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The First Situation Report: Flooding in Northern Viet Nam

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Ha Noi, 3 August 2015 - More than 20 people have lost their lives in a series of flashfloods and landslides in Northern Viet Nam. Thousands of houses have been damaged by floodwater, crops destroyed and roads closed in a week of unusually heavy rain. The UN in Viet Nam and its NGO partners continue to monitor the situation very closely and is standing by to assist national and local Government in any way required.

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The Secretary-General's Message on World Day Against Trafficking In Persons

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30 July 2015 - Around the world, criminals are selling people for profit.  Vulnerable women and girls form the majority of human trafficking victims, including those driven into degrading sexual exploitation.

Trafficked persons are often tricked into servitude with the false promise of a well-paid job. Migrants crossing deadly seas and burning deserts to escape conflict, poverty and persecution are also at risk of being trafficked.  Individuals can find themselves alone in a foreign land where they have been stripped of their passports, forced into debt and exploited for labour.  Children and young people can find their lives stolen, their education blocked and their dreams dashed. It is an assault on their most basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

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The Secretary-General's Message on World Youth Skills Day

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15 July 2015 - I welcome this first-ever commemoration of World Youth Skills Day.  On July 15th each year, the international community will underscore the value of helping young people to upgrade their own abilities to contribute to our common future.

While overall more young people have greater educational opportunities than in the past, there are still some 75 million adolescents who are out of school, denied the quality education they deserve and unable to acquire the skills they need.

We may see an understandably frustrated youth population – but that picture is incomplete.  With the right skills, these young people are exactly the force we need to drive progress across the global agenda and build more inclusive and vibrant societies.

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The Secretary-General's Message on World Population Day

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ban-ki-moon11 July 2015
- Not since the end of the Second World War have so many people been forced from their homes across the planet. With nearly 60 million individuals having fled conflict or disaster, women and adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable.  Violent extremists and armed groups are committing terrible abuses that result in trauma, unintended pregnancy and infection with HIV and other diseases.  Shame and accountability rest squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrators who wage cowardly battles across the bodies of innocents.

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The Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illegal Trafficking

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ban-ki-moon26 June 2015 - In September, leaders from around the world will meet at the United Nations to adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda to eradicate extreme poverty and provide a life of dignity for all.  This ambition, while achievable, must address various obstacles, including the deadly harm to communities and individuals caused by drug trafficking and drug abuse.

Our shared response to this challenge is founded on the international drug control conventions.  In full compliance with human rights standards and norms, the United Nations advocates a careful re-balancing of the international policy on controlled drugs.  We must consider alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs and focus criminal justice efforts on those involved in supply.  We should increase the focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies.  

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The Secretary-General’s Message on the International Day of Yoga

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21 June 2015 - During a visit to India this year, I had the opportunity to practice yoga with one of my senior advisors.  Although he happened to be a son of the country, I might equally have done the same with many other colleagues from different parts of the world.  Yoga is an ancient discipline from a traditional setting that has grown in popularity to be enjoyed by practitioners in every region.  By proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, the General Assembly has recognized the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations.

Yoga offers a simple, accessible and inclusive means to promote physical and spiritual health and well-being.  It promotes respect for one’s fellow human beings and for the planet we share.  And yoga does not discriminate; to varying degrees, all people can practice, regardless of their relative strength, age or ability.

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The Secretary-General’s Message on World Day to Combat Desertification

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17 June 2015 - “Invest in healthy soils”

Land degradation and desertification undercut human rights, starting with the right to food.  Nearly 1 billion people lack adequate nutrition, and those living off degraded areas are among the most affected.  Their situation could worsen if land degradation, as projected, reduces global food production by 12 per cent by 2035.

Food security is also impacted by the decline in water resources. Due to land degradation there is less water and snow being stored in the ground.  In 10 years, two out of every three people in the world could be living under stressed water conditions.

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The Secretary-General’s Message on World Environment Day

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5 June 2015 - The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”.

Humanity continues to consume far more natural resources than the planet can sustainably provide.  Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points.  It is time for us to change.

The goal of sustainable development is to increase the quality of life for all people without increasing environmental degradation, and without compromising the resource needs of future generations.  We can do this by shifting our consumption patterns towards goods that use less energy, water and other resources, and by wasting less food.

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The Secretary-General’s Message on the Day of Vesak

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June 2015 - On this Day of Vesak, I extend special greetings to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal, a country that was instrumental in leading the United Nations General Assembly to designate this observance. I hope that the Nepalese people observing this holiday amid the rubble are able to take some measure of comfort from its message of human solidarity.

The spirit of Vesak can help to animate a global response to the challenges of our day. As the United Nations works for the adoption this year of a set of new sustainable development goals and a meaningful new agreement on climate change, we would do well to heed the Buddhist teaching that life and the environment are essentially one. And the Lord Buddha’s observation that all peoples are interconnected reminds us of the importance of uniting as one human family resolved to address our shared struggles based on common values.

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