UN Secretary-General’s policy brief on COVID-19 and the Need for Action on Mental Health

The Secretary-General has launched a policy brief entitled COVID-19 and the Need for Action on Mental Health.

The document is attached to this email and will also be available here:

https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/un-secretary-general

The Secretary-General’s video message is available here: http://webtv.un.org/watch/ant%C3%B3nio-guterres-un-secretary-general-on-covid-19-and-the-need-for-action-on-mental-health/6156174714001/

UN Live United Nations Web TV – – António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) on COVID-19 and the need for action on mental health

13 May 2020 – Mental health is at the core of our humanity. It enables us to lead rich and fulfilling lives and to participate in our communities. But the COVID-19 virus is not only attacking our physical health; it is also increasing psychological suffering. Grief at the loss of loved ones …

webtv.un.org

VIDEO MESSAGE MARKING THE LAUNCH OF THE POLICY BRIEF: COVID-19 AND THE NEED FOR ACTION ON MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is at the core of our humanity.  It enables us to lead rich and fulfilling lives and to participate in our communities  But the COVID-19 virus is not only attacking our physical health; it is also increasing psychological suffering.  Grief at the loss of loved ones… Shock at the loss of jobs…

Isolation and restrictions on movement… Difficult family dynamics… Uncertainty and fear for the future… Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, are some of the greatest causes of misery in our world.

Throughout my life, and in my own family, I have been close to doctors and psychiatrists treating these conditions. As prime minister of my country, Portugal, and as High Commissioner for Refugees, I became acutely aware of the suffering they cause. This suffering is often exacerbated by stigma and discrimination, which is absolutely unacceptable.

After decades of neglect and underinvestment in mental health services, the COVID-19 pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress.

Those most at risk are frontline healthcare workers, older people, adolescents and young people, those with pre-existing mental health conditions and those caught up in conflict and crisis.  We must help them and stand by them.

Even when the pandemic is brought under control, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities. This is the background to the policy brief on COVID-19 and mental health that we are launching today.

Mental health services are an essential part of all government responses to COVID-19. They must be expanded and fully funded. Policies must support and care for those affected by mental health conditions, and protect their human rights and dignity. Lockdowns and quarantines must not discriminate against those with poor mental health.

As we recover from the pandemic, we must shift more mental health services to the community, and make sure mental health is included in universal health coverage.  The United Nations is strongly committed to creating a world in which everyone, everywhere, has someone to turn to for psychological support.

I urge governments, civil society, health authorities and others to come together urgently to address the mental health dimension of this pandemic.  And I call on governments in particular to announce ambitious commitments on mental health at the upcoming World Health Assembly.

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

Int’l clean,

https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/evergreen/MSG+SG+Covid+Mental+12+May/MSG+SG+Launch+of+Policy+Mental+Health+12+May+20.mp4

English sub-title,

https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/evergreen/MSG+SG+Covid+Mental+12+May/MSG+SG+Launch+of+Policy+Mental+Health+12+May+20+EN.mp4

A video message recorded by the Director General of the World Health Organization is also available here:

https://we.tl/t-csTVx2C1Yc

A video message from civil society in support of the Secretary-General’s policy brief is also available here: 

http://webtv.un.org/watch/civil-society-supports-UN-on-COVID-19-mental%20health/6156451670001

Civil society supports UN on COVID-19 mental health action

Video message from civil society in support of the Secretary-General’s policy brief calling for global action on mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

webtv.un.org

UN Secretary-General’s Message on 2020 World Press Freedom Day

António GuterresJournalists and media workers are crucial to helping us make informed decisions. As the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, those decisions can make the difference between life and death.

On World Press Freedom Day, we call on governments — and others — to guarantee that journalists can do their jobs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

As the pandemic spreads, it has also given rise to a second pandemic of misinformation, from harmful health advice to wild conspiracy theories.

The press provides the antidote: verified, scientific, fact-based news and analysis.

But since the pandemic began, many journalists are being subjected to increased restrictions and punishments simply for doing their jobs.

Temporary constraints on freedom of movement are essential to beat COVID-19. But they must not be abused as an excuse to crack down on journalists’ ability to do their work.

Today, we thank the media for providing facts and analysis; for holding leaders – in every sector – accountable; and for speaking truth to power.

We particularly recognize those who are playing a life-saving role reporting on public health.

And we call on governments to protect media workers, and to strengthen and maintain press freedom, which is essential for a future of peace, justice and human rights for all.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres video message on COVID-19 and Human Rights

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres video message on COVID-19 and Human Rights is available online, and can be downloaded using the following URL:

Int’l clean,

https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/evergreen/MSG+SG+Covid+Human+Rights/MSG+SG+Covid+Human+Rights+22+APR+20.mp4

English sub-title,

https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/evergreen/MSG+SG+Covid+Human+Rights/MSG+SG+Covid+Human+Rights+22+APR+20+EN.mp4

French sub-title,

https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/evergreen/MSG+SG+Covid+Human+Rights/MSG+SG+Covid+Human+Rights+22+APR+20+FR.mp4

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In view of the current global health crisis caused by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, UN Video sends you a video message from the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. The video is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, as well as in an international (“clean”) version.

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Message from the Secretary-General (TRT 1’51”)

International Version (no subtitles)
Arabic | Chinese | English | French (captioned | clean) | Hindi
Kiswahili | Portuguese | Russian | Spanish (captioned | clean)

information on COVID-19 can be found at the following links;

There are also additional resources which you might find helpful:

  • DGC has created a Social Media Trello board dedicated to COVID-19 to amplifying messaging through local influencers, SM accounts, etc.

Cameroon Celebrates 74th United Nations Day

Cameroon celebrated the 74th edition of the United Nations Day on the theme: “Mutualization of Peace Efforts for Sustainable Development” through a series of events:

Sporting Activities (Sports for the SDGs) – Saturday 19 October 2019

 – Sports-walk (Eco-jogging)

The weeklong series of activities in Cameroon kicked-off with a sports-walk. The over 1500 Participants were led by government ministers, ambassadors, UN Resident Coordinator, Heads of UN Agencies amongst other dignitaries across the streets of Yaounde; from Central Post Office through Olezoa to the military Stadium. During the exercise, plastic wastes by the road were being collected for an Eco-Friendly Cameroon.   This parade was guided by the security forces and the Cameroon Red Cross.

  • Football matches

Female and male football teams from MINREX and the United Nations took place at the end of the sports-walk at the Yaounde Military Stadium. The matches were contested in a spirit of fair play and for the good of the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Female Match: In a hotly contested football match and after 40 minutes of play, the UN female team beat MINREX by 1 nil. Kick-off was taken by Minister Gregoire Owona of National Insurance and Vocational Training.
  • Male Match: the UN male team thrashed the MINREX team by 2 goals to zero, demonstrating UN’s resolve to leave nothing behind for the SDGs in Cameroon.

 

Round table on the Role of Cameroon in maintaining International Peace and Security at the International Relations Institute of Cameroon –  21 October 2019

The maintenance of peace and international security. What is the role of Cameroon and the United Nations?  In a debate conference, students from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC) and University, faculties and Civil society were educated on the actions of the United Nations in the world as a whole, and in Cameroon to support peace-oriented operations. and security. As part of activities for celebrations marking the 74th United Nations Day in Cameroon, this panel of experts on peace and security issues encouraged particpants and the general public to work for peace, owing to the fact that “to have peace, we must seek it”, as re-echoed by Minister Jacques Roger Booh Booh; former UN Special Representative to Rwanda.

This conference brought together representative from the government, the United Nations, the civil society, the media. UNIC Yaounde provided information material (roll ups), information kits on the United Nations peace-keeping Operations, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

SDG Open Day Exhibition at the Esplanade of Yaounde City Council

The SDG open day was an opportunity for both Cameroon government and the UN System to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of donors in responding to the country’s humanitarian and development challenges, and to inform the population on results of UN’s support to Cameroon. Main objective was to create awareness on the SDGs, promote the 2030 agenda, and engage the civil society, youth and women to understand their respective roles a s frontline partners in promoting the SDGs.

An “SDG Village” was set-up with stands mounted by UNIC/RCO for UN agencies and CSOs Actors at the Yaounde City Council on 22 October 2019, to disseminate information on the SDGs, showcasing concrete actions by Agencies, partners towards achieving these goals in Cameroon. Agencies in the stands included; RCO/UNIC, UNESCO, UNV, UNFPA, UNDP, WHO, UNICEF, FAO, WFP, UNWOMEN, UNHCR. The civil society was represented by Fondation Villes Propres, JADD (Jeunes en Action pour le Développement Durable), AIESEC, YAOUNDE Agfo Changing Lives, CSAYN (Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network), Youth Connekt Cameroon, YOUthKmerVolunteers4SDGs, etc.

 

 

UN Resident Coordinator; Ms Allegra Baiocchi, UNIC’s Jean Njita, JADD’s Cecile MAWE drilled students, grouped in a special tent on their role in implementing the SDGs in Cameroon.  

SDG branded gadget and materials such as; #SDG, roll-ups (kakemonos), posters, brochures, mystery wheels, SDG rings, reports, newsletters, flyers, pins, mugs, t-shirts, pens, SDG cubes, etc characterised the Information content in the respective stands comprised. #Act4sdgs #UNDay2019 #teachSDGs

Official Ceremony

This Official ceremony marking the 74th edition of the UN Day in Cameroon took place on 24 October 2019 at the Ministry of External Relations, was chaired by H.E Felix Mbayu; Minister Delegate at the Ministry of External Relations in charge of Relations with the Commonwealth, ceremony. UN and Cameroon flags were hoisted by former UN Peacekeepers and Cameroonian Police officers

UN Resident Coordinator to Cameroon;  Ms. Allegra Baiocchi saluted the recent efforts that have been put in place by the government of Cameroon in terms of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Agenda 2030 and most specifically, the work done so far on the next phase of the country’s development policy. Concerning peace efforts, she saluted the holding of the Major National Dialogue, release of people detained in connection with crisis, as well as militants of some political parties. Ms Baiocchi said, “Peace is constructed through development, but the development has to be sustainable and most importantly inclusive.” Re-echoing the words of the UN Secretary- General, Antonio Guterres, she advised the effective implementation of dialogue recommendations and continuing with confidence building measures. She however decried the attacks against humanitarian missions preventing assistance from reaching the needy.

Minister Mbayu in turn stated that the government of Cameroon is still ready and banking on the constructive and fruitful cooperation and collaboration from each and every one, in attaining its ideals for peace and security, by achieving its development goals, through strengthening multilateralism.” He used the occasion to succinctly present peace and security efforts in Cameroon, all intended to enable the country to attain its 2030 development agenda to eradicate poverty, ensure peace, prosperity for people and the planet. He singled out the Major National Dialogue convened by the Head of State, President Paul Biya as a glaring example to illustrate peace efforts and said recommendations adopted consensually were currently under review. Minister Mbayu expressed the gratitude of government to the UN, other international organisations, friendly countries and the civil society for supporting Cameroon’s efforts for a return to peace and normalcy and called for more synergy of action for the country to attain the “desired future” by 2030 in an atmosphere of peace and security.

Global Week to Act for the SDGs in Yaounde

To mark the fourth anniversary of the SDGs United Nations Cameroon, in partnership with the “YouthKmer Volunteers4SDGs”; a platform of youth leaders working for the SDGs, from 21 to 28 September 2019 code-named “Global Week to Act for SDGs”,  to raise awareness on the SDGs among the general public and training of municipal authorities on localizing the SDGs through several actions. It was an opportunity for the United Nations system in Cameroon and civil society actors to provide adequate information on quality education (SDG4), the fight against climate change (SDG13) and necessity of peace for justice and effective institutions (SDG16). Civil Society Organisations present included : Jeunes en Action pour le Développement Durable, Climate Smart Agricultural Youth Network, Fondation Villes Propres, AGUI Foundation

Commemoration of the International Day of Peace at the University of Yaounde 1

Under the theme “Climate Action, Peace Action”, a round table took place at the University of Yaoundé 1, to educate young people on methods to improve peaceful coexistence between communities to preventing conflicts. Moderated by UNIC’s NIO; Jean NJITA, the exchange session which brought together students, workers, journalists, and focal points from the UNDP, UNESCO and university dons, focused on understanding of the challenges of peace, environmental and climate protection. It was an occasion to encourage young people to get involved in the implementation of SDGs by developing projects.

Action for SDGs: the awareness campaign

The United Nations in Cameroon with some actors of the civil society conducted an awareness campaign for two days within Yaounde 3 and Yaounde 2 municipalities, informing the population on the importance of initiatives to protect the environment through waste management; a key issue affecting Cameroon and the entire world today. ” Civil Society in attendance included Jeunes en Action pour le Développement Durable, Climate Smart Agricultural Youth Network (CSAYN), Fondation Villes Propres, AGUI Foundation and YouthKmer Volunteers4SDGs.

Nkolafamba forever with the SDG Flag

The SDG flag has been flying over the sky of the Nkolafamba municipality since September 25, the anniversary of the adoption of the SDGs. UN Resident Coordinator; Allegra Baiocchi, in the presence of the heads of agencies, administrative and traditional authorities of Nkolafamba, raised the SDG flag at the ceremonial ground, to encourage the local population to actively involved in development activities. “We are here to mobilize the population of the commune of Nkolafamba for the SDGs, to raise awareness on priority actions to be undertaken for the implementation of the SDGs within their community, and to engage in their implementation. “As municipal authorities, you have a role to play in achieving the SDGs in Cameroon by 2030, and you can count on the support of the United Nations system,” Allegra concluded. This activity was also marked by an SDG Open Day , whereby the UN, and partners of the civil society showcased concrete actions done for the SDGs, as well displayed documents.  This activity was crowned by an exhibition fair on the SDGs. The United Nations, YouthKmer Volunteer 4SDGs platform associations, and other civil society actors presented to each other the achievements made so far in achieving the SDGs. The case of ecological paving stones produced from plastic waste by the Clean Cities Foundation “Fondation Villes-Propres”.

Action for environmental protection: eco-jogging

An an eco-jogging was also organized along some major streets in Yaounde, during which participants collected plastic bottles and other waste material littering along the streets of Yaounde, while jogging/walking for environmental protection. These wastes collected were given to a local association for recycling.

Achieving Sustainable Development through Actions by Youths

The United Nations Information Centre, Yaounde organized the First edition of the Educational Talk of the MOLA Association in partnership with the MOLA Association, which brought together youths from all over Cameroon under the theme “a robust and well-trained youth for a peaceful future far from basic needs” on 31 July 2019. The event was aimed at building the capacities of youths on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Cameroon.

UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita welcomed the initiative of Dr. Nyaka Aurelie; promoter of the MOLA Association for involving young people in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through practical concrete projects. He further encouraged participants to put their talents at the service of society in compliance with standards, to leave no one behind.

Dr. Nyaka Aurelie briefly introduced the MOLA Association, created in 2017. To increase youth participation in development, the MOLA Association is subdivided into several branches, including MolaNews, MolaCare, MolaSport, MolaHelp, MolaMove and MolaFood. She further stated that partnering with the United Nations is in line with the Association’s missions to raise awareness on the resolution of recurring problems, contribute to maintaining good biological and physical health, and encourage creativity based on professional skills and training.

Youths were drilled on the Sustainable development Goals, with an overview on the 17 goals and the localization of the goals by the Cameroon government. They learnt that the SDGs were a global action plan for humanity, the planet and prosperity, which aims at strengthening peace throughout the world. Formally adopted by 193 United Nations Member States at the Summit on Sustainable Development, in September 2015 in New York; and entitled “Transforming our World: The Sustainable Development Agenda to 2030”, the Sustainable Development Goals are grouped into five areas, generally called “5 Ps” for communication purposes: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace, and Partnerships. Youths were encouraged to work for a well implementation of the SDGs in Cameroon.

A round table discussion on the theme “a robust and well-trained youth, for a peaceful future far from primary needs”, enabled the public to exchange views on SDGs 3, 4, and 8 focusing on health, quality education and access to decent jobs. Discussions centred on the need to have an environment where youths are well-trained and healthy, merit promoted, and where good initiatives are encouraged.

A workshop on Dance, cooking, games, make-up and drawing enabled youths to present their savoir-faire as a way of encouraging them to get involved in development activities.

Nelson Mandela’s Legacy Celebrated at the AGAPE Children’s Home in Yaounde

The United Nations Information Centre partnered with the South African High Commission in Cameroon and the Mobile Telephone Network Company (MTN Foundation) Cameroon to celebrate the 2019 Mandela Day on 18 July 2019 at the Agape Children’s Home, Yaounde.

Bishop Dr. Adjei John Jonas; Promoter of the AGAPE Children’s Home, expressed gratitude to visitors and donors for coming to support the orphans with various gifts, as the world celebrates Mandela Day,

UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita presented the life, cardinal principles of the man called Nelson Mandela. He further stated why the UN proclaimed 18 July as Mandela day, quoting UN General Assembly Resolution 64/13 adopted on 10 November 2009.

Her Excellency KGOMOTSO Ruth; South African High Commissioner to Cameroon, appreciated effort of promoter of the AGAPE Children’s Home for setting up an impressive orphanage, to cater for the less privileged children. She reminded participants that the humanitarian actions to donate some basic necessities to the kids was in line with UN and the South African directives whereby everyone is called upon to carry out a free and voluntary action to commemorate the hero MADIBA, former President of the free and democratic South Africa. She intimated that “these children, even after 20 years, will remember that we celebrated Mandela Day with them and offered them useful material”. She tuned the song; ASIMBONANGA by Johnny Clegg, to end her speech.

Her Excellency KGOMOTSO Ruth presented the gifts to the children, which included bags of rice, mattresses, sugar, soap, birthday cake…

Event was graced by songs, poems, dances and the presentation of the South African Map, drawn by children of the orphanage.

The message of the UN Secretary General; Antonio Guterres was distributed to all participants, in a kit comprised also of the UNGA  64/13. Mr. Guterres invited everybody to work collectively for peace, stability, sustainable development and human rights.

International Day of UN Peacekeepers commemorated in Cameroon

The United Nations Information Centre, (UNIC) Yaounde, commemorated the 71st edition of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers on the theme “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace” on 29 May 2019 with students of the Protestant University of Central Africa (PUCA – UPAC) and the media. Guest speaker was Mr. Fotsing Barnabas Aimé; Former UN peacekeeper with the UN Operations in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), with Mr. Ngoumbe Zacharie; Secretary General of the Economic and Social Council of Cameroon was the main guest.

Participants observed a minute of silence in honor of UN peacekeepers, most especially the 3 Cameroonians who had lost their lives in the service of peace. This was followed by a projection of the UN Secretary General’s video message. In his message, Mr. Guterres expressed “gratitude to the civilians, police and military peacekeepers deployed around the world ….” And emphasized that “UN peacekeeping is a vital investment in global peace and security and we should therefore work together to make peacekeeping more effective in protecting people and advancing peace.”

 Panel talk on the 2019 theme: “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace”

UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita presented the 2019 theme, highlighting protection of civilians in armed conflict as contained in UN Security Council Resolution adopted Resolution 1270 on 22 October 1999. Mr. Fotsing Barnabas Aimé; Prisons Administrator and former Cameroonian UN peacekeeper shared his experience in the domain of the “rule of law” and transitional justice within the prisons, while serving under UNOCI (Ivory Coast). His job consisted of monitoring and advising prison’s authorities on staff assignment, treatment of detainees, improved conditions of detention, trained and advised prison staff on prison security: https://youtu.be/JxcHXbHRNNs

A documentary on Ms. Gladys Nkeh; a Cameroonian UN Police officer serving as gender Officer with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). The documentary showcased how Gladys partners with local communities in Bangui to ensure security and empower women and girls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BwjOhwr5hw&t=1s

Photo Exhibition on UN peacekeeping operations

UNIC printed over 10 photos of UN peacekeepers at work in peacekeeping missions all over the world such as UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Haiti (MINUSTAH), Somalia (AMISOM), Burundi (OMUB), Darfur, Sudan (UNAMID), DRC (MONUSCO), Central African Republic (MINUSCA), amongst others.

President-Elect of the General Assembly for the 74th Session Speaks to UN Correspondents

H.E the Ambassador of Nigeria to the United Nations, Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, spoke to UN correspondents after his election this afternoon, 4 June, as the next GA President.

Mr. Muhammad-Bande will begin his tenure in September replacing the current GA President, Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa. He was elected by acclamation as the candidate of the African countries for the 2019-2010 GA session.

The President-elect, a former University Professor, answered questions on multilateralism, gender equality, violence and extremism, climate change, UN reform and the 2030 Agenda among other topics.

He was introduced by the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, Ms. Monica Villela Grayley.

President-elect Muhammad-Bande was accompanied by a delegation from Nigeria, his home country.