Author Archives: Cynthia Prah

Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: A driving force for progress and development

Accra, 17 December 2018 – On December 10, over 160 world leaders and representatives of Governments met in Marrakesh, Morocco to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The Global Compact for Migration (GCM) for short, is the first-ever United Nations global agreement on a common approach on dealing with international migration in all its dimension.

Ms. Sylvia Lopez-Ekra Chief of Mission, IOM Ghana

There are over 258 million migrants around the world living outside their country of birth. This figure is expected to grow for a number of reasons including population growth, increasing connectivity, trade, rising inequality, demographic imbalances and climate change. Migration provides immense opportunities and benefits – for the migrants, host communities, communities of origin and destination. However, when poorly regulated it can also create significant challenges. These challenges include overwhelming social infrastructures with the unexpected arrival of large numbers of people and the deaths of migrants undertaking dangerous journeys. For the fifth straight year, IOM has witnessed the deaths of at least 2,000 irregular migrants seeking to reach Europe via the Mediterranean alone.

Movement from Ghana to other parts of the world has grown substantially in recent times. For instance, many young Ghanaians attempt to reach Europe in search of greener pastures by traveling irregularly through Libya because of mis-information and limited opportunities for safe and regular migration. Many of them either end up losing their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea or live in deplorable conditions in Libya, suffering human rights abuses at the hands of smugglers and in detention centres. In 2016 a total of 5,636 Ghanaians (4,933 men, 170 women and 533 children, of which 499 were unaccompanied migrant children) arrived in Italy by boat in search of better opportunities and lives – making Ghanaians the 11th largest nationality to arrive on Italian shores.  Generally, there was a reduction in the number of arrivals on Italian shores in 2017 from all nationalities with the number of Ghanaian arrivals falling to 3,909. The situation in Libya however remains extremely difficult for stranded migrants. Read further.

UN4U High School SDGs Awareness Campaign at St. Martin’s Senior High School – Nsawam Adoagyiri

Accra, Ghana, 4 December 2018 – UN4U is one of the major means through which the United Nations Information Centre reaches out to the public about its activities and the Sustainable Development Goals. And since the beginning of the year, it has embarked on several of such activities reaching out to the youth. The most recent was held at the St. Martin’s Senior High School at Nsawam in the Eastern Region involving the United Nations Developments Program (UNDP) and Young Visionary Leaders of Ghana, a local NGO. About 1800 students were reached.

UNIC staff with SDGs club members.

The presentations dwelt on the history of the United Nations, its agencies and their respective functions, the SDGs, with emphasis on the 5Ps (People, Planet, Peace, Prosperity, and Partnership) and the specific mandate and scope of work of the UNDP.

At the end of the presentations, the team led the students to establish SDGs Club in the school to support understanding of the SDGs. The new SDGs Club at St, Martin makes about five, SDGs Clubs created by high schools under the leadership of the YVLG in partnership with UNIC Accra and UNDP. The aim of the Clubs is to promote the SDGs among students in high school.

16 Heads of UN Agencies and Diplomatic Missions embark on Social Media Campaign to End Gender-Based Violence in Ghana

Accra, Ghana, 28 November 2018 – Sixteen diplomats serving in Ghana are using social media platform to add their voices to the global campaign to end gender-based violence.  The campaign which began on November 25, will run for 16 days until December 10, 2018. The exercise is part of the United Nations 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence which takes place every year.

The diplomats include the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock, the Heads of Missions of Germany, Canada, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), France, Australia, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the European Union.

Others include the Heads of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Mexico, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Netherlands, World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Italy. Read more.

Stand with survivors, victims, advocates and activists to end violence against women and girls in Ghana

Accra, November 26, 2018 – The United Nations in Ghana, in partnership with the Government of Ghana, launches the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign with renewed commitment to work together to end gender-based violence. This means for 16 days we join the rest of the world to increase awareness and intensify our advocacy to end gender-based violence.

The systemic silencing of victims/survivors and impunity for the perpetrators contributes to an entrenched and endemic violence against women and girls all over the world. This year’s theme: Orange the World: #HearMeToo is calling on all stakeholders to stand in solidarity with survivors and support grassroot activists and women’s human rights defenders in their work to end gender-based violence.

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UN Communication Group takes the UN to the door steps of students in Northern Ghana

Tamale, 13 November 2018 – Over 5000 students from nine senior high schools (SHS) and three tertiary institutions in the Northern Region of Ghana have taken part in this year’s joint UN4U outreach activities organized by the United Nations Communications Group (UNCG) in the country.  UN4U was held annually by the UN Information Centre (UNIC), Accra.  It has, since 2015, been adopted by the UNCG as one of its core advocacy events to reach out to the youth and share knowledge about the work of the UN, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other global and national development priorities. The platform is also used to encourage the youth to explore opportunities to make meaningful impact in societies.

The first event was hosted by the Tamale Senior High School (SHS) and was held at the school’s assembly hall, which seats over 3000 students.  Here, students from the Northern School of Business, Tamale Islamic SHC, Anbariya SHS, Kalpohin SHS, Ghana SHS, Business SHS, Vitting SHS and Tamale Girls SHS were in attendance.

Representatives from UNHCR, UNDP, UNAIDS and UNIC took turns to brief the students on various aspects of their work. At the end of the programme, Muniru Ruweida of Tamale SHS told us she has now learnt that “we should not look down on or stigmatize people with HIV/AIDS.” For Alhassan Azara of Tamale Islamic SHS, who said she never knew about the UN, the programme was very useful because it was as a result of the programme that she gained an understanding of the core objectives of the UN.

Praise Nutakor of UNDP addresses students at Tamale University College of Education

At the tertiary level, students from the Tamale University College of Education (TUCE) showed great interest in the work of the UN.  The event was very interactive and engaging. The students sought clarity on a number of issues around conflict resolution, peace and security and how best to make an impact in a society where young people’s voices are inadvertently silenced by the reminder to wait till they are old.  At the end of the nearly 3-hour session with these students, 18-year old Asmaila Rahinatu, a first-year student of TUCE told the team that “today I have learnt that we can all make a change in a respectable way regardless of our age”.

The Vice Principal of the TUCE, Mr. Imoro Huhu Alhassan

The Vice Principal of the TUCE, Mr. Imoro Huhu Alhassan, expressed appreciation to the UNCG for choosing to hold the event in their school.  He appealed to the UN to organize such events in the Northern region on a regular basis.

Some of the most rewarding aspects in the work of UN colleagues is taking the UN to the door steps of the youth through outreach programmes. UN4U is one way to reach out that connects UN staff from many agencies to young people in their own schools and communities, and that enables us to learn as much from them as they learn about the UN from us.

Impacting lives in Northern Ghana: UN’s contributions

Northern Ghana, 13 November 2018 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is one of the UN Programmes changing lives in the northern part of Ghana. Recently, the UN Communications Group, led by the UN Information Centre conducted a media visit to project sites in the Northern region to learn about the some interventions by the UN in that region. We came into contact with beneficiaries of some of these projects. Read more about the Pashiguni solar irrigation project being implemented by the UNDP in partnership with the Energy Commission of Ghana and the Adaptation Fund Project being implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI).

UNIC Accra at 73rd UN Day Events in Ghana

Accra, 25 October 2018 – The United Nations Information Centre in Accra, with the support of colleagues from other UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, took part in a number of activities in observance of United Nations Day in Ghana. Much of the activities were targeted at the youth.

UNHCR’s Patience Folley addressing the GIS students

The journey began with two days of briefing sessions on the role of United Nations at the Ghana International School in Accra.  These sessions were organized by the School on 11 and 12 October, ahead of their major UN and National Costume Day on 19 October.  The briefing sessions were organised to offer students the basis for celebrating an organization that seeks to maintain world peace, promote economic and social development and protect human rights.

Cynthia Prah of UNIC and Praise Nutakor of UNDP address the students at GIS

During the first two sessions, UNIC Accra explained the work of the organs of the United Nations, the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN’s presence in Ghana to some 800 elementary students. UNHCR and UNESCO also took turns to brief these students on their specific mandates.  On Day 2, UNIC Accra and UNDP took the lead to address over 500 Senior High Students.

GIS students dressed in Ghanaian costume on parade.

 

The actual event to mark UN Day at the Ghana International School took place on 19 October.  Students were dressed in various costumes representing their country of origin to demonstrate diversity. There were beautiful performances in honour of the former UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan.

Students of Morning Star School

 

The next point of call on 23 October, was Morning Star School.  Here UNIC Accra took over 400 Junior High School students through 17 SDGs. UNHCR and UNDP were also present to offer support and brief students on the importance of the works towards promoting global peace and development.  The students mounted a very information exhibition on the SDGs.

Some UN staff during the walk

A UN Day health walk was held on 20 October under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Integration. Over 1000 people including Heads of UN Agencies, members of the diplomatic corps and the media took part in the walk. The objective was to raise some level of awareness of the UN Day while keeping fit.

The UN flag and the Ghana flag hoisted

On 24 October, UNIC Accra participated in a flag-raising ceremony, the climax of national events to mark the Day. The event, which took place in Accra, was attended by members of the security services, traditional leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and students.

Both the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey addressed the gathering. Ms Evans-Klock thanked Ghana for its leadership role in the United Nations and expressed gratitude to HE President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufu-Addo “for agreeing to continue to co-Chair the Secretary-General’s Group of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs for another two-year term.” A position which, according to Ms Evans-Klock, helps drive Ghana’s leadership across Africa.

Hon Botchwey [m] and other officials on the exhibition grounds

Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey reaffirmed Ghana’s commitment to the ideals and principles of the United Nations.

An exhibition on the works of the United Nations as a global institution seeking peace, equity and sustainable development was mounted with the support of UNIC Accra.

Panel discusses Zero Hunger to Mark World Food Day

Accra, 25 October 2018 – The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the World Food Programme recently organised a panel discussion on “Our Actions are Our Future: A Zero Hunger World by 2030 is Possible”, the theme for this year’s World Food Day.

University of Ghana School of Performing Arts students dance performance on zero hunger and agriculture at the event.

The panel’s contributions to the discussion programme were very insightful, engaging and thought provoking.  UNIC Accra compiled some of the comments made during the session. Please refer to the link to read.

 

 

 

 

Dansoman Baptist Academy and Osu Salem SHS Students visit UNIC Accra

Accra, 28 September 2018: UNIC Accra has hosted some 62 students and 4 teachers as part of its outreach events dubbed “Meet the UN”.  The students are from the Dansoman Baptist

Students of Osu Salem SHS during the presentation

Academy and Osu Salem Senior High School. “Meet the UN” is a platform that presents the works of the United Nations to the general public.  For this set of students, the Centre, represented by the Reference Assistant, Ms. Evelyn Sarpong, placed emphasis on the history of the UN and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as one of the key priorities of the United Nations.

Dansoman Baptist Academy students being briefed by Ms Sarpong

With excitement and curiosity, the students demonstrated apt knowledge of the UN after the presentation at which time they asked pressing questions and made some contributions.  The students expressed their gratitude to the Centre for inviting them and charged themselves to “own” components of the SDGs and become advocates of same in their daily lives.

Both schools were presented with few UN publications for use at their school libraries.

Kofi Annan was the United Nations: An Op-ed by UN Secretary General António Guterres

New York, 18 September 2018 – Since the shock of former United Nations’ Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s death, I have been reflecting on what made him so special.

To my mind, it is simply this: Kofi Annan was both one-of-a-kind and one of us.

António Guterres signs a book of condolences during a ceremony honouring the memory and legacy of Kofi Annan

He was an exceptional global leader — and he was also someone virtually anyone in the world could see themselves in: those on the far reaches of poverty, conflict and despair who found in him an ally; the junior UN staffer following in his footsteps; the young person to whom he said until his dying breath “always remember, you are never too young to lead — and we are never too old to learn.”

Like few in our time, Kofi Annan could bring people together, put them at ease, and unite them towards a common goal for our common humanity. Read further.