Beuko, Ghana, 14 March 2018 – March 8 is International Women’s Day. The Day the World stands still to salute women all over and to reflect on the challenges they face in their quest for equal opportunity and therefore gender equality. In Ghana, stories about women, talks and social media messages on IWD flooded our airwaves and our media. As for me, I had to delete some content to make room for new ones to drop into my WhatApp. The messages were the same: Happy #IWD.
Two curious boys attracted by the event banner
Officially, UNIC Accra, in partnership with a local NGO, Abibiman Foundation, organized an outreach in a local community outside Accra. It was a good idea to host the event outside Accra because much of the IWD attention was centred around urban communities with urban residents as target audience. Read more.
Accra, 8 March 2018 – The world has come a long way in the stride towards gender equality. You and I have come a long way since 1995 when the Fourth World Conference on Women came up with a blueprint for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment known as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. the Platform for Action imagines a world where each woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices, and realize all her rights, such as to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for equal work.
UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock
The Beijing process was a significant period in the cause for gender equality because it unleashed remarkable political will and worldwide visibility from governments, individuals and civil society and reinforced the activism of women’s movements on a global scale. Conference participants went home with great hope and clear agreement on how to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. Ghana for example developed its first action plan for the Implementation of the Beijing platform in 1999; to date some significant progress has been made, especially at the national level with regards to gender equality and women empowerment.
Twenty-three (23) years on, we celebrate progress made, and reflect on the steps we need to make to achieve all the aspirations of the platform for action.
Read further an op-ed written by the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock.
New York, 6 March 2018 – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki today announced the appointment of Anita Kokui Gbeho of Ghana as Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
Ms. Gbeho succeeds Bintou Keita of Guinea, to whom the Secretary-General and the Commission Chairperson are grateful for her dedicated service during her tenure with UNAMID.
Ms. Gbeho brings to the position a wealth of experience from her distinguished career in the United Nations. Since 2015, she has served as Resident Coordinator/Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme, Namibia, where she supported the Government of Namibia to coordinate its external development assistance through the United Nations Partnership and Namibian Development Frameworks. Previously, Ms. Gbeho was Chief of Section for Africa I (2012-2015) and Head of Office for Somalia (2008-2012) with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Ms. Gbeho held other senior positions, such as Director for Monitoring and Evaluation Unit in the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinators Office in Sudan (2006-2008) and Head of OCHA Liaison Office in South Sudan (2004-2006), during which time she led the strategic planning process of the United Nations and partners for Sudan; and managed the humanitarian and transition operations for South Sudan.
Ms. Gbeho holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Ghana and a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and Africana Studies from the State University of New York, Stony Brook.
Born in Accra in 1964, she has a daughter.
Accra, 5 March 2018 – In many countries, the topic of migration stirs up lively debates. Oftentimes, among considerations ranging from irregular migration to security, or even identity. The positive impacts of migration on countries’ development, such as remittances and diaspora contributions, remained overlooked. Perhaps, this is because migration had not, until recently, officially been introduced into the global development landscape. This oversight was corrected with the adoption by world leaders of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where the importance of migration for development is, finally, fully acknowledged.
Group picture of workshop participants
In Ghana, to encourage a more comprehensive look into the linkages between migration and development, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a new project entitled, “Integrating Migration into National Development Plan: Towards policy coherence and achievement of the SDGs at national and global levels”.
This project is particularly important at this moment in time because it is expected to drive current national efforts in integrating migration issues into national development plans, as clearly defined in the SDGs. It is being implemented in Ghana and Ethiopia and funded through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sub-Fund for Peace and Development, of which the People’s Republic of China is a major contributor. Read further in this special report.
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.
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.
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
Geneva, 22 March 2018 – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, will undertake a human rights fact-finding visit to Ghana from 9 – 18 April 2018 to assess government efforts to eradicate poverty through the lens of international human rights law.
A press release issued by the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner indicates that during his 10-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with government officials and civil society, and visit other parts of the country. Professor Alston will also meet with individuals living in poverty to hear about their experiences, talk with civil society organizations working on poverty and human rights, and receive briefings from academic experts.
Accra, Ghana; 7 February 2018 – In a town-hall meeting with the UN Youth Envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake, young Ghanaians shared a series of policy issues and ideas that were developed by a collective of youth organisations working in Ghana. The policy ideas presented served as an alternative policy framework to address the issues young people faced in Ghana. The town hall meeting was also attended by the High Commissioner of Canada in Ghana, Ms. Heather Cameron, and the UNFPA Ghana Country Representative, Niyi Ojuolape.
The town hall engagement allowed for young people in the room to voice their concerns and the challenges they face in realising their aspirations. A number of issues were raised, and in particular the lack of adequate investment to support youth social and entrepreneurial ventures.
Interaction with youth at the town hall meeting
The town-hall heard thematic keynote statements on issues including Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth Participation, the Environment and Entrepreneurship from young presenters. The statements called for continued youth engagement in delivering SRHR outcomes for young people, particularly in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. They called for increased young engagement in political processes, beyond supporting the electoral process. They challenged young people to innovate for environmental conservation, calling for youth to recognise and take advantage of the business opportunities in the environmental conservation and renewable technologies space. And in particular, they recognised the innovative entrepreneurial spirit shown by young Ghanaians, called for investment in support services and resources to spur innovation and mentor new ideas and businesses led by young people.
Accra, Ghana; 7 February 2018 – The UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, visited the Agblogboshie Market in Accra shortly after arriving in Ghana. Her visit to the market was to meet with Kayayei, head porters, mostly girls. The Kayayei are dispersed across various cities and markets in Ghana, and their primary occupation is to carry goods for people from the point of purchase out of the market. It is hard, physical and demanding work, but the resilient teenage girls have come together in a community to support one another.
The UN Youth Envoy meets with Kayayei
The Kayayei are predominantly teenage girls. The nature of work and environment of their occupation put them at considerable risk. In particularly, services and information hardly reach them, particularly on sexual and reproductive health. They are susceptible to gender-based violence, rape and, with little information on health issues and access to family planning commodities, they are likely to have unplanned pregnancies.
Selfie time at Agbogbloshie
Despite these challenges, the Kayayei have bonded in an association and through a local organisation – PAYDP and the support of UNFPA and other partners – are building a resilient community. The girls who work as porters for shoppers at the crowded Agblogboshie Market have built a day-care centre for their children that provides a safe space for their children whilst they work. In addition to this, the Kayayei also receive capacity building and as a result, they also run other income generating activities, including jewelry making.