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UN Secretary-General underscores potential of water as unifying force

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Secretary-General, in message for world observance, underscores potential of water as unifying force rather than catalyst for conflict

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on World Water Day, to be observed on 22 March:

Water is our most precious natural resource.  More than ever we need to work together to use it wisely.  While the world’s growing population is consuming more freshwater, climate change is making less water available in many regions as glaciers recede, rainfall becomes less predictable, and floods and droughts become more extreme.  Managing water carefully and balancing the varied needs for it is vital.

Much of the planet’s water, above or below ground, is shared.  Forty per cent of the world’s people live in 1 of 263 basins that are shared by two or more countries.  Concern over the possibility of violent disputes features regularly in discussions about sharing limited water resources.  But while the potential exists for water to act as a catalyst for conflict between States and communities, precedent suggests that the opposite is actually what happens.  Cooperation, not conflict, is the most common response by people facing competing demands.

Under the theme “Shared Waters, Shared Opportunities”, World Water Day this year highlights how transboundary water resources can act as a unifying force.  Worldwide, there are at least 300 international water agreements, often among parties that are otherwise at odds.  These agreements demonstrate the potential of shared water resources to foster trust and promote peace.  Political will, a flexible policy framework, strong institutions and an inclusive approach will help us build on this foundation for the benefit of all.

On this World Water Day, I urge Governments, civil society, the private sector and all stakeholders to recognize that our collective future depends on how we manage our precious and finite water resources.




1 December 2017

Michel Sidibé
Executive Director of UNAIDS
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

This World AIDS Day, we are highlighting the importance of the right to health and the challenges that people living with and affected by HIV face in fulfilling that right.


Community spaces design contest for an exciting hanoi

Ha Noi, October 17/10/2017 - Aiming at improving the living environment and bringing culture and art to the community towards a better urban future, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) successfully developed the project “Promote participatory, community-based and youth-led approach in safe, greening public spaces in Hoan Kiem district toward a pro-poor, inclusive and sustainable urban development” (hereinafter called Public Spaces project) under the Block by Block program with Mojang, the makers of the videogame Minecraft.


Deadline for round 1: From 17/10/2017 to 04/11/2017 Extended to 9 November 2017


Harsh punishment for child offenders doesn’t prevent further criminality

The age at which a child, can be held criminally liable is a controversial issue around the world. Within Viet Nam, this issue is currently being grappled with in the Penal Code amendments. Some argue that a "get tough on crime" approach is necessary to punish children to prevent further criminality.

However, international research shows that because of their developmental stages, labelling and treating children as criminals at an early age can have serious negative impacts on their development and successful rehabilitation.


New Year Greetings from the United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


On the occasion of New Year 2017, on behalf of the United Nations family in Viet Nam I wish to reiterate our appreciation and express our warmest wishes to our partners and friends throughout the country. We wish our partners and their families in Viet Nam peace, prosperity, good health and happiness in the coming year.

As we enter the second year of the Sustainable Development Goals era, we look forward to continuing our close cooperation for the sake of Viet Nam’s future development; one which is inclusive, equitable and sustainable, with no one left behind.

Youssouf Abdel-Jelil
United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December


Thirty-five years since the emergence of AIDS, the international community can look back with some pride.  But we must also look ahead with resolve and commitment to reach our goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

There has been real progress in tackling the disease. More people than ever are on treatment.  Since 2010, the number of children infected through mother to child transmission has dropped by half. Fewer people die of AIDS related causes each year.  And people living with HIV are living longer lives.

The number of people with access to life-saving medicines has doubled over the past five years, now topping 18 million. With the right investments, the world can get on the fast-track to achieve our target of 30 million people on treatment by 2030.  Access to HIV medicines to prevent mother to child transmission is now available to more than 75 per cent of those in need.

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