November marked the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, reminded his followers that we have the power to overcome division. The rise of nationalism and populism in recent years has seen societies across the world become increasingly divisive. Instead people should be brought together to help each other thrive. The UN works towards maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international cooperation, and being a center for harmonising the actions of nations.
Arancha Gonzalez tweeted this video of German Chancellor Angela Merkel explaining the limits of free speech. While free speech has many positives, when taken too far it can become divisive and spread hatred. For peace and well being, we must oppose speech that spreads hatred.
Pollution is a common problem in many of the world’s large developing cities. India is home to the majority of the world’s top ten most polluted cities, with Delhi often cited as the worst. In November, Delhi reached extreme levels of pollution, causing the Government to tell inhabitants to stay at home for days. As Varun Jhaveri noted, this is a disaster! Just another reason for us to be more environmentally conscious. In a city like Delhi that might mean using public transport rather than driving for instance.
Antonio Guterres congratulated European Investment Bank for the news that the bank will no longer fund fossil fuel projects by 2021. In addition to investing in renewables it is equally important to phase out pollutants and environmentally-unfriendly fuel sources.
World Children’s Day took place on November 20th. Paloma Escudero, Unicef Global Director of Communication, was celebrating in New York. To reach many of the SDGs children must be at the forefront of developmental efforts, including on education, healthcare, gender equality and zero hunger.
Finally, see this video of a refugee mother being reunited with her son after years apart, shared by Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Families around the world have been stripped apart by violence, climate disasters and more, so it is refreshing to see an instance of a family being reunited under desperate conditions.
The work of the United Nations is more easily achieved with widespread support and action. The use of social platforms, such as Twitter, by UN staffers to share their experiences, work and promote awareness is thus valuable to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ultimately greater prosperity for all.