Archived Recent Additions (October-December 2009)
In 2009, Arctic ice was melting faster than ever before. Amid many other crises – food, energy, recession and pandemic flu – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the world to take on these challenges together. This video highlights key events from 2009 - and how the United Nations and the international community took action.
After a global recession pushed millions into poverty and raised fears that the traditional system of checks and balances might fail to prevent another recession, the UN General Assembly faced a wide range of important issues during its 64th session, which recessed on 24 December. In his end-of-session press conference, the President of the General Assembly, Ali Abdussalam Treki of Libya, reviewed 2009, and looked forward to 2010.
In his message for the Day , Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Solidarity with people affected by poverty and oppression is one of the founding principles of the United Nations. Based on equality, inclusion and social justice, solidarity implies a mutual obligation among all members of society and across the global community”.
By resolution 58/220 of 23 December 2003, the General Assembly decided to declare 19 December, United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation. This was the date on which the General Assembly endorsed the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries.
In his message for the Day , Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said "On this tenth International Migrants Day, I encourage Governments to protect the human rights of migrants, to put human rights at the heart of migration policy, and to raise awareness of the positive contributions migrants make to the economic, social and cultural lives of their host countries".
UN Headquarters event on 11 December 2009 marking the second anniversary
of the bombing of the UN premises in Algiers
At the 11 December ceremony, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said "Our colleagues who died were working on the full spectrum of UN issues, from food security to human rights and industrial development. In every case, they were devoted to helping the people of Algeria to build better lives for themselves and their children. I salute them, as well as those who are continuing their work with dedication and professionalism."
Awareness of the importance of mountain ecosystems and communities has increased since the adoption of Chapter 13 of Agenda 21, entitled “Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development”. Commitment and will were strengthened during the International Year of Mountains in 2002, and mountains have gained an increasingly high profile on agendas at all levels.
Non-discrimination is the focus of Human Rights Day 2009. In his message for the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says “Discrimination targets individuals and groups that are vulnerable to attack: the disabled, women and girls, the poor, migrants, minorities, and all those who are perceived as different. ... But these victims of discrimination are not alone. The United Nations is standing with them, committed to defending the rights of all, and particularly the most vulnerable. That is our identity and our mission."
In his message for the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states “It is not only governments and financial institutions that need to do more to prevent corruption and strengthen integrity. Corruption affects us all. It weakens democratic institutions, undermines the rule of law and enables terrorists to finance their nefarious work. On this International Day, let us all do our part to strengthen integrity, play by the rules, and turn the tide against this global menace.”
In his message for the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states “Volunteerism is a source of community strength, resilience, solidarity and social cohesion. It can bring positive social change by fostering respect for diversity, equality and the participation of all. It is among society’s most vital assets..”
The Presidency of the Security Council during the month of November is held by Burkina Faso. The Presidency rotates monthly based on the list of Member States of the Security Council, in the English alphabetical order of their names.
In his message for the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says “Combating slavery means not only its direct prohibition by law but also fighting against poverty, illiteracy, economic and social disparities, gender discrimination and violence against women and children. We need to enforce laws against slavery; create mechanisms to combat such practices; reinforce bilateral, regional and international cooperation, including with non-governmental organizations that assist victims; and launch awareness raising campaigns.”
2010 will be a milestone for the Millennium Development Goals - encouraging high level review of what has, and has not, been accomplished in the aim to achieve access for all to essential care by 2010.The world’s current economic woes are forcing governments to make some painful decisions. World AIDS Day is an important opportunity to emphasise the critical need for universal access to essential care.
In his message for the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says “Our goal is clear: an end to these inexcusable crimes - whether it is the use of rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence, sex trafficking, so-called “honour” crimes or female genital mutilation/cutting. We must address the roots of this violence by eradicating discrimination and changing the mindsets that perpetuate it.”
The United Nations held the first World Television Forum 21-22 November 1996. At this event, leading media figures met under the auspices of the United Nations to discuss the growing significance of television in today's changing world and to consider how they might enhance their mutual cooperation. The General Assembly subsequently decided to proclaim 21 November as World Television Day - to commemorate the date on which the first World Television Forum was held.
In his 2009 message for Africa Industrialization Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states that "the African economy, like the rest of the world economy, continues to feel the impact of the global economic and financial crisis", but notes that to benefit from a recovery, "the continent must focus on industrialization as a critical engine of economic growth and development".
Universal Children's Day is observed as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the UN Charter and the welfare of children of the world. A report of the Secretary-General which followed the World Summit for Children stated "We were all children once. And we all share the desire for the well-being of our children, which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind."
30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the international human rights treaty that is exclusively devoted to gender equality. It was adopted on 18 December 1979 by the UN General Assembly, and is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.
In his message for the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon notes that "Tolerance does not mean indifference or a grudging acceptance of others. It is a way of life based on mutual understanding and respect for others, and on the belief that global diversity is to be embraced, not feared. The United Nations promotes tolerance on many fronts. It is part of our work for peace, conflict prevention, democratization and human rights."
Launched in 2008, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign is a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls in all parts of the world. UNiTE calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls.
Road traffic injuries remain a major public health problem and a leading cause of death, injury and disability around the world. Each year, nearly 1.3 million people die and between 20 million and 50 million more are injured as a result of road crashes. The First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety will be held in Moscow, 19-20 November 2009.
The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) has launched a Global Action Platform to End Violence against Women which will stimulate, count and showcase actions on ending violence against women. The innovative platform, which is in support of the Secretary-General's Campaign to End Violence Against Women, will spotlight global efforts and demonstrate the groundswell of support and actions on the issue.
Enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners,
in particular the private sector (Report of the Secretary-General)
Taking stock of current, system-wide efforts to enhance private-sector cooperation, the report concludes that the UN is “well-positioned to bring private sector engagement to the next level and significantly enhance its contribution to the goals of the Organization". The report issues a strong call for the continued caretaking of the UN-business relationship by the Global Compact Office.
International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the
Environment in War and Armed Conflict (6 November 2009)
In his message for the day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states "Because the environment and natural resources are crucial for building and consolidating peace, it is urgent that their protection in times of armed conflict be strengthened. There can be no durable peace if the natural resources that sustain livelihoods are damaged or destroyed."
The Presidency of the Security Council during the month of November is held by Austria. The Presidency rotates monthly based on the list of Member States of the Security Council, in the English alphabetical order of their names.
The World Survey on the Role of Women in Development is the flagship publication of the UN Division for the Advancement of Women. It is presented to the Second Committee of the General Assembly at five-yearly intervals. The theme for the World Survey in 2009 is “Women’s control over economic resources and access to financial resources, including microfinance".
The UN General Assembly instituted World Development Information Day in 1972 to draw the attention of world public opinion to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them. The Assembly felt improving the dissemination of information and the mobilization of public opinion, particularly among young people, would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development.
The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2009 is FAO’s tenth progress report on world hunger since the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS). This report highlights the fact that, even before the food crisis and the economic crisis, the number of hungry people had been increasing slowly but steadily. With the onset of these crises, however, the number of hungry people in the world increased sharply.
On 24 October 1945, the United Nations was formally established after a majority of its founding members ratified a treaty setting up the world body. This made 24 October the birthday of the United Nations. In 1971, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending that the day be observed as a public holiday by Member States. Traditionally, it has been marked throughout the world by meetings, discussions and exhibits on the goals and achievements of the Organization.
Rural women play a critical role in the rural economies of both developed and developing countries. In most parts of the developing world they participate in crop production and livestock care, provide food, water and fuel for their families, and engage in off-farm activities to diversify their families’ livelihoods. In addition, they carry out vital functions in caring for children, older persons and the sick.
In his message for the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states "We are at a critical juncture in the fight against poverty. Now is the time to amplify the voices of the vulnerable and ensure that the world follows up on its pledges. With the right investments and concrete action, we can build upon the gains, fulfill our commitments, and ensure that every man, woman and child has the opportunity to make the most of their potential."
In his message for the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on "Governments and all decision-makers, including town planners, to review hospital safety. Health facilities must be better prepared to respond to local hazards. They must be designed, built and maintained so they can better protect health workers and patients alike when disaster hits. The cost of making hospitals safe from disasters is relatively small. The most expensive hospital is the one that fails."
This year's Human Development Report, "Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development", argues that migrants boost economic output, at little or no cost to locals. And there may be broader positive effects, for instance when the availability of migrants for childcare allows resident mothers to work outside the home. The report states that as migrants acquire the language and other skills needed to move up the income ladder, many integrate quite naturally.
The United Nations chose the theme "Planning Our Urban Future" for World Habitat Day 2009, in order to raise awareness of the need to improve urban planning to deal with new major challenges of the 21st century. This is because urban settlements in all parts of the world are being influenced by new and powerful forces. In both developed and developing countries, cities and towns are increasingly feeling the effects of climate change, resource depletion, food insecurity, population growth and economic instability.
The International Day of Non-Violence is marked on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence. In his message for the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states "Gandhi understood that a powerful idea could change the world. He knew that individuals, working alone and together, could realize what others might dismiss as impossible dreams. Inspired by Gandhi’s life of non-violence, the United Nations today works to end violence."
The Presidency of the Security Council during the month of October is held by Viet Nam. The Presidency rotates monthly based on the list of Member States of the Security Council, in the English alphabetical order of their names.