UN Secretary-General António Guterres gives talk on future of UN in London

May 17, 2017

Speaking for the first time in London as UN Secretary-General, António Guterres outlined the major challenges which he anticipates for the work of the UN in the coming years, and indicated the priorities he would pursue as Secretary-General. The meeting, organised by the UN Association UK, took place in Westminster Central Hall, the site of the very first session of the United Nations General Assembly, in 1946.

The full speech, followed by a lively Q & A session, is available on YouTube. Mr Guterres' remarks begin at 14 minutes and 20 seconds.

Some reflections on his remarks:


Global Norms: Building an Inclusive Multilateralism

April 3, 2017

Former UNDP Assistant Secretary General, Dr. Bruce Jenks, discusses the UN's role in establishing basic rules and norms for international relations:  

In the history of the United Nations, there have been turning points when the UN has had the vision to see an opportunity emerge and to seize that opportunity, thereby reaffirming its relevance and vitality. In a rapidly changing world, where the world as we know it is changing before our eyes, the web of values and normative frameworks that lie at the foundation of so many of the processes required for an inclusive globalisation need to be nurtured, perhaps adapted and certainly strengthened. In his oath of office speech, the new UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, noted that “Today´s paradox is that, despite greater connectivity, societies are becoming more fragmented … In the end, it comes down to values. We want the world our children inherit to be defined by the values enshrined in the United Nations Charter: peace, justice,respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity.”

Identity Politics and Intolerance a Barrier to Development, says UN Report

March 27, 2017

The United Nations annual Human Development Report has just been released. It's theme is Human Development for Everyone.

In this Guardian report Brexit is cited as an example of a nationalist agenda that could hold back progress on the global goals.

The annual human development index said that at a time when global action and collaboration were imperative in achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030, exclusion and intolerance could prevent progress reaching everyone. “Brexit is one of the most recent examples of a retreat to nationalism … ” the report said. “Intolerance of others in all its forms – legal, social or coercive – is antithetical to human development.”


Women Meet with Guterres at UN Townhall Meeting

March 21, 2017

World Goodwill attended a Townhall Meeting at UN Headquarters in NY on Friday, 17 March. Large numbers of women from around the world are currently at UN HQ for the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which includes official UN meetings together with numerous side events for NGO representatives. The Townhall provided an opportunity for women’s Civil Society Organizations to meet with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. 

It was a productive gathering, clearly setting the  intention for a continual dialogue and constructive working relationship between women’s civil society and the Office of the Secretary General.  

"You are all very kind to come," said Guterres, "Let's spend the time we have together with me listening to your insights.  We want gender parity, 50-50, by 2030.  How do you see it happening?"


UN Deputy Secretary-General Speaks of a Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity

March 6, 2017

In an inspiring address to the UN Economic and Social Council in New York, new UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina J. Mohammed, spoke of the transformational vision at the heart of the SDG's as a 'once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver a better future for all'. She acknowledged that:

  • The prosperity and benefits of globalization have not been equitably shared. 
  • Half the planet’s wealth is controlled by a handful of rich men.
  • Some 200 million people are still jobless.
  • Many more are underemployed, working several jobs to make ends meet, or toiling under abusive conditions.
  • Gender discrimination continues to limit the opportunities and potential of our women and girls in all countries.
  • Anxiety is mounting as societies cope with climate change, urbanization, population growth, water scarcity and massive movements of people.
  • Fear and mistrust are increasingly driving political discourse. 

In this context she affirmed the Secretary-General's commitment to fast-track transformation ... The 2030 Agenda requires that we reinvent ourselves to better service Member States.

Ms Amina J. Mohammed was,until recently, Minister of Environment in the Nigerian Government, and prior to this Special Adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning.

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