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Op-ed by Elliot Harris, UN Chief Economist and and Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development.

Worrisome risks lurk beneath solid global growth,   By Elliott Harris

On the surface, the world economy remains on a steady trajectory moving into 2019. Headline figures suggest that – while global growth has likely peaked – activity around the world will continue to expand at a solid pace. Several developed economies are operating close to their full potential with unemployment rates at historical lows.

Yet, headlines do not tell the whole story. Beneath the surface, a much more worrisome picture of the world economy emerges. The newly-released World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 illustrates how a combination of rising economic, social and environmental challenges hampers progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. There are several risk factors that could disrupt activity and inflict significant damage on longer-term development prospects. Over the past year, trade policy disputes have escalated, and financial vulnerabilities have increased as global liquidity tightens, casting a shadow over the outlook for 2019 and beyond.

Should such a downturn materialize, prospects are grim. Global private and public debt is at a record high, well above the level seen in the run-up to the global financial crisis. Interest rates remain very low in most developed economies, while central bank balance sheets are still bloated. With limited monetary and fiscal space, policymakers around the globe will struggle to react effectively to an economic downturn. And, given waning support for multilateral approaches, concerted actions – like those implemented in response to the 2008/09 crisis – may prove difficult to arrange.

Even if global growth remains robust, its benefits do not reach the places they are needed most. Incomes will stagnate or grow only marginally in 2019 in parts of Africa, Western Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Many commodity exporters are still grappling with the effects of the commodity price collapse of 2014-16. The challenges are most acute in Africa, where per capita growth has averaged only 0.3 per cent over the past five years. Given a rapidly growing population, the fight against poverty will require much faster economic growth and dramatic reductions in income inequality.

And, perhaps most importantly, the critical transition towards environmental sustainability is not happening fast enough. The nature of current growth is not compatible with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. In fact, the impacts of climate change are becoming more widespread and severe. The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is increasing.Floods, coastal storm surges, droughts and heat waves are damaging vital infrastructure and causing large-scale displacements. The human and economic costs of such disasters fall overwhelmingly on low-income countries.

Many of the challenges before us are global in nature and require collective and cooperative policy action. Withdrawal into nationalism and unilateral action will only pose further setbacks for the global community, and especially for those already in danger of being left behind. Instead, policymakers need to work together to address the weaknesses of the current system and strengthen the multilateral framework.

The author is UN Chief Economist and and Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development

RCA : le Conseil de sécurité renouvelle pour un an les sanctions

Le Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies a décidé jeudi de proroger jusqu’au 31 janvier 2020 l’embargo sur les armes imposé à la République centrafricaine (RCA), ainsi que l’interdiction de voyager et le gel des avoirs infligés aux personnes ou entités désignées par son comité des sanctions.

Ce comité continuera d’être aidé par le Groupe d’experts, dont le mandat a été prorogé jusqu’au 29 février 2020.

Aux termes de la résolution 2454 (2019), adoptée à l’unanimité, tous les États membres de l’ONU devront continuer de prendre les mesures nécessaires pour empêcher la fourniture, la vente ou les transferts directs ou indirects à la RCA, d’armements et de matériels connexes, ainsi que toute assistance technique et aide financière en rapport avec les activités militaires.

Tous les États devront également continuer de prendre les mesures nécessaires pour interdire l’entrée ou le passage en transit sur leur territoire des personnes désignées par le Comité des sanctions. Les fonds et les avoirs financiers de ces personnes et entités continueront d’être gelés.

Il s’agit, précise le Conseil dans la résolution 2399 (2018), à laquelle la présente résolution renvoie, des personnes et entités qui commettent ou appuient des actes compromettant la paix et la sécurité en RCA, violent l’embargo sur les armes, recrutent des enfants, aident les groupes armés ou les réseaux criminels par l’exploitation illicite des ressources naturelles, font obstacle à l’acheminement de l’aide humanitaire ou attaquent la Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en RCA (MINUSCA), celle de l’Union européenne et les forces françaises.

Les dispositions relatives à l’interdiction de voyager et au gel des avoirs s’appliquent également aux individus et entités qui commettent des actes d’incitation à la violence, en particulier à motivation ethnique ou religieuse, compromettant la paix et la sécurité en RCA.

Par la présente résolution, le Conseil se déclare en outre « particulièrement préoccupé » par les informations selon lesquelles des réseaux transnationaux de trafiquants continuent de financer et d’approvisionner les groupes armés et demande au Groupe d’experts de prêter une attention particulière à l’analyse de ces réseaux.

Enfin, le Conseil exprime son intention de définir, au plus tard le 30 avril 2019, des objectifs de référence clairs et précis en vue du réexamen des mesures d’embargo sur les armes imposées à la République centrafricaine. Ces objectifs de référence seraient relatifs à la réforme du secteur de la sécurité, au processus de désarmement, démobilisation, réintégration et rapatriement, et à la gestion des armes et munitions, précise le Conseil

UN Cameroon commemorates the 2019 Holocaust Remembrance Day

“Who will write our history?” is the title of the movie screened during the Educational Outreach Event organised by UNIC Yaounde to mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

This  event which brought together students  from La Gaieté School Complex and Lycée de Tsinga, took place at the Muna Foundation on 28 January 2019 and also had the various articulations;

Exhibition on the “Butterfly project: Children of the holocaust,

Educative talks on “demand and protect your human rights”,

Drama/Sketch on the dangers if hate speech, racism and xenophobia.

The message of Mrs Audray Azoulay; Director General of UNESCO on the occasion was read by Mrs Yvonne Matuturu. The UNSG video message was projected. Mr. Guterres echoed that ” now more than ever, let us unite in the fight for universal values and build a world of equality for all.”

UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita presented a brief history of the Holocaust,  how it was carried out by the Nazi regime in Germany and the reason why the UN targets students and youths for the commemoration.

Mr. Simon Seroussi; deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Israel in Cameroon harped on the effects of Holocaust on the Jewish people today, and called on the world to shun discrimination and hatred.

In attendance were some  traditional Rulers from the North West region of Cameroon, members of NGO’s, students and journalists etc. Participants were urged to confront and denounce hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity!

Applications invited for Journalism Fellowship at UN Headquarters

New York – The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists is now accepting applications from professional journalists for its 2019 fellowship program.

The fellowships are available to radio, television, print and web journalists, age 25 to 35, who are interested in reporting from New York during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Visit http://unjournalismfellowship.org/ for details. The deadline for application is March 1, 2019.

UN YEAR IN REVIEW 2018

As year 2018 is coming to an end, we are pleased to share with you the “Year in Review” prepared by the United Nations in New York.

The “Year in Review” consists of UN News 2018 recap: In Case You Missed It; top 10 YouTube videos; UN Web TV most watched events; and 2018 in photos. Please find below the links of these items for ease of access:

UN.org

Please see http://www.un.org/en/year-in-review/ with Year in Review highlights from: the UN’s YouTube channel
WebTV
UN Photo
UN News and
www.un.org

UN Photo“2018 in Photos” album on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/albums/72157704727799115
“2018 in Photos” gallery on UN Photo website: https://www.unmultimedia.org/photo/gallery.jsp?query=subject%3A%222018%20in%20Photos%22&startat=0&sf=date

UN Video

The Secretary-General’s New Year’s video message can be downloaded using the following URL:

Int’l version

English

French


Human Rights Day celebrated in Cameroon

The official ceremony to commemorate the 2018 Human Rights Day was held at the Yaounde National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM) on Monday 10 December 2018, closing a weeklong campaign on the theme “All United for Human Rights”.

The indispensable role of human rights and freedoms in development was re-echoed through various interventions. Mr. Abdoulaye Traore; representing the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa recalled that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights defends human dignity, protects children, women, the most vulnerable and minorities; avoids human suffering and lays the foundation for a more just world. He further called on participants to work for a great protection of human rights in Cameroon in particular, Central Africa and in the world.

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) animated a UN stand with documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN Chronicles specials on “Human Rights”, Africa Renewal, UN Secretary General’s message, and a photo exhibition on “children and their future jobs/professions”.

In attendance were UN staff, government officials, National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms (CNDHL), European Union in Cameroon, the Bar Association, Civil society, media, lawyers and magistrates.

SDG Open Day at International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC)

Students of the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC), specialising in International Communication and Public Action celebrated 20 years of their existence from 28 to 29 November 2018 within the IRIC premises. Activities were organised for this anniversary, amongst which conference debates, open day expositions.

UNIC Yaounde, on behalf of the UN System in Cameroon was invited to animate an SDG stand at the IRIC Campus. On display at the UNIC stand were publications such as; Africa Renewal, documents on the 17 goals, SDG boxes, SDG Rings and the SDG mystery wheel game, which drew lots of attractions, as participants were eager to play, test their knowledge and learn about respective goals. UNIC staff was on hand for in-depth explanations on the goals and their relevance to our world today.

SDG Open Day / Conference – Debates

UNIC, UNCG and RCO organized a series of conference – debates on the sideline of the «SDG village», with panelists sharing knowledge, experience and lessons on the 5Ps, with the following themes:

People and Prosperity: “Youth Empowerment within the SDGs context in Cameroon”, Planet: “Youths, commit for Environment and the SDGs”, Partnership: “Financing the 2030 agenda”, and Peace: “Imagine Peace”.

This also witnessed the official launching of the « Youth kamer volunteers for SDGs » platform; under the auspices of the UN Resident Coordinator, to better amplify advocacy of the SDGs in Cameroon. These conference-debates were centred on the indispensable implication of everybody, especially youths in achieving the SDGs.

Ms. Allegra Biocchi ; UN Resident Coordinator; reminded particpants that the 17 goals do not belong to the UN, but were rather signed by member countries, with Cameroon as a signatory. She further encouraged youths to commit to these goals and also say NO to all acts of corruption, and also take part in elections as voters.

Respective panelists underscored the fact that the United Nations accompanies the Cameroonian government and people in achieving a sustainable development which leaves no one behind for peace, stability, governance and democracy. Highly emphasised was the fact that a minimum sum of 10 billion FCFA were needed annually for the implementation of these goals in Cameroon. 

The three days SDG open door campaign buikt momentum and public understanding around the 17 goals for Sustainable Development and the 2030 development agenda.

SDG Open Day / Exposition at the SDG Village

UNIC, UNCG and RCO organized a three-days awareness and advocacy campaign; «SDG village», which brought together UN Agencies, Civil Society Organisations, to share information and knowledge on the SDGs with the public.

Information in respective stands comprised SDG branded gadget such as; roll-ups (kakemonos), posters, brochures, mystery wheel, ring, reports, newsletter, flyers, pins, mugs, t-shirts, pens, cubes, etc. The village was officially opened by Mr. Jacques Boyer UNICEF/UNCG Chair, and Ms Siti Batoul Oussein (UNFPA).

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