Community sensitisation and clean-up exercise ahead of UN Ocean Conference

Tema, June 1, 2017 – Ahead of the Ocean Conference, which begins today in New York, the UN Information Centre in Accra has undertaken a sensitisation and clean-up exercise to bring home the message of the need to join hands to reverse the decline in the health of our ocean. The event was supported by the Department of Public Information Outreach Division, New York, UNDP, FAO, and Zoomlion Ghana Limited, a waste management and environmental sanitation company. The event was held in partnership with Abibimman Foundation, a local NGO.

The canoe fishing harbour

 

Mr. Gueye addressing the gathering

Business at the Tema Canoe Fishing Harbour and market was interrupted for about 2 hours as officials addressed the community against bad practices that pose a threat to the ocean.  The head of the community, Nii Odametey Auwdum advised the fisher folks against the use of plastic bags for their businesses stating that apart from its nuisance, plastics pose serious threat to life in the sea. He said his office may consider banning the use of plastics in the community if the practice persists.

Continue reading

Surge in voluntary commitments for ocean action as Conference to halt ocean degradation set to open

New York, 2 June—A surge in the number of voluntary commitments to take action to improve the health of the ocean by countries, businesses and civil society groups has been recorded, and more are expected as the Ocean Conference gets underway Monday, 5 June  at United Nations Headquarter in New York.

The commitments, now numbering over 600 and still increasing, come as heads of state and government and ministers will join ocean leaders, experts, businesses, and civil society organizations to discuss solutions that restore the health of the world’s ocean.  The commitments target a wide range of ocean problems, ranging from protecting coral reefs, strengthening sustainable fisheries, reducing plastic pollution, and addressing the impacts of climate change on the ocean. Read further

Ghana assures the UN of its commitment to peacekeeping

Accra, 29 May 2017 – Ghana has assured the United Nations of its support to UN peacekeeping. The Minister for the Interior, Hon. Ambrose Dery made this assurance at this year’s national flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony held in Accra. He said “we can succeed in building a vibrant and stable democracy underpinned by a prosperous economy, only if we work relentlessly to maintain the peace and security…”

Hon Ambrose Dery, Min for the Interior

The solemn event was attended by the UN Resident Coordinator, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Heads of the various security services, members of the Diplomatic Corp and the various security services, traditional leaders and students. Four wreaths were laid to pay tribute to peacekeepers on behalf of the United Nations, the Government and people of

UN RC lays a wreath on behalf of the UN

Ghana, the Security Services and on behalf of the families of the fallen peacekeepers.

In an address, the UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock said development takes place when there is peace.  She said, the contributions of the

Both UN and Ghana flags being raised

peacekeepers to maintain peace “helps make it possible to pursue sustainable development…” She expressed the UN’s gratitude for Ghana contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.

Prior to this ceremony, a dialogue on the theme, “UN Peacekeeping: Investing in Peace Around the World” was organised last week to provide insight into Ghana’s investment and substantial presence in peacekeeping. The panel were represented by the Ghana Armed Forces,

Mr. Antwi-Danso delivers his opening remarks

the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Prisons Service and the Ghana Immigration Service.  The event was hosted by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra. The event was moderated by Mr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso, Director of Academic Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces and Staff College.

Save

Save

4th UN Global Road Safety Week events in Accra

Accra, 12 May 2017 – In support of the 4th United Nations Global Road Safety Week, the United Nations Information Centre, UNIC Accra, joined the World Health Organisation country office and its partners to raise the much needed awareness on the dangers of speed on our roads.

UNIC Accra rallied Heads of UN Agencies in the country to join the global #slowdown social media campaign championed in Ghana by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly Bloomberg Initiative Global Road Safety (AMA-BIGRS). Among the participants were heads of ILO, UNDP, UNOPS, UNHCR, UNICEF and the Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock.

UN RC [1st left], Dr. Kaluwa [m] & Mr. Kufour [R]

A press briefing was later organized by UNIC Accra on behalf of WHO to climax the week-long road safety observance. In Attendance were the WHO Country Director, Dr. Owen Kaluwa, the Programme Coordinator of AMA-BIGRS, Mr. Osei Kufour and the UN Resident Coordinator.

Addressing the media, Ms Evans-Klock said public education is key to reduce speeding on our roads and called for action by the Ghana Police Service to be vigilant in enforcing road safety laws on our streets.

A cross section of the media

For his part, Dr. Kaluwa said “real, sustained successes at reducing road traffic deaths will only happen when road design takes into consideration the need of all road users – motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. He further called on the international community, national governments and civil societies to act on existing evidence on what works to save lives on the roads.

Responding to questions from journalists Mr. Osei Kufuor stated that measures are being put in place to intensify advocacy toward road safety.

Two Ghanaian peacekeepers to be awarded posthumously at a ceremony at UN Headquarters

Accra, 23 May 2017 – The United Nation Headquarters will observe the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Wednesday, 24 May.  Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will lay a wreath to honour all fallen peacekeepers and will preside over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to 117 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations during 2016.

Two fallen peacekeepers from Ghana are among the 117 who will posthumously receive the Dag Hammarskjold medal.  They are Lance Corporal Emmanuel Sakyi, who served with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); and Staff Sergeant Boniface Atanyik, who lost his life while deployed with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

In a video message to mark the Day, the Secretary-General said:  “Every day, peacekeepers help bring peace and stability to war-torn societies around the world.  On the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, we pay tribute to the more than 3,500 peacekeepers who have given their lives in the service of peace since 1948.”

For his part, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, said: “We pay our greatest respects to the committed and courageous peacekeepers who are no longer with us today. I offer my deepest and most sincere condolences to the families of those we honour and to the bereaved. It’s critical that we continue to invest in peace and make every effort to carry forward their noble work, and that we continue to pursue reform efforts to make United Nations peacekeeping more efficient and effective. That is the best way we can honour the memories and sacrifices of our fallen peacekeepers.”

Today, more than 96,000 uniformed personnel from 124 troop-and-police-contributing countries serve under the blue flag, alongside more than 15,000 international and national civilian staff and nearly 1,600 United Nations Volunteers.

Ghanaian officers carrying wreathes to be laid in honour of fallen peacekeepers

Ghana is the 10th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping.  It currently deploys more than 2,700 military and police personnel to UN peace operations in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, South Sudan, Sudan and the Western Sahara.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002, to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.  The Assembly designated 29 May as the Day because it was the date in 1948 when the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the world body’s first peacekeeping mission, began operations in Palestine.

Continue reading

Time to say “for every child in Ghana, let’s be fair.”

Accra, 9 May 2017 – Walk past any school yard with a group of children playing their favourite game, and it won’t be long before you hear the phrase, “It’s not fair! It’s not fair!”

As adults, we hardly say this. Not because we see less injustice as we grow up, rather society teaches us to become more accepting of the fact that sometimes life is just not fair. The issue though, is that if we do not call out unfairness for what it is, we begin to tolerate it. Worrying, as unfairness – or inequity – can also have a lasting detrimental impact not just on one person but on the community and society at large.

Children at a UNIC Accra-led outreach

Unfortunately, the landscape is not equitable for children across Ghana.  Let’s take the example of six-year-old twins Ata and Ataa. Ata is given ten mangoes to eat while Akosua is given two.  Is this fair? Of course not. So what if we were not talking about mangoes, but about the number of times they are taken to the clinic when sick, or going to school? Say, then, on the day Ata and Ataa are at the right age to be enrolled into Primary One Ata is taken to the school and attends every day. Ataa meanwhile is told her time will come and stays home to help with chores instead. Fair?

Unfortunately, this scenario is a reality for too many children across Ghana.  Currently 90 percent of boys and girls are enrolled in primary level.  This means 10 percent of children – that’s one child in every ten – is not in primary school. This is a significant proportion of children denied the chance to reach their fullest potential. And that is not fair.

A child on a school compound

What if within that 10 percent of unschooled there was a child with the talent and ability to become one of Ghana’s most skilled surgeons competing with the likes of Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng?  Or the next Secretary General of the United Nations like HE. Kofi Annan? Turning a blind eye to these inequities does not just disadvantage the child who’s not able to get to school, it also obstructs substantial progress of the whole country.

It is not just education where we see these disparities.  So far not every child has access to good sanitation, in the form of household or school toilet facilities. Every child does not have easy access to adequate healthcare and not all mothers are given a chance to fully understand the benefits of feeding girls and boys well from birth.

How fair is it that a child born to a family in Accra can have up to 100 times as much an opportunity as a child born in Wa? Surely it should be that wherever a child lives in Ghana, she or he has a fair chance of achieving the same opportunities.

This imbalance of a fair chance for every child does not impact just the child, it can also affect the country’s entire economy. The economic costs of such inequity can be dramatic. Recent global data indicates that increasing a country’s average years of schooling by just one year can result in an 18 per cent increase in GDP per capita.

Because a child’s gender, family income, region where he is born and her ability or disability can play a significant role in determining the outcome in life, we need to level up the playing field. The starting line cannot be the same for everyone.  But substantial change can be achieved if the most disadvantaged are empowered to realise their own potential.

By investing more in education and implementing more equitable policies, we can reverse current trends in which the poorest and most marginalized miss out.

So, similar to children in a school yard, it’s time for us to start calling out unfairness. Together, we can say, ‘Let’s be fair. Let’s give every child in Ghana a chance to succeed.”

Let’s Be Fair, let’s even up the odds, so that every child has a chance to fully thrive and realise their fullest potential.  If we do, who knows what the landscape could be for Ghana’s next 60 years.

Written by: Susan Namondo Ngongi, UNICEF Ghana Representative

Statement by UNFPA on United States’ decision to withhold funding

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 4 April 2017—UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, regrets the decision by the United States to deny any future funding for its life-saving work the world over. This decision is based on the erroneous claim that UNFPA “supports, or participates in the management of, a programme of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization” in China. UNFPA refutes this claim, as all of its work promotes the human rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination. Indeed, United Nations Member States have long described UNFPA’s work in China as a force for good.

The United States, one of our founding members, has long partnered with UNFPA to protect and promote the reproductive health and rights of women and girls, thereby fostering healthier women and girls and their families. The support we received over the years from the Government and people of the United States has saved tens of thousands of mothers from preventable deaths and disabilities, and especially now in the rapidly developing global humanitarian crises. With previous United States contributions, UNFPA was combatting gender-based violence and reducing the scourge of maternal deaths in the world’s most fragile settings, in areas of conflict and natural disasters, including Iraq, Nepal, Sudan, Syria, the Philippines, Ukraine and Yemen.

Continue reading

Science Communication Requires Collaboration

Accra, 5 May 2017Effective science communication requires more collaboration between researchers, communications officers and journalists. This was one of the key messages in a 2-day science reporting workshop jointly organised by the United Nations University Institute for Natural

A cross section of the participants

Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA), the United Nations University Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT), Netherlands and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra. The workshop, dubbed “Reach & Turn” aimed to help bridge the gap between science communication and science journalism. A press release issued by the UNU-INRA, indicates that the workshop was a joint UN effort aims at contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (particularly SDG#4 (Quality Education), #13 (Climate Action) and #17 (Partnership).

UNESCO & partners to hold music conference in commemoration of International Jazz Day

Accra, 19 April 2017 – The sixth annual International Jazz Day will be observed globally on 30 April 2017. The day will culminate with an All-Star Global Concert presented at the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of Cuba, the Cuban Institute of Music and the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO. The concert will be live streamed by UNESCO and will feature an extraordinary array of artists from around the world paying tribute to the international art form of jazz.

In Ghana, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation will collaborate with Alliance Française and the International Music Council to organise the 3rd Impact Music Conference which seeks to bring together creators, record labels, content platforms and creative entrepreneurs to discuss the various opportunities and challenges that the emergence of digital tools has had in the music sector.

The conference which is funded by the UNESCO Participation Programme, will take place on April 26 & 27 @ 9am with a special focus on the role that women can/should play in the music sector.  The sessions will be interactive, accessible to everyone and practical and relevant for young female music/culture professionals.

Read further.

UN officials denounce reprehensible acts of vigilante groups in Ghana

Accra, 10 April 2017 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the Resident Coordinator of the UN system in Ghana, Christine Evans-Klock, have followed with consternation the acts of impunity perpetrated by the Delta Force vigilante group in Ghana and outrightly denounce these reprehensible acts.

In a joint press release issued in Accra today, they both welcome positively the unambiguous condemnation of these acts by the government and expect that all necessary measures will be taken to investigate these actions and bring the perpetrators to justice.

 

Save