Author Archives: Cynthia Prah

Secretary-General’s statement on the death of Ambassador Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin

New York – Feb 21, 2017 – I have just returned to New York and have learned with shock and sadness of the news of the sudden passing of Ambassador Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin, who was an outstanding diplomat.

Ambassador Churkin served the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation with distinction through some of the most challenging and momentous periods of recent history.

The late ambassador Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin

In 2006, he was appointed as the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. For more than a decade, Ambassador Churkin was a forceful presence on the Security Council.

Ambassador Churkin was a uniquely skilled diplomat, a powerful orator with great wit, and a man of many talents and interests.

Although we served together for a short time, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with him and will deeply miss his insights, skills and friendship. I pay tribute to his contributions to the United Nations and offer my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones, and to the Government and people of the Russian Federation.

New York, 20 February 2017

 

IMF staff concludes visit to Ghana

Accra, February 13, 2017 – A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Joël Toujas-Bernaté, has completed an official visit to Ghana.  The visit, which took place from February 6-10, 2017, was “to take stock of the 2016 economic developments and the outlook for 2017, engage in a dialogue about the new government’s economic plans, and discuss prospects for program engagement with the IMF”.

A press release issued by the IMF at the end of the visit indicates that the team met with the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia; Senior Minister Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo; Finance Minister Hon. Kenneth Ofori-Atta; Minister of Food and Agriculture Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto; Bank of Ghana Governor Dr. Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku; other senior officials; and development partners in the country.

UN calls for nomination for 2017 Public Service Awards

New York, February 13, 2017 – The United Nations is calling for nominations for the 2017 UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA).  The call which closes on 28 February 2017, is open to all public organizations, including governments and public institutions engaged in public-private partnerships for delivering services.

It aims to promote and recognise innovation and excellence in public services supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Awards will be handed out on 23 June 2017, a day designated by the UN General Assembly as the UN Public Service Day and the Awards ceremony will take place during the UN Public Service Forum in The Hague, Netherlands.

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A Continent of Hope

An Op-ed by UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

New York, February 4, 2017 – Far too often, the world views Africa through the prism of problems.  When I look to Africa, I see a continent of hope, promise and vast potential.

I am committed to building on those strengths and establishing a higher platform of cooperation between the United Nations and the leaders and people of Africa.  This is essential to advancing inclusive and sustainable development and deepening cooperation for peace and security.

That is the message I carried to the recent African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — my first major mission as United Nations Secretary-General.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

Above all, I came in a spirit of profound solidarity and respect.  I am convinced that the world has much to gain from African wisdom, ideas and solutions.

I also brought with me a deep sense of gratitude.  Africa provides the majority of United Nations peacekeepers around the world.  African nations are among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees.  Africa includes some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

The recent resolution of the political crisis in the Gambia once again demonstrated the power of African leadership and unity to overcome governance challenges and uphold democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

I left the Summit more convinced than ever that all of humanity will benefit by listening, learning and working with the people of Africa.

We have the plans in place to build a better future.  The international community has entered the second year of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an all-out effort to tackle global poverty, inequality, instability and injustice.  Africa has adopted its own complementary and ambitious plan: Agenda 2063.

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Students Tell the ‘Story’ of the Holocaust through Art Works

Accra, January 31, 2017 – As part of this year’s Holocaust Remembrance observance in Accra, students were tasked to express their understanding of the Holocaust in art forms at an outreach event held at the Alpha Beta Christian College, a private High School. The students’ solemn depiction of the Holocaust, an incident that has been recorded in history as one of the worst atrocities meted out by humanity against humanity, highlights the theme of this year’s observance: Holocaust Remembrance: Educating for a Better Future.  In their own creativity, the students depicted and presented to their colleagues what they know of the Holocaust and what it represents for them as the youth of today. The art works displayed the pain, torture and destruction of lives to reiterate the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.

Blood-stained barbed wire and horrors of the Holocaust by Maripearl Adonteng of East Airport International School

The Gas Mask by Harry Dzanie of East Airport International School

The film The Path to Nazi Genocide was screened, followed by brief presentations by the National Communications Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms. Cynthia Prah and the Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy, Bernhard Abels. Both presenters took turns to reiterate the essence of the observance and the need to denounce prejudice and racism in an effort to prevent its re-occurrence.

The Holocaust by Maxine Brenya of Alpha Beta Christian College

The outreach event, organized by UNIC Accra, was attended by over 200 students from three schools and staff of the schools.

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UNIC Accra Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day with an Outreach

Accra, January 30, 2017 – This year’s International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust (27 January) was observed under the theme “Educating for a Better

Bernhard Abels, Deputy Head, German Embassy Accra addresses the students

Future”. In Accra, the United Nations co-organised a Public Forum with the Embassy of the State of Israel and the Embassy of Germany, and an outreach event and exhibition for some 200 students.

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Violent extremism in prisons: Behind bars, but not locked up

By Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime

Violent extremism today presents a chilling challenge to the world’s prison correction communities.

Anis Amri, shot dead before Christmas by Italian police after killing 12 people in the Berlin terrorist attack, was allegedly radicalised in prison. His story follows a shocking trajectory that enables murderous terrorism due to the incitement and recruitment of vulnerable prisoners.

Security Council meeting
The situation in Afghanistan
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security (S/2015/684)
Letter dated 15 September 2015 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2015/713)
General Assembly 69th session: High-level Forum on a Culture of Peace
Opening Statements by the Acting President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General, followed by panel discussions

Cases such as Amri’s show that, today, for the small minority, prisons have become the first step towards committing horrific acts of mayhem and destruction. How can we get this minority back on the rehabilitation path and defeat the violent extremists. While no quick remedy exists, there are approaches that can make prisoners less susceptible.

Extremist recruiters are adept at spotting fragile inmates open to joining extremist causes and who can be convinced to commit terrorist acts upon release. Using the tedium of prison life, they exploit hatreds and frustrations and bend inmates towards a shared ideological commitment to using violence.

Prisons may not help by exerting their own coercive pressures encouraging prisoners to join groups due to violence, threatening behaviour, overcrowding and poor management.

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Launch of the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017

Accra, January 11, 2017 – The 2017 World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report will be launched by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on 17 January at 11:00 am in New York (4pm in Accra). Regional analyses will also be launched in the following days in key regional hubs.  

According to the report, facing major headwinds and heightened uncertainty, the world economy remains mired in a prolonged cycle of subdued global growth. In addition to an analysis of the present situation, the report looks at measures that can lift global growth and support sustainable development, including a more targeted policy mix that is based on sound policy analysis and more effective policy coordination at the domestic, regional and global level.

You may follow the global launch at http://webtv.un.org.

Who is António Guterres

Accra, January 2, 2016 -António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on 1st January 2017.

Portrait of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

Portrait of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

Having witnessed the suffering of the most vulnerable people on earth, in refugee camps and in war zones, the Secretary-General is determined to make human dignity the core of his work, and to serve as a peace broker, a bridge-builder and a promoter of reform and innovation.

Prior to his election as Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015,  heading one of the world’s foremost humanitarian organizations during some of the most serious displacement crises in decades. The conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and the crises in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Yemen, led to a huge rise in UNHCR’s activities as the number of people displaced by conflict and persecution rose from 38 million in 2005 to over 60 million in 2015.

Before joining UNHCR, Mr. Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, during which time he was heavily involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor.

As president of the European Council in early 2000, he led the adoption of the Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs, and co-chaired the first European Union-Africa summit. He was a member of the Portuguese Council of State from 1991 to 2002.

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Ghana’s Miss Tourism joins students to mark World Toilet Day

Tema, 28 November 2016 – Students of Community 7 No. 1 Junior Secondary School in Tema, a suburb of Accra have highlighted, through art, the importance of adequate toilet facilities in homes as they observe World Toilet Day. The event which was organized by UNIC Accra, in

Some of the students participating in the exercise

Some of the students participating in the exercise

partnership with Abibimman Foundation, a local NGO, involved 42 students in a drawing competition to test their understanding of World Toilet Day following a briefing on the theme “Toilets and Jobs”. The students then took the opportunity to demonstrate through art work, their perception of the

Prince proudly showing his work

Prince proudly showing his work

Akos with her work

Akos with her work

relevance of the Day. At the end of the exercise, three students were adjudged winners of the competition. They are Prince Da-Roacha, Xoese Akos Akotey and Baba Abdallah Yakubu.

Prince’s work showed a man defecating in the only source of drinking water in the community to portray the effect of our actions on our water bodies. Akos offered two environments, one with a toilet and

Baba's work

Baba’s work

another without a toilet.  The juxtaposition is between clean and dirty environments. For 12-year-old Baba, the overall winner of the competition, it is much more comfortable and relaxing for anyone using a water closet toilet facility as compared with defecating in the open.  He showed this by drawing a man reading while sitting on the water closet and another man swamped by flies while openly defecating.

Miss Tourism, Geraldine [left] decorating the winners.  She is supported by her assistant, Akorfa

Miss Tourism, Geraldine [left] decorating the winners. She is supported by her assistant, Akorfa

At the end of it all, the students received some items such as pins, pencils, stickers, folders, erasers and posters donated by the International Labour Organisation.

Also present at the event was Miss Tourism, Geraldine Sappor who told us about her mission to promote Ghana’s tourism and create environmental awareness among young people.