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Messages from the Secretary-General

By adopting the ambitious and universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community has promised to leave no one behind. This requires empowering children and adults with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, to contribute to our common future. Persons with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, are more than persons in need of assistance; they are agents of change who can drive progress across society – and their voices must be heard as we strive to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Toward that end, I recall the words of Pablo Pineda, the actor and writer with Down syndrome.…
In the 15 years since the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, the world has undoubtedly come a long way in ensuring equal rights and non-discrimination.  Member States have adopted new laws and safeguards, and established new institutions dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights.  Civil society organizations worldwide working on racism are increasingly active and vocal. Yet we have not yet done enough.  Today we are witnessing a surge of intolerance, racist views and hate-driven violence. Racial profiling and violence against certain communities is on the rise.  Economic hardship and political…
This year’s International Day of Happiness is focused on Climate Action for a Happy Planet. Everyone can be part of our campaign: governments, civic groups, the media and individuals. This year, even cartoon characters have joined in as the United Nations teams up with a group famous for lacking good cheer: the Angry Birds. These animated ambassadors are helping to raise awareness about the importance of climate action for our common future. You can join them by sharing your own climate actions using the hashtag #AngryBirdsHappyPlanet. At this time of grave injustices, devastating wars, mass displacement, grinding poverty and other…