Intensify Innovation by, and for Women and Girls to Ensure Gender Equality

Accra, 8 March 2019 – On International Women’s Day this year, the world is focusing on innovative ways in which we can propel gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Under the global theme “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”, the United Nations in Ghana is calling for the intensification of efforts to put innovation by women and girls, and innovation for women and girls, at the heart of initiatives to achieve gender equality in the country.

In a press release issued by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator for Ghana in observance of International Women’s Day, the UN Resident Coordinator, a.i. Ms. Sylvia Lopez-Ekra notes that “Innovation can help us address some of the barriers that women and girls face in accessing public services and opportunities. We should make it central to our efforts to promote women’s empowerment and in doing so, we need to make sure that women and girls are not only just consumers of innovation, but that they are given the space to be innovators themselves. The countless numbers of life-changing inventions created by women throughout history, prove that they are capable to do so, when society doesn’t get in their way”.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL’S MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2019

New York, March 8, 2019 – Gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to global progress on peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. We can only re-establish trust in institutions, rebuild global solidarity and reap the benefits of diverse perspectives by challenging historic injustices and promoting the rights and dignity of all.

In recent decades, we have seen remarkable progress on women’s rights and leadership in some areas. But these gains are far from complete or consistent – and they have already sparked a troubling backlash from an entrenched patriarchy. Read more

Service and Sacrifice: For Ghana, UN peacekeeping is a ‘noble opportunity to serve humanity’

March 1, 2019 – Ghanaian men and women have served as United Nations peacekeepers since the early 1970s, participating in operations that stretched from the Sinai to the African continent. The West African Nations is now among the top 10 contributors to UN peacekeeping, with nearly 3,000 personnel serving on eight missions.

Brigadier General (Dr) Emmanual Wekem Kotia, the Commander of the Western Sector in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), spoke with UN News about his decades-long service, which includes participation in the Organization’s ground-breaking transitional operation in Cambodia – a launch pad for key UN peacekeeping activities such as disarmament and reintegration, and electoral support component – and the post-electoral security landscape in the DRC. Read further.

Let us work to change discriminatory laws to ensure the rights of all – UNAIDS Ghana

Accra, March 1, 2019 – Today 1st of March is Zero Discrimination Day. It is a day set aside by the United Nations to turn the spotlight on one of the biggest challenges in our societies today: Discrimination.

“On this day, we are obliged to ask ourselves not only about the meaning of discrimination, but also take a moment to reflect on whether we are fully aware of our actions – Are we discriminating in any way?” “Are we respecting the human rights of everyone?” Angela Trenton-Mbonde, UNAIDS Country Director remarks.

On Zero Discrimination Day, UNAIDS recalls the equal dignity and worth of every person, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is calling for action to change discriminatory laws and practices, which are a significant barrier for access to health and other services.

“Human rights violations are happening all over the world because of discriminatory laws and practices,” say Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS in a press release issued from its head office in Geneva, Switzerland. “Laws must protect, not cause harm. All countries must carefully examine their laws and policies in order to ensure equality and protection for all people, without exception.” He adds.

UNAIDS highlights the landmark decisions a number of countries have made to change discriminatory laws and bills. The Philippines lowered the age of consent for voluntary HIV testing without the need to obtain consent from a parent or guardian to 15 years and Malawi removed provisions from a draft bill that would have criminalized HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission.

Ghana has made progress in enacting laws to protect the rights of people living with HIV. For example, the Ghana AIDS Commission Act upholds the human rights of persons living with HIV as enshrined in the Constitution, and the right to redress in cases of violation. UNAIDS commends Ghana in this feat and encourages countries to examine discriminatory provisions in their laws and policies and make positive changes to ensure equality, inclusion and protection.

UNAIDS is therefore proposing specific actions that individuals, civil society organizations, parliamentarians and donor organizations can take to change discriminatory laws. These range from being an ally to someone affected by a discriminatory law to joining a nongovernmental organization, tabling amendments to laws and calling for reviews of legislation.

Working together to change discriminatory laws will restore dignity and respect and save lives.

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Media Contact: Angela Trenton-Mbonde | E-mail: trentonmbondea@unaids.org| Tel. 0243 300 305

UN Ghana organizes a stage play to call for an end to Female Genital Mutilation

Accra, Ghana, February 7, 2019 – On February 6, the world marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation with one message: that Female Genital Mutilation must end.  The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, clearly notes in his message to mark the 2019 observance that  “Is a human rights violation, endangers the health of women and girls and causes needless pain and suffering, even death.”

The Secretary-General further indicates that “An estimated 200 million women and girls alive today have been subjected to this this harmful practice and every year about 4 million girls are at risk.”

The events held annually therefore aim at increasing global action to end female genital mutilation. In Ghana, the United Nations, led by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), organized a stage play to raise awareness on the increasing trend of the practice. Titled “We Will Arise”, the play was written by Joshua Nana Morrison and performed by Vision Theater Company.  It depicts how the practice has taken on a cross border twist to circumvent government efforts to curb the menace.

In attendance at the Ghana National Theater for this event were students and teachers from Ghana Lebanon Islamic Senior High School and guest from the public.

The National Information Officer at the United Nations Information Center – Accra, Ms. Cynthia Prah, emphasized the need for every girl and woman to live a life free of violence and pain, pointing out the dangers associated with the practice for which it must be denounced by all. In conclusion, she delivered the United Nations Secretary-General’s message.

The audience expressed sadness, grief, agony amidst pockets of laughter as they watched the play.

To measure the level of impact of the program, audience shared their views. Some students gave varied comments which all points to new knowledge and the need for them to talk people, especially their relatives, out of FGM. Some also commended the efforts of the organizers in deepening awareness about FGM.

UN SG’s Message on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

New York 6 February 2019 – “Female genital mutilation is an abhorrent human rights violation affecting women and girls around the world. It denies them their dignity, endangers their health and causes needless pain and suffering, even death.

Female genital mutilation is rooted in gender inequalities and power imbalances– and it sustains them by limiting opportunities for girls and women to realize their rights and full potential. An estimated 200 million women and girls alive today have been subject to this harmful practice.  And every year, almost 4 million girls are at risk.” Read Further

UNIC Accra holds a second event in remembrance of the Holocaust

Accra, Ghana, 1 February 2019 – In response to the need for education and awareness creation about the Holocaust among the youth, a students’ briefing has taken place at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Senior High School for over 200 students as part of the 2019 International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust in Accra. The event was organized by the United Nations Information Centre, Accra, in collaboration with the school.

The theme for this year’s Holocaust remembrance activities is, “Holocaust Remembrance: Demand and Defend your Human Rights”.

In her introductory remarks before screening the movie “Who Will Write our History”, the National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms. Cynthia Prah said even though January 27 is the date set aside every year for Commemoration of the Holocaust, there is the need to constantly remind ourselves of the factors that led to the killings of over 6 million Jews to avoid its re-occurrence.

Narrating the personal story shared by the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Ms. Shani Cooper with Students of Accra Academy during a similar outreach earlier in the month, Ms. Cynthia Prah stressed that, we must respect the rights of everyone and avoid racial bigotry. She also asked the students to use their social media platforms to denounce hatred and hate speech.

The Girls’ Prefect, of HOTCASS, Ms. Millicent Wede thanked UNIC Accra for choosing to observe Holocaust Remembrance at their school.  She also requested for more programs to be brought to them so that they would learn about the United Nations and the world at large.

Sub-Saharan Countries and UNESCO Lead Largest Regional Initiative for Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Accra, 30 January 2019 – The Ministry of Education in Ghana has hosted UNESCO and other UN partners, Ministries of Education and Health from across 14 Sub-Saharan African countries to launch the Our Lives, Our Rights Our Future (03) program. O3 supports the delivery of good quality CSE that empowers adolescents and young people by building skills, knowledge and attitudes to prevent HIV, reduce early and unintended pregnancies and eliminate gender-based violence.

This South-South dialogue was also a platform for Ministers and senior government
officials from across Sub-Saharan Africa to engage with UNESCO representatives,
UN senior officials, partners, youth, Civil Society Organizations, educators, parents
and religious leaders. Discussions revolved around sustaining political commitment
to accelerate the implementation of CSE programs in the region. Read further.

Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future Progamme to be Launched in Accra

Accra, Ghana, 28 January 2019 – Over 20 Ministers of Education and of Health will meet in Accra to officially launch a programme that will support delivery of good quality comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in Ghana and five other countries on the continent. The officials will also meet to commit to scaling up comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) and youth friendly sexual and reproductive health rights services for adolescent and young people.

The Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3) Programme, supported by UNESCO and the Governments of Sweden and Ireland, will allow the six countries, including Ghana, to deepen the scope of existing activities to attain an almost full-scale implementation of CSE. The purpose is to improve sexual and reproductive health of young people and adolescents for a consistent reduction in new HIV infections, early and unintended pregnancy, gender-based violence, and child marriage.

The meeting in Ghana will enable a secured and sustained strong political commitment and support for adolescents’ and young people’s access to CSE and sexual and reproductive health services across sub-Saharan Africa among others. Read further.

Ghana to participate in VNR in July 2019

Ghana has begun preparations to participate in the Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the United Nations in July 2019 during the High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the lead national agency for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the country, Ghana’s VNR report will focus on the national policy and regulatory environment for the SDGs and the Agenda 2063 and the status and progress of implementation of all the 17 Goals.  As a cross cutting theme, the review will also capture how well the youth has been engaged in the SDGs, the concept of “Leave no one behind” to assess the level of inclusiveness and the synergies across the goals.

The NDPC plans a robust process of preparations to involve the academia, Civil Society Organisations, the United Nations, Development Partners and the private sector.

During a media launch in Accra to formally announce Ghana’s VNR participation in 2019, the Minister for Planning, Prof. George Gyan-Baffour asked that the UN System in the country supports the process. He also called on the media to strengthen advocacy around the SDGs implementation. A key concern for the government is the low level of awareness around the SDGs among the general public and the role of the media in addressing this gap was highlighted.

The UN Resident Coordinator a.i. Ms. Sylvia Lopez-Ekra assured the government of the UN’s continuous technical support to ensure a successful completion of the review and the full achievement of the SDGs.