UNIC Accra & Accra Ridge Church Widows’ Fellowship mark International Widows’ Day

Accra, 22 June 2016 – International Widow’s Day is a United Nations Day marked annually on the 23rd day of June to recognize the plight of millions of widows and their children across the world who experience economic and social deprivation after losing their husbands. The Day seeks to end all forms of discrimination against widows and to enable them to enjoy their human rights.

Currently there are over 250 million widows worldwide.

This year, UNIC Accra joins the Accra Ridge Church Widows’ Fellowship to mark the Day.

Read more in the joint press release issued by UNIC Accra and the ARCWF.

Dr. Ibn Chambas ends fact-finding mission ahead of Ghana’s elections

Accra, 20 June 2016 – The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel and Head of UNOWAS, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas has concluded his second fact-finding mission in Ghana as part of United Nations engagement and support in the preparations towards Ghana’s elections 2016.

D. Ibn Chambas addressing the media

D. Ibn Chambas addressing the media

During his mission, Dr. Ibn Chambas met with the Electoral Commission, Political Party representatives, the Chief Justice, the National Peace Council, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers, Ghana’s international partners, as well as the media.

This was a follow-up  to his visit in February this year.

Read the full text of his statement to the media.

Ghana’s human rights record to be reviewed by UN Committee

Geneva, 20 June 2016 – Ghana’s human rights record will be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee for the first time on 24 June in Geneva. As one of the 168 States that have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Ghana is required to undergo review by the Committee on how it is implementing the Covenant.

The Committee, which is composed of 18 international independent members, will discuss a range of issues relating to the ICCPR with a delegation from the Government of Ghana. Members will also be briefed by NGO representatives.

The Committee’s meetings with the delegation are public and will take place on 24 June from 10:00 – 13:00 and 15:00 – 18:00 (08:00 – 11:00 and 13:00 – 16:00 in Ghana).

Ghana has submitted a report to the Committee on the implementation of its human rights obligations, and a number of non-governmental organisations have also sent reports for the Committee’s consideration. More information here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1031&Lang=en

The Committee will issue its findings on Ghana and the other countries being reviewed – Denmark, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Ecuador, Burkina Faso and Argentina on 17 July. The findings, officially known as concluding observations, will be published here:
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1031&Lang=en

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UN launches worldwide search for young people driving change to help realise SDGs

Accra, 16 June 2016 –The United Nations has launched the UN Young Leaders Initiative to recognize exceptional young people who are leaders in the effort to end poverty, combat climate change and reduce inequalities.

Under this initiative, 17 young leaders, aged between 18 – 30 years, who are driving change to help realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be recognized on an annual basis. This is the first of its kind to showcase the outstanding leadership that young people are demonstrating to put the world on a more sustainable course.

It is spear-headed by the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

The first class of Young Leaders will be announced in September, ahead of the United Nations General Assembly. During their term, the Young Leaders will work with the Envoy on Youth and the United Nations to help galvanize other young people around achieving the SDGs.

Nominations are now open via the Young Leaders website. Categories for nomination include Advocacy, the Arts, Business, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Media, Philanthropy, Policy, Science, Sport, Technology and others.

Nominations will be open from June 15th to July 15th 2016 and can be made online at www.SDGYoungLeaders.org

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Canada Supports WFP’S Work Towards Zero Hunger in Ghana

Accra, June 1, 2016 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of CAD 20 million (US$ 15 million) from the Government of Canada to implement a programme linking nutrition, agriculture and food processing which will assist almost 1 million people over the next five years.

Canada’s contribution will enable WFP to improve the nutritional status of 14,000 pregnant and nursing women, and 35,000 children, as well as boosting the income of smallholder farmers in the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.

There is an inter-connected approach in the new programme, “Enhanced Nutrition and Value Chain” (ENVAC). It aims to promote sustainable agricultural production among smallholder farmers, who will supply industrial and community-level food processors with good quality staple crops to be processed into fortified nutritious foods. Efforts will be made to encourage the wider population, in particular women and children, to eat these foods in order to prevent malnutrition.

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UN Peacekeepers – Agents of World Peace and Security

Accra, May 27, 2016 – The United Nations commemorates the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on 29 May each year. On this day, we pay tribute to all the uniformed men and women in military and police service in United Nations peacekeeping operations.  We thank them for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.  And we honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

Very fittingly, the theme for the 2016 commemoration is Honouring Our Heroes.

UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock

UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock

As a prominent contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, Ghana will commemorate the day with a flag-raising ceremony at the forecourt of the State House. The United Nations family in Ghana joins the rest of the world to salute the thousands of Ghanaian military troops, police and prisons officers, and civilians who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations all over the world.

The United Nations peacekeeping has a long and proud history.  Since its establishment in 1948, over one million UN peacekeepers have served in more than 70 operations in dozens of conflict-affected countries. UN Peacekeepers help countries gain independence, support historic elections, protect civilians, disarm ex-combatants, establish the rule of law, promote human rights and create the conditions for refugees and displaced persons to return home.

Increasingly, these efforts are under volatile and insecure conditions.  In 2015, the UN recorded 129 fatalities of Peacekeepers from 50 countries. Some died in malicious attacks, others in accidents, and others fell to disease. On the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, we honour these fallen heroes.

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Market women and farmers in Ghana learn about SDGs

Kumasi, May 23, 2016 –  Sharing the message of the global development agenda has never been this interesting as it was during UNIC Accra’s interactions with three communities in the Northern and Ashanti regions.

Members of Boakurugu listening to presentation on SDGs

Members of Boakurugu listening to presentation on SDGs

Located some 20 minutes from Tamale, the Northern regional capital, is Boakurugu, a relatively small community in the Sagnarogo District of the Northern region. Inhabitants of this community are mainly small holder farmers. They plant maise, pepper and groundnut. UNIC Accra and its local partner, Global Shapers Community, Tamale, first paid a brief courtesy call on the Chief of the area, Alhassan Naporo to announce its mission.

SDGs session in the Chief's palace

SDGs session in the Chief’s palace

About 50 residents later gathered to be briefed when suddenly a rain storm hit the community. Not deterred by the sudden storm, the residents rushed to the Chief’s palace where the briefing took place. The Sustainable Development Goals and its contribution to development was the topic for presentations and discussions.  Much to our delight, Madam Fati, a 45-year old farmer in the community, stood up at the end of the event to voluntarily express her appreciation to the team for thinking of their

Presentation on SDGs at Ejisu Central market

Presentation on SDGs at Ejisu Central market

community to share information about the SDGs with them. She also expressed her delight to know that the world has not forgotten about their plight and that of the future generation.

Perhaps the climax of the outreach activities was at the Ejisu Central market.  It was on Thursday and indeed a market day when farmers and traders

A trader reading the Akan translation of the SDGs

A trader reading the Akan translation of the SDGs

bring their goods and wares to sell on the streets.  Market days are usually busy and hectic for traders and farmers. This was the moment UNIC Accra and its partners, Abibimman Foundation and Young People we Care (YPWC), decided to present the SDGs to the traders and the general public of the area. Some market traders and shoppers stopped to listen to us as others went by their own business. For this group of audience, the five Ps – People, Planet, Progress, Peace and Partnership was the focus of the presentation.

The Chief of Edwenase addressing the people

The Chief of Edwenase addressing the people

At the end of the day, the translated SDGs post cards were distributed to the traders who were very keen on understanding what the SDGs meant to their wellbeing. They also had the opportunity to ask questions which were addressed by the UNIC Accra National Information Officer, Ms. Cynthia Prah and translated in Akan by the Executive Director of YPWC, Mr. Harrison Obeng Debrah.

Earlier, the people of Edwenase, an outskirt of Kumasi, the capital of Kumasi, had their share of information on the SDGs. Here the Chief of the town, Nana Antwi Bosiako warmly welcomed UNIC Accra and the team. He also encouraged the people of the community to do what they could to help promote the SDGs.

Ghanaian students enthusiastic about the SDGs

Kumasi, May 23, 2016 – Nearly the entire school population of about 2000 students at the Tamale Senior High School turned out to participate in UNIC Accra’s UN4U outreach event in the school. UNIC Accra’s National Information Officer, Ms. Cynthia Prah presented the 17 SDGs to the students. She told the students that the SDGs are about people, planet and prosperity to ensure peace through partnership. She emphasized the need for students to know what the SDGs are and what they mean since it would inform development direction for the next 15 years.

A cross section of students at Tamale SHS

A cross section of students at Tamale SHS

The Head of Sub/Area Office of the World Food Programme, Mr. Abebe Hankore provided further explanation on the SDGs that are directly linked to food, nutrition and good health.

At the Ejisu-Adadientem Church of Christ Senior High School (CHRISEC), the students, mostly in their first and second year, wanted to learn more about the role of the UN to support countries to attain the SDGs and about the

Some students of Tamale SHS

Some students of Tamale SHS

actions to be taken against countries that will fail to attain the SDGs. For many of these students, including about 50 students from Mancell College, a nearby school, UNIC Accra’s presence was actually their first encounter with UN officials. They were very pleased for the opportunity to enable them learn about such a global subject matter. “I have learnt from the presentation today how the youth can also contribute to the development of Ghana. I am very delighted that I would be able to share this information with my peers”, says Samuel Boateng of CHRISEC.

CHRISEC students 4The authorities of both schools expressed the hope that such presentations would be held regularly for their students.

UNIC Accra team visited the Kumasi Senior High Technical School at the final leg of the outreach journey. Here, over 1500 students also heard about the SDGs for the first time. The students were very interactive during the question and answer sessions.

Students of Kumasi Senior High Technical School

Students of Kumasi Senior High Technical School

UNIC Accra embarks on UN4U outreach activities in Northern & Ashanti regions

Kumasi, May 23, 2016 – UNIC Accra has undertaken a series of community and youth outreach activities in the Northern and Ashanti regions of Ghana. The key message during this exercise was on the Sustainable Development Goals and what it means for us as a people and for our planet.

BannerThe first community was Boakurugu, in the Sagnarogo District of the Northern region. The team later on visited the Tamale Senior High School, where over 2000 students gathered to hear about the SDGs. In the Ashanti region, four activities were held at the Ejisu-Adadientem Church of Christ Senior High School, the Ejisu Central market, Edwenase community and the Kumasi Senior High Technical School for over a thousand students. The audiences at all the events were very enthused about the information on the SDGs and expressed appreciation to the team for including them in the outreach plans.

Boakurugu community outreach

Boakurugu community outreach

These events were organized by UNIC Accra in collaboration with its local partners, Abibimman Foundation, Young People we Care and Global Shapers Community, Tamale.

Despite much global efforts at raising the needed awareness on the subject, only a handful of students we reached and the people in local communities we visited were aware of the SDGs.  The local partners were therefore encouraged to set up SDGs Clubs, especially in schools, to enable students learn about the SDGs, its relationship to national development efforts and what they can do to create awareness about the 2030 development agenda.

Ghanaian peacekeeper to be honoured at ceremony at UN Headquarters

New York, May 17, 2016 – The United Nation Headquarters will observe the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Thursday, 19 May 2016.  It will mark the eighth successive year in which the Organization will honour more than 100 “blue helmets” who lost their lives the previous year while serving the cause of peace.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 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 128 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations during 2015.  

UNAMID police officer, Mary Sebastian, from Ghana, interacts with children in El Sereif camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Nyala, South Darfur

UNAMID police officer, Mary Sebastian, from Ghana, interacts with children in El Sereif camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Nyala, South Darfur

One fallen peacekeeper from Ghana will be among the 128 who will posthumously receive the Dag Hammarskjöld medal – Bombardier Godfred AGYEMANG, who lost his life on 27 November 2015 while serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

In a message to mark the Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “On this Day we honour our heroes – the more than one million men and women who have served under the United Nations flag with pride, distinction and courage since the first deployment in 1948. And we pay our highest tribute to the more than 3,400 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while in service during that period.”  

Ghana is the tenth largest contributor of military and police personnel to the United Nations, with 2,886 now serving in thirteen UN peace operations.
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