Editorial by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN Resident Coordinator, UN Day 2013

24 Oct 2013

imageIsmail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN Resident Coordinator in Yemen, talking to Media during the UN Day activities

United Nations Day is a chance to recognize how much the organization contributes to peace and common progress around the world. The United Nations is our organization; it belongs to all of us, member states and people. 

This year again, we saw the United Nations come together on armed conflicts, human rights, the environment and many other issues. We continue to show what collective action can do.  In a world that is more connected, we must be more united. This is also a time to reflect on what more we can do to realize our collective vision for a better world.

As mentioned in the message from the UN Secretary General on this day, the Millennium Development Goals have globally cut poverty in half. Now we must maintain the momentum, craft an equally inspiring post-2015 development agenda and make sustainability a reality. The Secretary General’s message has been widely distributed and is also available online. 

Over the last 6 months here in Yemen, the UN has worked closely with the Government of Yemen, civil society and private sector to gather inputs from Yemen on what are pressing development priorities. More than 60.000 Yemenis have participated in the global “My World” survey and voted on what they believe should be the development priorities for the future. 

Globally millions of people depend on UN humanitarian personnel for life-saving assistance. In Yemen, UN and partners coordinate the humanitarian response, targeting and delivering assistance to 7,7 million of the most vulnerable people in Yemen.

Politically, Yemen can look back at a year with progress made through the National Dialogue. The National Dialogue has been a unique experience in the Arab Spring Countries, bringing youth, women, minorities and political parties together around the same table. Challenges faced by the National Dialogue should not make us forget how far we have come.  The UN and the international community stand by the efforts made to enable a prosperous future for all people living in Yemen. 

We must never allow destructive forces to stand in the way of our common goal of peace and stability in Yemen and in the world. On United Nations Day, let us pledge to live up to our founding ideals and work together for peace, development and human rights.

On this day, we wish to introduce you to some of the beneficiaries of our work here in Yemen through the film “For the People”. Cooperating closely with the Government and other partners, our work is always about people, whether it is of humanitarian, developmental or political character. The documentary shows a small part of work we are engaged in with partners in Yemen. We hope this film can bring the viewer closer to the beneficiaries of our efforts, and also that it can bring the people closer to us as the UN. The film is being released today on the UN Day and will be screened on a number of TV channels. It is also available on our YouTube channel called UN Yemen. 

As some of you may be aware, our colleague James Massaquoi has been missing since Sunday, 6 October. James is an engineer from Sierra Leone, who has been helping to provide vital clean water in communities across Yemen to improve the health of local children.

We are doing all we can for James’ safe return to his family. James and his family are in our thoughts.

This kidnapping incident represent a serious challenge for our operations at all levels. It also limits our mobility to be able to address the urgent humanitarian needs as well as our development programs.

Finally, I wish to extend a deep gratitude to our invaluable partners. It is indeed encouraging to experience the unified efforts to support the people living in Yemen towards a future in which all can live prosperous lives in a stable and peaceful environment.