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The Secretary-General’s message for The International Day For Disaster Reduction

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ban-ki-moon13 October 2015 - This year's observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction is dedicated to the power of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge.

In March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, I met with the President of Vanuatu,

His Excellency Baldwin Lonsdale, at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. On that very day, his island nation was devastated by Cyclone Pam, one of the strongest storms ever to strike the Pacific.

The force of the storm led to expectations that there would be great loss of life. Thankfully, this was not the case. One reason was that cyclone shelters built in the traditional style from local materials, saved many lives.

Traditional and indigenous knowledge is the indispensable information base for many societies seeking to live in harmony with nature and adapt to disruptive weather events, a warming globe and rising seas.

In Cameroon, low-tech local knowledge passed down from generation to generation helps farmers to cope with drought by soaking maize and bean seeds before planting. Another time-honoured practice -- sprinkling ash over the maize and seeds for a couple of months -- helps keep pests away.

Resilience is the sum of many such acts of disaster risk reduction at the local level.

In the Arctic region, we depend greatly on the local knowledge of indigenous peoples to understand the impacts of climate change, because what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.

Changes that affect the availability of traditional food sources highlight the challenge that climate change presents for all of humanity, not just people living in the Arctic.

Local knowledge of the impacts of urbanization, population growth, eco-system decline and greenhouse gas emissions is especially important in an era when more and more disasters are climate- and weather-related.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction recognizes the importance of community-level engagement in disaster risk reduction. It also underlines how traditional knowledge can complement scientific knowledge in disaster risk management. Building resilience to disasters is also a key feature of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals, the framework that will guide our efforts to end poverty and promote shared prosperity on a healthy planet by 2030.

On this International Day, let us recognize the efforts of communities, large and small, who put their wisdom to use in reducing disaster risk and sharing their precious "knowledge for life".

Spotlight

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WORLD AIDS DAY MESSAGE 2017

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.


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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


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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.


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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


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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.