Category Archives: Press releases

His Holiness Pope Francis to visit the United Nations Headquarters in September

Accra, 18 March 2015 – His Holiness Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 25, 2015. A note to correspondents today indicates that  Pope Francis will address the UN General Assembly in the morning of September 25 and hold bilateral meetings with the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly. He will also participate in a town hall meeting with UN staff.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the visit of Pope Francis as an important part of a historic year in which the United Nations marks its 70th anniversary and in which Member States will take major decisions about sustainable development, climate change and the future peace and well-being of humankind” the note says.

It continues that the Pope’s visit is expected to “inspire the international community to redouble its efforts to achieve human dignity for all through ensuring greater social justice, tolerance and understanding among all of the world’s people”.

UNCTAD gets new Deputy Secretary-General

New York, 8 January 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in consultation with the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), has appointed Joakim Reiter of Sweden as Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD at the Assistant Secretary-General level. Mr. Reiter will succeed Mr. Petko Draganov to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service and commitment to UNCTAD.

Joakim Reiter Photo credit: Johan Oedmann/the Government Offices of Sweden.

Joakim Reiter
Photo credit: Johan Oedmann/the Government Offices of Sweden.

Mr. Reiter brings to this position a wealth of international experience at the senior level including in the trade and development field dealing with multilateral organizations, senior political experience as a representative of his country, hands on expertise on technical cooperation and donor relations, and highly relevant negotiations skills within the intergovernmental machinery.

He is currently Deputy Director General, heading the Department for International Trade Policy within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden which is responsible for the interaction with UNCTAD, World Trade Organization (WTO) and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). From 2011 to 2014, he was Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sweden to the WTO, Switzerland, where he also served as chair for the WTO bodies on services, goods and trade policy reviews. From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Reiter was Minister Counsellor and Head of Trade Section at the Representation of Sweden to the European Union, Belgium. From 2004 to 2008, he served at the European Union Directorate General for Trade in European Commission. Before that, he held various positions within the Swedish National Board of Trade, Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Industry, including as Special Advisor to the Minister for Industry and Trade.

Born in Sweden in 1974, Mr. Reiter holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and a MA from University of Lund, Sweden. He is married and has 2 children.

Outgoing head of UN Ebola mission sums up progress in ‘big battle’ with outbreak

Accra, 2  January 2015 – Delivering his final press conference as head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury today pointed to significant progress in tackling the outbreak since he was appointed in September last year, while stressing that zero cases is the only acceptable outcome in the “big battle” with the disease.

“It’s important to remember where we were when we started,” Mr. Banbury told journalists in Accra, Ghana, where the Mission is headquartered. “At the time, there were predictions of up to 1.4 million cases of Ebola by the start of the year…Here we are in January and we have a total of around 20,000 cases instead of 1.4 million. That’s 1.4 per cent of what was being projected as a possibility by credible scientists back in September.” Read further.

Meanwhile, the newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed has arrived in Accra to continue from where Mr. Banbury left.

Speaking with UNMEER staff at a town hall meeting today, Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed praised their achievements but also noted the challenges in battling the deadly outbreak.

“This is a global crisis. We definitely have a difficult time ahead of us, but we can achieve it,” Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed said. “We have no plan B, we have to get rid of this virus. This is within our reach, but we should not be complacent.”

“We need to keep going until we don’t have even one case, because even one case is too many,” he said. “The work ahead remains very hard but we really have no other choice.”

Ould Cheikh Ahmed will be visiting Liberia and Sierra Leone next week, then Guinea shortly after, to reinforce UNMEER’s strategic priorities and see first-hand the Ebola response. He will be accompanied by UN Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to visit Ghana for talks on the global Ebola response

ACCRA, October 28, 2014 World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim will arrive in Ghana on Thursday, October 30, 2014, for meetings with Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur and other country officials. Dr. Kim will also meet with officials of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER)  to discuss the Ebola epidemic and its debilitating impact on the three most heavily affected countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone   and on the West African sub-region as a whole.

Dr. Kim will reaffirm the World Bank Group s commitment to fighting the Ebola epidemic and will share the latest news on how the World Bank Group will continue to work closely with partners to assist the affected countries.

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UNMEER Presents Robust Plan to Aid Swift Recovery in EBOLA-Affected Countries

Accra, October 26, 2014 – The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, has completed his latest series of consultations with the Presidents and officials of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone on the international community’s support for national efforts to tackle the Ebola crisis.

A press release issued by UNMEER stated that the talks focused on how an operational framework for international support, developed recently in Accra following a high-level meeting, could be adapted and implemented to best support ongoing national response efforts.

The framework will serve as a guide for all UN agencies, funds and programmes. It will act as the basis for the UN Ebola Crisis Manager in each country to engage with national counterparts and support the ongoing operationalization and implementation of national response plans.

Ghana’s Record on Women’s Rights to Face Scrutiny by UN Committee

Geneva, October 20, 2014 – Ghana’s record on women’s rights will be examined by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on Friday 24 October 2014 in Geneva. This event will be webcast live at

A press release issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), “Among the issues likely to be discussed by the Committee and the delegation of the government of Ghana are: measures to eliminate harmful practices against women, such as widowhood rites, FGM, ritual or customary slavery, polygamy, child marriage; [and] measures to tackle violence against women believed to be witches…”


UNMEER to Further Consult Governments of Ebola-affected Countries on International Support

Accra, October 18, 2014 – At the end of a 4-day meeting on Ebola, participants have come out with an operational framework to ensure the United Nations adopts a unified and coordinated approach to the international support being provided to national response plans. In a press release issued by the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), “All partners at the meeting reaffirmed the principle of moving rapidly and in a coordinated and precise manner to defeat the disease.”

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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Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partners launch new report and call for renewed commitment from health & development community

New York, 10 July 2014 –  A new report highlighting the impact of malaria interventions on maternal, newborn and child health was launched today alongside the annual High-Level Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in New York.

A press release issued by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership states that intermittent preventive malaria treatment during pregnancy and the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) can reduce the risk of death to malaria within the first 28 days of life by 18%.

Read the full press release here.

World Health Organization to establish a Sub-Regional Control Center in Guinea on Ebola

Accra, 4 July, 2014 – Health Ministers at the just ended 2-day meeting on the Ebola Virus Disease have called for an immediate action to curb the disease which they agreed poses a serious threat to all countries in the region and beyond.

In a press release issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the meeting developed an inter-country strategy requiring the establishment by the WHO of a Sub-Regional Control Center in Guinea to act as a coordinating platform to consolidate and harmonize the technical support to West African countries by all major partners; and assist in resource mobilization. The delegates also underscored the importance of WHO leading an international effort to promote research on Ebola virus disease and other hemorrhagic fevers.

Highlights of the strategy include:

  • Convening national inter-sectoral meetings involving key government ministries, national technical committees and other stakeholders to map out a plan for immediate implementation of the strategy.
  • Mobilising community, religious, political leaders to improve awareness, and the understanding of the disease
  • Strengthening surveillance, case finding reporting and contact tracing
  • Deploying additional national human resources with the relevant qualifications to key hot spots.
  • Identifying and committing additional domestic financial resources
  • Organise cross-border consultations to facilitate exchange of information
  • Working and sharing experiences with countries that have previously managed Ebola outbreaks in the spirit of south-south cooperation
Ghana's Minister of Health, Ms. Hanny-Sherry Ayittey (middle) and colleagues from the continent in a group picture

Ghana’s Minister of Health, Ms. Hanny-Sherry Ayittey (middle) and colleagues from the continent in a group picture

The current Ebola outbreak is reportedly the highest recorded in terms of cases, deaths and geographic spread across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This necessitated the Ministerial meeting in Accra to discuss ways to contain the disease and bring it to an end.