Ghana Hosts 7th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights

Accra, 8 February 2016 – The 7th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights (ACSHR) opens in Accra today  under the theme ‘Realizing Demographic Dividend in Africa: the Critical Importance of Adolescents and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRH&R)’. The 5-day long conference will include a number of side events such as lecture and round table discussions.

UNFPA_logoThe conference is under the distinguished patronage of the First Lady of the Republic of Ghana and President of the African First Ladies Against HIV & AIDS (OAFLA), Her Excellency Dr. Lordina Mahama,

A media advisory issued by the UNFPA Ghana office indicates that the conference is being attended by the UN Under-Secretary General and UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin who is expected to give the keynote address at the opening ceremony today. Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin will also give a lecture to the Honourable Members of Parliament on Ghana’s development prospects given the nation’s population dynamics, & SRH&R, the demographic dividend & achieving the 2030 Agenda in the context of Ghana’s development vision on Wednesday 10 February 2016. He will then participate in a Ministerial round table being organized with the endorsement of the Office of the President of the Republic of Ghana on the topic – Risk and Opportunity in Ghana’s Harnessing of the Demographic Dividend on Thursday 11 February 2016.

The National Development Planning Commission and the UN in Ghana will also capitalize on the UN Under-Secretary General’s visit to commemorate the appointment of H.E. John Dramani Mahama, the President of the Republic of Ghana, by the UN Secretary-General as Co-Chair of Eminent Advocates Group for the Sustainable Development Goals which came into effect January 2016.  This will take place at the Accra International Conference Center on Friday 12 February 2016.

 

 

UN Secretary- General World Radio Day message – 13 February 2016

New York – In times of crisis and emergency, radio can be a lifeline.

For people in shattered societies, or caught in catastrophe, or desperately seeking news, radio brings lifesaving information.

Radio can help in emergency response operations – and it can assist with rebuilding.

Through community radio, local people can raise their voices and be heard.

This year, as we start carrying out the Sustainable Development Goals, let us resolve to use radio for human progress.

In the lead-up to the World Humanitarian Summit this May, let us find ways for radio to do even more to help people in emergencies.

On this World Radio Day, let us resolve to prove that radio saves lives.

Over 200 Senior High School Students Take Part in Holocaust Remembrance Day event

Tema, January 27, 2016 – Over 200 students from four senior high schools have taken part in an educational activity on International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.  The event began with a presentation on the significance of the Day which focused on this year’s theme “The Holocaust and Human Dignity”, by the National Information Officer of the UN Information Centre in Accra, Ms. Cynthia Prah. She said, the Holocaust reminds us of the danger and consequences of remaining indifferent to happenings around us, among others. Reiterating the message of the UN Secretary-General on the Day, Ms. Prah called on students to denounce injustice, prejudice and discrimination.

Students at the exhibition stand

Students at the exhibition stand

The film “The Path to Nazi Genocide”, which was produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, was screened. “It examines the Nazis’ rise and consolidation of power in Germany and explores their ideology and prosecution of Jews and outlines the path by which the Nazis and their collaborators led a state to war and to the murder of millions of people”. The film stimulated discussions among the students and teachers. “This film is very educative and I am sure it can inspire some students to study history” one teacher noted.

cross section of the audience during the film screening

cross section of the audience during the film screening

The President of the History Students Association of the University of Ghana, Mark Agyapong took the students through lessons that can be drawn from the Holocaust including the responsibility for states to protect its citizenry and the need to denounce anti-Semitism and significance of embracing diversity.

Present at the event to deliver the message of the UNESCO Director General was a Programme Officer of UNESCO Ghana office, Mr. Carl Ampah.

An exhibition, detailing the timeline of the Holocaust and the UN was mounted at the school.

Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists fellowship programme application now open

Accra, January 28, 2016 – The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists is now accepting applications from professional journalists from developing countries for its 2016 fellowship programme. The application deadline is March 18, 2016.

The fellowships are available to radio, television, print and web journalists, age 25 to 35, from developing countries who are interested in coming to New York to report on international affairs during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.  The fellowships will begin in early September and extend to late November and will include the cost of travel and accommodations in New York, as well as a per diem allowance.

The fellowship program is open to journalists who are natives to one of the developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America/the Caribbean and are currently working for media organizations. Applicants must demonstrate an interest in and commitment to international affairs and to conveying a better understanding of the United Nations to their readers and audiences.  They must also have approval from their media organizations to spend up to three months in New York to report from the United Nations.

Further information is available in the detailed press release.

University of Cape Coast hosts Educator from Yad Vashem to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day

Cape Coast, January 26, 2016 – The Israeli and German Embassies, in collaboration with the United Nations in Ghana and the University of Cape Coast, have held a lecture as part of activities to commemorate this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day in the country.  The event took place at the University of Cape Coast, some 150 km outside Accra.  The choice of the location was also to reflect on the threat posed to us all when genocide and crimes against humanity are allowed to occur.   Cape Coast is the location of the Cape Coast castle, a place known for its role during slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

A section of the audience

A section of the audience

The lecture, which was on the theme for this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day; “Holocaust and Human Dignity” was delivered by Mrs. Lea Roshkovsky, an educator from Yad Vashem. She presented, with images and videos, a vivid account of the Holocaust and its impact on the dignity of the victims and future generations.  Her presentation was followed by an intensive question-and-answer session from the audience, who included members of the diplomatic community, lecturers and students of the University and its Senior High School.

Tirso Dos Santos

Tirso Dos Santos

There were statements by the Ambassadors of Israel, H.E. Ami Mehl, the Ambassador of Germany, H.E. Rudiger John and a representative of the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. D.D. Kuupole.

The Head of UNESCO Office in Ghana, Mr. Tirso Dos Santos, presented the UN Secretary General’s message to mark the Day.   The message expounded on the significance of the annual commemoration of the Holocaust Remembrance. Continue reading

Ghanaian troops serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan receive medals in recognition for their service

21 January 2016 – The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Eugene Owusu, presided over a medal parade held for the Ghanaian battalion in Bentiu, South Sudan. Up to 300 Ghanaian troops received medals in recognition for their service to UN peacekeeping.

Owusu encouraged the peacekeepers to continue bring hope to the people of South Sudan to continue to work with the communities to alleviate their suffering.

“The situation in South Sudan is difficult at the moment. The world’s youngest country has encountered many challenges since optimism and hope that first came with independence. It is encouraging that the big guns silent, and that the peace process is broadly holding. We cherish and that a Transitional on National Unity will be formed soon to give the long suffering people of South Sudan the opportunity to rebuild their lives and for many South Sudanese the opportunity to live the life of dignity.”

Eugene also advised the peacekeepers to respect the policy on Sexual exploitation and abuse saying that the peacekeepers are here in South Sudan to protect the population.

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Ghana’s Pres John Mahama as co-chair of advocates to build widespread support for the SDGs

New York, 19 January – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today the appointment of a group of eminent persons to assist in the campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that world leaders unanimously adopted last September.  

With a mandate to support the Secretary-General in his efforts to generate momentum and commitment to achieve the SDGs by 2030, the newly named SDG Advocates will add powerful voices to spur action on the visionary and transformational sustainable development agenda. The 17 SDGs aim to end poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while leaving no one behind.

“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”

The SDG Advocates will have the task of promoting the universal sustainable development agenda, raising awareness of the integrated nature of the SDGs, and fostering the engagement of new stakeholders in the implementation of the SDGs.

The diverse group of Advocates will engage with partners from civil society, academia, parliaments, and the private sector to develop new and ground-breaking ideas and ways to promote SDG implementation. The group includes Heads of State and Government, business and political leaders and prominent academia, as well as artists who have shown outstanding leadership in their field.

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg will co-chair the group of SDG Advocates. The other Advocates include:

Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Co-Founder Qatar Foundation
Mr. Richard Curtis, Screenwriter, Producer and Film Director
Ambassador Dho Young-Shim, Chairperson, United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty Foundation
Ms. Leymah Gbowee, Director, Gbowee Peace Foundation
Mr. Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group
Mrs. Graça Machel, President, Foundation for Community Development
Mr. Leo Messi, World Renowned Footballer, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Ms. Alaa Murabit, Founder, The Voice of Libyan Women
Mr. Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute at Colombia University
Ms. Shakira Mebarak, Artist, Advocate and Founder, Pies Descalzos Foundation,
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Mr. Forest Whitaker, Founder and CEO, Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation
Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank

A New Era of Opportunity

Written by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 

New York, December 16, 2015 – Seventy years ago, the United Nations was created from the ashes of the Second World War.  Seven decades later, in Paris, nations have united in the face of another threat – the threat to life as we know it due to a rapidly warming planet.

Governments have ushered in a new era of global cooperation on climate change – one of the most complex issues ever to confront humanity.  In doing so, they have significantly advanced efforts to uphold our Charter mandate to “save succeeding generations”.

UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon

UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon

The Paris Agreement is a triumph for people, the environment, and for multilateralism.  It is a health insurance policy for the planet.  For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience and act internationally and domestically to address climate change.

Together, countries have agreed that, in minimizing risks of climate change, the national interest is best served by pursuing the common good.  I believe it is an example we could gainfully follow across the political agenda.

The victory in Paris caps a remarkable year.  From the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, from the historic Sustainable Development Summit in New York to the climate conference in Paris, this has been a year in which the United Nations has proven its ability to deliver hope and healing to the world.

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Nominations now open for the Red Ribbon Award to honour and promote community leadership and action on AIDS

1 December 2015—On this year’s World AIDS Day, UNAIDS and civil society partners, in collaboration with the organizers of the 21st International AIDS Conference, jointly announce a global call for nominations for the 2016 Red Ribbon Award. The award, which will be presented at the 21st International AIDS Conference, to be held in July 2016 in Durban, South Africa, honours community-based organizations for their contributions to the response to AIDS.

Red Ribbon

A press release issued by the UNAIDS indicates that the biennial award is given to 10 organizations that have shown outstanding community leadership and action on HIV. The five award categories are:

  • Good health and well-being (Sustainable Development Goal 3).
  • Reduced inequalities (Sustainable Development Goal 10).
  • Gender equality (Sustainable Development Goal 5).
  • Just, peaceful and inclusive societies (Sustainable Development Goal 16).
  • Global partnerships (Sustainable Development Goal 17)

* Please note that only community-based organizations with an annual operating budget below US$ 200 000 should be nominated, and that organizations should have been established for more than one year at the time of nomination.

For more information, please visit www.redribbonaward.org.

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.