High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Side Event on African Member States’ Implementation of the SDGs

Accra, Ghana, July 16, 2018 – A meeting to table the challenges African Member States are facing in the implementation of the SDGs, share information on opportunities and available tools will take place in New York today as a side event of the ongoing High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The meeting is on the theme “Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063: A Sharing of Experiences and the Way Forward Post-Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development and Voluntary National Reviews.”

It will be attended by all participants in the HLPF, all United Nations Member States, African senior Government officials, African representatives from the civil society, the private sector, the academia, the media, representatives from African regional institutions and representatives from the UN system.

The meeting will offer the opportunity for African Member States to share information on available mechanisms and tools, their merits and relevance to their specific circumstances towards the implementation of the SDGs, encourage themselves to undertake the Voluntary National Reviews and accelerate progress towards the achievement of the SDGs and the Agenda 2063.

Two key outputs are expected out of this meeting.  First, a report, compiling policy recommendations and capacity needs on how to overcome the challenges faced by Member States and optimize the opportunities and scale up good practices to strengthen national mechanism for coordination and integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.  The second is a Joint UN-AU platform for coordinated efforts to support African countries to better implement the global and continental Agendas.

To date, Africa has had the smallest percentage of its Member States undertake a VNR with seven countries undertaking a VNR in 2016, seven in 2017 and eleven this year.

Read more about the meeting.

UN Secretary-General appoints Hanna S. Tetteh of Ghana as Director-General of UNON

July 13, 2018 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has announced the appointment of Hanna S. Tetteh of Ghana as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). She succeeds Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde who has been appointed as Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU).

Hanna Serwah Tetteh

Ms. Tetteh most recently served in the cabinet of the Government of Ghana as Minister for Foreign Affairs (January 2013-January 2017), and Minister for Trade and Industry (February 2009-January 2013). While serving as Minister for Foreign Affairs, she was also a member of the National Security Council and the Armed Forces Council. From 2014 to 2015 she was the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  During her term as Minister for Trade and Industry, she was also a member of the Government’s economic management team, a member of the board of the Millennium Development Authority, a member of the National Development Planning Commission, and was also the Chairperson of the Ghana Free Zones Board.

Ms Tetteh and the UN Resident Coordinator for Ghana Ms Christine Evans-Klock

Beginning in December 2000 to January 2005 she served for one term as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for the Awutu Senya Constituency. She later returned to Parliament in January 2013 until January 2017 as the NDC Member of Parliament for the Awutu Senya West Constituency.

Ms. Tetteh is a practising Lawyer and holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB)  degree from the University of Ghana, Legon. She also completed her professional law course at the Ghana School of Law and was called to the Ghana Bar in October 1992.

Mr. Tamrat Samuel, Assistant Secretary-General and Senior Coordinator for Peace and Security Reform in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, will serve as Acting Director-General until Ms. Tetteh assumes her position.

UN Secretary-General Appoints Major Gen. Stefano Del Col of Italy as Head of UNIFIL

13 July 2018 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Major General Stefano Del Col of Italy as Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Major General Del Col succeeds Major General Michael Beary of Ireland, who will complete his assignment on 7 August 2018.  The Secretary-General is grateful to Major General Beary for his exemplary service and leadership of UNIFIL over the past two years.

Major General Del Col has had a long and distinguished career in the Italian Army.  As a Staff Officer in the Italian Army, he served as Special Projects Section Chief, as NATO Force Planning Section Chief and as Italian Army Liaison Officer to the British Army.  From 2009 to 2011, he served as Defence Strategy and Operations Policy Branch Chief at the Defence Staff Headquarters in Rome.  Since 2015, Major General Del Col has been the Senior Deputy Chief of the Cabinet Office of the Minister of Defence.

He has extensive international operational experience, including in Kosovo, Lebanon and Libya.  He served with UNIFIL in 2008 as Battalion Commander and in 2014-2015 as Commander of Sector West and Italian Contingent Commander.

Born in 1961, Major General Del Col holds a Bachelor’s degree in Strategic Sciences and a Bachelor’s degree (with distinction) in International Relations and Diplomatic Sciences from the University of Trieste.  He also holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Sciences from the University of Turin and a Master’s degree in International Military Studies from the University of Milan.

New Ghanaian Battalion Takes Charge in South Lebanon

June 11, 2018 – UNIFIL’s Ghanaian Battalion (GHANBATT) saw a change in command of its 850-strong force operating in furthering peace in south Lebanon, last week.

At a transfer of authority ceremony held in the Battalion headquarters in Al Qawzah on 6 July, the outgoing Commanding Officer Lt Col William Nortey passed the mantle to his successor Lt Col Fiifi Deegbe. The newly arrived peacekeepers will serve with UNIFIL for one year.

In his address, the Sector West Commander Brigadier General Paolo Fabbri noted that Ghana has been one of the most important troop contributing countries since 1978 in support of the UNIFIL efforts in the pursuit of peace, security and stability in south Lebanon.

GHANBATT’s area of responsibility includes a 23-kilometer stretch of the Blue Line within their area of responsibility in south Lebanon.

As one of UNIFIL’s 42 troop contributors, Ghana has the highest number of women peacekeepers in Lebanon.

Ghanaian Peacekeepers Support Special Needs School and Community Centre

July 11, 2018 – UNIFIL’s Ghanaian peacekeepers donated last week a photocopier to a special needs school in Ayta ash-Shaab and a 30 KVA generator set to a community centre in Al Qawzah, Lebanon.

The Ghanaian peacekeepers from the outgoing battalion (GHANBATT 84) had organized a benefit musical concert in the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura on 22 June to raise funds to buy the equipment.

UNIFIL’s Sector West Commander Brigadier General Paolo Fabbri attended a ceremony to hand over the generator on 6 July.

Between their peacekeeping operational duties, UNIFIL peacekeepers carry out a number of activities in the communities they serve in order to preserve and strengthen their ties. https://unifil.unmissions.org/ghanaian-peacekeepers-support-special-needs-school-and-community-centre

First ever UN High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States to open in New York

Accra, 27 June 2018 – The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres will on Thursday, 28 June 2018 convene the first United Nations High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States at UN Headquarters under the theme “Strengthening international cooperation to combat the evolving threat of terrorism.” The 2-day Conference will provide an opportunity for the UN and Member States to forge new partnerships to address the complex and transnational threat of terrorism.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

In an Op-Ed, the UN Secretary General called for a concerted multilateral response at global, regional and national levels to defeat the threat of terrorism. He writes “Terrorism is a transnational threat that cannot be defeated by any single government or organization… we must also address root causes by promoting education, tackling youth unemployment and addressing marginalization.” through the engagement of local communities, religious organizations and the media.

Meanwhile, the Sixth Biennial Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of the General Assembly has opened at UN Headquarters. In advance of the event, the Secretary-General issued on 20 April his report on the activities of the UN System (A/72/840) (http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/72/840). The Review will provide an opportunity for Member States to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the Strategy and to discuss the way forward.

 

UNHCR Ghana calls on Government to accede to UN Conventions on Statelessness

Accra, 20 June 2018 – The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ghana office and the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB) have called on the Government to develop the legal pathways for local integration of protracted refugees in the country and accede to the two UN Conventions on Statelessness.  The call was contained in a statement read in Parliament by a Member of Parliament of Ningo-Prampram, Hon. Samuel Nartey George, as part of commemorative events to mark World Refugee Day in Accra.

Minister of Information addressing the audience

At a ceremony held in Accra in commemoration of the Day, the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock commended Ghana’s efforts at meeting the needs of refugees over the past years.  The Chairman of the GRB, Professor Kenneth Attafuah reiterated the need to recognise the opportunities that refugees bring to their host countries. The Minister of Information, Hon. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid shared his personal life experience growing up as a son of a refugee.  He noted that “we must realise that refugee situations are real and it could happen to anyone”.

eShun performing

There was a presentation by High Level Influencer (HLI) Kwame Amfo-Akonnor, calling for support for refugees under the LuQuLuQu campaign.  HLI eShun, a Ghanaian singer also added her voice to the call in a performance dedicated to the stateless.

1st Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin Annual Lecture & Essay Competition

Accra 4 June 2018 – Entries are invited for the First Professor Babatunde Osotimehin Annual Essay Competition (PBOC). In honour of the life, times and work of the late professor of clinical pathology, former Nigerian Minister of Health and Executive Director of UNFPA between 2011 and 2017, young people are invited to submit entries on the theme- “Comprehensive Sexuality Education for the Adolescent Girl in Ghana”.

The essay competition seeks to enrich conversation and research on the continual and untiring quest for brilliant solutions as a means to drive the much desired demographic dividends. Top 10 essay entries from the competition will be compiled into an anthology and launched during the award ceremony, which will be held in Accra in the margins of the African Girls Summit scheduled for August 2018.

Prizes will be awarded to three individuals with the most outstanding essays.

  • Winner will be awarded the sum of Five Thousand Ghana Cedis and a sponsored trip to attend the Family Planning Conference in Rwanda later this year.
  • First Runner up will be awarded the sum of Three Thousand Ghana Cedis and an iPad.
  • Second Runner up will be awarded the sum of Two Thousand Ghana Cedis, and a Smart Phone.

Read further for the guidelines for essay entries. 

UNIC Accra Launches UNCTAD’s EDA Report 2018

Accra, 31 May 2018 – This year’s Economic Development in Africa report has reinforced the argument that migration is not necessarily a bad thing.  The report affirms the potential of migration, if properly managed, to transform Africa’s economy.  It argues that intra-African migration is a catalyst for economic growth and structural transformation and further suggests that, besides contributing to economic growth, safe and orderly migration, can contribute significantly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s agenda 2063.

Eric Akomanyi [L], Philip Cobbina [M], Cynthia Prah of UNIC Accra [M] and Sylvester Kartey [R]

The EDA Report 2018 was launched in Accra on May 31 by the UN Information Centre.

Presenting the report, a Lecturer from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Mr. Philip Cobbina said, it is important that African countries take such reports seriously and situate findings of the EDA Report into their local context.  He said by so doing, “we shall be able to identify how migration can impact us specifically”.  According to Mr. Cobbina, who is also a Managing Director of CICADA Consulting Limited, once such reports are launched, it is up to the responsible government, in this case the Ministry of Interior, to take the report and begin working with it to validate the findings within the local context.

Mr. Akomanyi making his presentation

A Project Assistant at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) country office, Mr. Eric Akomanyi noted that the relationship between migration and development has long been established by the IOM and for which reason it welcomes the release of the report by the UN Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Mr. Akomanyi highlighted a number of areas in which the IOM is working in support of the country’s development agenda as far as migration is concerned. These areas include a 2017 baseline assessment of remittances and the ensuing work to address identified challenges in the sector, the “Connecting the Diaspora for Development” project to facilitate knowledge and skills transfer to Ghana and, IOM’s role in the process to ensure the development of a Labour Migration Policy for Ghana.

Representing the Minister for the Interior, a Deputy Director of the Ministry, Mr. Sylvester Kartey, commended UNCTAD for the report and noted that the findings would be studied by the Ministry to inform its work on migration.

 

 

Ghana Observes 70 Years of UN Peacekeeping

Accra, 29 May 2018 –  The 70th anniversary of the International day of UN Peacekeepers was observed in Ghana with two major events.  The first was a high-level dialogue on the anniversary theme: “United Nations Peacekeepers: 70 Years of Service and Sacrifice”. The dialogue brought together former UN staff who shared with an audience of about 300, their experiences during their service as peacekeepers.  For the first time since his retirement from active service, the First Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), General Emmanuel Erskine, was invited via Skype to join in the conversation. With a commanding and strong voice, as if in active service, General Erskine recounted his active service.  He had one message for all UN Peacekeepers and aspirants: “It is imperative to respect the cultures and religion of indigenous population you meet”. He commended the organisers of the event and

A cross section of the audience at the Dialogue

the UN for recognizing and celebrating the #ServiceAndSacrifice of peacekeepers. Other panel members included Major General Henry Anyidoho former Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) and Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Rule of Law in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Ms Evans-Klock laying a wreath on behalf of Fallen Peacekeepers

On May 29, a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony was held in honour of Ghanaian Peacekeepers all over the world and in remembrance of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock acknowledged Ghana’s commitment to UN peacekeeping efforts.

Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

For her part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said the Government will take swift punitive measures against any Ghanaian UN peacekeeper who is proven to have misconducted him/herself in the line of duty, adding that “Government takes a serious view to issues of SEA in UN peacekeeping operations.”

A photo exhibition on “UN Peacekeeping:  70 Years of Service and Sacrifice” to mark the 2018 International Day of UN Peacekeepers” was mounted at both events.