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We need to be a world at peace
by UN Secretary-General António Guterres
 
13 October 2017
 
The United Nations Spokesman on Friday said UN Secretary-General António Guterres sees the adoption of the 2015 accord reached between Iran and a group of six countries on monitoring Iran''s nuclear programme as an important breakthrough to consolidate global peace and security.
 
“The Secretary-General has repeatedly said that the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a very important breakthrough to consolidate nuclear non-proliferation and advance global peace and security,” said Stéphane Dujarric in a statement, adding that the UN chief “strongly hopes that it will remain in place.”
 
Endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council in 2015, the JCPOA between its five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), plus Germany, the European Union (EU) and Iran, set out rigorous mechanisms for monitoring limits on Iran''s nuclear programme, while paving the way for lifting UN sanctions against the country.
 
According to news reports U.S. President Donald Trump earlier on Friday said that he would decline to recertify Iran''s compliance with the accord.
 
In related news Yukiya Amano, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a statement saying that the IAEA, a specialized agency of the UN, has been, since 2016, verifying and monitoring Iran''s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, as requested by the UN Security Council and authorized by the IAEA''s Board of Governors.
 
“As I have reported to the Board of Governors, the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,” he said, explaining that Iran is now provisionally implementing the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, a powerful verification tool which gives our inspectors broader access to information and locations in Iran.
 
“So far, the IAEA has had access to all locations it needed to visit,” said Mr Amano, adding: “At present, Iran is subject to the world''s most robust nuclear verification regime.” http://bit.ly/2ypKDHZ
 
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, address to the United Nations General Assembly - September 19, 2017
 
I am here in a spirit of gratitude and humility for the trust you have placed in me to serve the world’s peoples. “We the peoples”, and our United Nations, face grave challenges. Our world is in trouble. People are hurting and angry. They see insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading and climate changing.
 
The global economy is increasingly integrated, but our sense of global community may be disintegrating. Societies are fragmented. Political discourse is polarized. Trust within and among countries is being driven down by those who demonize and divide.
 
We are a world in pieces. We need to be a world at peace. And I strongly believe that, together, we can build peace. We can restore trust and create a better world for all. I will focus today on seven threats and tests that stand in our way. For each, the dangers are all too clear. Yet for each, if we act as truly United Nations, we can find answers.
 
First, the nuclear peril.
 
The use of nuclear weapons should be unthinkable. Even the threat of their use can never be condoned. But today global anxieties about nuclear weapons are at the highest level since the end of the Cold War.
 
The fear is not abstract. Millions of people live under a shadow of dread cast by the provocative nuclear and missile tests of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
 
Within the DPRK itself, such tests do nothing to ease the plight of those who are suffering hunger and severe violations of their human rights.
 
I condemn those tests unequivocally. I call on the DPRK and all Member States to comply fully with Security Council resolutions. Last week’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2375 tightens sanctions and sends a clear message regarding the country’s international obligations.
 
I appeal to the Council to maintain its unity.
 
Only that unity can lead to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and — as the resolution recognizes — create an opportunity for diplomatic engagement to resolve the crisis.
 
When tensions rise, so does the chance of miscalculation. Fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings.
 
The solution must be political. This is a time for statesmanship. We must not sleepwalk our way into war. More broadly, all countries must show greater commitment to the universal goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The nuclear-weapon states have a special responsibility to lead.
 
Today proliferation is creating unimaginable danger, and disarmament is paralyzed.
 
There is an urgent need to prevent proliferation and promote disarmament. These goals are linked. Progress on one will generate progress on the other.
 
Second, let me turn to the global threat of terrorism.
 
Nothing justifies terrorism — no cause, no grievance. Terrorism continues to take a rising toll of death and devastation. It is destroying societies, destabilizing regions and diverting energy from more productive pursuits. National and multilateral counter-terrorism efforts have disrupted networks, reclaimed territory, prevented attacks and saved lives.
 
We need to intensify this work. Stronger international cooperation remains crucial. I am grateful to the General Assembly for approving one of my first reform initiatives: the establishment of the UN Office on Counter-Terrorism. Next year, I intend to convene the first-ever gathering of heads of counter-terrorism agencies of Member States to forge a new International Counter-Terrorism Partnership.
 
But it is not enough to fight terrorists on the battlefield or to deny them funds. We must do more to address the roots of radicalization, including real and perceived injustices and high levels of unemployment and grievance among young people. Political, religious and community leaders have a duty to stand up against hatred and serve as models of tolerance and moderation.
 
Together, we need to make full use of UN instruments, and expand our efforts to support survivors.
 
Experience has also shown that harsh crackdowns and heavy-handed approaches are counterproductive. As soon as we believe that violations of human rights and democratic freedoms are necessary to win the fight, we have lost the war.
 
Third, unresolved conflicts and systematic violations of international humanitarian law.
 
We are all shocked by the dramatic escalation of sectarian tensions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. A vicious cycle of persecution, discrimination, radicalization and violent repression has led more than 400,000 desperate people to flee, putting regional stability at risk.
 
The authorities in Myanmar must end the military operations, and allow unhindered humanitarian access. They must also address the grievances of the Rohingya, whose status has been left unresolved for far too long.
 
No one is winning today’s wars. From Syria to Yemen, from South Sudan to the Sahel, Afghanistan and elsewhere, only political solutions can bring peace. We should have no illusions. We will not be able to eradicate terrorism if we do not resolve the conflicts that are creating the disorder within which violent extremists flourish.
 
Last week I announced the creation of a High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation. Those eminent individuals will allow us to be more effective in brokering peace around the world. The United Nations is forging closer partnerships with key regional organizations such as the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
 
We continue to strengthen and modernize peacekeeping – protecting civilians and saving lives around the world. And since taking office, I have sought to bring together the parties to conflict, as well as those that have influence on them.
 
As a meaningful example, I am particularly hopeful about tomorrow’s meeting on Libya.
 
Last month, I visited Israel and Palestine. We must not let today’s stagnation in the peace process lead to tomorrow’s escalation. We must restore the hopes of the people. The two-state solution remains the only way forward. It must be pursued urgently.
 
But I must be frank: in too many cases, the warring parties believe war is the answer.
 
They may speak of a willingness to compromise. But their actions too often betray a thirst for outright military victory, at any cost. Violations of international humanitarian law are rampant, and impunity prevails. Civilians are paying the highest price, with women and girls facing systematic violence and oppression.
 
I have seen in my country, and in my years at the United Nations, that it is possible to move from war to peace, and from dictatorship to democracy. Let us push ahead with a surge in diplomacy today and a leap in conflict prevention for tomorrow.
 
Fourth, climate change puts our hopes in jeopardy.
 
Last year was the hottest ever. The past decade has been the hottest on record.
 
Average global temperature keeps climbing, glaciers are receding and permafrost is declining.
 
Millions of people and trillions of assets are at risk from rising seas and other climate disruptions.
 
The number of natural disasters has quadrupled since 1970. The United States, followed by China, India, the Philippines and Indonesia, have experienced the most disasters since 1995 – more than 1600, or once every five days. I stand in solidarity with the people of the Caribbean and the United States who have just suffered through Hurricane Irma, the longest-lasting Category 5 storm ever recorded.
 
We should not link any single weather event with climate change. But scientists are clear that such extreme weather is precisely what their models predict will be the new normal of a warming world.
 
We have had to update our language to describe what is happening: we now talk of mega-hurricanes, superstorms and rain bombs.
 
It is high time to get off the path of suicidal emissions. We know enough today to act. The science is unassailable. I urge Governments to implement the historic Paris Agreement with ever greater ambition. I commend those cities that are setting bold targets.
 
I welcome the initiatives of the thousands of private enterprises that are betting on a clean, green future. Energy markets are telling us that green business is good business. The falling cost of renewables is one of the most encouraging stories on the planet today. So is the growing evidence that economies can grow as emissions go down.
 
New markets, more jobs, opportunities to generate trillions in economic output. The facts are clear. Solutions are staring us in the face. Leadership needs to catch up.
 
Fifth, rising inequality is undermining the foundations of society and the social compact.
 
The integration of the world’s economies, expanding trade and stunning advances in technology have brought remarkable benefits. More people have risen out of extreme poverty than ever before. The global middle class is also bigger than ever. More people are living longer, healthier lives.
 
But the gains have not been equal. We see gaping disparities in income, opportunity and access to the fruits of research and innovation. Eight men hold the same wealth as half of humanity.
 
Whole regions, countries and communities remain far removed from the waves of progress and growth, left behind in the Rust Belts of our world. This exclusion has a price: frustration, alienation, instability. But we have a blueprint to change course — to achieve fair globalization. That plan is the 2030 Agenda.
 
Half our world is female. Half our world is under 25 years of age. We cannot meet the Sustainable Development Goals without drawing on the power of women and the enormous energy of young people. We know how fast transformation can take place in our day and age. We know that with global assets and wealth worth trillions, we are not suffering from a lack of funds.
 
Let us find the wisdom to use the tools, plans and resources already in our hands to achieve inclusive and sustainable development — a goal in its own right but also our best form of conflict prevention. The dark side of innovation is the sixth threat we must confront — and it has moved from the frontier to the front door.
 
Technology will continue to be at the heart of shared progress. But innovation, as essential as it is for humankind, can bring unintended consequences. Cybersecurity threats are escalating. Cyber war is becoming less and less a hidden reality — and more and more able to disrupt relations among States and destroy some of the structures and systems of modern life.
 
Advances in cyberspace can empower people, but the dark web shows that some use this capacity to degrade and enslave. Artificial intelligence is a game changer that can boost development and transform lives in spectacular fashion. But it may also have a dramatic impact on labour markets and, indeed, on global security and the very fabric of societies.
 
Genetic engineering has gone from the pages of science fiction to the marketplace – but it has generated new and unresolved ethical dilemmas. Unless these breakthroughs are handled responsibly, they could cause incalculable damage. Governments and international organizations are simply not prepared for these developments.
 
Traditional forms of regulation simply do not apply. It is clear that such trends and capacities demand a new generation of strategic thinking, ethical reflection and regulation. The United Nations stands ready as a forum where Member States, civil society, businesses and the academic community can come together and discuss the way forward, for the benefit of all.
 
Finally, I want to talk about human mobility, which I do not perceive as a threat even if some do. I see it as a challenge that, if properly managed, can help bring the world together.
 
Let us be clear: we do not only face a refugee crisis; we also face a crisis of solidarity.
 
Every country has the right to control its own borders. But that must be done in a way that protects the rights of people on the move.
 
Instead of closed doors and open hostility, we need to reestablish the integrity of the refugee protection regime and the simple decency of human compassion. With a truly global sharing of responsibility, the numbers we face can be managed. But too many states have not risen to the moment.
 
I commend those countries that have shown admirable hospitality to millions of forcibly displaced people. We need to do more to support them. We also need to do more to face the challenges of migration. The truth is that the majority of migrants move in a well-ordered fashion, making positive contributions to their host countries and homelands. It is when migrants move in unregulated ways that the risks become clear – for states but most especially for migrants themselves exposed to perilous journeys.
 
Migration has always been with us. Climate change, demographics, instability, growing inequalities, and aspirations for a better life, as well as unmet needs in labour markets, mean it is here to stay.
 
The answer is effective international cooperation in managing migration to ensure that its benefits are most widely distributed, and the human rights of all concerned properly protected. But from ample experience, I can assure you that most people prefer to realize their aspirations at home.
 
We must work together to make sure that they can do so. Migration should be an option, not a necessity. We also need a much stronger commitment of the international community to crack down on human traffickers, and to protect their victims.
 
But we will not end the tragedies on the Mediterranean, the Andaman Sea and elsewhere without creating more opportunities for regular migration. This will benefit migrants and countries alike.
 
I myself am a migrant, as are many of you. But no one expected me to risk my life on a leaky boat or cross a desert in the back of a truck to find employment outside my country of birth.
 
Safe migration cannot be limited to the global elite. Refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants are not the problem; the problem lies in conflict, persecution and hopeless poverty.
 
I have been pained to see the way refugees and migrants have been stereotyped and scapegoated – and to see political figures stoke resentment in search of electoral gain.
 
In today’s world, all societies are becoming multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious.
 
This diversity must be seen as a richness, not a threat. But to make diversity a success, we need to invest in social cohesion, so that all people feel that their identities are respected and they have a stake in the community as a whole.
 
We are here to serve: to relieve the suffering of “we the peoples”; and to help fulfil their dreams. We come from different corners of the world. Our cultures, religions, traditions vary widely — and wonderfully. At times, there are competing interests among us. At others, there is even open conflict. That is exactly why we need the United Nations. That is why multilateralism is more important than ever.
 
We call ourselves the international community. We must act as one. Only together, as United Nations, can we fulfil the promise of the Charter and advance human dignity for all.


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The UN General Assembly must focus on the most vulnerable people caught in conflict
by Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC
International Committee of the Red Cross
 
15 September 2017
 
This United Nations General Assembly meets at a critical moment, when the world is faced with conflicts of greater number and complexity. In the last six months, I''ve visited some of the world''s most brutal and protracted conflicts.
 
Four weeks ago I was in South Sudan. Not long before that I was in Yemen. Before that Syria, Myanmar and Ukraine. Each time I met with the people who suffer most. It is the urgency to alleviate people''s suffering that is my purpose this week."
 
The theme for this year''s United Nations General Assembly Open Debate is "Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet." During the Open Debate world leaders will address the General Assembly and participate in High-Level events on the world''s most pressing issues. ICRC is an Observer Member of the United Nations and participates in UN General Assembly High-Level Week. President Maurer will participate in key debates on Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Central African Republic, and famine prevention, as well as address the signing ceremony of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
 
"The choice to ''focus on people'' is the right one," Mr Maurer said. "My recent trips have made clear to me that a ''focus on people'' must in practice be a focus on vulnerable people who are stuck in the middle of deadly conflicts. This demands attention to critical prevention issues.
 
Without addressing these issues, civilians will continue to pay the price, health care facilities will be attacked, aid workers will be killed, and war-ravaged countries will remain a threat to regional and international stability and security."
 
ICRC is an independent, frontline humanitarian organization and works to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles. In this the ICRC shares with the UN a common goal to prevent human suffering.
 
"The UN Secretary-General is emphasizing a new way of working that recognizes what we in ICRC see on the ground in conflict hotspots," Mr Maurer added on the relationship with the United Nations and principles of international humanitarian law.
 
"The nature of protracted conflict means we must provide immediate lifesaving assistance while at the same time maintaining essential services over the long term. Abuses of the rules of war are an affront to our shared humanity and a threat to life."
 
"Leaders gathered here this week have it in their power to see that international humanitarian law is respected and enforced. Whether in the conduct of the fight or in the flow of arms, warring parties and those who support them must do more to uphold the rules of war.
 
Humanitarian action cannot be held hostage to political ends or be defined by operational models that do not reflect today''s realities. We must embrace new relationships with civilians in need and find new ways of financing this support. It is time that we all live up to the promise and stand up for those most vulnerable."
 
21 Sept. 2017
 
Famine prevention and response - ICRC statement to the United Nations.
 
This year we saw famine loom over our world as millions faced starvation. The ICRC, like others, accelerated its food assistance program and in South Sudan last month I saw the difference this aid is having on the ground.
 
But millions are still facing severe food shortages. And this is not one-off. We saw major famines in 2011, and in the previous decade and the one before that too.
 
Famine is a symptom of protracted war. And when it manifests, it rarely manifests alone. Famine is accompanied by broken health systems, damaged infrastructure, and shattered economies. If I can be frank, famine occurs when there is a basic disrespect for decency and the dignity of human life.
 
To treat these symptoms, we must treat and prevent the disease. We must proactively support the fabric of communities, the services and supports that people depend on. We must ensure people are treated with dignity so that resentment and hostility is not fueled. We must improve how wars are fought through greater respect for international humanitarian law (IHL).
 
The ICRC welcomes the new energy being brought to the prevention agenda. Prevention is in the DNA of the ICRC. While we don’t make the peace, we hold the pieces together by limiting destruction and preventing development going backwards.
 
Every day in conflict zones we shield vulnerable communities by supporting the very structures they rely on. We bolster health systems, we shore up electricity and water supplies, we support livelihoods and make cash grants for small businesses.
 
To ensure millions are not left behind, frontline action must be supported by greater engagement and investment by development actors. We have seen how the World Bank can play this positive role as it has done recently in supporting our operations in Somalia.
 
Wars fought in famine-affected countries are characterized by abuses and violations of the most basic principles of international humanitarian law.
 
If we hope to prevent famine and stitch communities back together, IHL must be respected. To save people from the very worst abuses, to break the fragility cycle that we see in prolonged conflicts without limits and laws. IHL is the first, practical tool that helps to provide solutions, to help parties find ways out of entrenched positions, and to build stability.
 
The critical question then is how to change the behaviors and policies of belligerents. What are their motivations to exercise restraint, where are their spheres of influence? As I saw recently, what makes an armed group that regularly loots hospitals South Sudan suddenly stop this practice?
 
The nature of conflict is being transformed by the rapid rise in armed groups that are horizontally rather than vertically organized. More armed groups have emerged in the last six years than the previous six decades. We all need to adapt to this new reality, and quickly.
 
Our new research with several armed forces and non-state armed groups is providing fresh insights on behavioral change. We are discovering that a frontline fighter is more concerned about the views of peers than the punishment of commanders: meaning prevention of violations is often driven horizontally between combatants rather than vertically by authority.
 
The evidence is also showing that practice of shunning armed groups and criminalizing contact is counterproductive. This runs against many of the practices and security policies we see around the world. But if we are to see improved behaviors then non-state armed groups must be brought into ‘the tent’.
 
Five steps will contribute to stopping this endless cycle of war, fragility and famine:
 
One, improve the conduct of hostilities – and make proactive efforts to protect civilians and civilian objects and uphold the dignity of people.
 
Two, ensure preventative actions are taken by all parties, not only parties to the conflict, but also those who can influence the conduct of hostilities and ensure respect for IHL. Political pressure is needed from across the international community.
 
Three, invest in infrastructure like health and water services – to guard against the spread of infectious diseases in food emergencies; as well as investing in social infrastructure like early childhood development and education – to curb the long-lasting effects of famine on communities.
 
Four, support rural livelihoods and reinvigorate urban markets to lay the groundwork for future harvests and markets;
 
Five, greater engagement from development actors, and flexible, multiyear funding to respond to people’s different needs across the humanitarian-development categories.
 
This is our challenge, and this is our responsibility, to the tens of millions for who every day is a question of survival. http://bit.ly/2fkyZcz


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