Category Archives: Latest News

Market women and farmers in Ghana learn about SDGs

Kumasi, May 23, 2016 –  Sharing the message of the global development agenda has never been this interesting as it was during UNIC Accra’s interactions with three communities in the Northern and Ashanti regions.

Members of Boakurugu listening to presentation on SDGs

Members of Boakurugu listening to presentation on SDGs

Located some 20 minutes from Tamale, the Northern regional capital, is Boakurugu, a relatively small community in the Sagnarogo District of the Northern region. Inhabitants of this community are mainly small holder farmers. They plant maise, pepper and groundnut. UNIC Accra and its local partner, Global Shapers Community, Tamale, first paid a brief courtesy call on the Chief of the area, Alhassan Naporo to announce its mission.

SDGs session in the Chief's palace

SDGs session in the Chief’s palace

About 50 residents later gathered to be briefed when suddenly a rain storm hit the community. Not deterred by the sudden storm, the residents rushed to the Chief’s palace where the briefing took place. The Sustainable Development Goals and its contribution to development was the topic for presentations and discussions.  Much to our delight, Madam Fati, a 45-year old farmer in the community, stood up at the end of the event to voluntarily express her appreciation to the team for thinking of their

Presentation on SDGs at Ejisu Central market

Presentation on SDGs at Ejisu Central market

community to share information about the SDGs with them. She also expressed her delight to know that the world has not forgotten about their plight and that of the future generation.

Perhaps the climax of the outreach activities was at the Ejisu Central market.  It was on Thursday and indeed a market day when farmers and traders

A trader reading the Akan translation of the SDGs

A trader reading the Akan translation of the SDGs

bring their goods and wares to sell on the streets.  Market days are usually busy and hectic for traders and farmers. This was the moment UNIC Accra and its partners, Abibimman Foundation and Young People we Care (YPWC), decided to present the SDGs to the traders and the general public of the area. Some market traders and shoppers stopped to listen to us as others went by their own business. For this group of audience, the five Ps – People, Planet, Progress, Peace and Partnership was the focus of the presentation.

The Chief of Edwenase addressing the people

The Chief of Edwenase addressing the people

At the end of the day, the translated SDGs post cards were distributed to the traders who were very keen on understanding what the SDGs meant to their wellbeing. They also had the opportunity to ask questions which were addressed by the UNIC Accra National Information Officer, Ms. Cynthia Prah and translated in Akan by the Executive Director of YPWC, Mr. Harrison Obeng Debrah.

Earlier, the people of Edwenase, an outskirt of Kumasi, the capital of Kumasi, had their share of information on the SDGs. Here the Chief of the town, Nana Antwi Bosiako warmly welcomed UNIC Accra and the team. He also encouraged the people of the community to do what they could to help promote the SDGs.

Aburi Girls’ Senior High School Wins UN @ 70 Debate Competion

Eastern Region, Ghana, November 7, 2015 – Aburi Girls’ Senior High School (ABUGISS) in the Akuapim South District of the Eastern Region, at the weekend emerged winners in a debate competition held in Krobo-Odumasi, in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

The topic was 2016 Elections – Is it a threat to peace, security & human rights in Ghana. Speaking for the motion, ABUGISS argued superbly to outwit the other three schools. The competition was organized by the Ghana United Nations Students’ Association (GUNSA) and hosted by Krobo Girls’ Presbyterian Senior High School, as part of this year’s official activities to mark the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations.

Cross section of students at the debate

Cross section of students at the debate

Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School (PRESEC-Legon), Krobo Girls’ Presbyterian SHS, and Koforidua Senior High Technical School were the other finalists in the competition.

In a speech on behalf of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra, Ms. Evelyn Sarpong commended GUNSA “for taking up the lead to organize th[e] debate”. She provided a brief background to the UN’s 70th Anniversary celebrations.

Addressing the debate topic, Ms. Sarpong stressed the need for a peaceful co-existence of citizens irrespective of their political affiliations.

“The maintenance of peace, security or human rights during the 2016 elections is dependent on all of us as citizens of this country. We must be mindful of the laws in place, respect these laws and respect one another,” she stated.

“If we respect one another and try to live in peace with each other regardless of our political interest and bear with one another, we will definitely have peaceful elections in 2016,” she advised.

Aburi Girls contestants with Ms Sarpong and Mr. Ahadzi

Aburi Girls contestants with Ms Sarpong and Mr. Ahadzi

Presenting certificates to contestants, Mr. Elikem Ahadzi of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration, urged students to cultivate the habit of reading and research to enable them to broaden their knowledge-base and debating skills.

He also urged them to be disciplined since the nation looked up to them to take up the mantle of leadership in future.

The debate competition was also aimed at improving critical thinking and creativity of students, as well as sensitizing them on exigent national issues and the need for peaceful coexistence. About 500 students participated as observers.

The Vice-President of GUNSA, Mr. K. D. Kwashie hinted on several upcoming events, including a Model UN simulation, and other extra-curricular activities to “help keep the young ones active and skilled whiles they are in school”.

The event was welcomed by the students as evident in their comments during an interview session with some of them.

GHANA: Much remains to be done but UN expert welcomes steps taken to combat torture and other ill-treatment

Accra/Geneva, 7 October 2015 – ACCRA / GENEVA (7 October 2015) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Juan E. Méndez today urged the Government of Ghana to step up its effort to implement the recommendations issued after his first mission* to the country in November 2013. Mr. Méndez is the independent expert tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring and reporting on the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment around the world.

SR on Torture and illtreatment

UN Special Rapporteur Juan E. Méndez (right) addressing the media

“I welcome the steps taken by the Government of Ghana in its fight against torture and other ill-treatment in the country, but much remains to be done,” he said at the end of a four-day follow-up visit to Ghana, in which he assessed critical issues in the criminal justice system, including conditions of detention, as well as mental health-care practices, in particular the treatment and living conditions of persons held in psychiatric hospitals and prayer camps.

“I am concerned that instances of torture and ill-treatment continue to occur with some frequency during the apprehension, arrest, and interrogation stages by police and intelligence services,” he said. “I received troubling reports of forced confessions, despite the existence of legal guarantees intended to protect persons upon arrest and in police custody.”

Read further.

UN rights expert to follow up recommendations in Ghana’s key criminal justice and mental health areas

Geneva, September 29, 2015 – United Nations Special Rapporteur Juan E. Méndez is expected in Ghana from 4 to 7 October 2015, to discuss and assess the level of implementation of the recommendations issued following his visit to the country in November 2013.

During the visit, Mr. Juan E. Méndez will engage with key Government decision makers and with civil society leaders.

In a Media Advisory issued by the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, the visit is at the Mr. Juan E. Méndez will focus on the challenges he encountered in Ghana, such as critical issues in the criminal justice system, including conditions of detention, and mental health-care practices, including the treatment and living conditions of persons held in psychiatric hospitals and prayer camps.

Mr. Méndez will share his preliminary observations and recommendations at a press conference to be held in Accra on Wednesday, 7 October 2015, at 3 pm.

UN adopts new Global Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals

Accra, September 28, 2015 – The 193-Member United Nations General Assembly has adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a set of 17 bold new Global Goals, which the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has hailed as a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.

Icons-FINALThe Goals aim to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000, rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.

The adoption ceremony was presided over by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who stressed the successes of the MDGSs and the need for the full implementation of the new Agenda. Read further.

UN Committed to Support Ghana’s Electoral Commission

New York, September 27, 2015 – The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has expressed the UN’s commitment to supporting Ghana’s Electoral Commission in view of the 2016 elections. At a meeting with Ghana’s President, H.E. Mr. John Dramani Mahama over the weekend, the UN Secretary-General stressed the importance to ensure national implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and commended the President for his leadership and his Government’s efforts to improve the social and economic situation in the country.

UN Sec Gen meets with president Mahama

UN Sec Gen meets with president Mahama

Their discussion also touched on the situation in South Sudan and the need to support African countries in building public health resilience.

The Secretary-General expressed deep appreciation for Ghana’s essential support in the fight against the Ebola epidemic, the country’s continuing contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations and the President’s active engagement towards the resolution of the crisis in Burkina Faso.

UN Secretary-General launches MDG Gap Task Force Report 2015

New York, September 18, 2015 – The Secretary-General has launched the MDG Gap Task Force Report 2015 at a press conference in New York. Entitled, “Taking Stock of the Global Partnership for Development,” the report focuses on recent achievements and gaps in the implementation of Millennium Development Goal “8,” which calls for a commitment to forge a global partnership for development. Reflecting on the experience of mobilizing finance and technology to support the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, the Report looks ahead toward the implementation of the new development agenda, “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,”  to be adopted at the Sustainable Development Summit from 2527 September in New York. 

Picture1In a press release issued in New York, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Achieving the SDGs will require an even stronger global partnership, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships to mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources”.

Read the executive summary of the report.

Press Briefing on opening of the 70th Session of UNGA Held in Accra

Accra, September 16, 2015 – The 70th Session of the UN general Assembly has opened in New York under the theme “The United Nations at 70: the road ahead for peace, security and human rights”. Ghana’s delegation to the General Assembly opening is led by the President, H.E John Dramani Mahama.

Ghana's Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon Hanna Serwaah Tetteh

Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon Hanna Serwaah Tetteh

In addition to statements by world leaders at the plenary meeting and interactive dialogues on key sustainable development issues during this session, a number of side events are expected to focus on specific initiatives.  President Mahama and the Ghanaian delegation are expected to hold a number of bilateral meetings and participate in some of these side events.

At a press briefing organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in collaboration with the United Nations in

UN Resident Coordinator Ms Christine Evans-Klock

UN Resident Coordinator Ms Christine Evans-Klock

Ghana, the Minister, Hon Hanna Serwaah Tetteh (MP) announced that Ghana will take part in the High-level event on the operationalization of the Post-2015 development agenda for African Industrialization. This event will bring together African leaders and key development partners to discuss concrete partnerships for the effective operationalization of the post-2015 development agenda on the continent.  She said Ghana will also organize a conference at Columbia University “aimed at bringing together Ghanaian experts in the field of technology, science and industry to build synergies for the eventual transfer of their expertise to support sustainable, industrial and technological development in Ghana”. Another significant side event will be the signing of the US-ECOWAS Business Initiative, a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Principles of the US Chamber of Commerce Partnership with ECOWAS. Continue reading

World Bank and partners launch the Grass is Greener initiative to reduce poverty and create wealth

Accra, September 4, 2015 – The Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), an independent agency for coordinating a comprehensive development agenda for the northern savannah ecological zone in Ghana, and the World Bank Ghana Office, in collaboration with the Government of Ghana have launched ‘The Grass is Greener’ initiative in a ceremony at the World Bank office in Accra.  The initiative aims at advancing poverty reduction and wealth creation in the northern part of the country. Also involved in this initiative are the Ministry of Culture and Creative Arts and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.

Batakari on display at the exhibition

Batakari on display at the exhibition

In his welcome remark, the Country Director of the World Bank, in charge of Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Henry Godfrey Rupiny Kerali, stressed on the need for Ghana to recognize and tap into its potential resources on the savanna belt, noting that “there is no reason why Northern Ghana and for that matter, Ghana as a whole should be poor”.  He therefore challenged SADA and the Government of Ghana to work together with the World Bank and other development partners to ensure that there is practical and pragmatic development for the north of Ghana.

The ceremony was also used to officially declare Batakari, a woven traditional attire of the people in the northern part of Ghana, a National Friday wear to be worn on the first Friday of every month.

A sketch on Batakari being performed

A sketch on Batakari being performed

“The potential to be unlocked by promoting the Batakari is clearly evident. I can assure you that it is not only comfortable wearing, but is actually quite valuable. Growth in this industry can stimulate not only the cotton industry, but also the whole development of northern Ghana.” Mr. Rupiny Kerali.

In a keynote address made on behalf of the Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Kofi Nuhu expressed government’s gratitude to the World Bank and SADA for embarking on the initiative. He indicated the Ministry’s commitment in advancing the development of the Batakari as a national agenda.

Continue reading

UNMEER donates assets to Ghana’s Ministry of Health as it closes office in Accra

Accra, August 19, 2015 – Barely 3 months after closing down its headquarters in Ghana, the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) has donated its assets to the Government of Ghana.  The items included vehicles, office supplies and furniture and were received by the Ministry of Health. The presentation which took place at the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot in Accra was attended by the Mr. Yaw Safo-Adu Amankwah, Protocol Officer of UNMEER, the Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Victor Asare- Bampoe and representatives from the local media.

Signing of MoUAccording to Mr. Yaw Safo-Adu Amankwah, his office was not oblivious of the great sacrifice by the government and the people of Ghana to host UNMEER in Accra.  He therefore commended the President of Ghana, H.E. John Dramani Mahama on his leadership and courageous contribution towards the massive reduction of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the sub-region.

“Due to the devastating nature of the disease, the mere mention of Ebola was seen as an abomination. As President of the regional body, ECOWAS, His Excellency President Mahama had to show leadership and rare courage and he did exactly so by acceding to the UN’s request to host UNMEER in Ghana” He added.

Mr. Safo-Adu Amankwah handing over the signed MoU to the Dep Minister

Mr. Safo-Adu Amankwah handing over the signed MoU to the Dep Minister

Mr. Amankwah said it is in recognition and appreciation of the contribution of the Ghanaian authorities to the global Ebola response effort that UNMEER felt it is necessary to make this “small donation to help equip the Ministry of Health’s Ebola Response team”.

“UNMEER has donated fifteen (15) vehicles, comprising two (2) Ford Everest 4×4; eight (8) Prado 4×4; two (2) Toyota Hilux Pick-ups and three (3) Toyota Hiace mini-buses, together with spare parts; office furniture and stationery”, he said.

“It must be emphasized that the items donated are to be utilized exclusively in support of UNMEER’s mandate and global efforts to stop the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease”, he added.

The fleet of vehicles

The fleet of vehicles

For his part, the Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Asare-Bampoe thanked UNMEER for the gesture and lauded the UN’s role, and UNMEER’s leadership “in enabling the massive reduction of Ebola”.

He said the items will contribute significantly towards supporting the work of the Ministry.

“We are very happy that this donation has been made because it will go a long way to strengthen Ghana’s health system to make sure that we are ready for Ebola or any other public health emergency”.

He assured the donor that the items “will be put to the intended use”.

UNMEER was established on September 19, 2014 after the unanimous adoption of the General Assembly Resolution 69/1, and the adoption of the Security Council Resolution 2177 (2014) on the Ebola outbreak. Its mandate is due to end on August 31, 2015.