Category Archives: Latest News

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.

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.”

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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