UN Ocean Conference wraps up with actions to restore ocean health, protect marine life

Fishing boat in the Indian Ocean off the island of Mombasa. UN Photo/Milton Grant (file)

The first-ever United Nations summit on oceans today wrapped up with a global agreement to reverse the decline of the ocean’s health, and more than 1,300 pledged actions for protecting the blue.

“The bar has been raised on global consciousness and awareness of the problem in the oceans,” the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, told journalists in New York.

Mr. Thomson, whose native Fiji co-sponsored the event along with Sweden, said the organizers got what they wanted from the conference: “I’m 100 per cent satisfied with the results of this conference. Our aim was high. Our aim was to start the reversal of the cycle.” Continue reading

Winners of Multilingual Essay Contest to Present at United Nations General Assembly in July 2017

ELS Educational Services is pleased to announce that 60 students have been selected as winners of the 2017 Many Languages, One World® international essay contest. 2017 is the fourth year ELS Educational Services and the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) (https://academicimpact.un.org/. ) have sponsored Many Languages, One World. This year ELS and the UNAI also welcomes Northeastern University (northeastern.edu)  as the host of the Many Languages, One World Global Youth Forum and the sponsor and organizer of the Northeastern University Global Youth Symposium.

The event includes an all-expense-paid trip to Boston and New York City and the opportunity to speak in the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations. Students will present action plans related to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Continue reading


I thank the Governments of Fiji and Sweden for co-hosting this Conference, and I thank everybody who was involved in its preparation.

But a special word of gratitude to the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, for his determination and leadership all the way through that led to this conference.

We are here today to take decisive action to nurture and protect the lifeblood of our planet.

Oceans and seas cover two-thirds of our home. Maybe we should change its name from “Planet Earth” to “Planet Water.”

Oceans provide food, energy, water, jobs and economic benefits for people in every country – even those that are landlocked. They are a crucial buffer against climate change and a massive resource for sustainable development. The health of our oceans and seas is inextricably linked with the health of our planet and all life on earth. Continue reading

Surge in voluntary commitments for ocean action as Conference to halt ocean degradation set to open — More than 600 commitments received; countries agree to Call for Action

New York, 2 June—A surge in the number of voluntary commitments to take action to improve the health of the ocean by countries, businesses and civil society groups has been recorded, and more are expected as the Ocean Conference gets underway Monday, 5 June  at United Nations Headquarter in New York.

The commitments, now numbering over 600 and still increasing, come as heads of state and government and ministers will join ocean leaders, experts, businesses, and civil society organizations to discuss solutions that restore the health of the world’s ocean.  The commitments target a wide range of ocean problems, ranging from protecting coral reefs, strengthening sustainable fisheries, reducing plastic pollution, and addressing the impacts of climate change on the ocean. Continue reading


President Hamilton, [Andrew Hamilton, President, NYU]

Dean Henry, [Peter Henry, Dean, NYU Stern School of Business]

Professor Whelan, [Ms. Tensie Whelan, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business]

Dear friends,

I would like to thank everyone at New York University, and especially the Stern School of Business, for your warm welcome and your role in making today’s gathering possible.

Let me also thank all of you for being here to discuss the crucial challenge of climate change and how we must address it.

I can think of no better audience – this wonderful mix of scholars and scientists, students and activists, investors and entrepreneurs – the people who, together, are making climate action real.

And I can think of no better place to have this conversation than here at NYU and the Stern School, where you are dedicated to cultivating solutions and a new generation of leaders.

This notion of inter-generational responsibility is very much on my mind.

My grandfather was born in 1875.  He could not have imagined the world we live in today.

Now I have three grand-daughters of my own – the oldest is eight. I cannot imagine the world they will inhabit decades from now, when they will be my age.

But not knowing is no excuse for not acting to ensure that we do not undermine their future.

I want my grandchildren to inherit a healthy world, free of conflict and suffering — and a healthy planet, rooted in low-carbon sustainable solutions.

That is my wish for everyone, everywhere. To get there, we have our work cut out for us.

Allow me to be blunt. The world is in a mess.  Continue reading

The Secretary-General’s Statement on the first anniversary of the World Humanitarian Summit, 23 May 2017

 One year ago in Istanbul, Turkey, the World Humanitarian Summit rallied the global community together behind a vision to address the increasingly urgent and complex challenges that are driving humanitarian need and vulnerability around the world.

Today, the call to action set out in the Agenda for Humanity remains as urgent as ever.

Humanitarian crises are causing human suffering and displacement on an unprecedented scale. Brutal and violent conflicts take countless lives. Natural hazards and extreme weather compound poverty and structural inequalities, producing a vicious cycle of risk and fragility. These crises prevent us from making progress towards our shared goal of a peaceful and prosperous world for all. Continue reading

البيان الصحفي لخبير الأمم المتحدة المستقل المعني بحالة حقوق الإنسان في السودان، السيد أريستيد نونونسي،الخرطوم 21 مايو 2017

السيدات والسادة

     في ختام زيارتي الرابعة للسودان، بصفتي الخبير المستقل المعني بحالة حقوق الإنسان في السودان، فإنَّنِي أشعر بالفخر بأن أقدم لكم تقييمي الأولي لأوضاع حقوق الإنسان في السودان. وأَوَدُّ –في البداية- أن أشكر حكومة السودان على دعوتها لي وتعاونها معي أثناء هذه الزيارة. وقد أتاحت لي الحكومة الوصول إلى جميع الأماكن والأشخاص والمؤسسات التي طلبت الوصول إليها. وأَوَدُّ أن أشكر أيضاً مكتب المنسق المقيم للأمم المتحدة ومنسق الشؤون الإنسانية في الخرطوم على دعمهم وتسهيلهم مهمتي التي استغرقت 11 يوماً، من 11 إلى 21 مايو 2017. وقد زُرْتُ الخرطوم والنيل الأزرق حيث التقيت بمجموعة واسعة من الأطراف المعنية، من بينهم: وزير الخارجية، ووزير المعادن والأمين العام للحوار الوطني، ووكيل وزارة العدل، بالإضافة إلى عدد من الوحدات والوكالات الحكومية المتخصصة، ولجنة التشريع بالمجلس الوطني، والنائب العام، والسلطة القضائية، والمفوضية القومية لحقوق الإنسان في السودان، وعدد من قادة المجتمع المحلي، والأكاديميين، وممثلي المجتمع المدني، وممثلي النازحين، وهيئات الأمم المتحدة، والبعثات الدبلوماسية في الخرطوم. وقد كان الهدف من هذه اللقاءات والزيارات الميدانية هو متابعة القضايا المثيرة للقلق التي كنت قد حَدَّدْتُها أثناء زيارتي للسودان في فبراير 2017، ومناقشة حالة تنفيذ التوصيات المُضَمَّنَة في تقريري الذي رفعته في شهر سبتمبر 2016 لمجلس حقوق الإنسان. Continue reading

Press Statement of the UN Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan, Mr. Aristide Nononsi, Khartoum, 21 May 2017

Ladies and gentleman,

As I conclude my fourth visit to the country, in my capacity as Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, I feel honoured for the opportunity to present you my preliminary assessment of the situation of human rights in the Sudan. First of all, I would like to thank the Government of the Sudan for its invitation and cooperation during this visit. Continue reading

Secretary-General’s opening remarks at the London Somalia Conference

London, 11 May 2017


Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are here to support Somalia at a moment which is both tragic and hopeful. And I do believe that Somalia can be in the near future the kind of good news that we badly need in the international community and in our troubled world.

I thank the United Kingdom, as well as President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo of Somalia, for co-hosting.

I deeply appreciate the leadership of the African Union and the vital work of AMISOM. I thank Chairperson Faki for joining us today.

I commend the President, along with Prime Minister Khayre, the new cabinet and leaders of the Federal Member States, for their political will to work together in Somalia.

Like all of us, I was deeply saddened by the tragic death last week of the Minister of Public Works, Abbas [Abdullahi Sheikh] Siraji.  He grew up in a refugee camp and went on to become a powerful symbol of Somalis’ hopes for the future. His unfortunate death must not diminish our resolve to see these hopes realized.

On the contrary, his sacrifice must encourage all Somalis to maintain the spirit of inclusiveness, embracing women, youth, minorities, business leaders and all members of society, and must encourage us all to support that effort.

The significantly enhanced representation of women and youth in the new Federal Parliament shows Somalia’s positive trajectory.

We are here to listen to Somalia’s leadership – and to agree on a framework for cooperation. Continue reading