Category Archives: Press releases

H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés Starts Work Today as President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Accra, Ghana, 18 September 2018 – H.E. Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés will be sworn in today to commence her official tasks as President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The General Assembly elected María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés on June 5, 2018 as President of its seventy-third session — making her the fourth woman to helm the 193-member organ in its more than seven-decades-long history.

H.E. Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés

Ms. Espinosa, a former Ecuadorian Minister for National Defence and current Minister of Foreign Affairs, received 128 votes, surpassing the required simple majority of 96. The only other candidate, Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake (Honduras), received 62 votes during the elections.

Speaking at the UN Headquarters, in New York, after her election in June, she promised to lead the Assembly in a way that strengthens multilateralism and better delivers on its commitments. On her priorities for the 73rd Session, she said “I think that we are really living in a very troubled environment, and I think it is very important that we really work towards the strengthening of the multilateral system and the revitalization of the United Nations; that we work hard to deliver better”.

She also added “to use an acronym that I have come up with, the “D.A.R.E” acronym, meaning “Delivery, Accountability, Relevance and Efficiency. “The D.A.R.E acronym is going to guide my work as President of the General Assembly during the 73rd Session. So, revitalize and boost multilateralism, revitalize the General Assembly, revitalize the UN system. I think that we all need, and we will all benefit from, a strong rules-based international system”. She added.

H.E. Ms. Espinosa has chosen the theme “Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies”.

The 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly opened in New York today.

The UN University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa Has a New Director

Accra, 18 September 2018 – The United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) has a new Director. She is Dr Fatima Denton and takes over from Dr Elias Ayuk who has led the Institute for the last eight years.

Dr. Denton

In a press release issued by the Institute, the UNU Rector and UN Under-Secretary-General
David M. Malone notes that “Dr Denton’s appointment… is a promising development not only for UNU-INRA’s stakeholders, but for the whole UNU family,” adding that “Dr Denton is an accomplished senior leader in the UN system, respected across the research and implementation branches of the organisation.”

Dr. Denton’s appointment takes effect 10 September 2018.

Ghanaian Peacekeepers Provide Free Medical and Dental Care to community in South-Western Lebanon

Marwahin, South-Western Lebanon, 17 September 2018 – Ghanaian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) organized a free medical and dental camp for the residents of the village of Marwahin, south-western Lebanon, last week.

The 6 September civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) event sought to strengthen the existing relationship between the residents and Ghana Battalion (GHANBATT).

GHANBATT Senior Medical Officer, Major Kofi Nyarko Oppong, who led the camp, said his team provided free treatment to 40 people. The age of patients varied from a seven-month-old baby to a 90-year-old elderly.

The GHANBATT medical team provided free consultation, dental care and medications for all the ailments that were detected.

The Mukhtar of Marwahin, Salen Ghannam, said his village folks normally travel all the way to Tyre and other neighbouring towns for such treatments. While expressing gratitude for GHANBATT’s continuous medical support to the community, Mr. Ghannam lamented that the lack of proximity of medical facilities in the area has been a persistent challenge.

“The kind gesture would go a long way to cement the existing relationship between the community and UNIFIL,” the Mukhtar said.

Ghana, the 10th largest contributor to UN Peacekeeping, currently deploys more than 850 military personnel to UNIFIL

Ghanaian Peacekeepers Provide Medical Treatment to Inmates and Prison Officers in Bentiu, South Sudan

Bentiu, South Sudan, 14 September 2018 – A total of 75 inmates and prison officers at the Bentiu prison have received free medical treatment by Ghanaian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), as part of its mission to protect civilians.

“We thought that nobody cared about us, but now we feel better and at home. UNMISS has continued to visit us and provide all our need such at sleeping mats, blankets and mosquito nets, and today they given us medical treatment,” says one of the inmates, who prefers to remain anonymous. He added that each inmate now has a set of essentials.

“Our target is not only to visit the prisoners, but also to assist the local population as well. We are committed to assist them and we will not stop here. We will continue to explore other places where we can provide medical assistance to those in need, particularly the most vulnerable,” Captain Edenezer Menlah, a Laboratory Officer of the Ghanaian battalion, says about their most recent intervention.

The Ghanaian peacekeepers have been providing free medical services to local communities in Southern Unity for the last two years, following the evacuation of humanitarians and health workers due to the fighting in the area. More recently, they have been expanding these activities to Bentiu and surrounding areas.

The medical care offered by the West African contingent is a task that has been taken on in addition to their everyday physical protection of more than 114,000 displaced persons in the UN protection site in Bentiu and regular confidence building field patrols to various parts of the region.

Ghana, the 10th largest contributor to UN Peacekeeping, currently deploys nearly 1,000 military and police personnel to UNMISS.

UNDP Launches Human Development Report on Northern Ghana today

Tamale, 17 August 2018 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will today launch its Human Development Report on Northern Ghana entitled “Bridging the Poverty Gap and Fostering Socio-Economic Transformation for All”. The report explores development challenges and opportunities in Northern Ghana and offers suggestions for poverty eradication in the zone.

In a press release issued by the UNDP, the report reveals that though the northern zone of the country has witnessed good development over the years, more effort is required to transform the zone.

The report, a flagship of the UNDP, is based on a study that investigated livelihood issues relating to health, education and infrastructure gaps, as well as governance and environmental issues.

The report would be launched at the University for Development Studies in Tamale under the auspices of the Honorable Minister for Planning, Prof. George Gyan-Baffour, and Dr. Alhaji Abdel-Majeed Haroun, the Chief Executive Officer of the newly established Northern Development Authority.

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