Category Archives: Latest News

Head of UNMEER arrives in Ghana

Accra, Ghana, 27 September 2014 – An advance team of the newly established UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) arrives in Accra on Monday, September 29, 2014.  The team would be led by the UN Secretary-General Special Representative and Head of UNMEER, Anthony Banbury.

A press conference is scheduled to take place at 13:30hrs (1:30 p.m local time) at the VVIP lounge of the Kotoka International Airport. All media representatives are expected to be seated at 1 p.m.

As Head of UNMEER, Mr. Banbury will provide the operational framework and leadership to ensure the rapid, effective and coherent action necessary to stop the Ebola outbreak.  This includes treating the infected, reinforcing essential services and taking action to ensure the disease does not spread to countries currently unaffected.

The establishment of UNMEER last week follows the unanimous adoption of UN General Assembly resolution 69/1 to provide a platform for wide-ranging international efforts to put an end to the spread of the disease. UNMEER will have its headquarters in Accra with offices in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Mr. Banbury will also travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

UN Secretary-General to convene high-level meeting on Ebola response & appoints Special Envoy for Ebola & Head of UNMEER

Accra, September 24, 2014 – In an effort to speed up the momentum for global support to curb the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the Secretary-General will convene a High-level Meeting on Response to the EVD on Thursday, 25 September 2014 in New York.

The meeting will bring together global leaders to focus international attention to combat the outbreak of the disease. It aims to mobilize an exceptional response to contain and stop the spread of the virus, treat those who are infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability and prevent outbreaks in other countries.

President Alpha Condé of Guinea, and via teleconference: Presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone will take part in the meeting. Representatives the African Union Commission, the European Commission, the ECOWAS Commission, the United Nations Development Group, the World Bank Group, Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and WHO are expected to participate in this meeting.

David Nabarro

David Nabarro

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the appointment of David Nabarro of the United Kingdom as his Special Envoy for Ebola and Anthony Banbury as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).

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Accra to serve as headquarters for the newly established UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response

Accra, September 22, 2014 – Ghana is to serve as the Headquarters for the newly established UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).  The office will be located in Accra with offices in each of the three most affected countries, namely, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The mission will support national efforts and reinforce government leadership.

Additionally, Ghana’s international airport will be used for the vital air bridge.

The establishment of UNMEER follows the unanimous adoption of General Assembly resolution 69/1.

In his remark to the UN General Assembly last Thursday, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that UNMEER will provide a platform for wide-ranging international efforts and will have five priorities: stop the outbreak, provide treatment, provide essential services, preserve stability and prevent outbreaks in non-affected countries. The mission is expected to also emphasize community outreach, training and education especially among local leaders, including traditional and religious leaders.

Consequently, the UN Secretary General, in a statement on the subject, has issued instructions that UNMEER advance teams be deployed to the mission headquarters in Ghana and to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone by Monday, 22 September 2014.

It will be recalled that early this month the Under Secretary General Hervé Ladsous paid a brief visit to the UN Humanitarian Response Depot to access the depot in relation to the establishment of Accra as a logistics hub on ebola.

UN Ghana hands over a refurbished youth friendly centre to garage workers for provision of HIV & AIDS services

Accra, September 18, 2014 – Thirty-eight-year old Benjamin Panford is a ‘master’ mechanic at Odawna, a suburb of Accra, notable for its perennial flood. Benjamin has been an auto mechanic at Odawna for 10 years.  He is married with three children.  As an auto mechanic, Benjamin is the main bread winner of his family and oftentimes extended family.

Benjamin Panford being interviewed by UNIC Accra's Cynthia Prah

Benjamin Panford being interviewed by UNIC Accra’s Cynthia Prah

Benjamin is one of over a thousand Ghanaians, including vehicle parts shop owners, auto mechanics and food vendors at Odawna.

Literally translated as the bank of the odaw river, Odawna is a huge area where informal sector mechanics and enterprises, mainly dominated by men but with active women participation, are indiscriminately spattered.

Some Odawna garage workers at work

Some Odawna garage workers at work

In efforts to curb the HIV/AIDS endemic, the informal sector trade and work area is identified as one of the vulnerable groups but frequently overlooked. A 2012 vulnerability assessment carried out by the International Labour Organization (ILO) identified the lack of access to health and HIV services and safety nets away from parental control, guidance and care as risk factors that increase young people’s vulnerability to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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Ghana’s media briefed on 69th Session of the UN General Assembly

Accra, 16 September 2014 – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the United Nations system in Ghana have held a media briefing on the Opening of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly to provide an overview of events leading to the UN General Debate which begins on September 24 and key issues to be discussed during the debate. The session was led by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Hanna Serwaah Tetteh (MP) and the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. Ms Susan Ngongi.

Ghana's Minister of Foreign Affairs addressing the media

Minister Hanna Serwaah Tetteh (middle) addressing the media. On her left is the UN Resident Coordinator a.i.

Ghana’s delegation to the General Assembly Debate would be led by President John Dramani Mahama. He is expected to deliver a statement on September 25. Ghana would also be engaged in a number of high-level meetings and events at which time President Mahama would deliver papers from the country’s position and from a regional perspective as Chairman of ECOWAS.

The 69th Session of the UN General Assembly opened on Tuesday, September 16.  In his opening address, the President of 69th UN GA, Hon. Sam Kutesa of Uganda said “we must strive to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda is truly transformative, with the eradication of poverty and hunger and the promotion of sustained and inclusive economic growth as its overarching objectives.”  He will, in the course of the 69th Session of the UN GA, convene three high-level Thematic Debates in February on the Means of Implementation for the post-2015 Development Agenda, in March on Advancing Gender equality and  Empowerment of Women in the post-2015 Development Agenda, and in May on addressing Peaceful Settlement of Disputes and Strengthening Cooperation between the United Nations and Regional Organizations.

 

United Nations General Assembly opens tomorrow, 16 September 2014

Accra, September 15, 2014 – The 69th Session of the UN General Assembly opens tomorrow, September 16, 2014.  Activities leading to the UN General Debate on September 24 include the

HE Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the UN GA

HE Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the UN GA

World Conference on Indigenous People, Special session of the General Assembly on the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Climate Summit 2014, convened by the UN Secretary General. Learn more about the 69th session here. Download the full press kit here.

A media briefing is scheduled to take place in Accra on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. The press briefing will be addressed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Hanna Serwaah Tetteh (MP) and the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. Ms Susan Namondo Ngongi.

 

UN Sec-Gen appoints Mohammed Ibn Chambas of Ghana as Special Rep. for West Africa

New York, September 12, 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Mohammed Ibn Chambas of Ghana as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).  Mr. Chambas will succeed Said Djinnit of Algeria to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedication and effective leadership of UNOWA.

Mohammed Ibn Chambas (left)

Mohammed Ibn Chambas (left)

Mr. Chambas brings to the position extensive experience after a long and distinguished career in both international and governmental forums, most recently as the African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur since 20 December 2012.

From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Chambas was Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.  Prior to that, he served as President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from 2006 to 2009 and Executive Secretary from 2002 to 2005. A former Member of Parliament of Ghana, Mr. Chambas served as Deputy Foreign Secretary of Ghana in 1987 and Deputy Minister for Education in charge of Tertiary Education from 1997 to 2000.  Between 1991 and 1996, he was involved in ECOWAS mediation efforts in Liberia.

Born in 1950, Mr. Chambas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Ghana.  He also has a Master’s degree and a PhD from Cornell University, as well as a law degree from Case Western Reserve University, both institutions in the United States.

Latest on Ebola Response in West Africa…UN welcomes global support

Cuba is to send 165 medical personnel to Sierra Leone to help in efforts to curb the ebola outbreak. The AU has begun mobilising medical personnel for the response while Ghana recently agreed to use Accra as a key logistics hub. Below is a statement attributable to the spokesman for the Secretary-General international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa:

“The Secretary-General warmly welcomes the announcement by the Cuban government that it will be sending 165 medical personnel to Sierra Leone soon to assist in the response to Ebola. In addition, the African Union has begun to mobilize medical personnel for the response, and the Government of Ghana has agreed to use Accra as a key hub for flights into and out of Monrovia. Offers of cash, equipment and personnel from governments, NGOs and the private sector have also begun to materialize.

Under Secretary General Hervé Ladsous (middle) in Accra to access UN Humanitarian Response Depot

Under Secretary General Hervé Ladsous (middle) in Accra to access UN Humanitarian Response Depot

We are also grateful for the continued support of the US government. Last week, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced plans to make an additional $75 million available. More than 100 experts, most of them from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are deployed to the region in an effort to prevent, detect and halt the virus’s spread.

The UK government also announced that British military and humanitarian experts will set up a medical treatment centre for victims of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

The Secretary-General welcomes these signs of solidarity, particularly the deployment of skilled medical teams. He calls on more countries and organizations to move swiftly to support the Governments of the countries affected, through the WHO Road Map and a complete overview of requirements, which will be released by OCHA in Geneva on 16 September.

As you will recall, the Secretary-General has held a number of calls with world leaders seeking their support for the countries most affected – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. He continues to reach out to leaders around the world on this issue.

The Secretary-General also renews his call for countries to refrain from closing their borders to people coming from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and for airlines and shipping companies to maintain transport links. Isolating the countries risks causing more harm and delaying efforts to stop the Ebola virus, rather than preventing its spread.

On Monday, the Secretary-General activated the UN’s crisis response mechanism for managing a system wide crisis, and instructed all UN Heads of Agencies and Departments to give top priority to working together in support of a unified, effective response. And our UN teams on the ground are engaged in active support of the national efforts, providing health services, food, supplies and outreach to communities.”

UN General Assembly to adopt the 2014 Malaria Resolution reiterating Member States’ commitment to keep malaria high on the international development agenda.

New York; September 10, 2014 – UN Member States have by consensus adopted Resolution A/68/L.60, “Consolidating Gains and Accelerating Efforts to Control and Eliminate Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa, by 2015”.

The resolution calls for donor and endemic governments alike to support global malaria control efforts, including through the secretariat of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership,  and to intensify efforts to secure the political commitment, partnerships and funds needed to continue saving lives. In a press release, the RBM notes that increased financing will be critical to further advancements, as current international and domestic financing for malaria of US $2.5 billion in 2012 amounts to less than half of the US $5.1 billion RBM estimates is needed annually through 2020 to achieve universal coverage of malaria control interventions.

According to the Executive Director of RBM, Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, the adoption of this resolution by the General Assembly reiterates the commitment of UN Member States to keep malaria high on the international development agenda.

The Ghana Black Stars Captain Visits Malawi to Re-invigorate Advocacy on HIV Prevention through the Protect the Goal Campaign

Signing of the Ghana Protect the Goal PLEDGE by H.E. President John Mahama (middle) & Black Stars Captain Asamoah Gyan (right)

Signing of the Ghana Protect the Goal PLEDGE by H.E. President John Mahama (middle) & Black Stars Captain Asamoah Gyan (right)

Accra, August 30, 2014 – The Captain of the Ghanaian national football team, Asamoah Gyan, is currently in Malawi to support the country’s invigoration of the global ‘Protect the Goal’ campaign, which was launched in Malawi last year. The three-day visit includes various activities and events organized to highlight the importance of harnessing the power of football to raise awareness of HIV particularly amongst the youth. The Malawian President, H.E. Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’ is expected to sign the ‘Global Ball’, reaffirming his PLEDGE to HIV prevention. Fifteen other African Heads of State, including President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, have so far signed the ‘Global Ball’ which has now arrived in Malawi.

Read more in the press release issued by UNAIDS.