Author Archives: Cynthia Prah

The Secretary General’s remarks at the opening of the 72nd session of the General Assembly

New York , 12 September 2017 – Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by once again congratulating our new President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák.

He and I have had good discussions in recent months about our shared hopes for this session.

I have no doubt the Assembly is in very capable hands. 

His experience, his vision and his wisdom, are recognised by all of us that have the privilege to know him. I also welcome President Lajčák’s choice of theme for the year to come: “Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet”.

I look forward to working together for progress on all our areas of work.

Our world faces serious threats — from the proliferation of nuclear weapons to global terrorism, from climate change to inequality.  

We also face major challenges, from migration to the unintended consequences of technological advances, such as cyber attacks.

People around the world are rightly demanding change and looking for governments and institutions to deliver.  
We all agree that the United Nations must do even more to adapt and deliver.  That is the aim of the reform proposals that this Assembly will consider.  

I look forward to working with you, distinguished delegates, to strengthen our Organization to better support the Member States and to produce better results for the people we serve.

One key change, within and beyond the United Nations, must be to empower the world’s women and girls.

Yesterday, I launched a roadmap for achieving gender parity throughout the United Nations, at all levels.  I appeal to you to put forward women candidates for vacancies.  Parity at the UN will improve performance at the UN. 

Despite today’s conflicts and the grinding daily impact of poverty, I remain convinced that this is far more an era of transformational potential.

May the 72nd session of the General Assembly take bold steps to seize those opportunities as we continue to serve “we the peoples”.

Thank you.

72nd session of UN General Assembly opens tomorrow

Accra, 11 September 2017 – The seventy-second General Assembly of the United Nations will open tomorrow, Tuesday, 12 September, 2017.  The Assembly’s annual general debate, when Heads of State and Government and other senior national representatives gather to present their views about pressing world issues, will open a week later, on Tuesday, 19 September, and run through Monday, 25 September. The Secretary-General will also present his report on the work of the Organization immediately prior to the general debate.

United Nations Headquarters Building with Flags

The theme for the seventy-second session’s general debate is, “Focusing on People: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet” as proposed by the President-elect of the seventy-second session, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčak of Slovakia, upon his election on 31 May 2017.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to address the General Assembly on Thursday, 21 September 2017.  Prior to his address, President Akufo-Addo will meet with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the group of 17 eminent persons serving as Sustainable Development Goals Advocates on 17 September 2017.

These events will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York and will be followed by a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons on 27-28 September 2017. During this meeting, high-level representatives are expected to assess achievements and challenges in the implementation of the Plan of Action.

For updates and further information, please visit the General Assembly website (http://www.un.org/en/ga/)

Nelson Mandela International Day marked in Accra with a Clean-up Exercise and a public durbar

Accra, 18 July 2017 – The United Nations Information Centre, Accra, in partnership with the South African High Commission and the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development commemorated this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day with a clean-up exercise at Nima, one of Accra’s most poverty endemic suburbs.

Volunteers clearing refuse on the streets of Nima

More volunteers cleaning up

The clean-up exercise, which was carried out along parts of the major streets in Nima was successfully executed, thanks to Zoomlion Ghana Limited and members of the Nima Neighbourhood Watchdog Committee and other local groups and organisations, with the support of staff of UNIC Accra, the South African High Commission and Group Five, a South Africa Construction firm operating in Ghana.

The purpose of the clean-up exercise was to encourage the residents of Nima and the general public to devote at least 67 minutes of their time to live the Nelson Mandela legacy.  The exercise attracted several market women, commercial drivers and some residents of the community.

In his address, the Minister of Inner City and Zongo Development, Bonifice Abubakar Siddique, noted that, “We chose to embark on this event in Nima because it exhibits conditions that resonate with the theme of this event- ‘Action Against Poverty’.

He further proposed that all the partners, under the leadership of the South African High Commission, consider the development of a Senior High School (SHS) to serve the children of the Nima community.  He added that when built, the SHS, the first in the community, would be named after Nelson Mandela.

The South Africa High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E Ms Lulama Xingwana, said throughout his Presidency, Nelson Mandela focused on solutions to end hunger and inequality nationwide. He pushed for equitable distribution of farmland and agricultural development, pointing to the fact that freedom necessitates basic human rights.

On her part, the National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre in Accra, Ms. Cynthia Prah, admonished the school children among the gathering to work hard towards achieving their dreams as future leaders.

UNMISS Bids Farewell to Deputy Special Representative Eugene Owusu

New York. 14 July, 2017 – Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Eugene Owusu, has been farewelled by friends and colleagues as he leaves the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) after two years of service.

Eugene Owusu speaks at the launch of the South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017.

Mr. Owusu, of Ghana, was appointed to the post by former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in May 2015.

At a farewell ceremony, Mr Owusu’s contribution to the Mission and the country was recognised by members of the South Sudanese Government, humanitarians, UNMISS personnel and the Ghanaian community.

As well as Deputy Special Representative, Mr Owusu also serves as UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator, and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Sudan.

The acting Representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in South Sudan, Vincent Parker, said that Mr Owusu had expertly managed that challenging mix of senior leadership responsibilities.

South Sudan’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hon. Hussein Mar Nyuot, said that, often in countries in crisis, those leading humanitarian issues were accused by governments of being “saboteurs”. However, Mr Owusu’s “remarkable” efforts, diplomatic skills, and strong leadership had been greatly valued by the Transitional Government of National Unity.

Mr Owusu said it was important for all of those working towards peace in South Sudan to look beyond the challenges of today and to be driven by the opportunities ahead.

“We must continue to be the positive agents of change that this country needs,” he said. “I have absolute faith in the indomitable spirit of this country and its people. We must unleash the potential of the people of South Sudan to live a life of peace, prosperity and dignity.”

UN Secretary-General to Launch SDGs report 2017

Accra, 13 July 2017 –The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, will officially launch the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report 2017 at the opening of the High-level segment of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) on Monday, 17 July.

This year’s report provides a global overview of the current state of the implementation of the SDGs.  The report is based on latest available data for indicators in the proposed global framework and indicate areas of progress and areas where more action needs to be taken to achieve the Goals.

The report will be presented at a press conference on the same day in New York and can be followed live on the United Nations Web TV at http://webtv.un.org/ .

Meanwhile the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the central platform for reviewing progress on the implementation of the SDGs at the global level, is underway in New York until 19 July.  Member states, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders are gathering at the Forum to review the successes, challenges and lessons learned on achieving the SDGs.  During this Forum, 44 countries are expected to present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) or plans to achieve the Goals.

The theme for this year’s Forum is “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”.

Economic Development in Africa report 2017 Launched in Accra

Accra, 5 July 2017 – The National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre in Accra, Cynthia Prah, Philip Cobbina, a senior Manager with Cicada Consulting Limited, Emmanuel Badger, a Senior Investment Promotion Officer at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and Naana Nyarkua Ocran, Deputy Director of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board have jointly launched the Economic Development in Africa Report, 2017 in Accra.

Cynthia Prah (Right)with team launching the report

Philip Cobbina who walked reporters and participants through some salient aspects of the report, encouraged local tourism industry actors to adapt aspects of the report that have relevance within the local context. He said it is about time we take measures to reap the benefits of tourism as spelt out in the report.

The Economic Development in Africa Report, 2017 chiefly examines the role that tourism can play in Africa’s development process. The report has captured that tourism’s total contribution to Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) which includes direct and indirect contributions increased from an average $69 billion in 1995-1998 to $166 billion in 2011-2014 reflecting 6.8 per cent of GDP to 8.5 per cent of GDP.

Mr. Philip Cobbina presenting the report

He particularly called on policy makers and the relevant public institutions to tackle leakages in the tourism sector by ensuring that major industry actors patronize local products.

Community sensitisation and clean-up exercise ahead of UN Ocean Conference

Tema, June 1, 2017 – Ahead of the Ocean Conference, which begins today in New York, the UN Information Centre in Accra has undertaken a sensitisation and clean-up exercise to bring home the message of the need to join hands to reverse the decline in the health of our ocean. The event was supported by the Department of Public Information Outreach Division, New York, UNDP, FAO, and Zoomlion Ghana Limited, a waste management and environmental sanitation company. The event was held in partnership with Abibimman Foundation, a local NGO.

The canoe fishing harbour

 

Mr. Gueye addressing the gathering

Business at the Tema Canoe Fishing Harbour and market was interrupted for about 2 hours as officials addressed the community against bad practices that pose a threat to the ocean.  The head of the community, Nii Odametey Auwdum advised the fisher folks against the use of plastic bags for their businesses stating that apart from its nuisance, plastics pose serious threat to life in the sea. He said his office may consider banning the use of plastics in the community if the practice persists.

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Surge in voluntary commitments for ocean action as Conference to halt ocean degradation set to open

New York, 2 June—A surge in the number of voluntary commitments to take action to improve the health of the ocean by countries, businesses and civil society groups has been recorded, and more are expected as the Ocean Conference gets underway Monday, 5 June  at United Nations Headquarter in New York.

The commitments, now numbering over 600 and still increasing, come as heads of state and government and ministers will join ocean leaders, experts, businesses, and civil society organizations to discuss solutions that restore the health of the world’s ocean.  The commitments target a wide range of ocean problems, ranging from protecting coral reefs, strengthening sustainable fisheries, reducing plastic pollution, and addressing the impacts of climate change on the ocean. Read further

Ghana assures the UN of its commitment to peacekeeping

Accra, 29 May 2017 – Ghana has assured the United Nations of its support to UN peacekeeping. The Minister for the Interior, Hon. Ambrose Dery made this assurance at this year’s national flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony held in Accra. He said “we can succeed in building a vibrant and stable democracy underpinned by a prosperous economy, only if we work relentlessly to maintain the peace and security…”

Hon Ambrose Dery, Min for the Interior

The solemn event was attended by the UN Resident Coordinator, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Heads of the various security services, members of the Diplomatic Corp and the various security services, traditional leaders and students. Four wreaths were laid to pay tribute to peacekeepers on behalf of the United Nations, the Government and people of

UN RC lays a wreath on behalf of the UN

Ghana, the Security Services and on behalf of the families of the fallen peacekeepers.

In an address, the UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock said development takes place when there is peace.  She said, the contributions of the

Both UN and Ghana flags being raised

peacekeepers to maintain peace “helps make it possible to pursue sustainable development…” She expressed the UN’s gratitude for Ghana contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.

Prior to this ceremony, a dialogue on the theme, “UN Peacekeeping: Investing in Peace Around the World” was organised last week to provide insight into Ghana’s investment and substantial presence in peacekeeping. The panel were represented by the Ghana Armed Forces,

Mr. Antwi-Danso delivers his opening remarks

the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Prisons Service and the Ghana Immigration Service.  The event was hosted by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra. The event was moderated by Mr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso, Director of Academic Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces and Staff College.

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4th UN Global Road Safety Week events in Accra

Accra, 12 May 2017 – In support of the 4th United Nations Global Road Safety Week, the United Nations Information Centre, UNIC Accra, joined the World Health Organisation country office and its partners to raise the much needed awareness on the dangers of speed on our roads.

UNIC Accra rallied Heads of UN Agencies in the country to join the global #slowdown social media campaign championed in Ghana by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly Bloomberg Initiative Global Road Safety (AMA-BIGRS). Among the participants were heads of ILO, UNDP, UNOPS, UNHCR, UNICEF and the Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock.

UN RC [1st left], Dr. Kaluwa [m] & Mr. Kufour [R]

A press briefing was later organized by UNIC Accra on behalf of WHO to climax the week-long road safety observance. In Attendance were the WHO Country Director, Dr. Owen Kaluwa, the Programme Coordinator of AMA-BIGRS, Mr. Osei Kufour and the UN Resident Coordinator.

Addressing the media, Ms Evans-Klock said public education is key to reduce speeding on our roads and called for action by the Ghana Police Service to be vigilant in enforcing road safety laws on our streets.

A cross section of the media

For his part, Dr. Kaluwa said “real, sustained successes at reducing road traffic deaths will only happen when road design takes into consideration the need of all road users – motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. He further called on the international community, national governments and civil societies to act on existing evidence on what works to save lives on the roads.

Responding to questions from journalists Mr. Osei Kufuor stated that measures are being put in place to intensify advocacy toward road safety.