Ghana ratifies Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Dakar, Senegal, 28 September, 2016 – Ghana has ratified the Optional protocol to the Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.  The Protocol is expected to come into force 30 days after the date of ratification.

In a press release issued by the West Africa Regional Office of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the protocol provides for the establishment of a national mechanism of prevention of the practices prohibited by that protocol.

 

UNIC Accra Briefs Journalists on UN High-level Summit for Refugees and Migrants

Accra, September 26, 2016 – The United Nations has adopted the New York Declaration for refugee and migrant at the just ended historical high-level summit for refugees and migrant held in New York on September 19, 2016. The Declaration expresses the political will of the world’s leaders to protect the right of refugees and migrants.

a cross-section of participants

a cross-section of participants

As part of global efforts to highlight the importance of the summit, several UNICs and other UN offices around the world held media briefing for journalists. Here in Accra, UNIC Accra organized a media briefing in collaboration with the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

UNIC Accra Ms Evelyn Sarpong [2nd from L] addressing the participants

UNIC Accra Ms Evelyn Sarpong [2nd from L] addressing the participants

Among those who briefed the media are the Executive Secretary of the Ghana Refugee Board Dr. Kofi Anani, a Project Manager at the IOM, Ms Kazumi Nakamura, and the Public Information Associate of UNHCR, Mr. Nii Sowah.

They all provided some useful information on migration, shed light on the statistics on refugees and migrants in the country, Government’s effort at meeting the needs of refugees and the impact of unregulated movement of migrants on the country’s economy.

General debate of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly opens tomorrow

Accra, September 19, 2016 – The general debate of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly opens in New York tomorrow under the theme Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world.

During the debate which begins tomorrow and ends on Monday, September 26, 2016, member states will have the opportunity to present their statements on the subject to the General Assembly and thus to the world.  Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama is scheduled to make his statement to the General Assembly on Wednesday morning, September 21, 2016.  His statement and those of all member states can be accessed on the UN debate website at https://gadebate.un.org/en

Meanwhile, the Summit for Refugees and Migrants, the first of its kind called by the General Assembly which aims at creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movement of refugees and migrants, is underway in New York today and it is being transmitted live at https://refugeesmigrants.un.org/summit.  This one-day high-level meeting of Heads of State and Governments will be followed by a High-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance on Wednesday September 21.  A high-level segment to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development will take place on Thursday, September 22 and would be followed by a high-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on Monday, September 26.

The president of the 71st session of the General Assembly H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson of Fiji will lead the Assembly in these events. H.E. Mr. Thomson takes over from the outgoing president H.E Mr. Mogens Lykletoft and will lead deliberations of the UN General Assembly for a year until the opening of the 72nd session in September 2017. Learn more about the president of the 71st UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson.

UNIC Accra to Hold Community Youth Engagement to mark two UN Days

Accra, August 11, 2016 – Members of the United Nations Student Association of the University of Ghana and youth from the Tema International School will join the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra, tomorrow to mark International Youth Day in a community engagement event at Ayetepah, a community in Old Ningo in the Greater Accra region.

BannerThe event will also create the platform to highlight the UN’s International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples which was observed earlier in the week on August 9 to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population.  The day is observed to highlight the challenges indigenous people face in areas such as human rights, the environment, development, education, health, economic and social development.

The event to mark these two UN days will also enable the youth to offer services to the residents of the selected community for the good of society. About 100 members of the community are expected to benefit from the exercise which will include some basic training in CV development, public speaking and entrepreneurship skills development.  Vocational skills training in beads making, crocheting and fruit serving tips will also be offered.  The activity will be conducted in a more interactive manner to engage children in reading and to encourage them to develop the habit of reading.

The theme of the celebration is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating poverty through education and achieving sustainable production and consumption”.

Get to know what interns say about their experiences at UNIC Accra

Accra, August 9, 2016 – This summer, UNIC Accra took in four students for an internship period of about four weeks each. At the end of their stay with us, Ms Dorothy Jumpah, writes that “UNIC Accra exposed me to all that the United Nations is doing in Ghana and on the African

Ms Dorothy Jumpah

Ms Dorothy Jumpah

continent at large especially in connection with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Mr. Odartey-Wellington

Mr. Odartey-Wellington

For Alexander Odartey-Wellington, the internship has made him “…realize the importance of making a difference in the world and [he has] left the internship encouraged and motivated to positively impacting every community [he finds] myself in”.

Cletus Adongo did not mince words when he thought of where next to do his internship come 2017 when he said ” UNIC Accra is a place that if

Mr. Cletus Adongo

Mr. Cletus Adongo

I am given the opportunity once again, I will have my internship. I encourage all students from all fields of studies to apply as interns at UNIC Accra and I can assure them their experience will be positive”.

Mr. Bonsy Boateng

Mr. Bonsy Boateng

For Desmond Bonsu Boateng, UNIC Accra was the window through which he eyed the Secretary-General position when he writes “In sum, I have started thinking diplomatic, seeing myself as a future Ban Ki-moon, due to the exposure I have had to the work of the United Nations”.

Click on a picture to read the full story of the intern.

Call for nominations for the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities

Accra, August 2, 2016 – UNESCO has announce the opening for nominations for the 2016/2017 edition of the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of UNESCOPersons with Disabilities. The  Prize “is to reward the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations that promote inclusion and the enhancement of the lives of persons with disabilities in society through the effective, innovative and inclusive application of digital solutions”.  For further information, please visit the UNESCO website.

UNCTAD warns African countries to take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis

Accra, July 25, 2016 – UNIC Accra has launched this year’s Economic Development in Africa Report in Accra on behalf of UNCTAD.  The event was attended by representatives of a cross-section of financial, public and private-sector institutions and the media. And officials from the World Bank and IFC.

Mr. Cobbina presenting the report

Mr. Cobbina presenting the report

The report, sub-titled Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa, was presented by Mr. Philip Cobbina, an economist and a former lecturer in International Business Management and Business Policy and Strategy with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Business School.

Cross section of the audience

Cross section of the audience

He expanciated upon the key findings of the report which calls on African countries to leverage all possible sources of finance, both domestic and external for development needs given the size of its needs and capacity constraint. The report however cautions that increasing domestic debt could mean new risks as the range of creditors and debt instruments continues to expand and warns African Governments to take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis, as experienced in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Launch of the report by Mr. Cobbina (R), Mr. Otoo (m) and Ms Prah (L)

Launch of the report by Mr. Cobbina (R), Mr. Otoo (m) and Ms Prah (L)

The report also advises that remittances, public–private partnerships, and curtailing illicit financial flows, if effectively tapped, could compliment traditional modalities of development finance. It also calls for enhanced international and regional cooperation to build institutional capacity in addressing Africa’s development finance needs and debt management challenges.

The Head of Research and Business Development Division of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Mr. Augustine Otoo and the National Information Officer of the UN Information Centre, Ms. Cynthia Prah assisted Mr. Cobbina to launch the report.

UNIC Accra to launch UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa Report 2016

Accra, July 20, 2016 – The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra will launch the Economic Development in Africa Report 2016 in Accra on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

Cover pageThe EDA Report, a flagship publication of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), analyses major aspects of Africa´s development problems and policy issues of interest to African countries. It makes policy recommendations for action by African countries themselves and by the international community to overcome the development challenges that the continent faces. The report has been published annually since 2000.

This year’s report is subtitled Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa.  It warns that African Governments must take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis, as experienced in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The 2016 edition of the report seeks to address the following:

  • How should African countries balance the multiple objectives of financing development spending and avoiding a debt crisis?
  • What are the main external debt trends and the key drivers of these trends?
  • What are the current trends in public domestic debt in Africa?
  • What complementary modalities of finance are available to help Africa sustainably address critical development finance needs?

The report will be presented by Mr. Philip A. Cobbina of Cicada Consulting Ltd. Mr. Cobbina, an economist by training has some fifteen years’ work experience in teaching, research and consulting. With competencies in finance, corporate strategy, debt and capital flows, trade, regional integration as well as strategic business planning, Mr. Cobbina has worked with the African Development Bank, UNCTAD and was once a lecturer in International Business Management and Business Policy and Strategy with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Business School.

UNIC Accra and Promasidor Ghana Ltd Commemorate World Youth Skills Day in Accra

Accra, July 19, 2016 – UNIC Accra, in collaboration with Promasidor Ghana Limited, a multi-local food manufacturing company, has commemorated this year’s World Youth Skills Day with an event to unearth the skills of young people. Held for Junior High School students at the Circuit 32, Adabraka Cluster of Schools in Accra, the event enabled some 21 young students, most of whom might have put their various talents into practice for fun, to show what they can do by way of drawing, crocheting, and paper cutting.

Group picture of all participants and officials at the opening of the event

Group picture of all participants and officials at the opening of the event

With the kind support of Promasidor Ghana Limited, these students took home various food products and educational materials such as note books, erasers, pencils and casual back-bags as prizes for exhibiting their talents.

In attendance were Ms. Cynthia Prah, the National Information Officer and her team; Mr Emmanuel K. Mensah, the programme Officer of the International Labour Organization; Mr Carl Ampah, the National Information Officer in-charge of Culture, UNESCO; Madam Betty Amadoh, the Deputy Director of Accra Education Sub-metro Office of the Ghana Education Service, and her team; and headmasters and staffs of the participating schools.

Students seated begin the competition

Students seated begin the competition

Ms. Prah presented the United Nations General-Secretary’s message and admonished parents and stakeholders to invest in young people. Mr. Mensah of the ILO and Mr. Ampah of UNESCO took turns to address the students on the significance of education and skills.

Ms Prah presenting the 1st Prize to Dennis Quarcoo

Ms Prah presenting the 1st Prize to Dennis Quarcoo

The participating students were then given the necessary tools to demonstrate their talent. Some were asked to draw a slum community, crochet or design anything using colourful cardboards. At the end of the competition, the pupils presented amazing beautiful artistic works with Dennis Quarcoo of Calvary Methodist one Basic School being adjudged the overall winner. The second position went to Roy Acquaye of Calvary Methodist one Basic School and Darius Odametey of All Saints Anglican Basic School took the third position.

The Road to Freedom: Remembering Nelson Mandela

Accra, July 18, 2016 – How wonderful it is to freely drive our own cars and walk freely on the streets of our own motherland. How gratifying it is to have the opportunity to work, earn our own income and raise our children up in conducive and comfortable conditions. How privileged we are to be regarded as a part of humanity.

Mandela raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall in June 1990

Mandela raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall in June 1990

Many years ago, our ancestors and forefathers were not this lucky. Wait a minute…we can argue on this premise, right? Well, back then, somewhere in the middle of time, our forefathers and ancestors could only tell hopeful prophetic stories of freedom. Africa was under the constraint and rule of Western European powers who divided our continent and our rich resources into political partitions. Many years ago, it was considered hapless to be born black. It spelled out a lifetime of pain and suffering; an existence involving labor and disregard.

Slowly but surely, African nations began to revolt and seek their independence. Amongst all the uprising and struggle for independence, the most notable and perhaps, the most significant was that of South Africa. Their compelling story of freedom struggle and the sacrifices made by the people in overcoming the oppression of colonialism and apartheid has been inscribed in the hearts of all Africans, many of us, permanently. It is impossible to mention the fight against the South African apartheid without crediting the movement’s most prominent figure; Nelson Mandela.

Born Rolihlahla Mandela in Mvezo, a small village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, the name Nelson was given to him when he enrolled in a local mission primary school. Later in life, Nelson Mandela became a highly influential anti-apartheid activist and a global advocate for human rights. As a ranking member of the African National Congress party, Nelson Mandela led several peaceful and armed protests against oppression imposed by the minority government in South Africa. His actions landed him in prison for nearly three decades and made him the face of the anti-apartheid movement both within his country and internationally.

Released from prison in 1990, he continued his struggle to rid his country of apartheid and in 1994 he became the first black president of South Africa. Inspired by his own advocacy on equality and tolerance, he formed a multi-ethnic government to oversee the country’s transition. After retiring from politics in 1999, he remained a devoted champion for peace and social justice in his own nation and around the world until his death in 2013 at the age of 95.

We can all learn valuable lessons from the life of Nelson Mandela. He was the definition of perseverance. Despite all his foes and the odds stacked against him, the former South African president pushed on to help bring an end to apartheid. As South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994, Mandela tackled the challenge of uniting both the country’s racial groupings and a fragmented public service. Mandela was one of the few leaders capable of inspiring confidence both inside and outside the country.

For 67 years, Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity. He was an advocate for peace and a human rights lawyer. To recognize his contributions and efforts to achieving a peaceful and global community, the United Nations General Assembly, in November 2009 declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day”.. The Mandela Day is an initiative and a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact. The Day calls on every global citizen to “give 67 minutes of public service for Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of service to humanity.”  This is why the United Nations Information Centre team in Accra is hosting an outreach programme at Accra Academy to imbibe in the youth a sense of responsibility, knowledge and power to “Take Action and Inspire Change!

There is no doubt that Mandela’s achievements have been observed globally and have set an exemplary standard of humanity in supporting a culture of international collaboration and peace. His willingness to fight against injustice and racism wherever he met it and his inspirational leadership style are the reasons why Nelson Mandela’s name will forever be hailed as a hero and written in our books of history.

As former US president Bill Clinton said. “In return for everything Madiba has taught us, we each owe it to him to support his work and legacy by doing and living our own as best we can, not just on this day, but throughout our entire lives.”

By devoting 67 minutes of your time – one minute for every year of Mandela’s public service – people can make a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good. So on this this day join us to “Take Action! Inspire Change!

By: Nii Odartey-Wellington, Intern at United Nations Information Centre, Accra