News in Brief 20 September 2017 (AM)

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The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted on 7 July 2017 by 122 States, opened for signature on 20 September, on the sidelines of the annual general debate of the General Assembly. Secretary-General António Guterres speaks at the signing ceremony. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

We cannot allow "doomsday weapons" to endanger the future: UN chief

We cannot allow "doomsday weapons" to continue threatening our children's future and that of the entire world.

That's the passionate view of UN chief António Guterres, speaking on Wednesday at the signing ceremony for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The historic treaty – the first multilateral disarmament treaty in more than 20 years – was adopted on 7 July at UN Headquarters in New York.

The Secretary-General said that the treaty was the product of increasing concerns over nuclear weapons, including the "catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of their use."

Many nuclear powers, including permanent Security Council members the United States, United Kingdom and France, boycotted the event, held as world leaders gather for the General Assembly.

The treaty enters into force 90 days after 50 countries have ratified it.

Mr Guterres saluted those countries signing up.

"The Treaty is an important step towards the universally-held goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. It is my hope that it will reinvigorate global efforts to achieve it. Today we rightfully celebrate a milestone.  Now we must continue along the hard road towards the elimination of nuclear arsenals. This will require dialogue, bridge-building and practical steps. There remain some fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in existence. We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children's future."

Peacekeeping "remains a highly cost-effective instrument"

The UN's 15 peacekeeping operations around the world remain a "highly cost-effective instrument" for global peace and security, the Secretary-General said on Wednesday.

Mr Guterres was addressing a Security Council high-level open debate on reforming UN peacekeeping.

He said hundreds of thousands of civilians seeking refuge enjoyed the protection of UN Missions and blue helmets, across the world.

"My proposals for the Secretariat peace and security architecture seek to strengthen the link between political strategies and operations – and between peace and security and the development and human rights pillars of our work.
If we can do better on prevention, mediation and peacebuilding, we can reduce the unrealistic and dangerous demands on our colleagues in uniform."

Mr Guterres said peace operations needed to be better equipped, and needed to better embody "UN values."

On ending sexual abuse by peacekeepers, he said Member States were now certifying, prior to deployment, that none of their personnel had a history of misconduct.

He said the push for more women officers and troops would continue, and stronger partnerships needed to be forged with international organizations such as the African Union.

Zero tolerance for food loss and waste "makes economic sense"

A renewed global commitment to stop wasting food needs to be made as a pathway to achieving the global Sustainable Development Goal on ending hunger.

That's according to the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, speaking at a high-level event at UN Headquarters on tackling food loss and waste.

He said that "zero tolerance for food loss and food waste makes economic sense," adding that every dollar invested in conserving food brings US$14 in return.

A third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted each year at all stages of the supply chain, from farm to fork, says FAO.

Investing in the issue also means investing in poverty  reduction, said Mr Graziano da Silva, and working to promote sustainable food systems for a zero-hunger world".

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3’16″

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