Category Archives: Latest News

UN expert group on the use of mercenaries to visit Ghana

ACCRA, 8 December 2017 –  A delegation of the United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries will conduct an official country visit to Ghana, from today 8 December to next Friday, 15 December 2017.

The Working Group delegation will assess the regulation of private security companies in the country and the measures in place to address the challenges posed by mercenarism and mercenary related activities, including foreign fighters and their impact on human rights.

In a Media Advisory issued by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the Commissioner (OHCHR), the delegation will hold meetings in Accra and Takoradi with representatives from relevant Government ministries, members of civil society including non-governmental organizations, private security companies and companies operating in the extractive industry.

The experts will hold a press conference to share their preliminary observations on 15 December, at 12:30 p.m. at the GJA International Press Centre, Accra.

The Working Group will present a full report of the country visit to the Human Rights Council in 2018.

 

17-yr Old Ghanaian Student Wins SDGs Photo Contest

Accra, 14 November 2017 – A 17-year old Ghanaian student, Matthew Paa kwesi Williams has been adjudged the second prize winner, out of 1000 entries, of the 2017 international SDGs photo competition for students.  The competition, co-organized by the United Nations Information Centre in Tokyo and the Sophia University, aims at encouraging students to “reflect on sustainable development from their own perspectives, express it through a photo, and share it with others”.

Matthew addressing the media

Matthew, a student in Morgan International Community School’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, who aspires to be a Business economist and entrepreneur, entered the competition with his image titled “Struggle of Childhood”. The photo captures a school-going age girl gathering sticks of a disentangled broom she was using to sweep. The girl, barefooted and squatting to collect the broom sticks, has a very pensive look away from the lenses into the distant.

Speaking at a press briefing organized by UNIC Accra to highlight the feat of Matthew and to engage the media on the SDGs, Matthew called on the government to ensure policies are implemented to help children attain the best in education.  He said, “school-going children should be in school during school hours”.

Matthew told a team of local media that he was inspired by SDG1 which seeks to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. To help promote the global agenda and advocate for the achievement of the SDGs therefore, Matthew announced the establishment of Pixel Action, an online photo platform aiming to draw attention to the needs of communities through pictures.

Matthew, supported by UNIC Accra NIO and students proudly shows off his certificate

Matthew’s picture, which won the Award of Excellence category in the SDGs photo contest was captured in Gomoa Manso, a small town in the Central region of Ghana.

The media were briefed by the National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms Cynthia Prah.  She congratulated Matthew and urged journalists to focus more on development oriented stories to bring up challenging issues facing various communities in the country.

 

 

2017 UN Day Celebration: Ghanaians urged to exercise ‘will’ power to overcome challenges

Tuesday 24 October 2017 – The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Ghana, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock has reiterated the global call for the use of “will” power as the key means to end the challenges of the world. Delivering a speech on behalf of the UN Secretary- General, António Guterres at a flag-raising ceremony held in Accra to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the

Ms Evans-klock addressing the audience

United Nations, Ms. Evans-Klock said the UN looks forward to supporting the Government’s coordinated effort towards the implementation of the SDGs. She commended the non-Government actors, including the civil society, youth and the private sector, for their commitment to advocate the SDGs and build public accountability.

For her part, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey reaffirmed government’s commitment to continue to work and collaborate with the UN in its quest to find solutions to the humankinds’ most pressing challenges which the SDGs seek to address.

Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

“We recognize the colossal task placed on our shoulders through the global goals and the need to implement them by 2030” she added.

According to the Minister, the achievements of the SDGs holds a prominent place on government’s development agenda. This she said was the reason why it has incorporated the goals into Ghana’s 40-year development plan as well as programmes and policies such as “Planting for Food and Jobs”, “One District – One Factory” and “Free Senior High School Education”.

 

Members of the diplomatic community

 

This year’s event forms part of activities to celebrate everything the UN has achieved since its establishment in 1945 and it’s on the theme: “Achieving the SDGs: Innovating, Mobilizing and Partnering for the Implementation of the SDGs in Ghana”.

The flag raising ceremony climaxes the UN Day celebration in the country at the national level out of numerous events earmarked to commemorate the day in different parts of the country.

 

 

Hoisted flags of the UN and Ghana

The occasion was graced by Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, Public sector officials, representatives of the Security Services, Members of the Diplomatic corps, Heads of UN Agencies, students and the general public.

Panelists dialogue on the SDGs to mark UN Day in Ghana

Accra, 23 October 2017 – Several events are taking place in Ghana to mark United Nations Day. The focus of the week-long observation is to draw public attention to the Sustainable Development Goals and to encourage public engagement on developmental issues facing the people of Ghana.

Mr. Ayensu making his presentation

At the start of the week, representatives from various sectors including the Ministry of Finance, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) and the Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) took part in a public dialogue on what needs to be done to ensure the sustainability of the SDGs in the country.

A Director of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Michael Ayensu said that in order to ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the country’s development efforts, the 2018 national budget will be anchored on the SDGs. He also hinted that Ghana is likely to take part in the 2018 Voluntary National Reviews held annually at the High-Level Dialogue on the SDGs in New York.

Representing the CSOs Platform on the SDGs, Madam Joyce Larnyoh said it was crucial that the SDGs are communicated to people in a way they would understand.  She made reference to efforts by the UN system and the CSOs to develop and translate common messages on the SDGs for everybody to understand and relate to.

The UN RC

From the private sector, the Chief Executive Office of PEF, Nana Osei-Bonsu stressed on the need for effective resource mobilization to support the implementation of the SDGs. The NDPC representative Dr. Felix Addo-Yobo said the SDGs would be attainable if everyone came on board. He said the private sector, CSOs and public sectors need to work together on the implementation of the SDGs.

For her part, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Ghana, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock had one message: “Ending abject poverty is realistic”.

Secretary-General Appoints Francis Vib-Sanziri of Ghana to Head UN Disengagement Observer Force

New York, 13 October, 2017 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri of Ghana as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

Major General Vib-Sanziri succeeds Major General Jai Shanker Menon of India, who completed his assignment on 30 September 2017. The Secretary-General is grateful to Major General Menon for his dedicated leadership of UNDOF.

Since joining the Ghana Army of the Ghanaian Armed Forces in 1985, Major General Vib-Sanziri has had a distinguished military career at both national and international levels. He has been serving as Director-General of the International Peace Support Operations at the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces since April 2017. Earlier in his career, he served as Assistant Director, Ghana Army Operations (1996-1998), Deputy Head of the Ghana Military Academy (2002-2004), Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion (2004-2009), Director for International Peacekeeping Support Operations in 2009 and Army Secretary at the Army Headquarters (2010-2011).  In 2014, he was appointed Director-General for Joint Operations, General Headquarters.  He served as Director-General of the National Disaster Management Organization from 2015 to 2017.

Major General Vib-Sanziri also possesses extensive peacekeeping experience, including deployments to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (1988 and 1991), the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (1993-1994), and the United Nations Mission in Liberia in 2007. He also served with the Economic Community of West Africa States Monitoring Group in Liberia (1990), in Sierra Leone (1999-2000) and, subsequently, with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone.  From 2011 to 2014, he served as a strategic military planner in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations.

Major General Vib-Sanziri holds a Master’s degree in Military Art and Science from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (USA), a Post Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA Hons) in Geography and Rural Resource Development from the University of Ghana. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and General Staff College, Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College and the United States Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Born in 1957, he is married and has two daughters.

New York, 13 October 2017

UNIC ACCRA joins partners to raise awareness of challenges and opportunities of the girl child

Accra, October 11, 2017 – 

As part of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, several events were held in Ghana to draw attention to the significance of human rights and gender equality to national development.

UNIC Accra joined partners at a local basic school in Accra to expound on the theme: The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030. About one hundred students, aged between 13 and 16, were engaged in discussions to enable them to understand and appreciate the need for gender equality.  13-year old Victoria said such an event was important for her because she can only empower others when she has a full understanding of the issues.  She therefore expressed appreciation for the opportunity to be informed about the essence of the day.

There was poetry recital and a question and answer session.

The event was organized by Insight Foundation, a local NGO, in partnership with the Ghana Book Trust and the La Yahoushua Cluster of Schools under the Ghana Education Service.

The audience at the event

The IDGC has been observed since 2011 to recognize girls’ rights and acknowledge their unique potential and the challenges they face to achieve it.

Present were representatives of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Ghana Education Service and Ghana Book Trust.

Op-ed: Far from Realisation – Girls’ rights are human rights

Accra, 11 October 2017 – Each year since 2011, on the International Day of the Girl Child, we recognise girls’ rights and acknowledge their unique potential and the challenges they face to achieve it.

Girls in school

The United Nations calls on all of us – families, communities, Government, traditional and religious leaders, educators, civil society organizations, Development Partners, the private sector – to come together and commit to creating supportive environments in which girls can be equal to boys and can live lives free of discrimination, exploitation and violence.

Where are we in Ghana? What more can we do to create the right environment to ensure that no girl child is left behind as the world embarks on measures to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030?

Read further an Op-Ed written by the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Christine Evans-Klock.

Dr. Natalia Kanem of Panama as new Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund

New York, October 3, 2017 – Following consultations with the Executive Board of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Natalia Kanem of Panama as the Fund’s new Executive Director. Dr. Kanem succeeds the late Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin of Nigeria. 

A champion of a life of dignity for all, Dr. Osotimehin was admired globally for his leadership of UNFPA and for his immense and invaluable advocacy for the world’s women and girls. 

Dr. Kanem brings to the position more than three decades of strategic leadership and management in the fields of medicine, public health, international peace and development, human rights and social justice applying her expertise in direct programme implementation, mission advocacy, and building strong local, national, international and donor partner alliances. She currently serves as Acting Executive Director of UNFPA. Prior to this position, she was Deputy Executive Director (Programme) and earlier UNFPA Representative in the United Republic of Tanzania (2014-2016). 

Prior to joining the United Nations, Dr. Kanem was Senior Associate at the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago (2012-2013). Before that, she was founding President of ELMA Philanthropies Services (2005-2011), a private institution focusing primarily on children and youth in Africa. She served The Ford Foundation from 1992 to 2005 in various capacities, including:  Deputy Vice President and Senior Director of the Peace and Social Justice Programme; Senior Director of the Office of Management Services; Representative for West Africa (based in Lagos and Dakar); and Programme Officer in the Nigeria office for Women’s Reproductive Health and Sexuality. Dr. Kanem began her career in academia with the Johns Hopkins and Columbia University schools of medicine and public health.

Dr. Kanem holds a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude in History and Science from Harvard University; Doctor of Medicine from Columbia University; Certification in Tropical Medicine from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; and Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Washington.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s full address to the 72nd Session of the UN GA

Friday, September 21, 2017 – The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Ghana (E) Address Akufo-Addo, on Thursday, September 21 addressed the general debate of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.  Read full address.

In the meantime, here is a the Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo which took place on the same day:

The Secretary-General met with H.E. Mr. Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana. The two leaders exchanged views on the situation in the Republic of Ghana and the sub-region. They also discussed the challenges of terrorism and violent extremism.

The Secretary-General expressed appreciation for President Akufo-Addo’s engagement and commitment, as co-chair of the group of 17 eminent Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocates, to the SDGs.

The Secretary-General commended the Republic of Ghana for its contribution to the resolution of the post-electoral crisis in the Republic of The Gambia.

Africa at the UN General Assembly

Accra, 14 September 2017 – In an effort to increase engagement by Africans in this year’s General Assembly, the Department of Public Information of the United Nations Africa Section is creating tools to to reach us with information. Find attached the promotional flyer. The goal is to elicit public interest in GA proceedings, particularly during the debate between 19 September and 22 September. A dedicated webpage (http://www.un.org/africarenewal/africaga2017) dubbed “Africa @ the UN General Assembly” has been created to provide visibility to Africa’s participation.  

For Africans, including the media, not directly participating in events in New York, the “Africa @ the UN General Assembly” is expected to be a one-stop source of information. Statements by African leaders, policy makers and social change activists and other pertinent reports will be uploaded on the webpage and on social media outlets, such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. Video clips and short interviews will also be publicised.

Please visit the site regularly for more up to date information on GA proceedings.