Category Archives: Latest News

Ghana launches International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies

Accra, 17 March 2015 – 2015 has been declared the International Year of Light and Light Based Technology. The Ghana celebration, themed “Harnessing Light and Light-based Technology” was officially launched at a ceremony in Accra to begin a series of events to highlight the significance and contribution of light and light-based technologies to development and culture.

Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Min for Education

Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Min for Education

Launching the IYL2015 on behalf of the President of the Republic of Ghana, the Minister for Education who is also the chairman of Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang bemoaned the little attention paid to the sciences by the education sector, adding that the nation’s development depends largely on the savvy of technology. She called on the private sector in Ghana and development partners to participate in actualizing the four outcomes of the commemoration of the IYL2015 in Ghana for the benefit of industry and the sub-region as a whole. The outcomes are to create an institute for laser and fibre optics at the University of Cape Coast; the establishment of a laser medical application laboratory; the establishment of a solar technology research centre and; the establishment of museum of light and light-based technologies.

Tirso Dos Santos, UNESCO Rep to Ghana

Tirso Dos Santos, UNESCO Rep to Ghana

Prof. Paul Kingsley Buah-Bassuah a Professor of Laser and Optical Physics of the University of Cape Coast and member of the planning committee, expounded on the usefulness of light and light-based technology citing the range of its value from MRI machines through X’rays to micro wave ovens. He also bemoaned what little advantage Africans are taking of technology compared to other parts of the world, adding that, from the level of research into light and light based technology, it is only a matter of time before pictures are taken in 3D instead of the current 2D.

Cross section of audience

Cross section of audience

There were solidarity messages from UNESCO, the African Physical Society and the embassies of Mexico and Russia. Also in attendance were members of the diplomatic corps, scientists and UN Agencies in Ghana.

As part of the commemoration of the IYL2015, Ghana would host an Africa Regional Conference and exhibition from 26th to 28th May on the theme ‘Harnessing Light and Light Based Technology for Africa’s Development’.

International Women’s Day Photo Exhibition opens in Accra

Accra, March 11, 2015 – A two-week photo exhibition has been opened in Accra as part of activities to mark International Women’s Day.  The photos on display include those of three winners of a competition launched by the United Nations, Ghana and the Goethe Institut, and images captured by the two organisations that reflect on their work and on the theme ‘Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it and Make it Happen’ .

Ms Evans-Klock presenting the 1st prize to Mr. Adatsi

Ms Evans-Klock presenting the 1st prize to Mr. Adatsi

Mr. Robert Sobotta, the Director of Goethe Institut in his welcome address expressed his regret that no female submitted a photo for the competition. On the other hand, he was impressed that men have expressed interest in the issue of empowering women, adding that it is a good sign for women all around the world. He reaffirmed his personal stance on women empowerment adding that he will continue to champion the cause of marginalized women.

Ms Evans-Klock, assisten by Mr. Ackon, officially opens the exhibition

Ms Evans-Klock, assisten by Mr. Ackon, officially opens the exhibition

Ms Christine Evans-klock, the UN Resident Coordinator called on all and sundry to build on the successes chalked in the past 20 years following the Declaration of the Beijing Platform for Action and ensure equal opportunities for boys, girls, women and men.  Her call was backed by Hon John Alexander Ackon, the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection who recounted the efforts of government to ensure gender eqality. He lauded the initiative to use pictures to draw attention to women and the need for equality adding that pictures will give a better appreciation of what women have had to endure in order to achieve milestones in their life.

The winning photo

The winning photo

The winner of the competition, Mr. Nicholas Adatsi, has been awarded with 1,500 cedis while the first and second runners up, Geofrey Buta and Gerald Nartey received 1000 and 500 cedis respectively. The winning photos and other photos on the theme by UN agencies in Ghana will be displayed at the Goethe Institut till the end of the month.

Ministerial Conference on Statelessness to take place in Abidjan

Accra, February 17, 2015 – A 3-day Ministerial Conference on Statelessness in West Africa is expected to open on February 23, 2015 in Abidjan.  The Conference, the first of its kind in Africa, will be attended by Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice and the Interior from the West Africa sub-region and high-level representatives from key regional organizations such as the ECOWAS Commission, the African Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Mano River Union. They will discuss the issue of statelessness with the aim of promoting a comprehensive regional strategy to identify stateless people, designing protection measures, and developing concrete solutions to prevent and reduce statelessness throughout the region.

press release issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), indicates that the Ministerial Conference will be hosted by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and the UNHCR, jointly with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

IWD photo competition launched in Accra

Accra 5 February, 2015 – UNIC Accra and the Goethe Institut have launched this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) at a media briefing at the Goethe Institut in Accra. The launch was primarily to announce a photo competition on the local theme; ‘Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it and Make it Happen’ coined from the global theme Make it ‘Happen’.

Robert Sobotta, Director of the Goethe Institut addressing the audience

Robert Sobotta, Director of the Goethe Institut addressing the audience

The Goethe Institut has been the hub of culture exchange between Ghana and Germany for many years. It has encouraged all art forms and entrepreneurial use of the savvy of the arts. The Intitut, has supported the marking of IWD for several years running, and the Director, Mr. Robert Sobotta in his welcome address pledged his support to championing the cause of women empowerment in our societies.

A cross section of the audience at the press conference

A cross section of the audience at the press conference

Ms. Cynthia Prah, the National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, announced the details of the competition, adding that though women contribute significantly to socio-economic development, their contributions hardly receive the same recognition and value as their male counterparts. IWD, marked all over the world on March 8, therefore creates the stage to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of women while calling for equality.

Ms. Prah announced the call for submissions of photos which should satisfy the following criteria;

  • Participant must be a Ghanaian
  • Aged between 20 – 35yrs
  • Photos must be submitted in 5 copies on the theme Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it and Make it Happen.
  • Photos should be submitted in both softcopy on CD and hardcopy (printed) to Goethe-Institut before deadline on February 17, 2015 at 5p.m.
  • Pictures must be in 10 x 12 inches size, in coloured or black and white.

Three winners of this competition will receive cash prizes ranging from GHC 1,500.00– GHC 500.00  Their pictures, along with selected pictures from the United Nations in Ghana and the Goethe Institut would be exhibited at the Institut for at least two weeks.

Students in Accra take part in Holocaust Remembrance Day events

Accra, February 3, 2015 – As part of events to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day in

Students at the Exhibition stand

Students at the Exhibition stand

Accra, UNIC Accra held a 3-day photo and video exhibition for Junior High School students of the Ridge Church School in Accra. On display were informative panels which included the bio of survivors of the Holocaust interviewed in a film on the liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau, the

Students being addressed by Ms Prah

Students being addressed by Ms Prah

former Nazi concentration and death camp in 1945, produced by the UN Holocaust Programme in partnership with USU Shoah Foundation Institute.

UNIC NIO, Ms Cynthia Prah and Reference Assistant, Ms Evelyn Sarpong, took turns to brief the students, who came in four batches of 35 students each, on the significance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the UN Holocaust Outreach Programme and the UN as a whole.

One batch of students dsiplaying the UN Holocaust Programme information sheet in a group picture with Ms Sarpong (Middle)

One batch of students dsiplaying the UN Holocaust Programme information sheet in a group picture with Ms Sarpong (Middle)

The students were very enthusiastic to learn about the impact of the Holocaust and how we can help to prevent its occurrence. They assured UNIC Accra that they will eschew hatred, bigotry and prejudice in their small ways and spread the message on the need to tolerate one another.

Ghana to host Africa Regional Conference & Exhibition as part of activities to mark IYL 2015

Accra, February 2, 2015 – On 20 December 2013, The United Nations (UN) General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015).

IYL 2015 is a global initiative involving a large consortium of scientific bodies together with UNESCO, to highlight the importance of light and optical technologies. It is expected to bring together many different stakeholders including scientific societies and unions, educational institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners.

The celebration of the IYL 2015 was launched at the UNESCO Headquarters, from the 19th – 20th of January, 2015 with the participation of several Member States of UNESCO as well as the International Scientific Unions Industry and NGOs.

Ghana, as a lead country of the initiative, was the only African country to mount an exhibition together with Saudi Arabia and the Russia Federation.

A press release issued by the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO highlights Ghana’s participation in the initiative,  and events planned in Ghana to mark IYL 2015.

Holocaust Remembrance Day marked in Accra

Accra, January 27, 2015 – UNIC Accra joined the rest of the world to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau, the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, and the commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance DayThe Day also marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the founding of the United Nations.

Dr. Rozett

Dr. Rozett

About a hundred guests, including members of the diplomatic community, representatives of civil society organisations and private and public sector institutions attended a lecture in Accra on the theme “Liberty, Life and the Legacy of the Holocaust Survivors” delivered by Dr. Robert Rozett of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Research and Memorial Centre in Jerusalem.

The 30-min presentation highlighted the relevance of commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day and how lessons can be drawn from the past towards ensuring the peaceful coexistence of neighbours for a non-violent world. Dr. Rozett indicated that Holocaust is not only about the numbers of those brutally killed.  He said in order to understand how we can avoid or prevent its re-occurrence, “we need to ask questions about how and why” those atrocities were committed.

The Ambassador of the State of Israel, H.E. Sharon Bar-li and the German Ambassador H.E. John Ruediger both made brief statements.

Screening of film

Screening of film

Ambassador Kwasi Quarter, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration called for the need to respect one another.  He commended Israel for their continuous support to the Government of Ghana.

A 7 minute film to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the UN Holocaust Programme and another film on the liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau, featuring the testimony of Holocaust survivors and veterans who liberated the camp were screened.

Football Stars including Ghana’s André Ayew to Deliver Life-Saving Malaria Prevention and Treatment Messages during AFCON2015

Bata, Equatorial Guinea, 16 January 2015 – Malaria still kills a child every minute and costs the African continent alone an estimated minimum of $12 billion every year in lost productivity.   In an effort to curb malaria, the United Against Malaria (UAM), a campaign of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, has joined CAF around the African Cup of Nations, which kicks off in Equatorial Guinea tomorrow, to launch a Public Service Announcement and reach out to the millions of viewers all over the world with life saving and preventive messages on malaria.

Football stars, including Ghana’s  André Dede Ayew is featured in this PSA which will be aired in-stadium during the 2015 AFCON tournament and throughout Africa on TV and radio, and can also be viewed on UAM’s website

For ease of access, the PSA is also available on YouTube

In a press release issued in Bata, the Campaign Manager of UAM notes that “It’s critical that we continue to work together to sustain progress in malaria control. By leveraging the largest platform in Africa, we can continue to make a difference,”

“Barbershop Conference”: A gathering on gender equality with a difference

New York, 15 January 2015 – As part of efforts to promote gender equality and address the challenges gender inequality poses, a conference dubbed “Barbershop Conference” has taken place in New York. This innovative conference which sought to bring men and boys into the conversation on gender equality and rally them to commit to upholding gender equality and change the change the discourse among their peers, was the brainchild of The Icelandic Mission and The Permanent Mission of Suriname.

Photo credit: UN Photo

Photo credit: UN Photo

It brought together prominent leaders from different fields to speak about their own experience and commitment to gender equality and engaging men and boys. It is expected that Permanent Representatives to the UN will commit to discussing more actively the role of men in realizing gender equality within the UN and beyond come up with concrete strategies to further engage men to end violence against women and girls, among others.

The structure of this event has been described as unconventional whereby one part gathered men to focus on engaging men and boys, and the other part was a discussion between men and women on how to bring men and boys into our common struggle to achieve gender equality and end violence against women and girls.

Read the full statement of the UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, delivered at the conference.

UNIC Accra gets a new Director

Accra, 14 January 2015 – The new UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock who assumed office early this month, has visited the United Nations Information Centre, Accra as part of a familiarization tour of the various UN offices in the country.

Ms Evans-Klock with UNIC Accra staff

Ms Evans-Klock with UNIC Accra staff

Ms Evans-Klock met the staff of UNIC in a semi-formal discussion to familiarize herself with them and their work. She lauded the work they have done so far, and promised, as part of her added role as Director of UNIC, to stay in constant touch and work harmoniously with them.

Prior to her arrival in Ghana, Ms Evans-Klock has served the International Labour Organisation in different countries and in different capacities. She brings on board a wealth of knowledge and experience and a practical determination to help the United Nations in Ghana build on previous achievements and to compliment the Government’s development efforts in the country.