Secretary-General awards Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage

On Friday, in observance of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers (29 May), the Secretary-General awarded the Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage to Private Chancy Chitete of Malawi, who sustained fatal injuries last November in the Democratic Republic of the Congo while saving the life of a fellow UN peacekeeper. “The world does not have many true heroes,” said the Secretary-General, stressing that the late Private was “indeed one of them”. “He saved his comrades and helped the UN protect the vulnerable. He personally made a difference. A profound one,” stated the Secretary-General before awarding the medal to his widow. The Secretary-General also spoke at the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal Ceremony, honouring men and women who lost their lives while serving the United Nations and laid a wreath in their honour.

The Secretary-General with Ms. Chitete Mwenechanya, who wears the medal awarded to her late husband. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Remarks at Captain Diagne Medal Ceremony:

Remarks at Wreath-Laying Ceremony:

Remarks at Dag Hammarskjöld Medal Ceremony:

Video message on International Day of UN Peacekeepers:

Civilians remain majority of casualties in conflict

On Thursday, the Secretary-General spoke at an open debate of the Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. While noting progress in the past two decades, he stressed that grave human suffering is still being caused by armed conflicts and a lack of respect for international humanitarian law. “Civilians continue to make up the vast majority of casualties in conflict,” he said, underscoring that in 2018 alone, the United Nations recorded the death and injury of more than 22,800 in just six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. “We have the rules and laws of war. We all now need to work to enhance compliance,” said the Secretary-General.


Witnessing the impacts of climate change in the Pacific region

On Saturday, the Secretary-General concluded his climate action visit to the South Pacific and underscored the “all too real” risks posed by the global climate emergency to the Pacific Island States. “Entire villages are being relocated, livelihoods are being destroyed, people are getting sick from climate-related diseases, and in Tuvalu I saw an entire country fighting to preserve its very existence,” he said. In a statement at the end of his visit, the Secretary-General called for taxes to be shifted from salaries to carbon and for a halt on fossil fuels subsidies and on building new coal plants by 2020. “What we ask for is not solidarity, it’s not generosity, it is enlightened self-interest from all decision-makers around the world because it’s not only of the Pacific that is at stake, it’s the whole planet. To save the Pacific is to save the whole planet,” he stressed.

The Secretary-General stands by the sea in Port Vila, Vanuatu. UN Photo/Mark Garten 

Statement at the end of visit to the Pacific:

Remarks during press encounter with Prime Minister of Vanuatu:

UN development system reform

On Tuesday, the Secretary-General spoke to the Economic and Social Council about his report on the repositioning of the UN development system, highlighting the measures he is taking to ensure effective, cohesive and accountable support to the 2030 Agenda. “We are implementing reforms to make the work of the UN more effective, responsive and accountable. In a short time we have made significant progress. Now we must sustain the momentum,” he tweeted.


2019 African Dialogue Series

On Tuesday, at the opening session of the 2019 African Dialogue series, the Secretary-General stressed that the United Nations and the African Union are deepening their strategic partnership in all areas. Noting challenging situations in Libya, Sudan, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, the Secretary-General also commended African countries for their “long record of keeping their borders, doors and hearts open to refugees and internally displaced people – an example not followed by everyone in the world.”


Senior Appointments

Gunilla Carlsson of Sweden as Acting Executive Director of UNAIDS:

Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar of India as Force Commander, United Nations Mission in South Sudan:

Statement and messages

On the Anniversary of the Launch of the Disarmament Agenda (video):

On the Central African Republic:

To CARITAS General Assembly (video):

On the International Day of Biological Diversity:

On attacks against the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali:

Next Week

On Monday and Tuesday, the Secretary-General will be in Austria. He will attend events marking the 40th anniversary of the Vienna International Centre, home of a number of United Nations bodies, and the “Austrian World Summit”, the annual meeting of the R20, an organization founded by former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, that brings together leaders from politics, business and the private sector to focus on fighting climate change.  From there he will travel to Aachen, Germany, where he will receive the International Charlemagne Prize, awarded annually since 1950 for efforts in the service of European unification.  The Secretary-General will also take part in a conversation with students at Aachen University.