The 2021 Peacekeeping Ministerial has started today in Seoul. 
In a pre-recorded video message, the Secretary-General said that the past seven years have seen a notable increase in support to strengthen UN peacekeeping. 
He said we have been able to deploy new military and police capabilities more quickly, and to include more women peacekeepers, police and civilians in our operations.   
However, the Secretary-General added, as conflicts grow more complex and prolonged, peacekeeping has never been more relevant and its success more urgent. But, he said, we still face significant gaps in our missions.  
Mr. Guterres welcomed the key themes of discussions for this meeting, which is organized by the Republic of Korea, including medical capacity building, technology, and increasing the number and role of women peacekeepers.
He urged Member States to redouble their support for UN Peacekeeping to succeed. 

The Secretary-General spoke by video message to the opening of the 16th Internet Governance Forum, which is taking place in Katowice, Poland.  
He said that digital technology has saved lives by enabling millions of people to work, study and socialize safely online. However, the pandemic has also magnified the digital divide, and the dark side of technology: the lightning-fast spread of misinformation; the manipulation of people’s behaviour; and more.   
The Secretary-General underscored that the only way to address these challenges is with strengthened cooperation:  by establishing clear rules to safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms; by regaining control over our data; by countering disinformation and hate speech; and by connecting everyone to the Internet by 2030.  

The Secretary-General also spoke by pre-recorded video message to the inaugural Global Forum for Children and Youth, which is being virtually convened by UNICEF. 
He said that, with conflicts, climate change, hunger, inequalities, and COVID-19 taking their toll on children, now is the time to reignite hope. 
The Secretary-General called for solidarity and action to reset our world for children and young people.  

The Secretary-General spoke by video message to the Nutrition for Growth Summit being held in Tokyo. 
The Secretary-General noted that hunger is still on the rise, with nearly 1 in 10 people in the world being severely food-insecure due to conflict, climate disruption and poverty. 
He voiced the hope that the Nutrition for Growth Summit will push for better nutrition policies and programmes and attract new commitments to strengthen food systems 

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, is urging the Government of Ethiopia to promptly sign onto an agreement with the United Nations to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence.  
Ms. Patten noted that extreme brutality and sexual violence have been the hallmarks of the conflict in Tigray.  
She expressed deep concern over the continuing reports of targeted attacks against women, girls, boys, and men in Tigray, Afar and Amhara. This includes the systematic use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, a form of retaliation, punishment, humiliation, and stigmatizing people based on their real or perceived ethnic identity. 
She reiterated her urgent call to all parties to the conflict to immediately cease every form of sexual violence and end hostilities to pave the way for an inclusive and gender-responsive ceasefire and peacebuilding efforts.

In South Sudan, the Humanitarian Coordinator, Matthew Hollingworth, has strongly condemned the violence in Leer, in Unity State. Clashes have resulted in many civilians being killed or injured, and aid supplies were also looted. 
Mr. Hollingworth called on the authorities to make every effort to protect communities, as well as aid workers and supplies, across the country.  
During clashes that lasted for several days last week, a humanitarian worker - employed by a non-governmental organization focusing on nutrition - was killed during the violence. 
Humanitarian colleagues say that the number of violent incidents carried out by young men across South Sudan has increased since March of this year. 
Mr. Hollingworth said that violence has no place in a country determined to move forward on a path to peace. 

The UN Environment Programme today announced this year’s Champions of the Earth. The award is given to people that inspire, defend, mobilize and act to tackle the greatest environmental challenges of our time, including protecting ecosystem and restoraing them. 
This year the winners include Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados; the Sea Women of Melanesia who train local women to monitor and assess the impacts of widespread coral bleaching; Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, who was the first-ever wildlife veterinarian – I cannot pronounce that word, the doctor that treats animals -  of the Uganda Wildlife Authority; and Maria Kolesnikova of the Kyrgyz Republic, an environmental activist, youth advocate and head of MoveGreen, an organization working to monitor and improve air quality in the [central] Asia region. We congratulate all of these worthy winners.

A new report by the FAO says that the land we use to grow our food is contaminated with large quantities of plastic pollution. Asia is estimated to be the largest user of plastics in agricultural production. FAO says that while most scientific research on plastics pollution has been directed at aquatic ecosystems, especially oceans, experts found that agricultural soils are thought to receive far greater quantities of microplastics. The agency calls for further research into this matter.   

Today is the International Day for Civil Aviation. In his message, the Secretary-General says that the pandemic continues to put deep stresses on international aviation, even as increased vaccination rates and testing protocols make air travel possible again.
Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will participate in an event organized by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. And that is their High-level Pledging Event for the Central Emergency Response Fund.  
The event – which marks the CERF’s 15th anniversary – seeks to galvanize greater financial commitments to ensure that the Fund remains fit to respond to the increasing levels and complexities of global humanitarian needs.  
Established in 2006, the CERF has allocated more than US$7.5 billion to provide assistance for millions of people in more than 110 countries and territories.  
Since the Fund was established, global funding needs through humanitarian appeals have increased more than sevenfold – from $5.2 billion in 2006 to [assist] 32 million people to $41 billion in 2022 to help 183 million people in need.