UNIC Accra & UNESCO raise awareness on the United Nations’ work and the SDGs

Western region, Ghana, November 19, 2015  – About 1,500 students from two Senior High Schools (SHS) in the Ellembelle district of the Western Region have participated in a UN4U outreach event.  The schools are Nkroful Agricultural SHS (NASS), and Esiama Senior High Technical School (ESTS). The two-day event was organised by UNIC Accra in partnership with UNESCO Country Office in Accra.

Students of Esiaman SH Tech School.

Students of Esiaman SH Tech School.

This year’s focus on the UN@70 and the Sustainable Development Goals, was aimed at equipping students with knowledge on the history and work of the United Nations, and the recently adopted seventeen SDGs.

Introducing guests at the event, the headmistress of NASS, Ms. Esther Armah-Viddah expressed gratitude to UN officials for reaching out to their school.

“We are happy to meet officials from the United Nations coming all the way from Accra to Nkroful Agric. Senior High School in the Western Region,” she said.

“The programme has been very helpful. Most students have heard about the United Nations but they do not know much about it. Today teachers and students have had the opportunity to get a deep insight into the actual work of the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals,” she quickly added after the end of the event.

Ms Prah addressing students of Nkroful Agric SHS

Ms Prah addressing students of Nkroful Agric SHS

Presenting on the SDGs, The National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms. Cynthia Prah stressed the importance of their attainment and encouraged students’ involvement in promoting awareness and “helping in [their] own small way”.

She said “as youth, you could contribute to ongoing discussions around the SDGs by taking interest in the issues and learning about them; as citizens of Ghana, you have a responsibility to contribute to the global UN agenda”.

She encouraged students to use the educational resources provided by the internet to learn more about the UN’s mission and engage their peers in discourse over global issues.

Mr Abdul Hamid Yakubu addressing students of Esiaman SH Tech Sch

Mr Abdul Hamid Yakubu addressing students of Esiaman SH Tech Sch

Mr. Abdul Hamid Yakubu, the National Programme Officer (Communications and Information) of UNESCO, took participants through the work of UNESCO and its relation to the SDGs. He highlighted that, UNESCO is seen as the “intellectual wing” in the UN system, “help[ing] to instigate peace and protecting our cultural heritage”.

He also urged students to engage in afforestation practices as it is one of the effective ways of combating climate change.

A student contributing to the discussions

A student contributing to the discussions

The students showed great interest in the programme which they found very interactive and engaging as they asked and answered questions on the topics. They also made useful suggestions in the post-event interviews.  Please read more about the students’ views about the UN and the UN4U programme here.

Both schools were presented with UN publications and materials on the SDGs.

Aburi Girls’ Senior High School Wins UN @ 70 Debate Competion

Eastern Region, Ghana, November 7, 2015 – Aburi Girls’ Senior High School (ABUGISS) in the Akuapim South District of the Eastern Region, at the weekend emerged winners in a debate competition held in Krobo-Odumasi, in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

The topic was 2016 Elections – Is it a threat to peace, security & human rights in Ghana. Speaking for the motion, ABUGISS argued superbly to outwit the other three schools. The competition was organized by the Ghana United Nations Students’ Association (GUNSA) and hosted by Krobo Girls’ Presbyterian Senior High School, as part of this year’s official activities to mark the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations.

Cross section of students at the debate

Cross section of students at the debate

Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School (PRESEC-Legon), Krobo Girls’ Presbyterian SHS, and Koforidua Senior High Technical School were the other finalists in the competition.

In a speech on behalf of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra, Ms. Evelyn Sarpong commended GUNSA “for taking up the lead to organize th[e] debate”. She provided a brief background to the UN’s 70th Anniversary celebrations.

Addressing the debate topic, Ms. Sarpong stressed the need for a peaceful co-existence of citizens irrespective of their political affiliations.

“The maintenance of peace, security or human rights during the 2016 elections is dependent on all of us as citizens of this country. We must be mindful of the laws in place, respect these laws and respect one another,” she stated.

“If we respect one another and try to live in peace with each other regardless of our political interest and bear with one another, we will definitely have peaceful elections in 2016,” she advised.

Aburi Girls contestants with Ms Sarpong and Mr. Ahadzi

Aburi Girls contestants with Ms Sarpong and Mr. Ahadzi

Presenting certificates to contestants, Mr. Elikem Ahadzi of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration, urged students to cultivate the habit of reading and research to enable them to broaden their knowledge-base and debating skills.

He also urged them to be disciplined since the nation looked up to them to take up the mantle of leadership in future.

The debate competition was also aimed at improving critical thinking and creativity of students, as well as sensitizing them on exigent national issues and the need for peaceful coexistence. About 500 students participated as observers.

The Vice-President of GUNSA, Mr. K. D. Kwashie hinted on several upcoming events, including a Model UN simulation, and other extra-curricular activities to “help keep the young ones active and skilled whiles they are in school”.

The event was welcomed by the students as evident in their comments during an interview session with some of them.

2015 WAD launched in Accra

Accra, November 5, 2015 – The Heart-to-Heart Ambassadors have called on the general public to refrain from discriminating against PLHIV and instead encourage family members and friends to test to know their HIV status and to seek medical advice when they test positive. The Ambassadors also advised that HIV is not as deadly as thought previously because of the availability of anti-retroviral drugs.

Students walk to create awareness ahead of 2015 WAD

Students walk to create awareness ahead of 2015 WAD

The four ambassadors addressed the gathering during the launch of this year’s World AIDS Day (WAD) in Accra.  They reminded the public of efforts being made to reduce and end mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country and appealed to couples to test to know their HIV status.

The launch of the 2015 WAD in November is the beginning of a month-long drive and awareness creation exercise on HIV and the national response efforts. The WAD, which falls on December 1, will be observed in the Brong Ahafo capital, Sunyani with a number of activities including a walk, clean-up exercise in nearby health facilities, media interviews, a float and a national durbar.  The national theme for this year’s WAD is “Fast Track: Meeting the health needs of children towards an HIV-free generation”, and it is to step up efforts at preventing HIV infection amongst children.

Present at the event to launch the 2015 WAD were the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Angela El-Adas, the Executive Director of the National Population Council, Ms. Marian Kpakpah, the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Christine Evans-Klock and the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Hon. Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo.  Others include representatives of partnering institutions of the National Response to HIV and/AIDS such as USAID, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Network of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (NAP+) and the National AIDS Control Programme. They all took turns to address the gathering with messages of solidarity.

In her keynote address, Ms Kpakpah noted that dwindling funding, low comprehensive knowledge on HIV and AIDS and high risk sexual behavior among high risk populations are deterring efforts at reducing the rate of HIV infection in the country. She called for greater involvement of the private sector in the national response to help meet the 90-90-90 targets.


Ghana celebrates UN @ 70

Accra, October 30, 2015 – Ghana joined the rest of the world to mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations with a flag-raising ceremony and photo exhibition. Present at the ceremony were government officials led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Hannah Serwaah Tetteh (MP). The United Nations team was led by the Resident Coordinator, Ms Christine Evans-Klock.

Flags of the UN and of Ghana

Flags of the UN and of Ghana

The highlight of the event was the moment when both flags were hoisted to signify commitment and strong relations between the UN and Ghana.  Ms Evans-Klock hoisted the UN flag and Hon Serwaah Tetteh hoisted that of Ghana.

In a statement, Ms Evans-Klock expressed the UN’s commitment to working with the National Development Planning Commission and other government partners to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into the national development plan.  She later read the UN Secretary General’s UN Day message.

A contingent of the Ghana Armed Forces on parade

A contingent of the Ghana Armed Forces on parade

Hon. Serwaah Tetteh recounted some of her country’s contribution to the progress made by the UN in the last year.  Of particular reference was Ghana’s role at ensuring the establishment in Accra of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). She assured the UN of the government’s continuous partnership “to build a resilient economy for the betterment of her people”.

A one-day exhibition highlighting the UN in Ghana and Ghana in the UN was mounted and open to the general public.

Staff walk to promote healthy liv

Staff walk to promote healthy liv

For staff of the UN, a health walk followed by family fun activities and games were organised earlier in September. The event attracted about 200 UN staff members and their families, who walked about 12km for a good health and to promote the SDGs. Participants held placards which read the 17 SDGs.

Another event to mark the UN at 70 was the illumination of the National Theatre with UN blue.  This was part of a global campaign to “Turn the world in UN blue”.

Ghana International School marks UN @ 70

Accra,  October 23, 2015 – The UNESCO Representative to Ghana, Mr. Tirso Dos-Santos has called on various stakeholders to partner educational institutions to further peace, security and sustainable development in the country. Citing UNESCO’s preamble which states, “that since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed” Mr. Dos-Santos noted that working with young people gives them an opportunity to contribute to and be a part of the process of development.

Performance by some of the students

Performance by some of the students

Mr. Dos-Santos made this remark as a Guest of Honour at a Grand Durbar organized by the Ghana International School (GIS) to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations ahead of the national event to mark the Day.

He commended GIS for its role in nurturing global citizens that embrace and celebrate human diversity. Mr. Dos-Santos also read the UN Secretary-General’s message for the UN Day. The message declared that there is only

Mr. Dos-Santos

Mr. Dos-Santos

one flag that belongs to everyone – the blue flag of the United Nations.

“National flags are a mark of pride and patriotism in every country around the world. But there is only one flag that belongs to all of us”, the message noted. It underlined that seven decades after its founding, the United Nations remains “a beacon for all humanity.”

Display of the SDGs

Display of the SDGs

The event was under the theme: “Celebrating 60 years of nurturing global citizens” and was attended by present and past students, parents, patrons, chiefs and the general public. Other dignitaries and guests at the event included former Attorney Generals Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu and Hon. Mr. Joe Ghartey (Esq. MP), the School Board Chairperson, Kwame Pianim, and Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa.

There were performances by GIS students on the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Poster for Peace contest opens

Accra, October 29, 2015 – In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the first UN General Assembly resolution, which established the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) has announced a global United Nations “Poster for Peace” contest.  The contest, open from 24 October 2015 to 24 January 2016, is open to all citizens around the world.

It aims to raise awareness of the need for nuclear disarmament and to inspire citizens across the globe to add their voices, and use their artistic talents, to promote a world free of nuclear weapons.

There will be three winners.  First prize will be USD 3,000. Second will be USD 2,000. Third will be USD 1,000. The top three winners will be announced on 5 March 2016.

For detailed information on the contest, and the submission form, visit www.unposterforpeace.org

Ghana Joins the Global Event to Turn the World UN Blue to Mark UN 70

Accra, 23 October 2015 – On 24 October, more than 150 iconic monuments, buildings, museums, bridges and other landmarks in more than 45 countries around the world will be lit up blue – the official color of the United Nations, as part of a global campaign to commemorate UN Day and the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.

World famous landmarks from Australia’s Sydney Opera House to the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, from the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro to the Empire State Building in New York, will be lit blue. In Ghana, UNIC Accra, with support from Philips Ghana Limited,

The National Theatre in Accra

The National Theatre in Accra

will experience UN Blue when the National Theatre in Accra goes UN Blue for two nights on Friday October 23 and Saturday October 24.

“I am grateful our Member States are showing such strong enthusiasm in marking 70 years of UN support for peace, development and human rights,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “By turning the world UN Blue for a day, we can light the way to a better tomorrow.”

The global celebration will kick off in New Zealand and then Australia with the lighting of the Sydney Opera House at dusk, and from there a wave of UN Blue will move across countries and continents as monuments around the world take part in the international event.

The National Theatre in Accra

The National Theatre in Accra

United Nations Headquarters in New York will light up for two nights, beginning 23 October when the annual UN Day concert will be held, and concluding on 24 October.

This global event will be covered extensively on social media using the hashtag #UNBlue in addition to our year-long hashtag #UN70 and shared with the UN’s millions of followers on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, Flickr and more. Photos and videos of UN Blue landmarks around the world will be available to media outlets via Flickr (http://j.mp/UNBluePhotos) and UNIFEED (http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/).


For the full list of participating monuments and further information, please contact:

Andi Gitow, Executive Producer, Department of Public Information: gitow@un.org; Tel: +1 (917) 367 3012 and Jeffrey Brez, Chief of NGO Relations,  Advocacy, and Special Events, Department of Public of Information: brez@un.org; Tel:+1 (212) 963 8070

Cynthia Prah, National Information Officer, UN Information Centre, Accra.

UN @ 70 celebrations launched in Ghana

Accra, October 15, 2015 – Ghana has officially launched the 70th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations with a press conference and a photo exhibition on UN and Ghana. The press conference was attended by some Heads of UN Agencies in the country, UN staff, members of the security services, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and media representatives.

UN RC delivring her statement

UN Resident Coordinator

The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Christine Evans-Klock was very optimistic about the future of the United Nations and the world particularly against the backdrop of the new development agenda.  She said, for Ghana, the UN “will continue to align [its] work with national development plans and strategies [and] look forward to working with the National Development Planning Commission and other partners in integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into the

Amb Leslie Christian

Amb Leslie Christian

national medium-term and 40-year long term development plan”.

Some Heads of Agencies

Some Heads of Agencies

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ambassador Leslie Christian noted that the 70th anniversary of the UN provides an opportunity for nation states to renew their shared commitment to the UN “which remains the most viable forum for pursuit of global peace, security and stability as we as advancing the global economic development agenda”.

At the exhibition stand

At the exhibition stand

Questions from the media dwelt on the role of the UN in relation to global peace and development.  Specifically, they wanted to find out the role of the UN in addressing the Libyan crisis, what WHO is doing to prevent yet another outbreak of the Ebola virus in the region, issue of compensation to fallen peacekeepers, addressing the energy crisis in the country and youth engagement and awareness creation of the SDGs among young people.

Activities lined-up to mark the 70th include media interactions and interviews on varios media platforms, UN quiz on the national television network, photo exhibition, Model UN and a flag-raising ceremony.

World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, to Visit Ghana for End Poverty Day

Washington, October 13, 2015 — World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim will visit Ghana on Friday, October 16, to participate in high-level talks, launch a report on poverty in Africa, highlight Ghana s progress toward ending extreme poverty, and commemorate End Poverty Day. The president s visit to Accra will be part of several activities this week focusing on ending extreme poverty by 2030.

The trip comes shortly after the release of a World Bank report earlier this month that projects for the first time that the percentage of people living in extreme poverty around the world will have fallen below 10 percent in 2015, to 9.6 percent. The Bank estimates that 702 million people still live in extreme poverty today around the world.

Several African countries have seen significant successes in reducing extreme poverty, including Ghana, which reduced extreme poverty to 25.2 percent in 2005/06 from 47.3 percent in 1991/92. But the region as a whole lags behind the rest of the world in progressing toward the goal. Sub-Saharan poverty fell from an estimated 56 percent in 1990 to a projected 35 percent in 2015, according to the latest World Bank estimates, which are based on an extreme poverty line of $1.90 a day. Rapid population growth remains a key factor blunting progress in many countries.

During the first part of his visit, Dr. Kim will be joined by Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama and other development partners as well as civil society leaders, private sector representatives, and student leaders to observe End Poverty Day in Jamestown, Accra, where they will together launch a regional flagship report, Poverty in a Rising Africa . The report explores whether enough of the continent’s citizens are sharing in Africa s rise, analyzes challenges related to poverty data, and provides an update on poverty and other trends related to human well-being.

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GHANA: Much remains to be done but UN expert welcomes steps taken to combat torture and other ill-treatment

Accra/Geneva, 7 October 2015 – ACCRA / GENEVA (7 October 2015) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Juan E. Méndez today urged the Government of Ghana to step up its effort to implement the recommendations issued after his first mission* to the country in November 2013. Mr. Méndez is the independent expert tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring and reporting on the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment around the world.

SR on Torture and illtreatment

UN Special Rapporteur Juan E. Méndez (right) addressing the media

“I welcome the steps taken by the Government of Ghana in its fight against torture and other ill-treatment in the country, but much remains to be done,” he said at the end of a four-day follow-up visit to Ghana, in which he assessed critical issues in the criminal justice system, including conditions of detention, as well as mental health-care practices, in particular the treatment and living conditions of persons held in psychiatric hospitals and prayer camps.

“I am concerned that instances of torture and ill-treatment continue to occur with some frequency during the apprehension, arrest, and interrogation stages by police and intelligence services,” he said. “I received troubling reports of forced confessions, despite the existence of legal guarantees intended to protect persons upon arrest and in police custody.”

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