Category Archives: Press releases

High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Side Event on African Member States’ Implementation of the SDGs

Accra, Ghana, July 16, 2018 – A meeting to table the challenges African Member States are facing in the implementation of the SDGs, share information on opportunities and available tools will take place in New York today as a side event of the ongoing High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The meeting is on the theme “Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063: A Sharing of Experiences and the Way Forward Post-Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development and Voluntary National Reviews.”

It will be attended by all participants in the HLPF, all United Nations Member States, African senior Government officials, African representatives from the civil society, the private sector, the academia, the media, representatives from African regional institutions and representatives from the UN system.

The meeting will offer the opportunity for African Member States to share information on available mechanisms and tools, their merits and relevance to their specific circumstances towards the implementation of the SDGs, encourage themselves to undertake the Voluntary National Reviews and accelerate progress towards the achievement of the SDGs and the Agenda 2063.

Two key outputs are expected out of this meeting.  First, a report, compiling policy recommendations and capacity needs on how to overcome the challenges faced by Member States and optimize the opportunities and scale up good practices to strengthen national mechanism for coordination and integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.  The second is a Joint UN-AU platform for coordinated efforts to support African countries to better implement the global and continental Agendas.

To date, Africa has had the smallest percentage of its Member States undertake a VNR with seven countries undertaking a VNR in 2016, seven in 2017 and eleven this year.

Read more about the meeting.

UN Secretary-General Appoints Major Gen. Stefano Del Col of Italy as Head of UNIFIL

13 July 2018 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Major General Stefano Del Col of Italy as Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Major General Del Col succeeds Major General Michael Beary of Ireland, who will complete his assignment on 7 August 2018.  The Secretary-General is grateful to Major General Beary for his exemplary service and leadership of UNIFIL over the past two years.

Major General Del Col has had a long and distinguished career in the Italian Army.  As a Staff Officer in the Italian Army, he served as Special Projects Section Chief, as NATO Force Planning Section Chief and as Italian Army Liaison Officer to the British Army.  From 2009 to 2011, he served as Defence Strategy and Operations Policy Branch Chief at the Defence Staff Headquarters in Rome.  Since 2015, Major General Del Col has been the Senior Deputy Chief of the Cabinet Office of the Minister of Defence.

He has extensive international operational experience, including in Kosovo, Lebanon and Libya.  He served with UNIFIL in 2008 as Battalion Commander and in 2014-2015 as Commander of Sector West and Italian Contingent Commander.

Born in 1961, Major General Del Col holds a Bachelor’s degree in Strategic Sciences and a Bachelor’s degree (with distinction) in International Relations and Diplomatic Sciences from the University of Trieste.  He also holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Sciences from the University of Turin and a Master’s degree in International Military Studies from the University of Milan.

IOM Ghana launches campaign against irregular migration with Kofi Kinaata

Accra, Ghana, 7 May 2018 – IOM Ghana has launched a campaign to raise awareness on the dangers of irregular migration. The 3-day campaign targets young people in the Western Region, one of the main areas of origin for Ghanaian returnees from Libya.  The campaign song, No Place Like Home, is by Kofi Kinaata, IOM Ghana’s Goodwill Ambassador on Safe Migration. It promises to be a hit and expected to have a good impact to discourage the youth from migrating through irregular means.

Kofi Kinaata

The song and video, available on YouTube (https://youtu.be/oFukHyBS1YU), encourages the youth to be critical about migration and do so in a regular manner. Drawing inspiration for the song from personal experiences of friends from Takoradi who have migrated irregularly as well as from a recent trip to the Brong Ahafo Region where he accompanied IOM on a sensitization tour, the Ghanaian rapper warns of the dangers of irregular migration.

In 2016 alone, 5,636 Ghanaian migrants arrived in Italy by sea, an increase from 4,431 in 2015. Most Ghanaians trying to reach Europe travel through Libya, where currently tens of thousands of the estimated 700,000 migrants living in the country suffer horrendous human rights abuses. Since June 2017, under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Ghana, IOM has supported the return of 496 Ghanaians from Libya, and is in the process of facilitating their reintegration in their communities of return.

Awareness raising sessions were carried out with communities in Takoradi, New Takoradi and Sekondi in the Western Region through community events, focus group discussions and radio talk shows. As a Goodwill Ambassador on Safe Migration, Kofi Kinaata accompanied IOM Ghana staff, Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) officers and members of the European Union Delegation to Ghana to his alma mater, Takoradi Technical Institute (TTI) to speak to the students on the dangers of irregular migration and the importance of making informed decisions.

The Ghanaian rapper and songwriter was appointed the UN Migration Agency’s first Goodwill Ambassador in November 2017 to promote safe migration in Ghana. As an Ambassador, through the song, but also through direct engagement with communities and youth, Kinaata will support the Agency’s awareness raising campaigns.

The development of the song and video No Place Like Home was supported by the German Federal Foreign Office under the project Aware Migrants – Engaging Communities in West Africa.

 #Safemigration    #SayNoToIrregularMigration    #NoPlaceLikeHome

UNDP Ghana refutes reports of flat in Cantonment

Accra, 18 April 2018 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has issued a statement refuting news reports that it owns a flat in Cantonment, Accra. The statement follows news report in the local media of a flat referred to as “UNDP Flat” which has reportedly been taken over by some occupants.  The statement notes that the said flat does not belong to the UNDP and the UNDP has not hired any contractor to redevelop it.

Ghana must prioritise social protection to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, says UN poverty expert

GENEVA (18 April 2018) – A UN human rights expert has commended Ghana as a champion of African democracy and a country which has achieved some important development milestones. But says unless growing inequality and continuing high poverty rates are addressed the country will fall far short of meeting the key UN Sustainable Development Goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030.

Mr. Philip Alston

“Ghana is at a crossroads and must now decide whether to continue existing policies that will further enrich the wealthy and do little for the poor, or to make fiscal adjustments that would lift millions out of poverty and bring them into the agricultural economy in ways that would contribute significantly to economic growth,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, at the end of a 10-day fact-finding mission to the Greater Accra, Northern, and Upper East regions.

“The benefits of record levels of economic growth experienced over the past decade have gone overwhelmingly to the wealthy, and inequality is higher than it has ever been in Ghana,” said Mr. Alston, who examines the human rights implications of poverty in countries around the world.

The most recent official data from the Ghana Statistical Service for 2012-2013 revealed that almost one-quarter of the population were living in poverty and one person in every 12 in extreme poverty. Three-and-a-half million of those in poverty are children, with more than a third of them in extreme poverty.

“Spending on social protection is surprisingly low by the standards of most comparable African countries, and very little is spent on social assistance,” explained Mr. Alston.

“With a thriving economy and the option to start collecting some of the existing but unpaid taxes that currently exist, choosing to eliminate, or not to eliminate, extreme poverty is a political choice for Ghana,” the UN expert said.

The Special Rapporteur continued: “Ghanaian politicians are immensely fond of, and very good at, creating slogans to describe complex but appealing programmes.  But there is little doubt that the appetite for such slogans has already far outrun the capacity for realistic implementation.”

“The challenge going forward is for the Government to choose its real priorities, make sure that social protection is among them, and to be more transparent about potential costs and possible funding sources,” Mr. Alston stressed.

The Special Rapporteur today presented his preliminary findings at a press briefing in Accra.  His final report on his visit to Ghana will be presented to the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2018. Continue reading

UN expert on extreme poverty to visit Ghana from April 9-18

GENEVA (3 April 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will visit Ghana from 9 to 18 April 2018 to examine the government’s efforts to address poverty through the lens of international human rights law.

“It is widely recognised that Ghana has made great strides in poverty eradication over the past two decades, but government statistics indicate that poverty is still prevalent and inequality is on the rise,” said the human rights expert.

Philip Alston

“This is a critical time in Ghana’s history, as the macroeconomic turbulence of the past few years is beginning to stabilise and the country is seeking its own development path. It will be important for the government to address the rising inequality and keep human rights at the centre of its policies, if the country’s longer-term development goals are to be achieved.”

Alston will meet with government officials, civil society organisations, academic experts, and people living in poverty to address a range of issues. These include the specific challenges of urban and rural poverty, the extent and efficacy of the government’s social protection programmes, the ways in which those who are not wealthy fare in the criminal justice system, and the experiences of vulnerable and marginalised groups such as women, children and persons with disabilities who are living in poverty.

He will visit Accra, Old Fadama, Tamale, Bolgatanga, and rural communities in the Northern and Upper East regions.  Continue reading

United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia Completes its Mandate

UNMIL/PR/2203-18. Thursday, 22 March 2018 – In a pivotal moment for the history of Liberia, the United Nations mission there successfully completed its mandate after almost 15 years of supporting the West African nation in the transition to peace and democracy.

At a ceremony in Monrovia today attended by President George Weah, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed lauded the accomplishments of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).   Continue reading

2017 INCB Annual Report Focuses on Treatment & Rehabilitation

Accra, March 1, 2018 – The 2017 International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Annual Report has been launched today in Vienna, Austria.  The 2017 report examines the global drug control situation, with a focus on treatment and rehabilitation, and makes recommendations to help States take effective measures to address drug-related challenges in full compliance with international human rights standards and norms.

The Report also takes a closer look at the links between human rights and drug policy, and discusses the implications for national responses to drug control.

It further addresses a number of regional developments, including the underuse of controlled substances for medical purposes in some regions, the opioid overdose epidemic in others and legislative and regulatory changes, including those relating to the non-medical use of controlled substances in a few countries.

The report indicates that Africa remains a key transit region for drug trafficking and the use of various types of drugs, including cocaine, opioids, amphetamine-type stimulants, tramadol and emerging new psychoactive substances in the region is growing.

Continue reading

UNAIDS Launches #zerodiscrimination Campaign

Accra, March 1, 2018 – Today March 1, is Zero Discrimination Day, a day set aside by the United Nations to promote equality, inclusion and freedom towards a more fair and just society.

According to the United Nations, many people face discrimination every day based on who they are or what they do. Recognising that discrimination continues to undermine efforts to achieve a more just and equitable world, the United Nations is seeking to create much needed awareness of the need to denounce discrimination. Observed since 2014, Zero Discrimination brings together everyone who wants to challenge discrimination, wherever it occurs.

As part of this year’s observance, the UNAIDS has launched its #zerodiscrimination campaign to highlighting the right of everyone to be free from discrimination. The campaign invites people to take a quiz to test how much they know about discrimination, to share the results of their test on their social media platforms and share the quiz with friends and family. The idea is to inform the public about discrimination and spread the knowledge as far as possible.

The simple and yet informative multiple-choice quiz can be found on the UNAIDS website at bit.ly/2CEGOiD.

UNESCO launches International Fund for Cultural Diversity Call for Funding and a New Initiative to Support Young Women Entrepreneurs in the Digital Creative Industries

Paris, 26 February 2018 – UNESCO has launched the 9th International Fund for Cultural Diversity call for funding and the U40 Empowered: Women entrepreneurs powering the digital creative industries, a new initiative to support young women entrepreneurs in the digital creative industries.

Circuit Board Paintings by Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga

The IFCD invests in projects that lead to structural change through the introduction and/or elaboration of policies and strategies that have a direct effect on the creation, production, distribution of and access to a diversity of cultural expressions, including cultural goods, services and activities, among others.

U40 Empowered is a special call to expand the IFCD’s actions to support young women entrepreneurs in the digital creative industries.

The deadline for submitting project proposals to both calls is 16 April 2018. Kindly note also that the applications can only be submitted to one call. For further information visit: http://en.unesco.org/creativity/calls/unesco-launches-its-9th-ifcd-call-new-initiative