Accra, 18 April 2018 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has issued a statement refuting news reports that it owns a flat in Cantonment, Accra. The statement follows news report in the local media of a flat referred to as “UNDP Flat” which has reportedly been taken over by some occupants. The statement notes that the said flat does not belong to the UNDP and the UNDP has not hired any contractor to redevelop it.
GENEVA (18 April 2018) – A UN human rights expert has commended Ghana as a champion of African democracy and a country which has achieved some important development milestones. But says unless growing inequality and continuing high poverty rates are addressed the country will fall far short of meeting the key UN Sustainable Development Goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030.
“Ghana is at a crossroads and must now decide whether to continue existing policies that will further enrich the wealthy and do little for the poor, or to make fiscal adjustments that would lift millions out of poverty and bring them into the agricultural economy in ways that would contribute significantly to economic growth,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, at the end of a 10-day fact-finding mission to the Greater Accra, Northern, and Upper East regions.
“The benefits of record levels of economic growth experienced over the past decade have gone overwhelmingly to the wealthy, and inequality is higher than it has ever been in Ghana,” said Mr. Alston, who examines the human rights implications of poverty in countries around the world.
The most recent official data from the Ghana Statistical Service for 2012-2013 revealed that almost one-quarter of the population were living in poverty and one person in every 12 in extreme poverty. Three-and-a-half million of those in poverty are children, with more than a third of them in extreme poverty.
“Spending on social protection is surprisingly low by the standards of most comparable African countries, and very little is spent on social assistance,” explained Mr. Alston.
“With a thriving economy and the option to start collecting some of the existing but unpaid taxes that currently exist, choosing to eliminate, or not to eliminate, extreme poverty is a political choice for Ghana,” the UN expert said.
The Special Rapporteur continued: “Ghanaian politicians are immensely fond of, and very good at, creating slogans to describe complex but appealing programmes. But there is little doubt that the appetite for such slogans has already far outrun the capacity for realistic implementation.”
“The challenge going forward is for the Government to choose its real priorities, make sure that social protection is among them, and to be more transparent about potential costs and possible funding sources,” Mr. Alston stressed.
The Special Rapporteur today presented his preliminary findings at a press briefing in Accra. His final report on his visit to Ghana will be presented to the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2018. Continue reading
UNIFIL, 11 April 2018 – UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) today paid last respects with full honours to Corporal Mercy Adade of the Ghanaian Contingent, who passed away at the age of 36 in the early morning of 5 April following short illness. Cpl. Adade is survived by a son.
Senior UNIFIL officials, including Deputy Force Commander, Major General Shivaram Kharel, LAF Commander’s representative Brigadier General Hasan Haider and fellow UNIFIL peacekeepers assembled at the tarmac of the Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut to honour the peacekeeper.
Major General Kharel, Brigadier General Haider and UNIFIL’s Sector West Commander, Brigadier General Rodolfo Sganga, laid a wreath at the airport in memory of late Cpl. Adade, whose body was flown back to Ghana today.
In his remarks at the solemn ceremony, Major General Kharel – representing UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Michael Beary – said words cannot express the pain and sorrow at the loss of one of its peacekeepers.
“On this day, we remember Mercy and the thousands of peacekeepers around the world who have lost their lives in the quest for lasting peace,” he said. “The people of Lebanon and UNIFIL are grateful to Mercy for all her sacrifices. We must all strive to work for peace in memory of all our colleagues who did not make it.”
At the ceremony, Cpl. Adade was honoured posthumously with UNIFIL and LAF Medals.
“We honour her selflessness, bravery and service to the United Nations, Lebanon and Ghana,” said Major General Kharel. “Although she is no longer with us, her legacy will live on.”
Cpl. Adade was a dedicated, hardworking and professional soldier who served in the Ghana Army for about 11 years. Her journey as a peacekeeper began in Côte d’Ivoire about eight years ago and she fought to keep the flag of peace flying right until the end. She was deployed as a medical clerk to UNIFIL on 22 June 2017 for a one-year tour.
“Her loss has left a void in the Ghanaian Battalion and the Ghana Armed Forces that cannot be filled,” said the Commanding Officer of the Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel William Nortey. “Cpl. Mercy had been the pride of Ghana and was a role model to follow in a UN Peacekeeping operation.”
Since UNIFIL’s establishment in 1978, over 300 peacekeepers have died while serving for peace in south Lebanon.
Article: Tilak Pokharel
Stills: Mohamad Hamze
GENEVA (3 April 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will visit Ghana from 9 to 18 April 2018 to examine the government’s efforts to address poverty through the lens of international human rights law.
“It is widely recognised that Ghana has made great strides in poverty eradication over the past two decades, but government statistics indicate that poverty is still prevalent and inequality is on the rise,” said the human rights expert.
“This is a critical time in Ghana’s history, as the macroeconomic turbulence of the past few years is beginning to stabilise and the country is seeking its own development path. It will be important for the government to address the rising inequality and keep human rights at the centre of its policies, if the country’s longer-term development goals are to be achieved.”
Alston will meet with government officials, civil society organisations, academic experts, and people living in poverty to address a range of issues. These include the specific challenges of urban and rural poverty, the extent and efficacy of the government’s social protection programmes, the ways in which those who are not wealthy fare in the criminal justice system, and the experiences of vulnerable and marginalised groups such as women, children and persons with disabilities who are living in poverty.
He will visit Accra, Old Fadama, Tamale, Bolgatanga, and rural communities in the Northern and Upper East regions. Continue reading
Accra, 28 March 2018 – Several students from three universities in Ghana took part in this year’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade commemorative event. The event was hosted by Ashesi University College in Berekuso, outside Accra.
There was an exhibition entitled “A Legacy of Black Achievement”, featuring 21 notable personalities from various backgrounds, eras, regions and disciplines who paved the way for civil and human rights. The students were very delighted and inspired to have identified three Ghanaian personalities amongst the list.
The film, “Familiar Faces, Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora”, was screened. The film highlights the countless Afro-communities found in unexpected parts of the world and shows how African descendants maintained elements of their common culture.
A lecturer in English and Literature at the Ashesi University College, Mr. Eli Tetteh, gave an expose on the theme of the Day which is “Slavery: Triumph and Struggles for Freedom and Equality.” Using popular culture, such as music and movies, Mr. Tetteh expatiated upon the elements of the slave trade and prejudice in modern times. He noted that “the global experience of blackness is interconnected” and asked the youth to reflect on these when they listen to music and watch movies. He further stressed on the need for us to study slavery and the slave trade from a broader perspective instead of limiting our focus on either the gains or the pains so that we can make informed choices and decisions in our interaction with people.
The occasion provided useful insight into the objectives of the Day, which are to “Inculcate in future generations the causes, consequences and lessons of the transatlantic slave trade and to communicate the dangers of racism and prejudice” to prevent its re-occurrence. The students were very appreciative of the learning opportunity offered them by UNIC Accra through this event. Some of them committed to express their knowledge in writing. Read about the #RememberSlavery event from the students’ perspective.
UNMIL/PR/2203-18. Thursday, 22 March 2018 – In a pivotal moment for the history of Liberia, the United Nations mission there successfully completed its mandate after almost 15 years of supporting the West African nation in the transition to peace and democracy.
At a ceremony in Monrovia today attended by President George Weah, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed lauded the accomplishments of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Continue reading
Beuko, Ghana, 14 March 2018 – March 8 is International Women’s Day. The Day the World stands still to salute women all over and to reflect on the challenges they face in their quest for equal opportunity and therefore gender equality. In Ghana, stories about women, talks and social media messages on IWD flooded our airwaves and our media. As for me, I had to delete some content to make room for new ones to drop into my WhatApp. The messages were the same: Happy #IWD.
Officially, UNIC Accra, in partnership with a local NGO, Abibiman Foundation, organized an outreach in a local community outside Accra. It was a good idea to host the event outside Accra because much of the IWD attention was centred around urban communities with urban residents as target audience. Read more.
Accra, 8 March 2018 – The world has come a long way in the stride towards gender equality. You and I have come a long way since 1995 when the Fourth World Conference on Women came up with a blueprint for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment known as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. the Platform for Action imagines a world where each woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices, and realize all her rights, such as to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for equal work.
The Beijing process was a significant period in the cause for gender equality because it unleashed remarkable political will and worldwide visibility from governments, individuals and civil society and reinforced the activism of women’s movements on a global scale. Conference participants went home with great hope and clear agreement on how to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. Ghana for example developed its first action plan for the Implementation of the Beijing platform in 1999; to date some significant progress has been made, especially at the national level with regards to gender equality and women empowerment.
Twenty-three (23) years on, we celebrate progress made, and reflect on the steps we need to make to achieve all the aspirations of the platform for action.
Read further an op-ed written by the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock.
New York, 6 March 2018 – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki today announced the appointment of Anita Kokui Gbeho of Ghana as Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
Ms. Gbeho succeeds Bintou Keita of Guinea, to whom the Secretary-General and the Commission Chairperson are grateful for her dedicated service during her tenure with UNAMID.
Ms. Gbeho brings to the position a wealth of experience from her distinguished career in the United Nations. Since 2015, she has served as Resident Coordinator/Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme, Namibia, where she supported the Government of Namibia to coordinate its external development assistance through the United Nations Partnership and Namibian Development Frameworks. Previously, Ms. Gbeho was Chief of Section for Africa I (2012-2015) and Head of Office for Somalia (2008-2012) with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Ms. Gbeho held other senior positions, such as Director for Monitoring and Evaluation Unit in the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinators Office in Sudan (2006-2008) and Head of OCHA Liaison Office in South Sudan (2004-2006), during which time she led the strategic planning process of the United Nations and partners for Sudan; and managed the humanitarian and transition operations for South Sudan.
Ms. Gbeho holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Ghana and a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and Africana Studies from the State University of New York, Stony Brook.
Born in Accra in 1964, she has a daughter.
Accra, 5 March 2018 – In many countries, the topic of migration stirs up lively debates. Oftentimes, among considerations ranging from irregular migration to security, or even identity. The positive impacts of migration on countries’ development, such as remittances and diaspora contributions, remained overlooked. Perhaps, this is because migration had not, until recently, officially been introduced into the global development landscape. This oversight was corrected with the adoption by world leaders of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where the importance of migration for development is, finally, fully acknowledged.
In Ghana, to encourage a more comprehensive look into the linkages between migration and development, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a new project entitled, “Integrating Migration into National Development Plan: Towards policy coherence and achievement of the SDGs at national and global levels”.
This project is particularly important at this moment in time because it is expected to drive current national efforts in integrating migration issues into national development plans, as clearly defined in the SDGs. It is being implemented in Ghana and Ethiopia and funded through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sub-Fund for Peace and Development, of which the People’s Republic of China is a major contributor. Read further in this special report.