Threats to Cultural Heritage in Iraq and Syria

Fact Sheet (Sept. 23): The damage and looting of historic sites in Iraq and Syria, which have been preserved for millennia, have destroyed irreplaceable evidence of ancient life and society. Further damage to these countries’ treasures increases the loss of their common heritage and cultural legacies of universal importance. Fragile sites and buildings have suffered as collateral damage to battles, targets for purposeful ideological destruction, and prey for systematic looting. Fact Sheet»


#UNGA High-Level Week Opens in New York

Sept. 22: DipNote by Megan Mattson: Today marks the opening of the 69th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Week in New York. World leaders and representatives from 193 countries will come together to work on an agenda full of critical issues, including counterterrorism, Ebola, global women's issues, and much more. DipNote»


OPCW Report and Ongoing Concerns With Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

Press Statement (Sept. 21): The OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission investigating chlorine use in Syria recently released a second interim report that concludes with a high degree of confidence that chlorine was used as a weapon “systematically and repeatedly” in attacks on three villages in northern Syria earlier this year. The report cites witness accounts indicating helicopters were used in the attacks—a capability the opposition lacks. This strongly points to Syrian regime culpability. Press Statement»


Attack on MINUSMA

Press Statement (Sept. 19): The United States strongly condemns yet another deadly attack against the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) yesterday in Mali which killed five Chadian peacekeepers and wounded three others. This is the third such attack this month alone. These continued attacks on UN peacekeepers must stop. Press Statement»


Launch of Model United Nations Mobile App
Media Note (Sept. 19)
: The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, in partnership with the United Nations Association of the USA, is pleased to announce the release of the new mobile app, “Model United Nations.” Geared toward teachers, community leaders, and students of international affairs, this app uses step-by-step tools to engage users in the vital work of the UN. MediaNote»


Statement as Chair of Ministerial Debate of the UN Security Council on Iraq
Secretary of State John Kerry (Sept. 19):
"Thank you very much, Your Excellency, Mr. al-Jafari, for a very important statement, and we appreciate very much your leadership and the new government’s efforts. Now it’s my privilege to make a statement in my capacity as Secretary of State of the United States." Full Text»


The U.S. at the UN: Maximizing the Impact of Collective Action
Acting Assistant Secretary Pittman (Sept. 18): "The UN and its agencies and organizations did not evolve from lesser entities, the nations of the world created them for specific purposes." Full Text»


UNGA 69: Why the UN Matters More Than Ever
Sept. 16:
DipNote blog by Dean Pittman, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. Incredible things can happen at UNGA - diplomacy often breaks out in uncommon and unanticipated ways, and the convening gravity of the United Nations gives Manhattan a decidedly multilateral tilt every September. DipNote»


The Upcoming UN General Assembly Meeting

Sept. 15: Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, briefs at the Washington Foreign Press Center on the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting. Full Text»


Selection of the Third Annual U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations
Date: 08/25/2014 Description: Photo of Jackson Dougan, third annual U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations. © UN ImageAug. 25: The U.S. Department of State, in partnership with the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA), is pleased to announce the selection of the third annual U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations. The Observer, Mr. Jackson Dougan, hails from Oregon, and was chosen from a pool of over 600 applicants. Mr. Dougan recently completed post-baccalaureate research at the School of Biology and Environmental Science at University College Dublin; he graduated with honors from Oregon State University in 2013. More»


World Humanitarian Day
Secretary Kerry (Aug. 19):
"We pay tribute today to the world’s humanitarians – those unsung heroes who, despite the risks, work to save lives on the front lines of conflict and help victims of natural disasters pick up the pieces and rebuild their communities." Full Text»


Milestone in Eliminating Syria's Chemical Weapons Program
Secretary Kerry (Aug. 18):
"Today, we mark a milestone in our unrelenting work to ensure the end of the Assad regime’s deadly chemical arsenal: The United States has finished neutralizing the regime’s deadliest chemical weapons aboard the Cape Ray." Full Text»


U.S. Delegation to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Washington (August 11):
The United States is pleased to announce a broad senior-level interagency delegation that will appear before the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on August 13 and 14 in Geneva to present its 2013 periodic report on the implementation of U.S. obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Full Text»


U.S.-Africa Post-2015 Development Agenda Meeting
Date: 08/08/2014 Description: Heather Higginbottom, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, and John Podesta, Counselor to the President of the United States, hosted a meeting yesterday with African leaders on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. - State Dept ImageWashington (August 8): Heather Higginbottom, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, and John Podesta, Counselor to the President of the United States, hosted a meeting yesterday with African leaders on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals, as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The interactive roundtable discussion was an opportunity to discuss common priorities and deepen cooperation to build support in the next year for a Post-2015 Development Agenda that can deliver concrete development outcomes for societies worldwide. Full Text»


Fact Sheet: United States Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance for Syria Crisis
Washington (July 30):
Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced today that the United States is providing nearly $378 million in additional U.S. aid to help those affected by the war in Syria. With this funding, total U.S. humanitarian assistance since the start of the crisis will reach more than $2.4 billion; with $1.2 billion helping over 4.7 million people inside Syria, and $1.2 billion helping nearly 3 million refugees and host communities in the neighboring countries affected by the crisis. Full Text»


Ambassador Lawson Expresses U.S. Strong Support for ICAO
Date: 08/08/2014 Description: U.S. Ambassador Michael A. Lawson - State Dept ImageAmbassador Lawson, Montreal (July 25): “I would like to express the deepest condolences of President Obama and the American people to those who lost their lives in the MH17 crash and their families and our strong support for ICAO, and its efforts to assist and support the investigation. At times like these, the vital role of ICAO is ever more crucial, and I thank the ICAO leadership for its ongoing efforts to help uncover all the facts about this tragedy. We look forward toward working with ICAO in the coming weeks and months on ways that the international community can move forward in order to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.” Full Statement»


Remarks With UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Situation in Gaza
Secretary Kerry (July 21):
“Let me just say to everybody that, first of all, President Obama and all of us are deeply appreciative for the secretary-general’s significant efforts to try to help bring about a cease-fire in the conflict in Gaza. And the secretary-general has been meeting in the region, but he purposefully stayed over here a little extra time in order that we could meet and discuss ways in which we might be able to bring about or encourage the parties to embrace a cease-fire under the right circumstances.” Full Text» Fact Sheet»


Let's Make Every Day, a #MandelaDay
Date: 06/22/1990 Description: Nelson Mandela raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. © UN ImageAshli Savoy (July 18): “The message behind Mandela Day is simple: everyone has the ability and responsibility to serve others and to create positive change. This can happen any day, anywhere in the world, and the responsibility belongs to everyone. By giving a little of our time, we can start to change the world around us, and by emulating the leadership and service of Nelson Mandela, we can become change makers ourselves.” Full Text»


Remarks With Head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Jan Kubis Before Their Meeting
Date: 07/12/2014 Description: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan head Jan Kubis during a July 12, 2014 press conference. © UN ImageSecretary Kerry (July 11): “I want to thank the UN for the tremendous job that they’ve been doing. And obviously, we are at a very, very critical moment for Afghanistan. The election legitimacy hangs in the balance. The future potential of a transition hangs in the balance, so we have a lot of work to do.” Full Text»


United States Delegation to Vienna for the Iran Nuclear Negotiations
Washington, DC (July 1):
Deputy Secretary William J. Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman, and National Security Adviser to the Vice President Jacob J. Sullivan will depart on July 1 for Vienna to participate in the comprehensive nuclear negotiations of the P5+1 and European Union with Iran. Full Delegation List»


Fact Sheet: Key U.S. Outcomes at the UN Human Rights Council 26th Session
Date: 08/08/2014 Description: The 23rd session of the Human Rights Council. © UN ImageWashington, DC (June 30): The outcomes of the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) underscored the importance of robust U.S. engagement at the Council, where the United States continues to work with a diverse range of countries from all regions to address urgent human rights concerns. U.S. leadership helped to keep the Council at the forefront of international efforts to promote and protect human rights. Full Text»


If You ‘Let Girls Learn,’ You Save Lives Too
Date: 07/02/2014 Description: Girls Read in Pakistan © AP ImageWashington, DC (June 26): Oppression and prejudice toil in a cage of ignorance and cruelty. Before the U.S. Civil Rights movement altered the course of history, Jim Crow laws and terror imposed segregation and licensed discrimination, casting a pall of shame over America. Today, the inhumane degradation and culturally sanctioned abuse of girls in many parts of the world is a shockingly similar shame. Denied the most basic universal human rights, girls have limited access to health care, nutrition, education, and job skills training, as well as productive resources, such as water, land, and credit. Full Text»


Young Professionals: Apply to UN Program to Jumpstart Your Career in International Affairs
Date: 07/02/2014 Description: UN Flag Flutters Outside a Building in Germany © AP ImageWashington, DC (June 23): Interested in a career with the United Nations? Curious about entry-level opportunities for young professionals? The Bureau of International Organization Affairs is excited to announce U.S. participation in this year’s UN Young Professionals Program (YPP). This may be just the opportunity you’ve been seeking to get your foot in the door with the United Nations. To qualify, you need to be 32 years old or younger by the end of this year, hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, speak English and/or French fluently, and be a national of a participating country, such as the United States. Full Text»


Designation of Poverty Point, Louisiana as UNESCO World Heritage Site
Date: 07/02/2014 Description: Aerial view of poverty point. © U.S. National Park ServiceWashington, DC (June 22): The Department of State welcomes today’s decision by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to inscribe the Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point, a state park in Louisiana, as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This prestigious designation is a global recognition of the site’s outstanding universal value. Poverty Point becomes the 22nd U.S. site on the World Heritage List, including the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty. Located in Louisiana’s Lower Mississippi Valley, Poverty Point comprises a remarkable system of monumental mounds and ridges built into the landscape for residential and ceremonial use by a sophisticated society of hunter-fisher-gatherers. Full Text» More Information About Poverty Point» More Information About the U.S. And World Heritage»


Commemorating World Refugee Day
Date: 06/20/2014 Location: Bessian, Pakistan Description: UN Refugee Agency Provides Shelter to Quake Victims:  Girls pictured today in Bessian, Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan at a tent city set up by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for some 300 families or 1,600 people. Up to 10,000 people are expected to arrive at this tent city soon due to the on-coming winter. October 22 , 2005. © UN ImageSecretary Kerry (June 20): World Refugee Day is more than a moment marked on a calendar. It is a time to honor the strength and resilience of refugees around the world and renew our determination to support them as they rebuild their lives and communities. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees now counts the number of refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced persons at 51 million. That number is staggering by any measure. It represents children, women, and men from Syria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and now Iraq, who face death, destruction, and dislocation. For them, daily survival is a gamble. Full Text»


Let * Girls Learn


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Peacekeeping Missions Strengthen the Rule of Law in Post-Conflict Settings
Director Raffi Gregorian (Feb. 20):
"On February 19, the United Nations Security Council met for an open debate on strengthening of the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict settings. The session addressed how the failure of legal institutions can lead to conflict and cause repeated cycles of violence, displacement, humanitarian crisis, and instability. As Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo highlighted in her remarks to the Security Council, “respect for the rule of law is critical for the establishment of stable, secure, and democratic post-conflict societies.” Full Text» | Amb. DiCarlo Remarks at the UN Security Council»


Release of the Final Report of the UN Commission of Inquiry into the Human Rights Situation in the D.P.R.K.
Marie Harf (Feb. 17):
"We strongly welcome and support the final report released by the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.), which provides compelling evidence of widespread, systematic, and grave human rights violations by the D.P.R.K. The COI report reflects the international community’s consensus view that the human rights situation in the D.P.R.K. is among the world’s worst. We urge the D.P.R.K. to take concrete steps – as recommended by the COI – to improve the human rights situation for the North Korean people. The COI’s investigation – through, for example, its public hearings in Seoul, Tokyo, London, and Washington – clearly and unequivocally documents the brutal reality of the D.P.R.K.’s human rights abuses. We continue to work actively with our partners and with international organizations to raise awareness of and address the deplorable human rights conditions in the D.P.R.K." Full Text» | Link to the Final Report on the OHCHR Homepage»


White House Blog: Making the World Safer from Pandemic Threats: A New Agenda for Global Health Security
Date: 02/13/2014 Description: Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, talks with Lisa Monaco at a meeting about the Global Health Security Agenda in Washington, DC.  © Department of Health and Human ServicesLisa Monaco (Feb. 13): "Today, I joined Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and representatives of more than 25 nations, the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to launch the Global Health Security Agenda, an international effort to enhance our ability to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks of infectious disease threats. This is not just a health challenge – it is a security challenge as well. Infectious diseases have the potential to cause enormous damage in terms of lives lost, economic impact, and ability to recover, just as with nuclear, chemical, or cybersecurity attacks. In today’s interconnected world, they emerge and spread faster than ever before." Full Text»


International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
Secretary Kerry (February 6):
"Eleven years ago, the United Nations set aside February 6 as the day each year for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and stand in solidarity with the women and girls forced to suffer its unspeakable consequences. The facts must shock every conscience into action. All told, about 120 to 140 million women in countries around the world have undergone FGM/C and another 3 million girls are at risk each year. Just as gender-based violence knows no boundaries, this tragedy spans the globe, including among many migrant communities in the United States." Full Text» DipNote»


U.S. Condemns Sectarian Violence in the Central African Republic
Spokesperson Psaki (February 5):
"The United States is deeply concerned by recent sectarian attacks against both Muslims and Christians in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). Clashes during the past few days in the town of Boda reportedly left over 75 dead, most of whom were Muslims. In late January, a convoy carrying mostly Muslims, including ex-Seleka militias, fired on the largely Christian residents of the town of Bocaranga, forcing many to flee. Many Muslim families have fled from their homes and some 50,000 third-country nationals have left the country. In the last year, approximately one million people have been displaced across the country, including some 85,000 new refugees that have fled to neighboring countries." Full Text»


DipNote: U.S. Formally Joins the UN Global Education Initiative
Date: 02/07/2014 Description: Students Hold a Hand-Written Sign for Malala Yousufzai. © AP ImageDAS Nerissa Cook (February 4): "Did you know that 57 million primary-aged children worldwide do not have the opportunity to attend school? Additionally, 69 million adolescents are not able to get a quality education. And of the many children who are fortunate enough to have some formal education, 250 million do not have basic literacy and math skills. These are alarming figures, because data shows that a good education can lead to a better life and a stronger economy." Full Text»


U.S. Designated a Champion Country in the UN Global Education First Initiative
Washington (January 28):
The United States is pleased to announce its designation by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as a UN Global Education First Initiative Champion Country. Launched by the UN Secretary General and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown in 2012, this initiative is an international call to action to raise education to the top of the public agenda by getting every child into school, improving the quality of education, and fostering global citizenship. As a Champion Country, the United States will serve as a global advocate for strategic investments in education, including better use of technology and innovation to enhance learning and workforce development. Full Text»


U.S. Condemns Renewed Violence in Central African Republic
Secretary Kerry (January 26):
"The United States is deeply concerned by renewed inter-religious violence in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). We condemn attacks by both anti-Balaka and Seleka groups in Bangui and the provinces. We are also deeply disturbed by reports that some C.A.R. leaders may be supporting attacks by anti-Balaka and Seleka, respectively, instead of working for peace and reconciliation. Preventing the violence from gaining further momentum and costing more lives will require all of C.A.R.’s leaders, past and present, to be clear in condemning it." Full Text»


U.S. Statement to IAEA Board of Governors
Date: 01/24/2014 Description: Ambassador MacManus -- Official Photo - State Dept ImageAmbassador MacManus (Jan. 24): "This week is an important milestone in the international community’s efforts to resolve concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program. On Monday, January 20, implementation of the Joint Plan of Action began. This marks the first time in a decade that Iran has committed to take specific steps that halt progress on its nuclear program and roll back key parts of that program. In particular, Iran is taking steps to address a number of urgent concerns regarding its nuclear program, including its enrichment capacity, its existing stockpiles of enriched uranium, and its prospective ability to produce weapons-grade plutonium at the IR-40 reactor at Arak… Full Text »


Signing of the Cessation of Hostilities between the Government of South Sudan and the Opposition Forces
Washington (Jan. 23):
We congratulate the IGAD mediation team for its crucial work in realizing this critical step in resolving the conflict in South Sudan. The United States continues to stand with the people of South Sudan, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, humanitarian actors, and all those that continue to work under difficult and dangerous circumstances to alleviate the suffering and protect innocent civilians affected by this crisis. Full Text»


Intervention at the Geneva ll International Conference on Syria

Secretary Kerry (Jan. 22): "There is another way forward. We all know it. It is what this conference is organized around. It is the Geneva communique, which has the support of the international community as a peaceful roadmap for transition. And the only thing standing in its way is the stubborn clinging to power of one man, one family. I believe the alternative vision of the Syrian people is one that can gather the respect and support of people all around the world. It is a place that doesn’t force people to flee or live in fear, a Syria that protects the rights of every group. We have not only an opportunity, but we have an obligation to find a way forward so that the people of Syria can choose their leadership, know peace, and for 9 million refugees, finally be able to return home in dignity." Full Text» Press Availability»


Implementation of the Joint Plan of Action Between the P5+1 and Iran and Provision of Limited, Temporary, and Targeted Sanctions Relief
Washington (Jan. 20):
These actions implement U.S. commitments under the Joint Plan of Action, which is designed as a first step toward a peaceful and comprehensive solution to international concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

On November 24, 2013, the United States and its partners in the P5+1 reached an initial understanding with Iran that halts progress on its nuclear program and rolls it back in key respects. As outlined in a Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), this initial understanding includes the first meaningful limits on Iran’s nuclear program in close to a decade. In return for these important steps to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, the P5+1 committed to provide Iran with limited, targeted, and reversible sanctions relief for a six-month period. Full Text»


U.S. Deeply Concerned by Widespread Violations and Abuses of Human Rights in the C.A.R.
Date: 01/20/2014 Location: New York City Description: Peter Mulrean, Charge d'Affaires, a.i., U.S. Mission, Delivers statement at Special Session on the C.A.R. © UN ImageCharge d’Affaires Mulrean (Jan. 20): "We welcome the appointment of Ms. Marie Therese Keita Bocoum as the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the C.A.R., given the ongoing dire security situation, and reports of increased human rights violations and abuses since the Council last addressed the C.A.R. in September 2013….The United States remains deeply concerned by the ongoing and widespread violations and abuses of human rights in the C.A.R. We are particularly troubled by the eruption of large-scale, retaliatory cycles of communal violence in December 2013, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and an almost complete breakdown in law and order in the capital Bangui, and across the country. The reports of heinous acts of violence committed against women and children, including killings, mutilations, and rape, are especially troubling." Full Text»


Fact Sheet: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis
Washington (Jan. 15):
Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced today the United States will provide $380 million in additional U.S. humanitarian assistance to help those affected by the war in Syria. With this additional funding, the United States’ humanitarian assistance since the crisis began is more than $1.7 billion to help those suffering inside Syria, as well as refugees and host communities in the neighboring countries. Full Text»


Additional Humanitarian Assistance for South Sudan
The United States announced $49.8 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help victims of conflict in South Sudan. With this new assistance, the United States has provided more than $300 million in humanitarian assistance in Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 to assist South Sudanese victims of conflict as well as refugees seeking asylum in South Sudan. This new funding includes $24.8 million for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and $7.5 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration, for their 2014 programs in South Sudan. Full Text»


U.S. Ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies Leads Journalists on a Visit to Cambodia

Date: 12/13/2013 Description: Ambassador David Lane helps serve food to schoolgirl during his visit to Cambodia.  (Photo taken by Sharon Ketchum, December 2013, US Mission to the UN in Rome.) © UN Image

Ambassador David Lane, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, recently traveled to Cambodia. He visited rural communities and observe how the United States and the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies collaborate to support farmers, businesses, and government officials to improve food security and promote agricultural development in Cambodia. The Ambassador was accompanied by a group of journalists from Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, and Cambodia. They visited a variety of projects run by the U.S. Government, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Program (WFP), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Ambassador Lane blogged about his trip:

You can view photos from his trip on the U.S. mission to the UN Agencies in Rome Facebook Page.


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