Zero Corruption - 100% Development
Every year approximately $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP3. It is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world.
Corruption does not just steal money from where it is needed the most; it leads to weak governance, which in turn can fuel organized criminal networks and promote crimes such as human trafficking, arms and migrant smuggling, counterfeiting and the trade in endangered species.
In developing countries, according to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance (ODA).
Today the United Nations marks the International Anti-Corruption Day, which aims to highlight how corruption hinders efforts to achieve the internationally agreed upon MDGs, undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to human rights violations, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security, to flourish.
This year a new global campaign kicked off in Panama under the theme Zero Corruption - 100% Development.
The campaign aims to bring together people from all walks of society in the fight against corruption, serves as a global call for action against corruption and raises awareness about UNCAC.
Irina Bokova makes the case for UNESCO before the UK Houses of Parliament All‐Party Parliamentary Group on the United Nations
On 5 December, at the Houses of Parliament, Irina Bokova spoke to United Kingdom Houses of Parliament All‐Party Parliamentary Group on the United Nations, exploring the value of UNESCO to the UK, as well as her vision and priorities for UNESCO ahead.
“UNESCO doesn’t deliver development financial aid – it helps craft conditions for sustainable development,” declared the Director-General. “UNESCO doesn’t keep the keep the peace – it works to make it last, and this work is essential, and for this we need a sharper, ever more performing UNESCO.”
The Director-General reviewed the importance of UNESCO’s action across education, culture, the sciences, communication and information for advancing shared values and common objectives, including for the United Kingdom.
Promoting gender equality through education and protecting freedom of expression and the safety of journalists were a particular focus as examples, along with the safeguarding of cultural heritage and harnessing the power of the sciences. Irina Bokova thanked the UK National Commission for its groundbreaking work in exploring the value of UNESCO membership, and looked forward to sharing this experience with other National Commissions.
The Director-General underlined her commitment to continue to reform the Organization, to sharpen its focus ever more and to enhance delivery and impact in response to the needs of Member States.
“For this, we need the engagement of every Member State – the United Kingdom helped create UNESCO, inspired by a clear vision of peace, and we need similar vision today,” said the Director-General.
The meeting was held in the Houses of Parliament, opened and chaired by Lord Hannay and followed by a brief presentation by the Chairman of the UK National Commission, Professor W John Morgan on the recent Report “Wider Value of UNESCO to the UK”. Ambassador Matthew Sudders, Permanent Delegate of the United Kingdom to UNESCO, then spoke on the achievements of UNESCO reform and highlighted the recognition of these changes by the British Government.
Read the article in full here.
Photo:© UNESCO/D. Lynch - Irina Bokova met with Lord Hannay in the Houses of Parliament, United Kingdom, 5 December 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL’S STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF NELSON MANDELA
Nelson Mandela was a singular figure on the global stage — a man of quiet dignity and towering achievement, a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration.
I am profoundly saddened by his passing. On behalf of the United Nations, I extend my deepest condolences to the people of South Africa and especially to Nelson Mandela’s family and loved ones.
Many around the world were greatly influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom. He touched our lives in deeply personal ways. At the same time, no one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations.
Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of his people and humanity, and he did so at great personal sacrifice. His principled stance and the moral force that underpinned it were decisive in dismantling the system of apartheid.
Remarkably, he emerged from 27 years of detention without rancor, determined to build a new South Africa based on dialogue and understanding. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission established under his leadership remains a model for achieving justice in societies confronting a legacy of human rights abuses.
In the decades-long fight against apartheid, the United Nations stood side-by-side with Nelson Mandela and all those in South Africa who faced unrelenting racism and discrimination. His 1994 address to the General Assembly as the first democratically elected President of a free South Africa was a defining moment. The Assembly has declared 18 July, his birthday, “Nelson Mandela International Day”, an annual observance on which we recognize and seek to build on his contributions to promoting a culture of peace and freedom around the world.
I was privileged to meet Nelson Mandela in 2009. When I thanked him for his life’s work, he insisted the credit belonged to others. I was very moved by his selflessness and deep sense of shared purpose.
Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us — if we believe, dream and work together.
Let us continue each day to be inspired by his lifelong example and his call to never cease working for a better and more just world.
Katy Perry is UNICEF’s newest Goodwill Ambassador
At a special event yesterday at UNICEF Headquarters, global pop superstar Katy Perry was appointed UNICEF’s newest Goodwill Ambassador, with a special focus on engaging young people in the agency’s work to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children and adolescents.
“Katy Perry is already a champion for children, and we look forward to hearing her ‘roar’ on behalf of UNICEF,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We are delighted that she is joining us as UNICEF’s newest Goodwill Ambassador and lending her remarkable voice to amplify the voices of children and young people around the world.”
As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Katy will work to engage young people in speaking out about the issues they believe are most important in their own lives and enlisting them more directly in coming up with solutions to those challenges. She will focus her outreach especially on children and adolescents who are most vulnerable, including those living in severe poverty, affected by violence, abuse, and neglect, and in emergency and conflict situations.
“I believe young people have the power to change their own lives, with our help,” said Katy. “I am honoured to join UNICEF as a Goodwill Ambassador, and committed to doing everything I can to help children and adolescents who come from such different backgrounds but want the same thing: a brighter future.”
Photo:© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-1125/RAY STUBBLEBINE
Today the United Nations marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Over one billion people live with some form of disability - that is approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, which represents among some of the world’s poorest people who lack equal access to basic resources, such as education, employment, healthcare and social and legal support systems, and are therefore victims of a high mortality rate.
The situation for many disabled people is desperate. Around the world persons with disabilities continually face discrimination and are hindered by social, economic and attitudinal barriers, which limit and exclude them from participating fully, and effectively, as equal members of society.
Today the United Nations marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, to highlight these ongoing challenges and promote the right to inclusion in society for all.
In spite of this situation, disability had remained largely invisible in the mainstream development agenda and its processes. A gap that has been urgently addressed by the United Nations.
On 23 September the General Assembly convened the High Level Meeting on Development and Disability (HLMDD) at the level of Heads of State and Government under the theme: “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”.
The outcome of this High level meeting was the adoption of an action-oriented document that provides policy guidance that helps translate the international commitment for a disability-inclusive society into concrete actions, aiming to strengthen global efforts that will ensure accessibility for, and inclusion of, persons with disabilities in all aspects of society and development.
Now is the time to implement the Outcome Document of the High Level Meeting and break down the barriers and realize an inclusive society!
“We must remove all barriers that affect the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in society, including through changing attitudes that fuel stigma and institutionalize discrimination.”-Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon
The 2013 theme is: Break barriers and open doors: to realize an inclusive society for all!
Photo: UN Photo, Supervisor helps a child to solve a mathematics problem at the Sudanese Association for Disabled People, North Darfur, Albert González Farran
UNODC Statement in reaction to alleged match fixing in the United Kingdom
28 November (UN Information Service) - “News reports of alleged match fixing in the United Kingdom reveal the widespread nature of this challenge, which crosses national and regional borders. If sporting integrity is to be maintained, and our belief in sport to be affirmed, sporting bodies, the international community, and civil society should come together to confront this crime. What is needed is greater cross-border cooperation and sharing of information, as well as a firm commitment to bring national laws in line with the UN Convention against Corruption which promotes global integrity and transparency. If not, there is a risk that we will no longer believe what we are seeing on the sporting field.”
Dimitri Vlassis, Chief, Corruption and Economic Crime Branch, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
These match-fixing allegations come as the world’s largest anti-corruption event, the Fifth Session of the Conference of the States Parties is being held in Panama City this week. With more than 1,500 participants from Member States, civil society, private sector academia and the media discussing best practices and successes in the fight against corruption under the umbrella of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
For further information visit:
Conference website of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
Today the United Nations marks the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
On this day in 1947, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II),which provided the establishment, in Palestine, of a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State”, with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum under a special international regime. Of the two States to be created under this resolution, only one, Israel, has so far come into being.
For the Palestinian State, and its people, are yet to attain their inalienable rights, which are defined by the General Assembly as the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced.
The Palestinian people, who now number more than eight million, live primarily in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem; in Israel; in neighbouring Arab States; and in refugee camps in the region.
In 2012 when Palestine was voted to have non-member observer state status at the UN, many hoped that it would renew efforts in the Israel-Palestine peace process and lead to a stable co-existence of two-states. Unfortunately, violence is still prevalent in the region and the Palestinian people face an array of humanitarian crisis, such as: evictions from their home and land, blockades, restriction of movement, poverty, and shortage of food and fuel.
This day provides an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine still remains unresolved.
“This year’s observance takes place as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators work together towards the agreed objective of a peaceful, comprehensive settlement on all permanent status issues. I call on the international community to support the parties in this ambitious endeavour to fulfil the two-State solution, bringing about an end to the conflict. All parties must act in a responsible way and refrain from actions that undermine the prospects for successful negotiations. “ – Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Photo: UN Photo, UNRWA Building Damaged in Gaza City, Shareef Sarhan
BOOK NOW: United Nations Film Screening of “Article 12”
“Article 12”, by Argentinian filmmaker Juan Manuel Biain, is a documentary on society’s obsession with surveillance and voyeurism. Starting with an explanation of article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the film charts the current state of privacy around the world and argues that without the right to privacy, no other human right can truly be exercised.
The film brings together the world’s leading academics and philosophers to highlight the devastating potency of surveillance.
Given the recent NSA/Edward Snowden-scandal, the debate on privacy and surveillance has never been more relevant I t the future, both governments and citizens will have to ask themselves how much of their privacy they want to give up for “national security”. Is Orwell’s 1984 slowly becoming reality? Is this the end of anonymity, or can we still turn the tide?
The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with director Juan Manuel Biaiñ, Kirsty Hughes, CEO of Index on Censorship and the Guardian’s Diplomatic Editor Julian Borger. The debate will be moderated by Orest Nowosad - Senior Human Rights Officer from the United Nations Human Rights Office.
This event will take place at 20.00 on Monday December 2, Rich Mix Cinema, London.
Book tickets here