and respect for all, education and employment, equitable development, ecology and development and strengthening the rule of law. ”

From: UNICEF's "Say Yes for Children"

7 Jun 2001
Children, Wrestling, Azerbaijan?

Using the popularity of wrestling in Azerbaijan to help attract attention to Say Yes, the May 15th launch of the campaign took place at the opening of the International Free Wrestling Tournament. The event was organized jointly by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Tourism and the National Olympic Committee and Wrestling Federation of Azerbaijan. Over 150 participants and some 1,500 spectators - including children and young people, local media and government representatives - were invited to Say Yes on paper pledges. Those of rank and celebrity who have made the country's first set of online pledges include first Deputy Prime Minister Abas Abasov, the President of the National Olympic Committee and World Champion in Freestyle Wrestling Namiq Abdullayev. ”

From: UNICEF's "Say Yes for Children"

6 Jun 2001
Assessing the World's Ecosystems

Marking World Environment Day, observed annually on 5 June to deepen public awareness of the need to preserve the planet's resources, the United Nations today launched the first comprehensive global effort to evaluate the world's major ecosystems. Speaking at the launch of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment at UN Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the project was designed to bring the world's best science to bear on the pressing choices the international community faced in managing the global environment. The Assessment -- also launched today in Beijing, Havana, London, Tokyo and Turin - is a four-year $21 million effort that involves 1,500 scientists and brings together governments, non-governmental organizations, foundations, academic institutions and private sector businesses. ”

From: UN News Centre

5 Jun 2001
Cease-Fire in the Middle East

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the declared ceasefire in the Middle East and called for broad efforts to bring peace to the volatile area. "I think we should all do whatever we can to end the tragedy in Palestine, and I think the developments in the region over the weekend were very positive," Mr. Annan told reporters as he entered UN Headquarters in New York this morning. "The Israelis have declared a ceasefire. President [Yasser] Arafat [of the Palestinian Authority] has also declared a ceasefire, and we have to make sure they stick, and that we move aggressively into the implementation of the Mitchell Plan," the Secretary-General said, referring to the recommendations put forward by a committee on fact-finding headed by former United States Senator George Mitchell. The Secretary-General emphasized the importance of cohesive efforts in tackling the problem. "We need the support of all leaders," he stressed. "We all have to work together to bring peace to the region." "As long as the fighting and the conflict in Palestine continue, we cannot pretend that the region as a whole is at peace," he said. "So it's everyone's business." ”

From: UN News Centre

4 Jun 2001
Children and Violence on the Screen

The International Clearing House on Children and Violence on the Screen was formally inaugurated in February 1997 at the NORDICOM Documentation Centre at Gothenburg University in Sweden; the University of Utrecht, Netherlands, is also a major cooperating partner. The Clearing House will collect, synthesize and disseminate information worldwide on issues concerning children and violence on the screen. Procedures will be set in place to enable journalists and media specialists both to provide and to retrieve information. ”

From: UNESCO's WebWorld

1 Jun 2001
An Attempted Coup d'Etat in the Central African Republic

Members of the United Nations Security Council today condemned the attempted coup d'état in the Central African Republic, and urged the perpetrators to return to the constitutional order. The call came in a statement to the press by the Council's President for the month of May, United States Ambassador James Cunningham, following a briefing on the situation in the Central African Republic and the recent unrest there. "Council members deplored the loss of life in the fighting that is taking place and strongly condemned the attempted coup d'etat in Bangui," Ambassador Cunningham said. "They urged the perpetrators to give up their endeavour that will lead nowhere." ”

From: UN News Centre

31 May 2001
Education for the Twenty-First Century

Welcome to the website of the Task Force on Education for the Twenty-first Century. The aim of this website is to further debate and reflection on the ideas expressed in Learning: the Treasure Within, the report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century. Simply speaking, the Commission felt that education throughout life is based upon four pillars: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be. ”

From: UNESCO's Task Force on Education for the Twenty-First Century

30 May 2001
Youth Delegates in the General Assembly

Participation in decision-making is one of the key priority areas of the UN's agenda on youth. This, of course, should also be applied to its own work. Therefore, for some years, the most direct form of youth participation at the UN has been the inclusion of youth representatives in some of the the official delegation to the General Assembly of the UN in New York. ”

From: "Youth Delegates Come to the General Assembly", DESA's 'Youth at the United Nations'

29 May 2001
Solar Power Helps the Very Poor

New projects supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are bringing solar power to small towns in Bangladesh, enabling extremely poor families to increase their income and improve their quality of life, the UN agency said today. "By introducing solar energy in remote rural villages, UNDP has been able to bring dramatic changes in the lives of the ultra-poor," said Jorgen Lissner, UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh. "And this technology addresses local and global environmental concerns as well." ”

From: UN News Centre

28 May 2001
Making It Legal

Marking the first anniversary of the adoption of two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today urged governments to speed up ratification of the protocols to allow them to come into force and become legally binding. According to the UN agency, a total of 79 countries have signed the Optional Protocol on children in armed conflict and 4 have ratified it, while 72 have signed the Optional Protocol on the sale of children and 3 have ratified it. The total still falls short of the 10 ratifications required for the standards to come into force and be binding on States. "Although encouraging, this is clearly not enough," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said in a statement issued today in New York. "It would be a splendid signal of commitment to children if this were to be done prior to the UN Special Session for Children to be held in September in New York." ”

From: UN News Centre

25 May 2001
A Memorial to Genocide Victims

The United Nations Security Council mission to the Great Lakes region of Africa arrived in Rwanda today, where it visited a memorial to the victims of the 1994 genocide and met with high-level Government officials. At the Gisovi Genocide Memorial, the 12 ambassadors comprising the Council delegation were welcomed by the mayor of Kigali, who recalled the circumstances of the tragic events. "Despite receiving warning signs from many United Nations agencies and from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR)," the mayor said, "the international community turned a deaf ear and watched as a population was almost exterminated." ”

From: UN News Centre

24 May 2001
A Grave Violation of Human Rights

United Nations officials today decried a reported proposal by the Taliban which would require all non-Muslims in Afghanistan to wear identity labels on their clothing.The joint statement, released in Geneva and Paris, noted that the decree "harks back to the darkest periods of human history." "Prescribing how certain groups of people should dress or otherwise singling them out so that they can be easily identifiable is at best discriminatory," the two officials observed. "Similar practices in the past -- from Nazi Germany in the 1930s to Rwanda in the early 1990s -- have led to the most horrible crimes." ”

From: UN News Centre

23 May 2001
Making the World Safer

As delegates from over 100 countries gathered in Stockholm, Sweden, today to prepare for the adoption of a treaty banning the world's worst pesticides, Secretary-General Kofi Annan hailed the effort that he said would "make the world a safer place." [...]The treaty will help maintain biodiversity, strengthen the international legal machinery of environmental protection, and "will generate momentum towards next year's World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg," the Secretary-General said. Mr. Annan congratulated the more than 100 countries that will sign the Convention before the Stockholm meeting concludes tomorrow, and called on all others to join in endorsing and ratifying the treaty "so it can enter into force at the earliest possible date." ”

From: United Nations News Centre

21 May 2001
Least Developed Countries

Mr. Prasidh said that as a follow-up to the Conference, LDCs will be discussing the possibility of an international “Buy LDC” campaign. By labeling the portion of value in consumer goods that derives from LDCs, consumers would be able to choose to support economic advancement in poor countries. Also, governments might be encouraged to steer procurement in the direction of these nations, he said. Today’s afternoon meeting of more than 100 aspiring business leaders featured a session known as “Let’s Make a Deal”. Young entrepreneurs from the LDCs pitched an audience of venture capitalists on proposed start-ups, and then met one-on-one to talk terms. Organizers say that it will take several weeks to compile the results, but deals concluded at similar sessions in the past have been in the range of $500,000 to $35 million. ”

From: The United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, Brussels, 14-20 May

18 May 2001
Global AIDS and Health Fund

An international fund to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria will be a major tool for economic growth in the developing world, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in Geneva. Addressing the World Health Assembly, Mr. Annan said that in order to encourage development in many countries, the runaway contagion of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases must be contained. "The devastation wrought by HIV/AIDS is now so acute that it has itself become one of the main obstacles to development," the Secretary-General told representatives of the World Health Organization's 191 Member States participating in the Assembly. Mr. Annan also detailed plans for the Global AIDS and Health Fund, which he first proposed at an African summit meeting last month. "The Fund would be governed by an independent Board, on which all significant stakeholders would be represented -- including, of course, the governments of developing countries," he said. "In addition, there would be a small secretariat, to do the day-to-day administration, and a strong advisory body, on which the best international experts would be asked to serve." ”

From: UN News Centre

17 May 2001
What Young People Think

Six out of ten children in Europe and Central Asia say they face aggressive behaviour and violence - shouting and hitting - within their families, according to the just released results of a poll funded by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). In a statement issued today in Berlin, UNICEF said its "Young Voices" poll was based on face-to-face interviews with 15,200 children between the ages of 9 and 17, conducted between December 2000 and February 2001. The initial findings reflect the voices of over 93 million children from 35 countries, making it "the largest and most ambitious survey" ever taken among children in that region, the agency said. According to UNICEF, the poll provides a portrait of the views, concerns, hopes and dreams of children and adolescents from 26 States in transition in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Baltic States and nine countries in Western Europe. It also reveals that young people see the world as marked by violence, injustice and discrimination. ”

From: UNICEF's "Young Voices" Survey

16 May 2001
Cease-Fire in Sierra Leone

With a United Nations envoy acting as a witness, high-level representatives of the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) today pledged to stop fighting as they met for the first time at UN-chaired talks in Freetown. "We solemnly undertake to ensure the cessation of all hostilities and, to that effect, hereby instruct all our combatants to desist from any hostile activity," said a joint communiqué signed by the Deputy Minister of Defence, Hinga Norma, on behalf of the Civil Defence Force (CDF), and by the Chairman of the RUF Political and Peace Council, Omrie Golley, for the rebel group. The head of the UN mission in the country (UNAMSIL), Oluyemi Adeniji, witnessed the signing. ”

From: UN News Centre

15 May 2001
Concrete Plans for the World's Poorest Countries

As a major United Nations conference on the plight of world's poorest countries got under way today in Brussels, Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged forum participants to focus on concrete actions to overcome the problems of poverty and underdevelopment. "This Conference must be different than those which preceded it," the Secretary-General told the inaugural ceremony of the Third UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs). He said the gathering must produce an agreement not only on goals to be attained but also on the mechanisms needed to reach them, and to measure progress along the way. ”

From: UN News Centre

14 May 2001
What Goes Around Comes Around

The lethal legacy of obsolete pesticides is alarming, and urgent action is needed to clean up waste dumps," says Alemayehu Wodageneh, FAO expert on obsolete pesticides. "These 'forgotten' stocks are not only a hazard to people's health; they also contaminate water and soil. Leaking pesticides can poison a very large area, making it unfit for crop production. ”

From: Food and Agricultural Organization's News

9 May 2001
Adopting A Project

Any group can adopt a project. If you can mobilize your community, office or class to fund a project, then you're right to adopt one. Netaid.org is hoping that adoption will help excite you to learn more about the project and to creatively involve as many people as possible in the learning process. ”

From: Netaid.org's "Adopt A Project"

8 May 2001
UN, USA, Human Rights

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said he understood the United States' disappointment at not being re-elected to the United Nations' top human rights body, but voiced hope that the country would remain engaged in the UN's work in that field, his spokesman told reporters in New York. "The Secretary-General believes that the United States made a major contribution to the work of the United Nations in the field of human rights," spokesman Fred Eckhard said. "The United States has played a leading role over the years in drafting landmark documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and has been a key member of the Commission." Mr. Annan's comments followed the US failure yesterday in Geneva to be re-elected to the UN Commission on Human Rights. This is the first time since the Commission's inception in 1947 that the US has not been a member. ”

From: UN News Centre

4 May 2001
The Free Flow of Ideas

Freedom of expression "can never be taken for granted," emphasized a joint statement by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koichiro Matsuura, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson. The officials pointed out that in many parts of the world today, free speech is "threatened by political, economic, financial, military, religious or even criminal interests." Journalists whose work challenges those interests are "liable to suffer intimidation, violence, exile, prison, and even execution or simple murder." The statement called on all decision-makers to "do whatever they can" to ensure that journalists are able to work unhindered and undeterred, so that people throughout the world can benefit from the free flow of ideas. ”

From: UN News Centre

3 May 2001
You Can Help Refugee Children

Thousands of children, some as young as 5, have been torn from their homes by armed conflict in Africa and Southeast Asia. Some have been abducted or conscripted into armies. Others have been abandoned to the often inadequate care of orphanages or "foster families". But nearly all these boys and girls have missed out on the schooling, health care and loving, stable environments critical to their healthy development. It doesn't have to be this way. These children have families and loved ones who miss them desperately. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) works in troubled nations to locate and care for separated children, trace their families and bring them back together. With the generous support of Netaid.org visitors like you, The Bringing Children Home Program seeks to assist some 3,000 children and their families in three countries. This is a realistic target, but we need your help. ”

From: NetAid: About the Issue -- Bringing Children Home

2 May 2001
Say Yes for Children

Too many of the world's children suffer the effects of war, poverty, sickness, discrimination or abuse. This is your opportunity to send a message to the world's leaders that this is unacceptable. This is your opportunity to Say Yes for Children. Say Yes for Children is a global campaign that will penetrate into every part of the world, to mobilize people from all walks of life around the issues that affect children's lives. Please take a minute to say yes right now. You can also check back frequently to follow the progress of Say Yes for Children - to see results on how many people worldwide have pledged their support so far, and to read stories about how the pledge is being taken to millions of people in all parts of the world. Take the quiz, and look at the map. ”

From: Say Yes for Children on Netaid.org

30 Apr 2001
Diamonds and Conflict

...[R]epresentatives of 38 governments have made significant strides towards creating a certification system to stop illegal trafficking of diamonds to fuel armed conflicts, in accordance with a United Nations resolution calling for solutions to the problem. Hosted and co-chaired by Belgium, the meeting in Brussels is "on track" for formal adoption of minimum acceptable standards for certificates at its next plenary in Moscow in July, according to a statement issued today by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Cooperation. The meeting - which is part of the "Kimberley Process" - discussed the elements needed to create a system for keeping tainted diamonds from conflict areas out ofthe legitimate supply chain. Named for the South African locale where it began, the Kimberley Process intends to complete its work by the end of this year when it will report back to the UN. ”

From: UN News Centre

27 Apr 2001
Virtual Communities

The Information Society offers above all a new paradigm by which countries, communities and individuals can live and work together. Virtual communities are now proliferating world wide, in the wake of the Internet and new telematics services. A step further is the virtual world - an interactive computer simulation which enables individuals, members of a virtual community to see, hear, use and even modify the simulated objects in a computer-created world. Virtual communities evolved initially in the area of entertainment and in certain advanced scientific and technological fields, but are expected to have an impact on many other aspects of human life. Such virtual worlds raise many conceptual, technical and organizational challenges, particularly concerning their adaptation to different cultures, and particpation of developing countries with lower levels of access to information and telecommunication infrastructure. ”

From: UNESCO's WebWorld: Virtual Communities

26 Apr 2001
Int'l Year of Volunteers Toolkit

To help prepare and get involved in the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) 2001, various promotional tools are available and can be downloaded for use before and during the Year. These materials are intended as building blocks for local and national initiatives. Feel free to modify them to suit your needs. ”

From: International Year of Volunteers Toolkit

25 Apr 2001
Gender and AIDS

Young women and men HIV/AIDS activists in many countries are working to educate young people on healthy, safe, behaviour. But the United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) says that popular ideas about "masculinity" (manhood) may be making some men and boys less concerned about risk-taking than women and girls. ”

From: UNICEF's "Voices of Youth"'s Gender and AIDS Discussion

24 Apr 2001
Vote in the Rights Referendum!

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most widely ratified international treaty in history. It guarantees children's and young people's civil and political rights as well as their economic, social and cultural rights. In November 1999, the CRC celebrated its 10th anniversary. What rights of children and youth are most in need of protection in your community/country? The most important answer to that question comes from *you*. Vote now in the rights referendum! The results from this survey will be shared with UNICEF and will provide background information to policy makers. Please, use this referendum to help promote the rights that need protection in your community/country. ”

From: UNICEF's "Voices of Youth" Rights Referendum

23 Apr 2001
Is Water A Right?

Some argue that water is a basic human right; others say water should be bought and sold on the open market -- like shoes or footballs. While this debate is going on, city and rural water supplies are becoming a boom business. According to one study, just two transnational companies control water companies in about 120 countries on five continents, and distribute water to almost 100 million people in the world (Source: BLUEGOLD by Maude Barlow, p. 14). ”

From: UNICEF's "Voices of Youth" discussion on water issues

20 Apr 2001
Media Coverage of Young People?

How good is media coverage of Young People? On television and radio shows, newspapers, advertisements or other kinds of media, are the images that you see of children and young people fair? Are they realistic? Accurate? Stereotyping? Give an example, and give your opinion about it! ”

From: UNICEF's "Voices of Youth" bulletin boards

19 Apr 2001
Young People and the Special Session

The participation of young people as members of the official delegation of several countries to the First Substantive Session of the Preparatory Committee was widely welcomed. These young delegates spoke at the panel of young people on issues of discrimination, access to services and the importance of supportive relationship with adults. UNICEF is currently working with a wide range of partners, including NGOs and young people, to identify the most effective and meaningful way for children and young people to participate in the process leading up to, and beyond, the Special Session. The emphasis is on the country and regional levels which are closer to young people's everyday reality. Countries are strongly encouraged to involve young people in their review of the implementation of the goals of the World Summit for Children. ”

From: UNICEF's "Special Session" subpages

18 Apr 2001
Office of the Spokesman

The Secretary-General wishes to reiterate his strong conviction that the only way out of the current crisis is through the resumption of political negotiations. In his view, security measures alone will not halt the growing violence. ”

From: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Israeli-Palestinian violence

17 Apr 2001
World Food Programme

WFP, the world's largest food aid agency, says 206,000 metric tonnes of food are urgently needed to assist people affected by drought and recurring crop failure. This represents a welcome dip in the level of assistance that the agency requires for Ethiopia. "For the last twelve months, WFP requested over 605,000 metric tonnes of food to assist some 5.7 million people, but this year due to favourable weather conditions, we are asking for less food aid," explained WFP official Benedict Fultang. Although the overall humanitarian situation in Ethiopia is gradually improving, many people in several parts of the country remain highly vulnerable. Pastoralists and subsistence farmers who have been hit by alternating bouts of drought and crop failure over the last four to five years still need help to rebuild their lives. ”

From: UN News Centre

16 Apr 2001
Rolling Back Malaria

At the request of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), a United Nations committee has proposed that the General Assembly discuss the question of malaria in Africa. Speaking on behalf of the Chairman of the OAU, Kodjo Menan of Togo told the Assembly's General Committee yesterday that he was making the request because malaria was one of the main causes of death and a hindrance to development in Africa, causing one million deaths on the continent every year. Mr. Menan said the disease cost some $12 billion annually, but that a fraction of that amount could eradicate it. As part of its discussion, the Assembly would take up a draft resolution by which it would proclaim the period 2001-2010 the "Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Africa" and undertake a number of initiatives to combat the disease. ”

From: Un News Centre

13 Apr 2001
Malaysia and Sub-Saharan Africa

Malaysian business executives attending a workshop on Sub-Saharan Africa have expressed their interest in doing business on the continent, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which sponsored the event. The workshop, which was held last week in Kuala Lumpur, was one of 10 being held in Asia and Africa to prepare for the Second Africa-Asia Business Forum in Durban in July, where companies will be able to forge new partnerships between the continents. Some of the participants in last week's workshop will be selected to go to Durban. "Most of the business executives had a serious interest in business opportunities in Africa," said Egbert Semple, UNDP Senior Programme Advisor on technical cooperation among developing countries. "They even indicated that they would probably go to Africa on their own even if they were not selected for the Africa-Asia Business Forum." ”

From: UN News Centre

12 Apr 2001
End to the Dispute

Welcoming the reported end to the dispute between China and the United States over an aerial incident, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today he had reached Washington and would speak with Beijing shortly. "I'm extremely happy that this issue has been resolved because we were all concerned that the longer it got drawn out, the more likelihood -- the possibility -- that positions would have hardened in both countries and complicated and perhaps harmed the relationship that has taken so long to put together," Mr. Annan told reporters as he entered UN Headquarters in New York this morning. "And now that it is over, I hope we can go back to business." The Secretary-General said he would be in contact with the Chinese leadership on the matter, adding, "I have already been in touch with the White House and the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, to congratulate President Bush and his foreign policy team, particularly Secretary of State Colin Powell." ”

From: UN News Centre

11 Apr 2001
Protecting Civilians in Wartime

The instruments available for the protection of civilians in armed conflict are "in urgent need of updating," Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a just released report to the Security Council that recommends new strategies to deal with the changed nature of contemporary wars. "[Current instruments] were developed in a world where State actors were overwhelmingly dominant, and they reflect that fact," the Secretary-General writes. "The forms of conflict most prevalent in the world today are internal ... and involve a proliferation of armed groups. These circumstances reflect, to varying degrees, the erosion of the central role of the State in world affairs." Noting that civilians are the principal victims in today's wars, the report says the establishment of a culture of protection depends on the extent the UN and the international community are able to be engaged with the changed world. "These are not abstract questions," Mr. Annan writes. "They are questions which emerge daily in the struggle to reduce the suffering of civilians in conflict." ”

From: UN News Centre

10 Apr 2001
A Chance for the World's Poorest

Roughly one fifth of the world's population currently lives - or tries to - on less than one dollar a day. That is a crude measure, but it translates into a daily grind of hunger, misery and disease, which no human being should have to endure. Last September, at the UN Millennium Summit, world leaders resolved to "spare no effort" to free their fellow human beings "from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty". Specifically, they pledged to halve the proportion of the world's people living in those conditions by 2015. Probably no single change would make a greater contribution to fulfilling that pledge than fully opening the markets of prosperous countries to the goods produced by poor ones. At present, farmers in poor countries not only have to compete against subsidised food exports. They also face high import barriers. The tariffs imposed by industrialised counties on staples such as meat, sugar and dairy products are almost five times those on manufactures. The EU's tariffs on meat products peak at 826 percent. ”

From: "A Chance for the World's Poorest", editorial appearing in the Financial Times, 5 Mar 2001

9 Apr 2001
"Good Offices"

One of the most vital roles played by the Secretary-General is the use of his "good offices" -- steps taken publicly and in private, drawing upon his independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. Since becoming Secretary-General, Mr. Annan has made use of his good offices in a range of situations, including Cyprus, East Timor, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and Western Sahara. ”

From: The Office of the Secretary-General

6 Apr 2001
The SG and Africa

The Secretary-General has sought to maintain a focus on Africa and to mobilize international support for Africa's efforts to chart a path to peace and higher levels of development. His approach is encapsulated in a report issued in April 1998, "The causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa", which contains a comprehensive set of "realistic and achievable" measures designed to reduce political tensions and violence within and between African states, and to address such key questions of development as debt, governance and the spread of diseases such as AIDS. ”

From: The Office of the Secretary-General

5 Apr 2001
The Secretary-General

The Charter describes the Secretary-General as "chief administrative officer" of the Organization, who shall act in that capacity and perform "such other functions as are entrusted" to him or her by the Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and other United Nations organs. The Charter also empowers the Secretary-General to "bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security". These guidelines both define the powers of the office and grant it considerable scope for action. The Secretary-General would fail if he did not take careful account of the concerns of Member States, but he must also uphold the values and moral authority of the United Nations, and speak and act for peace, even at the risk, from time to time, of challenging or disagreeing with those same Member States. ”

From: The Office of the Secretary-General

4 Apr 2001
Uganda, Rwanda, Congo

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today encouraged the Presidents of Uganda and Rwanda to continue the ongoing withdrawal of their respective troops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC) and assured them of the United Nations' commitment to rapidly deploy military observers. A spokesman travelling with Mr. Annan in Nairobi said that the two leaders, in telephone conversations with the Secretary-General, had reaffirmed their determination to effectively pursue the DRC peace process -- "provided the Kabila Government also lived up to its undertakings." The Presidents also pledged their mutual cooperation "in the quest to restore peace and stability in the entire Great Lakes region and stated that any bilateral differences would be resolved through peaceful negotiations," the spokesman said in a statement. ”

From: UN News Centre

3 Apr 2001

ReliefWeb is the world’s premier electronic clearinghouse for those needing timely information on humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters – designed specifically to help the humanitarian community improve its response to emergencies. ReliefWeb contains daily information updates on more than 40 humanitarian emergencies. ReliefWeb has a searchable database of over 100,000 documents dating back to 1981, updated every half-hour from locations in New York and Geneva, and soon in Asia. It is used by government agencies, international bodies, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, students, the academic community, media and the general public in more than 170 countries. ”

From: ReliefWeb at a Glance

2 Apr 2001
Why Volunteer Online?

The great advantage of volunteering online in contrast to onsite is simply that you can help a development organization advance with their projects without having to physically move to where the organization is located. This saves accommodation and travel expenses for you, as well as workspace and materials expenses for your host organization. By collaborating from your place of residence you can set your own schedule and work at the times of day or night that are most convenient for you. ”

From: NetAid's Online Volunteering

30 Mar 2001
The Right Thing To Do

"Those of you involved in health issues must play a bigger part - working with governments, voluntary agencies, academic researchers, and us at the United Nations - in finding and implementing comprehensive solutions to the great health challenges of our time," the Secretary-General said in an address to some 2,000 members of the Swiss business community. Mr. Annan arrived this morning in Zurich from Jordan, where he attended the Arab League Summit [...] Increased involvement in health care was only one of the recommendations the Secretary-General made to the business group. He also suggested that corporations support UN efforts to gain adherents to the Organization's Global Compact - an initiative to encourage business and labour to respect standards relating to the environment, employment laws and human rights - and work with governments to reduce the risks and costs of investing in developing countries. ”

From: UN News Centre

29 Mar 2001
Crossing the Great Divide

UNESCO is implementing a programme to address the digital divide through its Community Multimedia centres to provide local communities with information in a wide range of social, economic and cultural areas. The centres can integrate radio, ICTs and public libraries into a single facility or can link within a network. ”

From: UNESCO's WebWorld (Libraries Portal)

28 Mar 2001
The SG's Report: Africa

Colonial rule bequeathed to Africa not only arbitrary boundaries which contributed to conflicts between states and made national unity within states more difficult, but it also left a legacy of authoritarian governance. In far too many African countries, the leaders of the newly independent states pursued a heavy centralization of political and economic power and suppressed political pluralism. This, the Secretary-General observes, "often led to corruption, nepotism, complacency and the abuse of power." In many countries, a "winner-takes-all" form of political power has raised the stakes of political control to dangerously high levels. In states that are multi-ethnic, as are most in Africa, such competition can lead to a violent politicization of ethnicity. ”

From: From "The Secretary-General's Report to the UN Security Council": Africa Recovery

27 Mar 2001
Annan: Peace Education is Fundamental

Education for peace is a fundamental part of achieving decent, just and peaceful relations among diverse human groups -- an enterprise that requires constant renewal, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a speech this morning in New York. Addressing a briefing for experts dealing with the academic programme of the Costa Rica-based University for Peace, the Secretary-General said the world's record on education for peace had been weak. "In the next generation, we have a mission to stimulate large numbers of students on every continent to reflect seriously on human conflict, its causes and its consequences, and ways to prevent its deadly outcome," he said. ”

From: UN News Centre

26 Mar 2001
Afghan Cultural Heritage Crisis

The edict of the 26th of February 2001 to destroy pre-Islamic and Buddhist objects—including the world’s largest standing Buddha statue at Bamiyan—runs counter to all the basic principles of respect, tolerance and the wisdom upon which Islam is based, and is a breach of the Taliban pledge made in 1999 to Safeguard all Afghan Cultural Heritage. We plead with Taliban authorities to stop this irreversible assault on two millennia of Afghanistan’s artistic and cultural achievements, treasured not only as the spiritual birthright of Buddhists everywhere but also as a universal cultural heritage for people of all faiths and nationalities. ”

From: UNESCO's Afghan Crisis petition

23 Mar 2001
The Special Session on Children

In the last 10 years, we have seen remarkable progress for children - but not nearly enough. What we need now is action - action to achieve not only the commitments that were made a decade ago, but to launch nothing less than a second revolution in child survival - a revolution aimed not only at saving lives, but at imbuing those lives with dignity and worth, in a world based on equity - the world that my predecessor Jim Grant so dearly wished for, and to whose creation he devoted every waking hour... [T]the Special Session on Children has the potential to surpass the success of the original Children's Summit in terms of global attention and specific results. That is because the Special Session offers an unparalleled opportunity not only to assess the Summit goals through an end-decade review of progress from a global, regional and national perspective - but also to re-energise the international commitment to realising a global vision for children now and in the years to come. ”

From: UNICEF director Carol Bellamy's speech to the AMA National Leadership Conference

22 Mar 2001

In the early part of the twentieth century, the Nairobi River Basin had pristine waters, which were clean and potable at the source. Anthropogenic impacts began to be felt from the 1960s, and greatly increased from 1970s through to the 1990s. This was due to among others: population increase, urbanisation, industrial growth, increase in agriculture and use of agrochemicals, decreased vegetation cover, growth of large informal settlements along the rivers, poor maintenance of the municipal sewage disposal system and treatment of sewage. ”

From: UN Environment Programme's Nairobi River Project

21 Mar 2001
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

As technology brings the peoples of the world closer together and political barriers tumble, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance continue to ravage our societies. Horrors such as “ethnic cleansing” have emerged in recent years, while ideas of racial superiority have spread to new media like the internet. Even globalization carries risks that can lead to exclusion and increased inequality, very often along racial and ethnic lines. As racial discrimination and ethnic violence grow in complexity, they become more of a challenge for the international community. As a result, new tools to deal with racism are called for. “This World Conference has the potential to be among the most significant gatherings at the start of this century,” the Secretary-General of the Conference and High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, stated. “It can be more: it can shape and embody the spirit of the new century, based on the shared conviction that we are all members of one human family.” ”

From: World Conference Against Racism

20 Mar 2001
Shaping the Future

The final six months of the High Commissioner's term - which she said would be "very demanding" - will culminate in the World Conference on Racism, scheduled for this September in Durban, South Africa. That conference, she said, would allow the international community to address fundamental issues that have divided people in the past, and help shape the future of a global village. "However uncomfortable the challenge, we must respond to it constructively or future generations will not look kindly on us." ”

From: UN News Centre

19 Mar 2001
Work for the Ozone Layer

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched a web portal to help implement a key environmental treaty on protecting the ozone layer. "It is the first business-to-business web portal to support compliance with a multilateral environmental agreement," said Gary Taylor, Co-Chair of UNEP's Halons Technical Options Committee. The new portal - The Online Halon Trader - will facilitate the international exchange of "banked" halons and reduce the use of newly-produced halons that damage the ozone layer, the agency said today in a statement issued in Paris. Halons - man-made brominated hydrocarbons that act as very effective fire extinguishants - are 3 to 10 times more deadly in depleting the ozone layer as compared to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). They are controlled under the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which sets out the time schedule for freeze and reduction of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) or "controlled substances." Developed countries eliminated halon consumption by 1994, while developing countries have until 2010 to do so, UNEP said. A halon bank is the total quantity of halon existing at a given moment in a facility, organization, country or region - in fire protection systems, fire extinguishers, and in storage. A major goal of such a bank is to avoid demand for virgin halons by re-deploying ones from decommissioned systems or non-essential applications to essential uses, the agency said. ”

From: UN News Centre

16 Mar 2001
Teaching about Refugees

Virtually every country on the planet has given asylum to refugees, and they can shed light on politics, current events, environment, social services, social studies, and more. Some universities have a "Refugee Studies" curriculum, but the subject can be taught as early as in primary school. Refugee themes can help children understand fundamental issues in history, geography or education for citizenship; and they can bring an unexpectedly poignant and imaginative approach to teaching of language, literature or art. ”

From: UN High Commissioner for Refugees "For Teachers" section

15 Mar 2001
An Online Student Newspaper about Sustainability

The Sustainable Development Post gives students like you a chance to report on events and to voice your opinion. SD Post is an on-line newspaper for and by young people around the world. What does it mean to live in a sustainable world? What experiences can you share about projects or activities going on in your homes, schools, communities, or countries that are helping to promote sustainable communities? Sustainable Development can mean something different to each of us — we want to know what it means to you. ”

From: The World Bank's "Sustainable Development Post"

14 Mar 2001
Volunteers on the Move

The International Year of Volunteers (IYV) is about people that give their time and energy to others in need. To highlight these selfless acts of kindness, each month volunteers on the move will feature a new volunteer and some of the work they do. If you would like to see your photo and story here, just send Team IYV one of your volunteer action photos and short paragraph about volunteerism in your life or a particular volunteer experience. Try to keep the text under 500 words or one page of typed text. Pictures should be sent digitally as tif, jpg or gif formats. Please understand that given our limited resources and the number of submissions, we cannot post all submissions. ”

From: International Year of Volunteers -- Volunteers on the Move

13 Mar 2001
'Your plight is not forgotten'

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today told a group of Afghan refugees in northern Pakistan that their plight was not forgotten and that the international community was determined to help the Afghan population both within and outside their country. "I want to let you know that you are not without friends," Mr. Annan said during a visit to Shamshatoo Refugee Camp, which has served as the temporary home to some 70,000 Afghan refugees. "And what I want to tell you is that we are going to do our best -- and we are doing our best -- to get as much assistance to you as possible." Referring to his talks yesterday with Chief Executive General Musharaff, the Secretary-General said there was an agreement that the UN would work with the Government of Pakistan to assist the refugees here, and at the same time to assist those who are displaced in Afghanistan. Noting that over the past years Pakistan has received millions of Afghan refugees, he expressed gratitude to the Government and the people of Pakistan for their hospitality and kindness. ”

From: UN News Centre

12 Mar 2001
Racism & Gender

The upcoming World Conference on Racism (September 2001 in Durban, South Africa) and the CSW deliberations on this topic have the potential to make headway on the insidious and intersecting implications of racism and discrimination on the basis of gender. Last year the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination passed a recommendation on the gender related dimension of racial discrimination (General Recommendation 25), calling for a more systematic and consistent approach to evaluating and monitoring racial discrimination against women. This is an important step forward - and yet another tool of accountability. We have, however, a long way to go, particularly in addressing the way discrimination and intolerance on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender exacerbate conflict and violence, with pernicious and specific effects for women and girls. ”

From: Women's Day Message from UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer

9 Mar 2001
Passport to Equality

As of March 2001, 167 countries - more than two-thirds of the members of the United Nations - are party to the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The CEDAW, which was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly and entered into force on 3 September 1981, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. The UNESCO document "Passport to Equality" (printed in pamphlet form the size of a passport) reproduces the full text of the CEDAW and is designed to promote the Convention to opinion leaders at the community level and familiarise all men and women with its content in order to use it when the rights of women are threatened or violated. The "Passport to Equality" is currently available in 19 languages and continues to be published and distributed through funding from the Government of the Netherlands and a generous donation from Begum Inaara Aga Khan. This week, UNESCO and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called on the world's media to name women journalists to positions of editorial responsibility in order to draw attention to theglass ceiling that continues to hamper women's access to top media decision-making positions. ”

From: UNESCO's WebWorld

8 Mar 2001
Indigenous Women's Human Rights

Promoting and protecting the human rights of indigenous and minority communities poses a dilemma for all those engaged in human rights activism. The need to respect collective rights that are critical to the existence of a community, particularly one that is under siege due to its specific identity, must be balanced with respect for principles of non-discrimination and the individual rights of all those who live within the communities. The duality, of collective versus individual rights, is especially pertinent for women's human rights activism. In some situations, for example, tradition and custom dictate a subordinate position for women or impose limitations on their legal capacity, mobility and right to choice in matters related to marriage and the family. This could obstruct any human rights activism that seeks to advance women's dignity and integrity. In addition, where indigenous communities are being marginalized and/or persecuted, indigenous women can be targeted by the authorities in gender-specific ways, including, for example, being subjected to sexual harassment or assault. Further, women, as the primary carers in their communities, bear the brunt of the social and economic upheavals arising out of conflicts with the modernizing mainstream. ”

From: Women's Human Rights Net -- Issues

7 Mar 2001
Ethnic Conflicts and Women

Ethnic identity has been the rallying call of many of the bloodiest armed conflicts of the past decade, such as Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo. Lori Handrahan, a human rights and gender expert recently completed research in Kyrgyzstan, which shows that this confrontational experience of ethnicity is peculiar to men. Women put gender before ethnicity, and can thus serve as an appeasing force in ethnic conflicts. ”

From: WomenWatch News from UN Radio

6 Mar 2001
The Gender Gap Is Closing

The gender gap in enrolment in primary and secondary levels of schooling is closing. Enrolment has improved more for girls than for boys in regions where girls' enrolment was significantly lower than boys'—in Northern Africa, sub-Saharan Africa (excluding Southern Africa), Southern Asia and Western Asia. In South America and the Caribbean, enrolment ratios for girls and boys, which were at the same level in the past, improved more for girls than for boys, resulting in a gender gap now in favour of girls. In Eastern Asia, with slightly improved enrolment ratios for girls and declining ratios for boys, there are now more girls than boys enrolled. In Southern Africa, the gender gap in favour of girls in the past still exists but has narrowed because of a much larger improvement in boys' enrolment. ”

From: Overview of the United Nations Statistics Division's "The World's Women 2000: Trends and Statistics"

5 Mar 2001
The Difference Women Make

A new book released by the UN Development Fund for Women reveals that while political negotiations on peace and security remain an almost entirely male domain, women in all regions are challenging their exclusion and lobbying for an equal place at the peace table. In Women at the Peace Table: Making a Difference, a series of interviews with women leaders finds that women who do participate in peace talks make substantial contributions to the process. Available online using Adobe Acrobat Reader. ”

From: UNIFEM Publications (The United Nations Development Fund for Women)

2 Mar 2001
Progress of the World's Women

This new economic report investigates women's status in the context of globalization from the mid-1980s through the late 1990s. The report shows that only eight nations have successfully met global agreements to achieve both gender equality in secondary education enrollment and at least a 30 percent share of women's seats in parliament. In French, Spanish, and English, and available online using Adobe Acrobat Reader. ”

From: UNIFEM (The United Nations Development Fund for Women)

1 Mar 2001
Women and Peace

On 8 March 2001, UNIFEM and International Alert will launch the Millennium Peace Prize for Women. The award is the first of its kind to specifically honor the vital role that women play in peace-building and the indispensable contributions they have made to resolving and preventing conflicts. ”

From: UNIFEM Home Page (The United Nations Development Fund for Women)

28 Feb 2001
UN News Centre

For frequently updated breaking news from the United Nations, investigate the UN News Centre. Read statements by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, find out what's happening on UN Peacekeeping Missions around the world, or investigate current affairs in United Nations Member States. Talk about world affairs with your friends, colleagues, and classmates. ”

From: UN News Centre

27 Feb 2001
Information literacy?

Information literacy has never been taught systematically in Britain, although I believe that it is included in the new school curriculum in South Africa. Presumably, it is assumed that it is a natural skill, picked up by everyone as they go along. Or it is expected that comes as a natural by product of modern learning methods in schools, colleges and universities; methods such as group learning, project work and learning by discovery. When the (UK) Library Association proposed that information literacy should be a compulsory subject in the National Curriculum, which was being debated in parliament, it was turned down on the grounds of that it was not a 'proper subject' like mathematics or English. Perhaps we should now be arguing for an 'Information Literacy Hour' to be introduced for all children to follow the 'Literacy Hour' and the 'Numeracy Hour'. ”

From: UNESCO's "Points of View" archive

26 Feb 2001
Quality of life in the digital age

Will the quality of work and life improve? The networking economy offers genuine potential for striking a better balance between work and family responsibilities, or work and leisure. Work itself has become more rewarding for many in its pay and in its content. The creation and use of knowledge on the job can be inherently more satisfying than the monotony of narrow tasks performed under strict supervision. The independence of work from its location can be liberating not only in spatial terms, but also in the ability to schedule work when desired. The increasing knowledge content of work should favour the equality of women and men in the workforce. Intelligence and creativity are also homogeneously distributed between industrialized and developing countries, or between people with and without physical disabilities. The digital era's potential to improve the quality of work and life is clearly real. But it is not a given. ”

From: The International Labor Organization (ILO)'s "World Employment Report 2001: Life at Work in the Information Economy

23 Feb 2001
Successful Peacekeeping in the Congo

Highlighting the importance of the last five weeks of calm along confrontation lines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Secretary-General Kofi Annan today told a meeting of the Security Council that it was time for the parties to move ahead with the disengagement of forces. The Secretary-General's call was made at the opening of a two-day meeting of the Council on the situation in the DRC, which is being attended by the members of the Political Committee for the implementation of the Lusaka Agreement of July/August 1999. "The world has been waiting for the parties to this conflict - the parties that signed the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement - to prove their determination to end the fighting and lay the foundations for peace and recovery," he said. ”

From: UN News Centre

22 Feb 2001
World Heritage Site in Danger

The Chairperson of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, Peter King (Australia), has called for international assistance in clean-up operations to help overcome the pollution caused by the oil spill of the Jessica merchant vessel which capsized in waters near San Cristobal in the Galapagos, listed as a World Heritage Site. Echoing an appeal made by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura on January 22 for international co-operation to help save the archipelago’s unique flora and fauna, Mr King also urged the Galapagos National Park Service to improve its capacity to regulate shipping traffic in the Archipelago to prevent similar incidents from recurring in the future. ”

From: UNESCO's INPAKU (Global Heritage Pavilion) Press Centre

21 Feb 2001
East African Media and HIV

The handbook entitled "MEDIA & HIV/AIDS in East and Southern Africa: A resource book" , published by UNESCO's Communication Division in October 2000 in paper form, is now on-line at Webworld. The publication, prepared under the project "Preventive Information based on Investigative Journalism and HIV/AIDS in East and Southern Africa" provides practical guidelines for media practitioners. It also proposes a strategy for a more effective use of the media to tackle the challenges of HIV/AIDS in the region. "We hope that the publication will stimulate efforts to integrate preventive information of HIV/AIDS in the regular fare of mass media in African Countries", says Kwame Boafo, the editor of the publication. ”

From: UNESCO's WebWorld News

19 Feb 2001
The World Conference Against Racism

High Commissioner Mary Robinson, who is also the Secretary-General of the World Conference, will emphasize in her opening statement in Tehran that no region can claim to be free from racism, and that problems of xenophobia and intolerance must be recognized and addressed. She will draw attention to migration and human trafficking, which have direct links to racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, calling call for improved cooperation to combat racism and racial discrimination. ”

From: UN News Centre

16 Feb 2001
Globalization: Working for All?

My friends, the simple fact of the matter is this: if we cannot make globalization work for all, in the end it will work for none. The unequal distribution of benefits, and the imbalances in global rule-making, which characterize globalization today, inevitably will produce backlash and protectionism. And that, in turn, threatens to undermine and ultimately to unravel the open world economy that has been so painstakingly constructed over the course of the past half-century. ”

From: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 28 January 2001

15 Feb 2001
UNEP's Environment Network

For authoritative environmental information from a broad range of information and data providers, committed to making their information freely available to the whole spectrum of users of environmental information. Natural and regional environmental profiles are available, as well as an atlas of protected areas throughout the world. ”

From: United Nations Environmment Programme's UNEP.Net Environment Network

14 Feb 2001
Palestinian Economic Woes

Since the onset of the most recent crisis in the Middle East, the Palestinian economy has suffered losses of $1.15 billion, according to a United Nations report released today in Gaza. Presented by UN Special Coordinator Terje Roed-Larsen, the report estimates that each day, the Palestinian economy is losing $8.6 million as a result of the continuing conflict and closure policy. Additional losses of hundreds of millions of dollars are being incurred as a result of damage to infrastructure, the cost of caring for over 11,000 injured Palestinians, fiscal losses and other factors. The Special Coordinator's report highlights World Bank statistics which find that 32 per cent of the population is now living in poverty -- a 50 per cent increase since the onset of the crisis. Mr. Roed-Larsen said that for hundred of thousands of Palestinians, hopes for peace had been replaced by anger and uncertainty about their future. Pointing out that this contributed to instability and violence, he emphasized that "security cannot be built on uncertainty; peace cannot be built on anger." ”

From: United Nations News Centre

13 Feb 2001
Tech Access, Developing Countries

The WTO is organizing through its Committee on Trade and Development, on 14 February 2001, a seminar on “Trade, Technology and Development” aimed at identifying opportunities and challenges faced by developing countries in relation to technology access in the context of the WTO. Experts from the WTO and other agencies, academics, donor and WTO representatives will help identify policy options and choices, as well as types of support and assistance available to developing countries. ”

From: WTO News

12 Feb 2001
The Importance of Microcredit

Loans as small as $100 let microentrepreneurs improve their lives with dignity. Micro-loans and training provide the support these people need to pull themselves out of poverty to make enough money to feed a family, send a child to school instead of to work, or employ a neighbor. ACCION's clientele include cobblers, street vendors, seamstresses and taxi drivers who traditionally are considered "bad credit risks" by commercial banks. To date, 98% of our loans have been repaid. ACCION's goal is to make access to credit a permanent resource for the poor worldwide. At the heart of this vision is the recognition that micro-credit must be financially sustainable, not perennially dependent on donations or government aid. There will never be enough donor funds to reach even a fraction of the world's three billion poor people. For this reason, ACCION programs are designed to become financially self-sufficient within three to ten years. ”

From: NetAid: What Works

9 Feb 2001
Deforestation is Slowing

The global rate of forest loss has slowed to nine million hectares per year, according to the latest global forest assessment by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Rome based agency has carried out global forest assessments for 50 years. Its latest study shows a rate of forest loss 20 per cent lower than the last global figure reported in 1995. Forests are disappearing most rapidly in Africa and Latin America while in Asia, the reduction of natural forests is largely compensated by new plantation forests. In Europe and North America the forest area is increasing, the survey shows. Overall, the world contains around 6,000 square meters of forest per person. The figure is falling by 12 square meters every year. ”

From: Small Island Developing States Network, under "Biodiversity Highlights"

8 Feb 2001
News on Global Warming

Global warming may be set to accelerate as rising temperatures in the Arctic melt the frozen subsurface soil - known as permafrost - causing it to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned today. "Permafrost has acted as a carbon sink, locking away carbon and other greenhouse gases like methane, for thousands of year," Svein Tveitdal, Managing Director of a UNEP environmental information centre in Norway told a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, today. "But there is now evidence that this is no longer the case, and the permafrost in some areas is starting to give back its carbon. This could accelerate the greenhouse effect." Mr. Tveitdal, who manages the Global Resource Information Database (GRID) in Arendal, Norway, said there were already impacts on roads, buildings, pipelines and other infrastructure occurring in Arctic areas like Alaska and Siberia as a result of the recent decades of climate change. ”

From: UN News Centre

7 Feb 2001
What's so Special about the Special Session on Children?

In September 2001 United Nations General Assembly will meet to explore ways of improving the rights of children and young people worldwide. One of the expected outcomes of this Special Session on Children (SSOC) is expanding ways for young people to participate and make a difference in their communities. Ask your government about getting involved in the planning process for the SSOC. Then share your experiences with others worldwide in the Take Action discussion here at Voices of Youth. The Special Session is an important follow-up to the 1990 World Summit for Children where world leaders agreed on specific goals to improve the lives of children. Those goals included: increasing access to health services for women and children; reducing the spread of preventable diseases; creating more opportunities for education; providing clean water and better waste disposal; improving the food supply; and protecting children and young people from abuse, exploitation and other dangers. ”

From: UNICEF's Special Session page on Voices of Youth

6 Feb 2001
Building Peace after War

"Peace-building is about the resumption of economic activity, the rejuvenation of institutions, the restoration of basic services, the reconstruction of clinics and schools, the revamping of public administration and the resolution of differences through dialogue, not violence," said Secretary-General Kofi Annan, opening this morning's debate. The Secretary-General urged the Council to view peace-building not only as a tool to be brought in after the guns have been silenced but also as "a preventive instrument, which can address the underlying, root causes of conflict and which can also be used before the actual outbreak of war." He pointed out that a society on the brink of conflict was as much in need of stability as one where disaster has already struck. "The problem," he said, "is that we don't practice prevention as often as we could or should." ”

From: UN News Centre

5 Feb 2001
Culture and the Digital Divide

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura spoke of the importance of education and of respecting cultural diversity in seeking to bridge the digital divide at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland) today. In an address at a Special Session on the Global Digital Divide Initiative, Mr Matsuura described bridging the digital divide as “one of the central challenges of our time […] in order to build knowledge societies.” Highlighting UNESCO’s human concerns in its work in education, the sciences, culture and communication, the Director-General cautioned: “If the knowledge societies are ever to take proper root and gain global acceptance, we must look beyond the technical and gadget appeal of ICTs [information and communication technologies] and home in on the human dimensions of the digital divide: cultural and linguistic diversity of contents, empowerment of civil society, privacy and ethical issues, and access, especially by safeguarding the public domain.” ”

From: UNESCO's WebWorld

2 Feb 2001
Lessons Learned

Increased education for women is not only a matter of justice, but would yield exceptional returns in terms of world food security. A World Bank study concluded that if women received the same amount of education as men, farm yields would rise by between 7 and 22 percent. Increasing women's primary schooling alone could increase agricultural output by 24 percent. Yet, in precisely those regions where hunger and malnutrition are most widepread, girls' access to education remains severely limited. In South Asia, the level of school attendance by girls amounts to only 60 percent of that of boys, while in Africa the figures stands at 68 percent. ”

From: The FAO's "Gender and food security" webpage

1 Feb 2001
UNESCO's Photobank Online

PHOTOBANK is a selection of UNESCO's collection of photographs and slides made available online to professionals and to the public at large. The collection --covering a wide range of subjects related to the Organization's fields of competence: education, science, culture and communication-- was started in 1946 when UNESCO was founded and currently contains over 10,000 digitalized images. More will become available as the rest of the collection is digitalized and further developed so as to ensure a more equitable balance of subjects and countries. The selection of images presented here includes historical material gathered throughout the years and more recent images produced in connection with UNESCO diverse programmes and activities worldwide, but does not aspire to be accurately representative of the regions and countries included nor to express any opinions on the political, social, economic or cultural status of the subjects involved. ”

From: UNESCO Photobank, also available in French

31 Jan 2001
The Earthquake in India

UN organizations in India are mobilizing rapid relief measures for areas of Gujarat devastated by the severe earthquake in coordination with Indian authorities and NGO partners. UNDP is playing a key role in facilitating the coordinated UN response through the UN Disaster Management Team in India, and UNDP's Emergency Response Division has released initial funding to support this effort. UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown has sent a message to Prime Minister Vajpayee expressing his sympathy over the tragic loss of life and severe damage. [...] Visit the UN Disaster Management Team – India website.”

From: United Nations Development Programme

30 Jan 2001
Better Lives for Women

Specifically, UNIFEM is working vigorously to support implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (PFA) agenda - a comprehensive action plan aimed at enhancing women's empowerment, improving women's health, advancing women's education and training, promoting women's marital and sexual rights, and ending gender-based violence.”

From: UNDP's "About UNIFEM"

29 Jan 2001
Do the Identity Puzzle

What if your country didn't know you existed? How could it take care of you? Being registered at birth is a human right -- it's part of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. But many children all over the world are not registered, so they do not "officially" exist. It's as if they are invisible. Having a birth certificate is the key to all the services and protections that children have a right to. Explore this PUZZLE site to learn about the important issue of birth registration. If you know about major issues like this one, maybe one day you'll be able to work on them. ”

From: UNICEF's Identity Puzzle

26 Jan 2001
Preserving a History of Slavery

A UNESCO website presenting its Slave Trade Archives Project, which was established within the framework of its "Memory of the World" Programme, is now online. Funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the project is concerned with the access to and preservation of original archive materials relating to the transatlantic slave trade. The project takes place within the context of UNESCO’s "Slave Route" Project which examines slave trade and its economic and political impact. As a basis for further studies and as part of the world common bondage of history, slave trade original records are elements of great importance and must be ensured adequate preservation and improved access. ”

From: UNESCO's WebWorld

25 Jan 2001
A Special Session on Children

The Special Session on Children is an unprecedented meeting of the UN General Assembly dedicated to the children and adolescents of the world. It will bring together government leaders and Heads of State, NGOs, children's advocates and young people themselves from 19-21 September, 2001 at the United Nations in New York City. ”

From: The UN's Special Session on Children

24 Jan 2001
What is Sustainable Development?

How do we decide whose needs are met? Poor or rich people? Citizens or immigrants? People living in cities or in the countryside? People in one country or another? You or your neighbor? The environment or the corporation? This generation or the next generation? When there has to be a trade off, whose needs should go first? ”

From: The World Bank's Development Education Program

23 Jan 2001
Meeting Adolescents' Needs

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) defines a child as every human being up to the age of 18 years. This reminds us that, despite adolescents’ changing expectations, roles and responsibilities, and despite their evolving capacities and independence as they move beyond the family, they remain dependent on adults to meet many of their rights to development, including their rights to health, education, livelihoods, protection and participation. ”

From: UNICEF's Adolescent Development Protection and Participation

22 Jan 2001
What the Secretary-General is Doing Today

For a glimpse into the everyday life of United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, visit the webpage of the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General. Find out with whom the SG is meeting and where. ”

From: Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

19 Jan 2001
Making a Difference

Each and every one of us can make a difference... You can share your nowledge. If you have access to the Internet and you know how to log on you can bring them along and educate them and show them how it is done. There are many ways to educate. ”

From: Press encounter after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan received an Honorary Degree at University of Ghana, 3 August 2000 (unofficial transcript)

18 Jan 2001
Earthquake Aid and the UN

UNDP has received a contribution of $700,000 from the Government of Italy to support rehabilitation and reconstruction work in El Salvador following the devastating earthquake on 13 January. The contribution is part of $1.2 million being channeled through UNDP to assist the Government of El Salvador in meeting the crisis. Ten United Nations Volunteers are also assisting relief operations. ”

From: UNDP's Newsfront

17 Jan 2001
UN Exhibits

DPI is in charge of all exhibits in the Visitors' Lobby (or GA Public Lobby). It also coordinates exhibits in the 1B Neck area along with the Office of Special Services. This area is used very often for small displays targeted at NGOs, delegates and conference attendees, and it is not open to the general public. The exhibit area by the staff cafeteria in the Secretariat Lobby is under the domain of the Staff Recreation Council. Exhibits on the first floor which are open to the general public normally require scheduling and review by the Exhibits Committee six months in advance. These exhibits should relate to a UN theme and must be sponsored or co-sponsored by a UN agency or department. Exhibits by one artist, one photographer or one country will normally not be accepted for the Public Lobby, although exceptions can be made under special circumstances. Even those exhibits which are organized by a Mission to the UN must first seek co-sponsorship with a UN body. ”

From: An information guide for the public about the United Nations

15 Jan 2001
UN Scholarships?

The United Nations offers no general scholarship or student exchange programme. However, the UNESCO publication indicated below contains information on study, travel and work in Member countries. Study Abroad, 2000+: The UNESCO international guide to higher-education study opportunities and scholarships offered by universities, specialized schools and international organizations in 124 countries. It includes 2.950 entries on courses and scholarships on all higher-education academic and professional disciplines, addresses (including Internet sites), admission requirements, application deadlines, financial aid, fees and living expenses in each country and, in some cases, work opportunities for students. The information is valid for the years 2000 and 2001. Entries are presented in English, French or Spanish according to the language of the country concerned. Price: 120FF; ISBN 92 3 003606-4 This publication is available for consultation in many public libraries. ”

From: An information guide for the public about the United Nations

12 Jan 2001
United States, United Nations

Hailing the recent positive changes in the relations between the United Nations and the United States, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stressed the vital importance of America's global engagement for the UN efforts to promote economic development and international peace. In an address to the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA), the largest international affairs non-profit organization in the US, Mr. Annan said it was crucial that that Americans of all ages - but particularly the young - "understand how important the United States is to the future of the United Nations, and how important multilateral cooperation and the UN are to the future of the United States.

From: UNESCO's WebWorld: Memory of the World Programme

11 Jan 2001
Keeping the World Alive

Documentary heritage reflects the diversity of languages, peoples and cultures. It is the mirror of the world and its memory. But this memory is fragile. Every day, irreplaceable parts of this memory disappear for ever. UNESCO has launched the Memory of the World Programme to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination.

From: UNESCO's WebWorld: Memory of the World Programme

4 Jan 2001
Helping Refugees

Taking up his duties as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ruud Lubbers today pledged to work towards making the agency more efficient and responsive in helping the 22 million people around the world who have fled their homes across borders. Speaking on his arrival at the agency's Geneva headquarters, Mr. Lubbers pointed to UNHCR's "proud record" of serving refugees and paid tribute to his predecessor, Sadako Ogata of Japan, who had led the agency over the past decade. Referring to UNHCR's dependence on donor funding, the former Dutch Prime Minister emphasized the need for adequate support: "We need financial resources - the cause of refugees deserves financial resources." This cause would be even more credible, Mr. Lubbers stressed, if the agency demonstrated "a minimum of bureaucracy and a maximum of flexibility; a minimum of hierarchy and a maximum of accountability and transparency." UNHCR is currently marking its fiftieth anniversary, a milestone that Mr. Lubbers said was rightly aimed at promoting respect for the individual and collective accomplishments of the world's refugees. The new High Commissioner said he was looking forward to working with UNHCR's 5,000 staff members in 120 countries, and expressed hope that "all of you around the globe will help me." The Netherlands' longest-serving post-war premier from 1982 to 1994, Mr. Lubbers was elected as High Commissioner by the UN General Assembly in October 2000, following his nomination by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

From: UN News Centre

3 Jan 2001
Justice for All

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has expressed his satisfaction that so many countries -- including the United States - decided to sign the Statute of the International Criminal Court before the 31 December 2000 deadline, calling it a positive signal for future efforts to bring war criminals to justice. A statement issued by Mr. Annan's spokesman on 1 January said that the Secretary-General viewed the signing as a "promising demonstration of the breadth of support for this new international institution, which can help to end the culture of impunity and make the 21st century qualitatively different from the 20th." The spokesman said Mr. Annan paid particular tribute to the endorsement by the United States. Pointing to the "difficulties" that President Bill Clinton faced in reaching this decision, the Secretary-General warmly congratulated the US President on his "courage and far-sightedness" in overcoming them. "The Governments that have made this enlightened move clearly understand that the Court represents no threat to States with an organized criminal justice system," the statement said. "On the contrary, it is designed only to protect those most vulnerable people whose own Government, if they have one, is unable or unwilling to prosecute those who violate their most fundamental human rights." With the Statute being so far ratified by 27 States, Mr. Annan expressed hope that many other countries would follow suit soon to reach the minimum of 60 ratifications needed for the Court to begin functioning. Although the Statute is no longer open for signature, countries that have not signed it can make the Statute law through a process known as accession, which is the legal equivalent of ratification. The Court, to be located at The Hague, will constitute the only permanent international judicial body with jurisdiction over crimes committed by individuals. Its 13-part Statute gives the Court the authority to investigate and bring to justice individuals who commit the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

From: The UN News Centre

1 Jan 2001
2001: Dialogue Among Civilizations

With 2001 proclaimed as the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations, the General Assembly has invited governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to continue planning and organizing cultural, educational and social programmes to promote the concept of dialogue among civilizations, including by organizing conferences and seminars and disseminating information and scholarly material (resolution 54/113 of 10 December 1999). Governments should encourage all members of society to participate in promoting such dialogue and provide them with an opportunity to contribute to the Year. The Assembly proclaimed the Year by resolution 53/22 of 4 November 1998.

From: UN Conferences & Observances, Department of Public Information

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