United Nations Economic Commission for Europe hands-over the Road Safety performance review report for Cameroon to Government

Yaounde, 22 August 2018

Cameroon records an average of 16,583 road accidents each year, killing more than 1,000 people, according to official figures, and over 6000 according to World Health Organization estimates. This human cost is dramatic. It is therefore urgent for Cameroon to redouble its efforts to improve the road safety situation. These are the main findings of Cameroon’s Road Safety Performance Review (RSPR), presented at a national workshop on road safety held in Yaoundé on 23 and 24 August 2018, in the context of follow up for the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety.

The Review, conducted by the Ministry of Transport under the supervision of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), presents a holistic analysis of the country’s road safety progress and challenges.

The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Mr Jean Todtpresented in Yaoundé today the Road Safety Performance Review of Cameroon, which provides an analysis of progress and challenges in the country’s road safety. Cameroon is the second African country to benefit from this expertise, following Uganda. He urged stakeholders in the country to strengthen their efforts in these terms: “This Review shows real political will of Cameroon’s authorities to improve the situation, but it also identifies key challenges that must be overcome. By analysing all factors in order to propose priority actions, these Reviews, which we are undertaking at the request of governments, can provide vital support for improving road safety at national level.”

Cameroon’s Minister of Transport H.E Jean Ernest Masséna Ngalle Bibehe, reaffirmed the country’s political will in the fight against road accidents: “…we commit to the progressive implementation of these recommendations, with, in priority, reinforcing coordination through the establishment of an independent operational organism as well as consultative and expert bodies; strengthening enforcement and improving legislation, including the integration of the United Nations legal instruments, which already inspire all national and regional texts in force in Cameroon; improving the safety of the vehicle fleet through its renewal; pursing the reform of the procedure to obtain and be awarded a driving licence, and intensifying awareness-raising.” 

Minister Nganou Djoumessi of Public Works declared that 41,5% of Cameroon’s road network is in a good state, adding that the government’s objective is to reduce the number of road accidents to 50% by 2020.

UN Resident Coordinator; Allegra Baiocchi said that a reduction in the number of the wounded and deaths on the highway will accelerate sustainable growth and prevent families from going through the many physical and psychological sufferings.

The country’s road network, which accounts for 85 per cent of transport in the country, suffers, among other problems, from a lack of signalling and markings, cracks, potholes, poor rainwater drainage, lack of sidewalks and cycle paths, and disorderly parking.

Significant resources have been mobilized for the development of safety measures through the country’s Road Fund, which has contributed nearly 2.5 billion CFA francs per year since 2013. However, these resources have not been used effectively and efficiently, sometimes because of the rigid eligibility conditions of the measures to be financed. Consequently, the RSPR recommends a more appropriate use of Road Fund resources, which would be enriched by increased mobilisation of the private sector to finance road safety initiatives.

To be effective on the ground, efforts to improve safety on the roads must involve diverse actors in Cameroon. The RSPR therefore highlights the need to develop and put in place partnership frameworks to enable the private sector and civil society to become more actively involved.

EPSR_Cameroun

UN Thomas & friends partner for the SDGs

United Nations, Thomas & Friends in a collaboration has launched at the UN Headquarters the Sustainable Development Goals to preschool children through animated children’s series Thomas & Friends. The short-form content and parent-targeted materials with childhood educational videos, are intended to help preschoolers around the world learn more about sustainability and start meaningful conversations between parents and children at the household level.
It is to popularize the Sustainable Development Goals and raise awareness about them and more importantly to teach children the importance of taking part in the global efforts to end poverty, providing girls and boys with the same opportunities, and protecting our planet.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by world leaders at the historic Sustainable Development Summit held at the United Nations in September 2015. Encompassing everything from health to gender equality and education, the Goals will mobilize efforts around the world to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. AllAboardForGlobalGoals.com

2018 International Youth Day celebrations in Cameroon

The 2018 International Youth Day celebrated the contribution of #SafeSpaces4Youth to youth engagement and empowerment at the National Museum, with emphasis on citizen commitment of youths for peace and development. Ceremony brought together youth organizations, government, international partners.

Mrs Yvonne Matuturu, representing UNESCO called on civil society stakeholders, policymakers and entrepreneurs to imagine new forms of collaboration that are able to harness the vast potential of youth. she further stated that youths need a quality and conducive environment to  be able to express their citizenship

UN Resident Coordinator; Allegra Baiocchi emphasised the commitment of UN agencies to accompany the government in placing youths at the heart of development in Cameroon.

Minister Mounouna Foutsou of Youth Affairs and Civic Education called on youths to register with the national youth observatory to obtain the youth biometric card which will give them access to services for socioeconomic insertion. Suffice to add that youths represent more than 30% of the Cameroonian population.

Death of former UNSG Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary General passed away on Saturday, 18 August. A truly global leader. Mr Annan served two terms as United Nations Secretary General from 1997- 2006 and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for humanitarian work.

In his tribute, UN Secretary-General António Guterres describe Mr Annan as “a guiding force for good. It is with profound sadness that I learned of his passing. In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations”…He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world. In these turbulent and trying times, he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all of us.”

Mr. Annan led the UN into a new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.

Full statement here: https://bit.ly/2L8R86Y

UN calls for human rights abuses investigation in Cameroon conflict – Mission Network News

Cameroon (MNN) — Regional violence in Cameroon has stretched on for 18 months, and the United Nations is saying ‘enough’. UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein recently demanded the Cameroonian government launch an independent investigation on human rights abuses by State forces.

English-speakers in western Cameroon are vying for autonomy, since they feel underrepresented by the government. But when separatists started protesting, French-speaking State forces lashed out with brutal force.

(Photo courtesy of Efi Tembon via Facebook)

Since then, people in Anglophone regions have suffered attacks, random shootings, and rape. Soldiers have burned down entire villages — sometimes with family members still inside their homes.

Efi Tembon, the Executive Director of the Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy (CABTAL), a partner of Wycliffe Associates, shares, “More than 2,000 people have been killed so far since this started, and more than 170 villages have been burned, and more than 200,000 people are displaced, and more than 100,000 people are refugees in Nigeria.”

Along with condemnation from the UN, Tembon is hoping for United States involvement and enforced accountability for the Cameroonian government.

“We started a campaign here with the US Congress. The US government has been supporting the Cameroon military, providing training, providing material support. This provision was for the fight against Boko Haram. It was well-intentioned, but you know with good intentions, sometimes they have unintended consequences. These are being used now to fight against the…people,” says Tembon.

(Photo courtesy of Efi Tembon via Facebook)

“We think the US has leverage, has some influence to be able to help…. We are calling on others to write to their senators, to write to their representatives to be aware of this situation so something can be done [and] mediation can take place so peace can return.”

We previously shared how violence in western Cameroon is also causing problems for CABTAL’s Bible translators. The impact on their ministry is still growing.

“In the area where these atrocities are going on, we have 38 language projects where we are doing translation or helping communities in the area of Scripture impact. All of them have been affected right now and more than 400 translation personnel in these communities are affected — many of them [are] displaced, many [are] hiding in the bushes, and in some communities, translation has stopped.”

Tembon says churches have also been caught in the crosshairs. “Some pastors have been killed and churches have been taken over by the military, [who is] using some churches as a military base.”

In some villages, CABTAL lost touch with Bible translators who fled. They are still trying to make contact and help, especially because every day in the bush presents new risks.

“There are more people dying in the bushes than [who] are even being killed by bullets because they have no access to medical care. They are sick with malaria,…children are dying of malnutrition, [and] they don’t have any food.”

What’s worse “Some of them have nothing to go back to,” Tembon says. “Their homes have been burned, family members killed, they are living in bushes without food, no clothing, no basic needs, [and] exposed to all kinds of danger.”

Cameroon violence, village burned

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

Currently, Wycliffe Associates is raising funds to provide emergency protection for displaced Bible translators from western Cameroon and replace translation equipment. Even though the raging violence is a severe challenge, Wycliffe Associates, CABTAL, and their local volunteers are determined to get God’s Word to those who need Christ’s truth and hope — especially now.

If you would like to support this effort with Wycliffe Associates, click here!

Tembon says Cameroonians and our Christian brothers and sisters urgently need your prayer support as well.

“Some have turned to God, praying to God; others have turned to African Traditional Religion and [are] looking…to find a solution, to find help. [Pray] that this will cause people to turn to the Lord and cry out to Him.

“Pray for the Church in Cameroon. God knows what is going on. All of this doesn’t take Him by surprise. [Pray] that we would be able to come back to the Lord and repent as a Church in that country.”

“Also, pray that the root causes of this problem will be solved. These people need freedom…. They have been like second-class citizens for 57 years and it reached a breaking point where it just boiled out of control. [Pray] that that root problem will be solved so that we will not see a recurrence of violence

United Nations hails Nelson Mandela in Cameroon

“Human dignity is an important aspect to focus on in our society today, irrespective of our status, race, class, religion …it is indeed the bases for Human Rights as Mandela teaches us”, was echoed by Professor Fru Forbuzshi Angwafo III; Director General of the Yaounde Gynaeco-Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital (HGOY) as he paid tribute to President Mandela. He made this statement as he welcomed participants at the UNIC Yaounde organized event to commemorate the 2018 Nelson Mandela International Day in Cameroon on the theme: “Take action and Inspire change” on Wednesday 18 July 2018.

The event kickstarted with a guided compassionate visit to some 67 patients of the hospital, to express Mandela’s love, compassion to human plight and worries. Participants shared words of encouragement, love with hugs and message of hope with patients.

Next was a conference talk on “Take action and Inspire change”, to exchange of information on Mandela’s legacy in reconciliation, unity, human rights, education, health and charity with the over 100 participants drawn from all works of life.

UNIC’s Jean Njita highlighted that Mandela day is a global call to action for citizens of the world to take up the challenge and follow in the footsteps of Mandela; a man who transformed his life, served his country and freed his people. “The question we should ask ourselves is what we are doing to make everyday a Mandela Day” he asked. He further urged participants to make each day a Mandela day, become Mandela day change makers by doing things that affect positive change everyday.

Mrs. Suzanne Awenti, Pedagogic Inspector for History and Citizenship at the Ministry of Secondary Education, thrusted that Mandela’s greatest driving force was his inspiration to take action and inspire change. To her, a great source of Madiba’s inspiration for change could be spelt out into four commandments drawn from biblical gospel of Mathew 22:37-40; Love God with all your heart and mind, love your neighbor as yourself, know thyself, know thy origination. She pined that to effect change as Nelson Mandela did, we must identify our area of strength, leadership action preferences, dream a new future, drive change, develop capacity, design strategy, desire for change.

Participants expressed their love and respect for Nelson Mandela through a series of passionate contributions. The video message of Nelson Mandela was projected, in which he called on the world to devote 67 minutes of time to helping other every Mandela Day.

UNSG Message: This was followed by the screening of the Video Message UN Secretary General on the 2018 Mandela day commemoration. Mr. Guterres urged the world to emulate the great servant leader Mandela

Invictus: Participants watched Nelson Mandala’s biopic “Invictus”; “INVICTUS“, a movie which portrays how Mandela used Sports (Rugby) to show strong leadership, and to reconcile South Africans around an ideal of success and Unite his people.

Guided visit to patients at the HGOPY:  https://youtu.be/4EuSc-39zWY

UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita presents the Mandela International Day: https://youtu.be/VSMw1chHo_M

Capacity Building Workshop on media coverage of elections and the promotion of peaceful elections in Cameroon in Bafoussam

Over 30 journalists from Northwest, Southwest and West regions participated in a three-day capacity building workshop on media coverage of elections and the promotion of peaceful elections in Cameroon, from 10 to 12 July in Bafoussam, Capital of the West Region.

Discussions and presentations focused, among other things, on issues related to ethics and deontology of journalism; regulation and self-regulation; balanced treatment of information during electoral period; the principles of nonsexist / gender sensitive communication in the electoral process; social media practices. Sessions were also enriched by practical exercises which allowed participants to gain knowledge and share best practices and experiences with regards to elections coverage, most especially, through an approach based on the respect for human rights and the promotion of peace.

The workshop was a UN’s response to the many calls expressed by journalists themselves, showing their determination to not only acquire new knowledge and experience in their field, but also their determination to contribute to the success of the upcoming elections.

Mr. Jean Jacques Massina-Landji, co-Chair of the UNCG, representing the UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon, in his opening note stated that “for three days, these journalists will be tutored on the role of the media in the prevention, crisis management and violence during electoral periods, human rights issues related to elections as well as gender, democracy, peace and security,…elections are indeed crucial moments in the democratic life of a nation. Their transparency is fundamental in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in which one of the Goals, Goal 16 is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.”.

Mrs. Wandji Elsa, Regional Chief of Legal Affairs at the Delegation of Communication, representing the regional delegate and thus, Representative of the Minister of Communication, noted that workshops of this magnitude are rare and called on all present to take the opportunity given them to build their capacities on electoral reporting. According to her, information that will be disseminated by the journalists would push citizens to make informed choices instead of manipulations that would incite disorder.  

At the end of the workshop, the Journalists unanimously agreed to promote peace before, during and after elections in Cameroon. They adopted two key documents: “The Code of good conduct for journalists and media during electoral period” and “The Bafoussam Declaration”. In these documents, participants acknowledged the risks and threats to social peace that can be provoked by news articles and programs which do not obey the principles and tenets of balanced and impartial treatment of information. They therefore engaged “to promote peace journalism and to work with complete independence and responsibility, in favour of sustainable development”.

The workshop was jointly organized by the United Nations Regional Office For Central Africa (UNOCA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of the Women (UN-WOMEN), United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Central Africa, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and United Nations Residence Coordinator’s Office in Cameroon.

Capacity-building workshop on media coverage of elections and the promotion of peaceful elections in Cameroon in Douala

A 3-day capacity-building workshop on media coverage of elections and the promotion of peaceful elections in Cameroon was organized in Douala from 3-5 July 2018, and brought together thirty media professionals from the Centre, South and Littoral regions.

During the opening ceremony, Mr. Kisito Ngankak, Director of the Development of Private Media and Advertising at the Ministry of Communication, described the workshop as “timely and critical”. Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Communication, he also reminded journalists not to be partisan during elections.

 

“You must shun corruption which sometimes push you to the fringes of impartiality and bias reporting”, cautioned Mr. Jean Njita, UNIC’s NIO, representing the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Cameroon.

Participants unanimously welcomed the training and agreed to make good use of experiences and lessons learned in order to promote peace before, during and after elections in Cameroon. In this regard, they adopted two key documents: “The Code of good conduct for journalists and media during electoral period” and “The Douala Declaration”. In these documents, they acknowledged the risks and threats to social peace that can be provoked by news articles and programs which do not obey the principles and tannates of balanced and impartial treatment of information. They therefore engaged “to promote peace journalism and to work with complete independence and responsibility, in favour of sustainable development”.

The Douala workshop came on the heels of the first, organized in Ngaoundere, with participants drawn from the East and three Northern regions of Cameroon (Adamaoua, Far North and North). similar workshop will be organized in Bafoussam journalists from the West, North West and South West Regions and Mbalmayo (26 -28 July) for facilitators and officials of community radio stations.

The workshops are jointly organized by the United Regional Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) based in Libreville (Gabon), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa (UNCDH-CA), the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the United Nations Residence Coordinator’s Office in Cameroon. Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), the National Communication Council (NCC), Ministry of External Relations, Ministry of Communication, and Ministry of  Women’s empowerment and the Family provide an important support for the success of this important capacity-building activity.

2018 World Refugee Day commemorated in Cameroon

The 2018 commemoration of the World Refugee Day in Cameroon took place at a time when the dire crisis in the Central African Republic continues to trigger massive forced displacement, increasing pressure on resources and living conditions in Eastern region of Cameroon. According to OCHA, CAR remains the country with the highest humanitarian needs per capita, with 50 per cent of the population having to rely on humanitarian assistance to survive, while 25 per cent is displaced either internally or in a neighbouring country.

Northern Nigeria’s conflict with Boko Haram spilled over to the Lake Chad Basin region, where Nigerian refugees are hosted since 2014, causing large scale forced displacement and an unprecedented humanitarian emergency in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The event in Yaounde took place in 2 phases:

  1. Official ceremony

A Commemorative event for the 2018 World Refugee Day organized by the UNHCR in collaboration with the Ministry of External Relations, (MINREX) took place at the Refugees Community Centre in Yaounde on Wednesday 20 June 2018.

The President of the “Collectif de Yaounde” expressed her gratitude to the Cameroon government for the legendary hospitality and support given to Refugees, while UNHCR was also appreciated for the strong and sustained assistance they continue to give them.

The Secretary at the Permanent Technique Secretariat for Refugees representing the Minister of External Relations, outlined measures taken by Government to tackle refugees’ request, emphasizing that Refugees are actors of development, and promised more assistance to refugees. Suffice to add that Cameroon is the 13th refugee receiving country in the world and 7th in Africa

Mrs. Roseline Okoro, UNHCR; deputy Resident Representative read the message of the UN High Commissioner for Refugee at the ceremony, in which increased solidarity to Refugees was promised.

These speeches were interspersed by folkloric dances exhibited by the different Refugee communities such as Rwanda, Chad, etc.

 

  1. Panel discussion on the: “Rights and duties of Refugees in Cameroun”

Panelists included students from the Institute of International Relations of Cameroon-IRIC, Secretary of the permanent Technique Secretariat for Refugees at MINREX and UNHCR.

Remy; student of IRIC explained the genesis and the context on the World Refugee Day, relating it to the 1959 Geneva conference.

Miss Ngah Gaëlle, equally of IRIC stressed the Right of Refugees in Cameroon, as spelt out in the Geneva Convention. She thus stated that refugees in Cameroon have all the rights, as human beings, to include; housing, traffic, social assistance, freedom of religion, etc.M. Keppi Eric harped on the duties of Refugees in Cameroon, reminding them that all refugees in Cameroon must obey the laws of the country as highlighted in article 12 of the 2005 law governing the rights and duties of refugees in Cameroon.

UNIC Yaoundé prepared information kits comprised of the UNSG message, UNGA A/RES/55/76 12 February 2001 which proclaimed 20 June as World Refugee Day, background documents on the genesis of the day and various distinctive definitions on terms such as refugees, Asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, Stateless Persons, and returnees. This was distributed to the over 150 participants at the event.

First ever UN High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States to open in New York

Yaounde, 27 June 2018 

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres will on Thursday, 28 June 2018 convene the first United Nations High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States at UN Headquarters under the theme “Strengthening international cooperation to combat the evolving threat of terrorism.” The 2-day Conference will provide an opportunity for the UN and Member States to forge new partnerships to address the complex and transnational threat of terrorism.

In an Op-Ed, the UN Secretary General called for a concerted multilateral response at global, regional and national levels to defeat the threat of terrorism. He writes “Terrorism is a transnational threat that cannot be defeated by any single government or organization… we must also address root causes by promoting education, tackling youth unemployment and addressing marginalization.” through the engagement of local communities, religious organizations and the media.

Meanwhile, the Sixth Biennial Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of the General Assembly has opened at UN Headquarters. In advance of the event, the Secretary-General issued on 20 April his report on the activities of the UN System (A/72/840) (http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/72/840). The Review will provide an opportunity for Member States to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the Strategy and to discuss the way forward.