#SyriaCrisis and #WithRefugees

After 6 years of war, more than 11 million Syrians have fled their homes. But ultimately, Syria’s conflict is not about numbers, it’s about people. 6 years of conflict. 4.9 million Syrians are refugees. 6.3 million have fled home but remain inside Syria. Stand #WithRefugees http://trib.al/qdJVe1i
This is where Syrian refugees are hosted. Surprise you?
“We must remember those who are suffering most from this calamity – the 4.9 million refugees, the 6.3 million people displaced internally, and the millions more inside Syria living in daily fear of this war and the inhumanity it has created.”

Powerful words from our United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi as we mark 6 years of the Syrian war.
As we mark the 6th anniversary of the Syria conflict, let’s not forget children like Wafaa, and every single one of the 11 million Syrians who have been forced, by bombs, fighting and destruction, to flee their homes.
Please stand with them, please stand #WithRefugees
Wafaa is 8 years old and lives in a temporary shelter in Aleppo. When her house was shelled, a gas cylinder exploded next to her, burning her face.
Read Wafaa’s story here: http://trib.al/b9CFu5C

“We wish to return safely to our home, my children need education, they have already missed 3 years.”

Nuzha holds her children Mustafa, 1, and Hassan, 10, in the Pioneer Camp for internally displaced persons in Tartous, Syria. Her family fled Aleppo four and a half years ago, when the fighting reached their neighbourhood.


In October 2016, the United Nations held the Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III)to reinvigorate global commitment to sustainable urbanization, focusing on the definition and implementation of a transformative New Urban Agenda , effectively harnessing the role of urbanization as a driving force as well as a source of development with the power to change and improve lives of people.

This New Urban Agenda is a framework that lays how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainability while being a strong part of the Sustainable Development Goals which adopted in 2016.
It’s also ” a commitment for the development of common urbanizing world” which requires the involvement of all relevant actors.
The best channel to make a wider audience aware of the New Urban Agenda & the SDGs first, and then to expand athe level of the citizens’ conscientiousness on the issue, is the MEDIA and communication professionals. Their role is crucial and they have the opportunity to spread knowledge and share reflections of burning issues such as urban issues and sustainability. Journalists are already the ones who chronicle life in the city, who give voice to urban changes and describe the urban reality from different points of views.

UNIC Colombo, with the support of UN-Habitat Colombo, held a workshop on the 14 May 2017 to seek partnership with universities which cater to the needs of career enhancement of journalists and mold them to be responsible citizens through their undergraduate/postgraduate degree courses for Journalism/Mass communication & writership towards possible support for this worthy cause of promoting the New Urban Agenda in Sri Lanka. This workshop was attended by several stakeholders such as the Chairman, Urban Development Authority of Sri Lanka, Expertise from the University of Moratuwa and academia from the Universities of Colombo and Sri Jayewardenepura.

For more information on the New Urban agenda, please visit:



8 March 2017 – “The richness, welfare and prosperity of countries depend on the full integration of women in the development process”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said today, commemorating International Women’s Day at a ceremony in Nairobi as part of his visit to Kenya where he hailed Kenya’s role in multilateralism.
Noting the three pillars of the UN – human rights, peace and security and development – he also underlined that “it is better to prevent conflict when we have women fully empowered in societies and it’s better to solve conflicts when fully participate in conflict resolution.”

Secretary-General António Guterres meeting with youth leaders and women political aspirants in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: UN Habitat/Julius Mwelu

UNIC Colombo celebrated the Day with “Mihithala Mithuro (Friends of Earth), an environmental development foundation at Kodigahakandain Olaboduwa North on the 8th of March under the theme “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. The main message conveyed by the inspirational speeches made at the event was well absorbed by the audience.

Global call for nominations for the Equator Prize 2017: A search for nature-based solutions for local development

The Equator Initiative has announced a global call for nominations for the Equator Prize 2017. This year’s prize will be awarded to outstanding community and indigenous initiatives that are advancing nature-based solutions for local sustainable development.
Previous Winners from Sri Lanka

You may savor the reward of nominating eligible communities that are innovative and advancing creative solutions related to natural resource management and local sustainable development.
For further information, and to submit nominations please visit http://prize.equatorinitiative.org

E Equator Prize-Media Release

Equator Prize 2017 Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Equator Prize 2017, the following requirements apply:
•The initiative must have been in existence for at least three years, and/or the actions taken must have been in place for at least three years.
•The nominee must be either a local community-based group, operating in a rural area, based in a country receiving support from the United Nations Development Programme (for a list of eligible countries, see the list below); or an indigenous peoples’ community in any country, operating in a rural area.
•The actions taken must be nature-based, and must deliver benefits related to two or more Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Eligible Initiatives
•Community-based associations or organizations
•Community-based enterprises and cooperatives
•Women’s associations or organizations
•Indigenous or ethnic minority groups or associations
•Youth groups or associations
•Non-governmental organizations

Local community based-groups must be located in one of the following countries listed below.

Afghanistan,Kiribati,Nepal,Thailand,Bangladesh,Laos,Niue etc. including SRI LANKA

Indigenous peoples’ communities from any country may nominate.

Selection Criteria

Equator Prize 2017 winners will be selected by an independent Technical Advisory Committee, which will assess nominations based on the following criteria:
•Impact: The extent to which the nominated initiative has resulted in measurable and positive environmental, social and economic impacts, related to two or more Sustainable Development Goals;
•Innovation: The extent to which the nominated initiative demonstrates new approaches and models that overcome prevailing constraints, and could offer fundamentally new approaches to attaining sustainable development;
•Scalability and/or replicability: The extent to which the nominated initiative could be scaled up sub-nationally or nationally and/or, the extent to which the initiative can be replicated within the country and beyond;
•Resilience, Adaptability, and Self-Sufficiency: The extent to which the nominated initiative demonstrates adaptability to environmental, social and economic change, resilience in the face of external pressures, and improved capacity for local self-sufficiency;
•Reduced inequalities: The extent to which the initiative reduces inequalities in income as well as those based on age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status, particular for the poor;
•Social Inclusion: The extent to which the nominated initiative includes youth, elders, indigenous members and other diverse groups in the decision-making processes and the actions that affect them;
•Gender Equality:The extent to which the nominated Initiative promotes the equality and empowerment of women and girls.

Youth Taking Action to Implement the 2030 Agenda – ECOSOC Youth Forum#YOUTH2030

Within the UN system, ECOSOC has the main responsibility for following up on all major past international conferences linked to the three pillars of sustainable development, and will continue to do this alongside the implementation of the sustainable development goals. As a hub for the exchange of knowledge and mutual learning, it had an instrumental role in examining lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals, assessed the transition into the post-2015 agenda, and currently consider the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. ECOSOC also explores the scope of a renewed global partnership and invites youth to share their views on their future.

“You have the talent, energy and ideals to prevent conflicts, defend human rights, secure peace and realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”
— UN Secretary-General António Guterres
ECOSOC President Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava addresses the 2017 ECOSOC Youth Forum. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

ECOSOC YOUTH FORUM :At Youth Forum, UN calls on young people to help realize a better future for all
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum, held on 30-31 January 2017, provided a platform for youth to engage in a dialogue with Member States and share ideas on innovation, collective action and solutions to global problems. It also addressed the concept of “shared prosperity”, which is at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The forum brought youth leaders from around the world to the UN Headquarters in New York. It gave them the opportunity to engage with policy-makers and other youth delegates and representatives.
This two-day event featured interactive dialogues among representatives from youth organizations, high-level and other keynote speakers. A number of sessions were held on aspects of the themes for the Economic and Social Council and the High-level Political Forum and space was created for regional perspective
Important ECOSOC forums for exchanges around sustainable development comprise:
• High-Level Political Forum
• Development Cooperation Forum, including reviews of global trends
• Annual Ministerial Review, including its national voluntary presentations on development strategies that have proven effective
• Financing for Development Forum, involving leading financial and trade organizations
• Integration Segment, with specific focus on the three pillars of sustainable development
• Operational Activities for Development Segment, on adapting the UN funds and programmes to post-2015
The Department of Economic and Social Affairs organizes the Youth Forum in collaboration with the Office of the Youth Envoy of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Inter-agency Network on Youth Development.

UNIC Colombo congratulates Ms.Dakshitha Wickremarathne, Member, UN MGCY- Commonwealth Youth Council for her participation at the forum.

More details: https://www.un.org/ecosoc/en/


Commitment to Youth by new UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The annual Youth Forum of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is a platform where young people can contribute to policy discussions at the United Nations through their collective ideas, solutions and innovations. The Forum allows representatives of youth-led and youth-focused organizations and networks, youth advocates and others to dialogue with Member States, and to explore ways and means of promoting youth development and engagement.
The SDG Media Zone will join the sixth ECOSOC Youth Forum on January 30 – 31 in New York to broadcast live dynamic discussions and interviews featuring SDG Youth Advocates, YouTubers and social media influencers. Each day #SDGLive will engage the online global audience on how to address the Sustainable Development Goals together.

Young People Convene at the United Nations Headquarters for the Fifth and Largest ECOSOC Youth Forum to Date


• Achieving the SDGs: Harnessing the Power of Youth
• Africa’s Youth in the Realization of the SDGs
• Youth 4 Peace: How Young People Promote Peace & Security
• One for All – Campaign Engagement
• Youth and Inequalities

Ahmed Alhendawi, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
Alpha Sennon, Founder of WhyFarm
Andreas Karsten, Youth Policy Labs
Andrea Lizarzaburu, Alliance for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecuador
Andy Rabens, Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues,U.S. Department of State
Carolina Medina, Co-Founder of Agruppa and Young Leader for the SDGs
Cecile Mazzacurati, Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security -United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) & Peacebuilding Support Office
Christopher Eigeland, UN Youth Delegate, Australia

2016 in Review: Youth Highlights at the United Nations
Rise of Youth Rights at the UN Human Rights Council

2016 has been a critical year in making the shift from youth issues to youth rights with the adoption the first Human Rights Council Resolution on Youth and Human Rights and the convening of the first forum on Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law. Both the resolution and forum were important steps marking a transition around the needs and priorities of youth from talking about youth issues to talking about youth rights.

Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace & Security from Adoption to Implementation
2016 marks the first year after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security, In this short time, we have witnessed important momentum and progress in implementing the resolution. On International Youth Day, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of an Advisory Group to document young people’s contribution to peace-building world-wide. The first regional consultation was held in Amman in December to contribute to the Resolution’s Progress Study. Also, the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund allocated $5 million to youth-focused projects across the world as part of its commitment to inclusive peacebuilding and as a recognition of the central role of young people to the peacebuilding portfolio.
For more information: http://www.un.org/youthenvoy/ &

“Peace must be our goal and our guide”- UN New Secretary General

UNIC COLOMBO wishes the new Secretary General of the UN every success in fulfilling the high expectations placed upon UN by the people!!!

As Secretary-General António Guterres took up his functions as the head of the Organization on 1 January 2017, he launched an appeal for peace. His wish for 2017: let it be a year in which we all strive to overcome differences. «Peace must be our goal and our guide.»
For more details please visit: https://www.un.org/sg/en


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is now online in 500 languages.
Have a look at the illustrated edition with the UN digital ambassador Elyx and know your rights: http://www.un.org/en/udhrbook/
Images by Elyx

UNIC Colombo joined the Department of Legal Studies of the Open University of Sri Lanka to mark the Day on 8 December 2016. Several information materials were donated by UNIC to the Department.
A lecture on Right to information was delivered by a senior journalist.

The Vice-Chancellor of the OUSL speaks at the event
A drama on “barriers to love without boundaries” was performed by students of regional centres of OUSL.

The Secretary-General Appeal for Peace on 1st January 2017

On my first day as Secretary-General of the United Nations, one question weighs heavily on my heart.

How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?

Civilians are pounded with deadly force. Women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute. Even hospitals and aid convoys are targeted.

No one wins these wars; everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations. Whole regions are destabilized and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all.

On this New Year’s Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution:

Let us resolve to put peace first.

Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences.

From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives, to dialogue and respect across political divides… From ceasefires on the battlefield, to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions…

Peace must be our goal and our guide.

All that we strive for as a human family – dignity and hope, progress and prosperity – depends on peace.

But peace depends on us.

I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace, today and every day.

Let us make 2017 a year for peace.

Thank you.



“Sustainable development goal 6 calls on the international community to ensure access to toilets by 2030. Delivering on this basic human right — the right to water and sanitation — is good for people, business and the economy.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

LOGO_En copie

Breaking the Taboos
Breaking the Taboos

World Toilet Day, on 19 November, is about taking action to reach the 2.4 billion people living without a toilet. The theme of World Toilet Day 2016 is ‘toilets and jobs’, focusing on how sanitation, or the lack of it, can impact people’s livelihoods.

Sanitation is a global development priority. The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone everywhere has access to toilets by 2030.

Toilets play a crucial role in creating a strong economy, as well as improving health and protecting people’s safety and dignity, particularly women’s and girls’.

The UN and its partners are getting the message out that toilets save lives, increase productivity, create jobs and grow economies.

To learn more about the connection between toilets and jobs, please download the factsheet.

To take action and join the global movement, please go to www.worldtoiletday.info

Top facts:
•2.4 billion People live without improved sanitation (World Health Organization (WHO)/UNICEF 2015).
•One in ten people has no choice but to defecate in the open (WHO/UNICEF 2015).
•Diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year (WAS-Hwatch 2016).
•Disease transmission at work mostly caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths (International Labour Organization (ILO) 2003).
•Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP (Hutton 2012)

UNIC Colombo selected an interior rural village in the Central Province of the Island, about 235 km away from Colombo, to mark the Day. The Centre found that the villagers of this beautiful rocky mountain village do not have decent hygiene facilities due to deeply rooted poverty and difficulty in transporting building materials to construct a toilet due to non-availability of proper mode of transport as the only road to the village is totally damaged and washed away.
wtd-beauty-of-village-02 wtd-peacokwtd-for-report-beauty-of-village-01wtd-school-girl-through-paddy-fieldswtd-best-ppicturenov21-90
wtd-kidswtd-for-report-03-overlooking-lake-galawtd-children-going-to-school-thro-paddy-fields wtd-a-cow-grazingThey take 16 k.m. journey up and down through thick jungle to go to the town to sell their produce and buy provisions once a week.
Heading back to the hidden village 20161121_131944nov21-86Plight of the villagers: A risky crossing over the washed away path
wtd-plight-of-villagers< wtd-journey-to-villageTravellers helping UNIC Team to carry the stuff

Out of 35 families live therein, only 05 families have toilets and others practice open defecation. wtd-about-to-collapse – A dilapidated toilet to collapse down any moment

UNIC Colombo arranged a programme to educate the villages on how the sanitation could have an impact on their livelihoods. The assistance of People’s Representatives (Hon. Chief Minister of Central Province, Mr. Sarath Ekanayake) was obtained to partner with the Health Department. UNIC selected 05 families with school-going children to provide toilet facilities as it is important to change long-standing practices that hinder the quest for dignity of children. The programme which was attended by villagers and school children comprised of the following:-
• Speaking engagements to raise Awareness and inspire action to tackle the local sanitation crisis
• SDG through quality education and the target to ensure everyone everywhere has access to toilets by 2030. – UNIC
• Upholding dignity through proper sanitation practices – Public Health Inspector /Department of Health, Central Province
• Protect the Planet – UNIC
• Inspiring thoughts on volunteerism – UNIC
• Meet household Toilet – Assistance to construct 05 full toilets and 07 half built ones – UNIC with kind generosity of UNIC’s friend’s circle and UN colleagues
• Health Camp : Tests for kidney diseases and diabetes wtd-test-for-diabeteswtd-for-report-for-report-health-campwtd-for-report-health-camp Distributing building materials for construction of toilets nov22-178wtd-fro-report-04-at-the-programmewtd-fro-report-05-at-sessionwtd-school-children-with-yuukaa “>wtd-way-to-school-for-the-programme UNIC’s team sets off for the Day
nov22-154wtd-un4uwtd-phis-session wtd-how-to-brush-your-teethwtd-yuuka-addressing-the-students – Yuuka, UNIC’s intern from Sophia University, Japan, shares her passion for volunteerism
wtd-for-report-making-sandwiches – UNIC team makes sandwiches for tea offered to participants
UNIC is thankful to Ranbanda & Wimala for all their helps.

01. Kumari Wickramasinghe – UNIC staff
02. Hiranthi Gunawardena – UNIC Staff
03. Nadeeshani Gomez – UNIC Intern
04. Yuuka Iwamura – UNIC Intern
05. Devana Salgadu – UNIC Volunteer
06. Thilanka Gunawardena – UNIC Volunteer

Courtesy: Mr. M M. Ranbanda of Galamuduna, Coordinator
Mr. Devana Salgadu, Team Leader
UN Colleagues )
UNIC’s friends circle) who supported the toilet project
Department of Health, Central Province
Department of Zonal Education, Central Province
Transport courtesy: UNDP Transport Unit- Messrs. Rohana Dissanayake, Jayamini Seneviratne & Ranjan