Category Archives: 2015: Time for Global Action

UN Electoral Assistance Mission Meets Journalists in Yaounde, on 13 July 2017

UNIC Yaounde organized a rencontre between the visiting delegation from the UN Division of Electoral Assistance of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) in New York and Cameroonian Journalists on the country’s electoral system at the UNDP conference room on 13 July 2017.

The main objective of this rencontre was to reflect with these media practitioners on Cameroon’s electoral system, and on possible ways forward.

In attendance were the following:

UN:

  1. Mr Akinyemi Adegbola; Head of Mission, and Chief Political and Electoral Adviser, DEA/DPA
  2. Mrs Pascale Roussy; Officer-in-Charge; DEA/DPA in New York
  3. Nadjita Francis; Special Assistant to SRSG for Central Africa (UNOCA) in Libreville, Gabon

Media

We had Journalists representing the following media organ; The Post, Mutations, la Nouvelle Expression, Canal 2 International, Cameroon Tribune, Signatures, amongst others.

This Need Assessment Mission of the Elections Assistance Division from United Nations Headquarters in New York is in Cameroon from 10 – 20 July 2017, upon the invitation of the national electoral body; Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), to explore ways of supporting the country in her electoral process, as she prepares for the 2018 general elections. During their stay, members of the delegation will meet with national and religious authorities, Political parties, Civil society Organizations, amongst others dignitaries. They will equally pay field trips to some regions of the country.

UN agency saves 600 stranded migrants in Sahara Desert, but 52 dead in Niger

Walking through desert. Photo: World Bank

27 June 2017 – The United Nations migration agency in Niger has saved more than 600 lives since April 2017 through a new search and rescue operation that targets migrants stranded in Sahara Desert, but 52 did not survive.

“We are enhancing our capacity to assist vulnerable migrants stranded in Northern Agadez, towards the Niger-Libya border,” said Giuseppe Loprete, Niger Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in press release issued today.

“Saving lives in the desert is becoming more urgent than ever. Since the beginning of the year we have been receiving frequent calls to rescue victims who embark on this route‎,” Loprete added.

A 22-year-old woman was the only female among the survivors of a rescue mission on 28 May. She left Nigeria in early April hoping for a better future in Europe. There were 50 migrants on the pick-up truck when it left Agadez for Libya, but only six are still alive today.

“We were in the desert for ten days. After five days, the driver abandoned us. He left with all of our belongings, saying he was going to pick us up in a couple of hours, but he never did,” she recalled.

During the next two days, 44 of the migrants died which persuaded the six left to start walking to look for help. “We had to drink our own pee to survive,” she said.

On 9 June, another 92 migrants were also rescued through an IOM search and rescue operation; among them were 30 women and children.

More recently, 24 migrants were taken to Seguedine, where one died on arrival. Among the 23 survivors are migrants from Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. It was not clear for how long they had been walking in the deserts of central Niger. They had been in a group of 75 migrants in three different cars, eventually abandoned by smugglers during the journey north.

IOM has recorded 52 deaths since it launched a new project “Migrants Rescue and Assistance in Agadez Region” (MIRAA) in April. The project will last for 12 months, and aims to ensure the protection of migrants in hard-to-reach areas while also strengthening the management of migration by the Government of Niger.

MIRAA is complementary to the larger initiative “Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism” (MRRM), which aims to bring together in one mechanism a wide range of services and assistance for migrants, including assisted voluntary return to their countries of origin and reintegration once they return.

World’s Top Advertising Groups Come Together with Google to Mobilize Gen Z Around the Sustainable Development Goals

NEW YORK, June 14, 2017 – The Common Ground alliance, in partnership with Google, today announced the launch of “The Common Future Project,” a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at driving widespread awareness and action among young people in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted at the United Nations in 2015.

The Common Future Project combines multidisciplinary teams from across the world’s biggest advertising and marketing services groups and independent advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy with the dedicated resources from Google to create a global action campaign for the SDGs that engages the current generation of mission-driven young people – otherwise known as Gen Z.

UN Deputy Secretary General Ms. Amina Mohammed said: “The Sustainable Development Agenda is the most ambitious anti-poverty, pro-planet agenda ever adopted by the UN. The Common Future Project recognizes the power of young people as global agents of change. I commend the Common Ground partners for this creative effort to transform the video platforms that young people use into platforms for action for a world of peace and dignity for all.”

Over a three-day period, teams from Dentsu, Havas, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and WPP, as well as Wieden+Kennedy, worked side–by-side at the YouTube Space NY to develop big ideas with the goal of inspiring Gen Z (aged 15 to 24) – the largest generation of youth in history – to become advocates for the SDGs and take action toward a more sustainable future.

As part of the workshop, multi-agency teams experienced briefings from the UN Deputy Secretary General and the UN’s SDG Team on the challenges of galvanizing Gen Z and others globally around the SDGs. These agency teams also explored the cultural influence of YouTube, a place where anyone can have a voice, and how the power of video is helping brands and creators generate positive social change.

On the final day, the teams had three hours to shoot, produce and edit rough videos of their concepts in the YouTube Space before pitching a panel of experts including UN SDG Advocate Alaa Murabit; Jake Horowitz, Co-founder, Mic.com; Madonna Badger, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Badger & Winters; and Golriz Lucina, Head of Creative for SoulPancake.

In a joint statement, Toshihiro Yamamoto, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dentsu; Yannick Bolloré, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Havas Group; Michael Roth, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IPG; John Wren, President and Chief Executive Officer of Omnicom Group; Arthur Sadoun, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Publicis Groupe; Neil Christie, Global Chief Operating Officer of Wieden+Kennedy; and Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of WPP, said:

“In the year since the launch of Common Ground, we have seen companies across the world uniting behind the Sustainable Development Goals. The Common Future Project is an unprecedented physical manifestation of that commitment to collaborate, and to the important role our industry can take in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Over the next few months, a virtual cross-agency team will work to develop and produce the winning idea into a broader campaign, set to launch later this summer. The campaign will tap into the range of ways to tell stories on YouTube, including the newest format, built-for-mobile bumper ads (:06) and longer-form content. To support and amplify the campaign, Google is committing a grant of global YouTube media.

Torrence Boone, VP, Global Agency Development, Google said: “When we first learned about the Common Ground initiative last year, we saw a terrific convergence of interests and values. Time and time again, we’ve all seen the power of video and YouTube to help affect positive social change. So we’re thrilled to be able to shine a spotlight on the great collaboration of these agencies coming together for the common good and are committed to helping their great ideas come to life on our platforms.”

Watch a short documentary film of the three-day workshop, here: [ADD LINK]

Launched by the world’s six largest advertising holding companies (Dentsu, Havas, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and WPP) last June at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Common Ground represents a working partnership that transcends commercial rivalry to: accelerate the achievement of the SDGs; demonstrate to the industry and world that the goals are of universal importance and require universal contribution; and inspire other industries to follow suit.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
In September 2015, UN Member States unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, focused on the three interconnected elements of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. With 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its core, the Agenda is universal, integrated and transformative and aims to spur actions that will end poverty, reduce inequality and tackle climate change between now and 2030.

www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment

Also a behind the scenes video on the effort featuring the DSG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gza_RHHZTO8

Sensitization workshop for Journalists on the electoral code on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2017

UNIC Yaounde in partnership with the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa and UNESCO organized a series of activities at the Hotel Inn Resort in the coastal city of Limbe, South West Region of Cameroon to mark World Press Freedom Day 20017 in Cameroon from the 3 to 5 May 2017. The crux of the observance was the sensitization workshop for over 35 media professionals in Cameroon on the electoral code and their role in promoting informed participation in electoral processes, ahead of elections in 2018 in Cameroon.

  •  Round table conference on: 2017 WPFD theme, Freedom of Information, the right to know,
  • Panel Discussion on “How to overcome challenges to media freedom
  • Sensitization workshop for media professionals in Cameroon on the electoral code

 Day 1: Wednesday, 03 May 2017

Round table conference on: 2017 WPFD theme, Freedom of Information, the right to know

Moderated by Tarhyang Tabe, Publisher of “The Advocate” Newspaper, the round table began with the reading of the UN messages on the occasion of the 2017 WPF Day. UNIC’s Jean Njita read the message of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who called for an end to all crackdowns against journalists – because a free press advances peace and justice for all.” UNESCO’ Cletus Ojong (Communications) read the message of Mrs Irina Bokova (UNESCO’s Director General), while the Director of UN Centre for Human Rights Mr Ahowanou Agbessi read the message of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. This set the pace for the round table.

UNIC’s Jean Njita presented the 2017 WPFD theme; “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies”, highlighting the fact that living in such a critical time for journalists and press freedom, critical times require critical minds to better know what we read, listen and watch. Mr Njita emphasized media’s contribution to good governance and development as recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; which outlines the importance of public access to information and fundamental freedoms under SDG 16; Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Citing the 2016 UN Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, he stressed that the current state of safety of journalists worldwide is discouraging, as over the course of the last decade 827 journalists and media workers have been killed.

Mr. Franklin Fonyuy Kiven, Communications Officer at the UN Human Rights Centre talking on “Freedom of Information, the right to know”, stated that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identifies freedom of expression as a fundamental right. He further quotes The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Declaration of Principles adopted in 2003, which affirms that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organisation”.

Panel Discussion on “How to overcome challenges to media freedom

Panelists included CTRV’s Comfort Musa, UNIC’s Jean Njita, Adolf Mongo Dipoko (seasoned journalist), Kwi Bangsi and Tarhyang Tabe (The Advocate Newspaper), with debates moderated by Franklin Fonyuy. These panelists identified Inadequate funding, Access to Information; Charlatanism; Poor payment of staff, weak Professional associations, etc…as some of several challenges crippling the media landscape in Cameroon.

The media law no.90/052 of December 19, 1990 on Mass Communication in its Section 46(1) states: “A person shall be deemed to be a journalist where, on the basis of his intellectual faculties, his training and talents, he is recognized as being fit to carry out research and process information intended for mass communication.” This Cameroonian definition of a journalist has paved the way for quacks to infest the profession, casting lots of doubts on ‘who is who’ in the profession. Some of them don’t know the ABC of journalism, and often commit all kinds of professional errors. Though the law on Freedom on Mass Communication gives Journalists the right to access information, Cameroon journalists have lots of difficulties to get sensitive information giving room for speculations and falsehood in some reports. The proliferation of Professional Associations further weakens the sector, with the lack of a credible interlocutor for all journalists.

At the end, and as a way forward to overcoming the challenges, participants and panelists recommended the urgent need for a clear entry requirement for all journalists as in other professional bodies; merger of association for journalists, strengthened and oriented towards professional needs, training on new media, media security, thematic reporting; (peace, cultural, documentaries, etc) , as well as taking advantage of electronic information dissemination through blogs, online publication, whatsapp, facebook etc…

Day II: Thursday 04 May 2017

Sensitization workshop for media professionals in Cameroon on the electoral code

In 2018, Cameroon is expected to hold major elections; municipal, parliamentary, senatorial, and presidential, making it an important electoral year in the history of the country. The Elections Management Body; ELECAM has intensified efforts towards raising awareness of Cameroonians on their civic responsibility, particularly the need to enroll in the electoral registers, and also participate actively in the voting process. That notwithstanding, there is need for more targeted measures to ensure that these efforts produce an impact on the ground.

It is against this backdrop that UNIC Yaounde, UNESCO and UN Centre for Human Rights embarked on this sensitization workshop to strengthen the knowledge of media professionals on the electoral code and other texts, policies and regulations governing the electoral process in Cameroon in a bid to enable them play an informed role in educating and sensitizing rights holders on their participation in electoral processes. Participants were introduced to the Cameroon Electoral code mostly an overview of the general provisions and provisions specific to the Elections Management Body. They were divided into commissions to work on specific sub-themes, which ended up with restitution and sharing of facts with others.

These subthemes included;

  1. General provisions related to the Elections Management Body
  2. Provisions relating to the election of President of the Republic and Vacancy
  3. Election of members of Parliament
  4. Election of municipal councilors

At the end of the work in commissions, participants enthusiastically shared /restituted their understanding of some sticky issues related to electoral code, to the happiness of all.

 Lesson:

It is of vital importance for media practitioners to get acquainted with the Cameroon electoral code and other texts, policies and regulations governing the electoral process in preparation to the 2018 upcoming presidential elections in Cameroon. Taking into consideration the fact that the fundamental role of journalists, as one of the key players in the election is to promote transparency, inclusive and peaceful elections, journalists are therefore called to do proper findings of information backed with fact before any publication, be it audiovisual or script writing. In so doing, the media will regain its credibility in the country and will be treated with care and respect.

Educational Talk on 2017 Slavery Remembrance at La Gaieté International School, Yaounde

UNIC Yaounde organized an Educational Talk with students of La Gaieté International School Complex, with over 175 students on 24 March 2017, on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade on the theme Remember Slavery: Recognising the Legacy and Contributions of People of African Descent. The objective of the event was to increase awareness and to educate students on the legacy and contributions of people of African descent and the consequences of their actions on the societies in which they found themselves during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, as well as about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

UNIC’s Jean Njita presented the genesis and context of the 2017 commemoration, stating the historical background on the transatlantic slave trade and slavery. This was followed by the projection of UNESCO’s documentary “Routes de l’Esclave” (Slave Routes), an exchange with students to size up their understanding. Prizes of T-shirts, branded pens were handed to students who gave correct answers, sparking off many exchanges from students.

Jean Njita, highlighted (in French and English) the raison d’être of the observance, spelling out UN Resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007 declaring 25 March as Slavery Remembrance. He further presented the theme of the 2017 commemoration, saluted the courage of these men and women, who through their many valuable skills in rhythms, musical traditions, and arts contributed significantly to the development of societies and cultures around the world. Africans deported to the West carried along their culture and tradition, expanding on the rich musical repertoire of these communities, he stressed.

Mr. Njita presented the Human Rights violations, emphasizing the inhumane treatment meted on slaves by traders and masters. Citing articles 1, 3 &4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he stressed that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude…”, and called on the students to denounce any act of racism, discrimination and violence, so as to leave no one behind.

Participants then watched the film; Queen Nanny: Legendary chieftainess” and were thrilled by Queen Nanny’ story, as she reportedly led her people courageously to victory over the mighty British army. During the question and answer session, prizes were offered to students who gave correct answers to questions asked on the film “Queen Nanny”.

The over 175 participants were led by Jean Njita to a guided tour of a poster exhibition on “Remembering Slavery: Recognition, Justice and Development”, composed of sets of 13 of posters highlighting the tenth anniversary of the Remember Slavery Programme, the work of the Decade, contributions of the African diaspora and the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade in English and French. The symbols and message on each poster was explained to the students, to draw their attention to the atrocities of slave trade, slavery and encourage them to denounce any act tantamount to Human Rights violation, racism and discrimination in all its forms.

 

#SmallSmurfsBigGoals campaign launch

Team Smurfs will be rallying behind the Sustainable Development Goals for this year’s International Day of Happiness on 20 March 2017. Under the campaign #SmallSmurfsBigGoals,” the Smurfs will help raise awareness of all 17 Goals through a multi-platform approach including PSAs, social media material and a website created by Sony Pictures Entertainment. 

Theme
Together, we can make the world a happier place! The campaign will be fun, cheerful, and highly visual with an important message at its core:
As a team, we can accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals.

Campaign overview
The campaign runs from 15 February-20 March 2017 in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, culminating with the International Day of Happiness on 20 March. The campaign will promote the SDGs around the world by leveraging the popularity of the Smurfs with the creation of multimedia assets and local events.

The primarily digital and online campaign aims to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals among audiences–children and their parents–who are likely to follow the Smurfs and go to the cinema to see the Smurfs “The Lost Village” movie (due for release around June 2017).

The campaign hashtag #SmallSmurfsBigGoals focuses on the important message that all of us can help accomplish big goals, whether we are a small Smurf, young child, or individual. And as a team, we can achieve all of the SDGs.

The campaign will launch a multilingual website (www.smallsmurfsbiggoals.com), where visitors can take a quiz to find out which Smurf and which SDGs best matches their interests, for sharing on social media. Video PSAs featuring voice-over actors from the “Smurfs: The Lost Village” movie as well as social media cards highlighting specific SDGs and campaign SDG posters will be produced.

The campaign will end on 20 March 2017–the International Day of Happiness–with a blue carpet event that weekend at UN Headquarters presenting the campaign messaging and its impact to an audience of youth and the media.

UN Secretary General message on World Humanitarian Day, 19 August 2016

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten (file)
A record 130 million people are dependent on humanitarian assistance to survive.  Grouped together, these people in need would comprise the tenth most populous nation on Earth. These figures are truly staggering, yet they tell only a fraction of the story.  Hidden behind the statistics are individuals, families and communities whose lives have been devastated.  People no different to you and me: children, women and men who face impossible choices every day.  They are parents who must choose between buying food or medicine for their children; children who must choose between school or working to support their families; families who must risk bombing at home or a perilous escape by sea.  

The solutions to the crises that have plunged these people into such desperate hardship are neither simple nor quick.  But there are things we can all do – today, and every day.  We can show compassion, we can raise our voices against injustice, and we can work for change.

World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering.  It is also an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the frontlines of crises.  I pay tribute to these dedicated women and men who brave danger to help others at far greater risk. Today, I urge everyone to sign on to the United Nations “World You’d Rather” campaign.  As well as raising awareness and building empathy, the campaign has a concrete goal: to raise money for the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund and to enrol the support of individuals everywhere as Messengers of Humanity.  We need everybody to demand that their societies and governments put humanity first.  

Earlier this year, 9,000 participants gathered in Istanbul for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit.  World leaders committed to transform the lives of people living in conflict, disaster and acute vulnerability.  They rallied behind the Agenda for Humanity and its pledge to leave no one behind. This promise is also at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.  With their focus on human rights, resilience and poverty eradication, these 17 global goals offer a 15-year plan to reduce needs and vulnerability and promote a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.  To succeed on this collective journey, we need everyone to play their part. Each one of us can make a difference.  On this World Humanitarian Day, let us unite in the name of humanity and show that we cannot and will not leave any one behind.  

Message du Secrétaire Général publié à l’occasion de la Journée Mondiale de l’Aide Humanitaire, 19 août 2016

Aujourd’hui, 130 millions de personnes ne doivent leur survie qu’à l’aide humanitaire – un nombre encore jamais atteint. Si elles étaient regroupées, ces personnes dans le besoin formeraient la dixième nation du monde en termes de population.  Pour autant qu’ils soient impressionnants, ces chiffres ne reflètent qu’un aspect de la réalité et derrière les statistiques se cachent des individus, des familles et des communautés dont les vies ont été détruites. Il s’agit de gens ordinaires : des enfants, des femmes et des hommes, obligés quotidiennement faire des choix impossibles. Ce sont des parents qui doivent choisir entre acheter de la nourriture ou des médicaments pour leurs enfants; des enfants qui doivent choisir entre aller à l’école ou travailler pour aider leurs familles; des familles qui doivent choisir entre rester chez elles et vivre sous les bombardements ou prendre le risque de s’échapper par la mer.

Les solutions aux crises qui ont plongé ces personnes dans des situations extrêmement difficiles ne sont ni simples, ni rapides. Mais nous pouvons tous agir – aujourd’hui, et chaque jour. Nous pouvons faire preuve de compassion, nous pouvons protester contre l’injustice, et nous pouvons nous employer à changer les choses. Chaque année, la Journée mondiale de l’aide humanitaire nous rappelle qu’il faut agir pour alléger les souffrances d’autrui. C’est également l’occasion de rendre hommage aux agents de l’aide humanitaire et aux bénévoles qui travaillent en première ligne. Je tiens à saluer ces femmes et ces hommes dévoués qui bravent le danger pour aider ceux qui encourent des dangers encore plus grands.
       
Aujourd’hui, j’engage chacun à s’inscrire sur le site de la campagne « The World You’d Rather » des Nations Unies. Elle ne se limite pas à sensibiliser le public ou à susciter l’empathie : elle vise également à collecter de l’argent pour le Fonds central pour les interventions d’urgence et à recevoir l’appui d’individus partout dans le monde, qui deviennent ainsi des Messagers de l’humanité. Il est nécessaire que chacun demande à sa société et à son gouvernement de mettre l’humanité au premier plan. Il y a quelques mois, 9 000 participants se sont retrouvés à Istanbul à l’occasion du tout premier Sommet mondial sur l’action humanitaire. Des dirigeants venus du monde entier ont pris l’engagement de transformer les vies des victimes de conflits, de catastrophes naturelles et plongées dans une grande vulnérabilité. Ils ont adopté le Programme d’action pour l’humanité et fait la promesse de ne laisser personne de côté.

Cette promesse est au cœur des objectifs de développement durable. Mettant l’accent sur les droits de l’homme, la résilience et l’élimination de la pauvreté, les 17 objectifs mondiaux constituent un plan sur 15 ans pour réduire les besoins et la vulnérabilité et favoriser l’avènement d’un monde de paix, de dignité et de possibilités pour tous. Pour que cette aventure collective soit un succès, chacun doit jouer son rôle. Chacun d’entre nous peut influer sur le cours des choses. En cette Journée mondiale de l’aide humanitaire, unissons-nous au nom de l’humanité et montrons que nous ne pouvons laisser, et ne laisserons, personne de côté.

 

Visite du Secrétaire général adjoint des Nations Unies aux Affaires politiques en République gabonaise

Unoca-accord-siege-GabonNew York, le 21 juillet 2016, Le Secrétaire général adjoint des Nations Unies aux Affaires politiques, M. Jeffrey Feltman, a conclu aujourd’hui une visite de deux jours en République gabonaise.

Lors de cette visite, pendant laquelle il a été accompagné par le Représentant spécial du Secrétaire général pour l’Afrique centrale, M. Abdoulaye Bathily, M. Feltman, au nom du Secrétaire général, a inauguré les nouveaux locaux du Bureau régional des Nations Unies pour l’Afrique centrale (UNOCA) conjointement avec le Ministre délégué auprès du Ministre d’Etat, Ministre des Affaires étrangères, de la Francophonie et de l’Intégration régionale, M. Calixte Isidore Nsie Edang. Ces locaux ont été mis à disposition par le gouvernement de la République gabonaise, pays hôte du bureau régional depuis sa création en 2010.  Le Secrétaire général adjoint Feltman a transmis les remerciements sincères du Secrétaire général Ban Ki-moon pour l’accueil offert à l’UNOCA par le peuple et le gouvernement gabonais.

Feltman a également rencontré les autorités gabonaises, y compris S.E. M. Ali Bongo Ondimba, Président de la République gabonaise, les figures clés de l’opposition et le Conseil national de la démocratie (CND). Il a exprimé sa profonde préoccupation en ce qui concerne la montée de tensions dans le pays à l’approche des élections présidentielles du 27 août et les déclarations extrêmes, susceptibles de semer la discorde et la violence. A cet égard, il a appelé les acteurs politiques à faire preuve de retenue, et à s’abstenir de toute déclaration incendiaire pour maintenir un environnement paisible avant, pendant et après les élections. Il les a aussi exhortés à résoudre leurs désaccords à travers le dialogue et les moyens légaux. Il a souligné l’importance d’organiser des élections crédibles, avec la participation d’observateurs régionaux et internationaux et la libre participation des médias. Il a remarqué que tous les candidats et les partis politiques, ainsi que le gouvernement, partagent la responsabilité d’assurer la tenue d’élections pacifiques.

Sur le plan régional, M. Feltman a salué le soutien de la République gabonaise à l’UNOCA, ainsi que son rôle actif dans la promotion de la paix et la stabilité régionales, notamment en sa qualité de Président de la Communauté économique des Etats de l’Afrique centrale (CEEAC). Il a encouragé la République gabonaise et les pays de la sous-région à continuer les efforts visant à consolider la paix, la sécurité, et le développement en République centrafricaine. Il a saisi l’opportunité de sa réunion avec le Président à Oyem pour remercier la République gabonaise de son leadership dans la lutte contre le braconnage en Afrique centrale, qui constitue une source de financement pour les groupes armés illégaux présents dans la sous-région.

Enfin, il a profité de cette visite pour rencontrer l’équipe-pays des Nations Unies et le corps diplomatique.

Africa’s cities of the future: Proper planning key to sustainable cities

A model of the future Kigali City. An ambitious Kigali development master plan aims to turn the city into the ‘Singapore of Africa’. Photo: Panos/Sven Torfinn
A model of the future Kigali City. An ambitious Kigali development master plan aims to turn the city into the ‘Singapore of Africa’. Photo: Panos/Sven Torfinn
One of the objectives of Sustainable Development Goals is to have sustainable cities that provide opportunities for all, including access to basic services, energy, housing and transport. In this special coverage, we look at some African cities like Lagos and Kigali that are on the move and others such as Abidjan and Mogadishu that are recovering.

With an annual economic growth rate of about 5% over the last decade, driven mainly by the commodities boom, African cities have seen skyrocketing population growth, forcing governments to face a host of development challenges.

Africa is urbanizing at a rate of 4% per year, according to UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency tasked with assisting national programmes relating to human settlements through the provision of capital and technical assistance, particularly in developing countries. Population shifts from rural to urban areas lead to a number of challenges such as overcrowding, pollution and crime, among others.

“Urbanization in the Africa of today is an untapped tool for development and economic growth,” says Joan Clos, the executive director of UN-Habitat.

Over the next 15 years, cities in Africa will experience higher growth rates than other regions of the world, predicts Oxford Economics, a British firm that specialises in global forecasting and quantitative analysis for business and government, with Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg and Luanda becoming Africa’s major economic giants.

Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, the secretary-general of United Cities and Local Governments-Africa (UCLG-A), a body representing over 1,000 African cities, describes sustainable cities as “cities of the future today,” meaning those that can withstand the intense pressure from rapid development and urban investments but have a low impact on the environment.

DPI/NGO: ‘You have unlimited power’ Ban tells youth, rallying support for UN 2030 Agenda

SG-DPI_Youth_59830 May 2016 – On first day of the sixty-sixth United Nations Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations Conference in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea,Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged youth to continue to raise their voices in pushing governments to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“You have unlimited power, unlimited authority, legitimate prerogative to raise your voice. Make your governors, mayors, national assembly members – even professors and business communities – make them accountable,” he said at a youth caucus event.

In a room filled to capacity, the UN chief urged youth to think about the circumstances in which people in other parts of the world live – underscoring the importance of tempering passion with empathy. “Without compassion, the world would be strange and miserable,” Mr. Ban said. “Passion without compassion will lead to a strange way, undesirable way, sometimes destructive way and tragic way. When you have too much passion, that’s what happens in many parts of the world. Therefore, passion should be accompanied with compassion […] that’s my message to you.”

Mr. Ban also told the group that while they should be proud to be young, they must also be prepared for tomorrow. Noting that his tenure as UN chief will end soon, he said, “who knows that [maybe] one of you will become Secretary-General of the United Nations,” he said to thunderous applause.

Before the UN chief arrived, Juan Pablo Celis, Conference Co-chair of the Youth Sub-committee and NGO Youth Representative of the New York UN Association, told his peers that for the next three days, issues that linked education with conflict situations, youth employment and the Sustainable Development Goals, among others, would be discussed “through very creative and innovative methods, such as performances, technological interactions and live surveys.”

And then he prompted everyone to be energetic, saying: “We are the youth of the conference and we have to be ready to make some noise!”