Author Archives: Jean Njita

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.

Cameroon celebrates Sport for Development and Peace

Cameroon is known worldwide as a sport loving country, with well-known sports icons like Roger Milla, Samuel Eto’o, Francoise Mbango, amongst others. The Football national team has earned international respect and recognition after the heroic performance at the 1990 world cup in Italy, where they played the quarter finals.

It is against this backdrop that the sixth International day of sport for development and peace was celebrated for the first time in Cameroon between 4 and 7 April 2019 in Yaounde through a series of activities, launched during an official ceremony at the Yaoundé multipurpose sports complex. This day instituted by the United Nations in 2013, recognizes the power of sports in promoting peace and wiping away cultural barriers worldwide and promotes healthy lifestyles.

The series of events were launched by Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute. Speaking during the official ceremony,

Ms. Allegra Baiocchi; UN Resident Coordinator stated that “Sport can be a powerful tool to promote peace and tolerance by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures & religions.” While PM Dion Ngute emphasised that sport is a factor of National Unity in Cameroon’.

 

 

UN Stand at the Sports Village

A sports village was set up whereby government, partners, sports federation, NGOs and International Organisations exhibited documents, products, and sports wears to showcase their expertise, works and activities and also present available opportunities for the general public on efforts done for sports and peace.

UNIC prepared and animated the One UN Stand at the village, exhibiting documents by UN agencies in sports and peace related issues; violent extremism and social cohesion. These were distributed alongside flyers to curious visitors, whose numerous questions on the UN system were equally answered. Communications focal points from UNESCO, UNDP, UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF, UNWOMEN were present, under the lead of UNIC.

Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute led government officials, UN and other guests to the UN stand where he was received by UNIC’s NIO, Jean Njita. Not only was PM Ngute presented with actions and efforts done by the UN System towards Sports for Peace and Development, he also committed to achieving the SDG with the SDG ring and was offered a gift bag composed of SDG gadgets and documents.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS ADVOCATES

Peace, prosperity, people, planet, and partnerships.

The principles at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also what drive the new class of SDG Advocates, appointed today by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. These 17 influential public figures are committed to raising awareness, inspiring greater ambition, and pushing for faster action on the SDGs, which were adopted by world leaders on 25 September 2015.

United Nations Member States agreed to accomplish the SDGs by 2030. To build the momentum for transformative, inclusive development by 2030, the Secretary-General’s SDG Advocates will use their unique platforms and leadership to inspire cross

-cutting mobilization of the global community.

“We have the tools to answer the questions posed by climate change, environmental pressure, poverty and inequality. They lie in the great agreements of 2015 – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. But tools are no use if you don’t use them. So, today, and every day, my appeal is clear and simple. We need action, ambition and political will. More action, more ambition and more political will,” said the Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General has tasked the Advocates with driving that action, building that ambition, and solidifying global political will.

The Advocates represent the universal character of the SDGs, hailing from Governments, entertainment, academia, sport, business and activist organizations around the world. The Advocates will leverage and build bridges between their unique audiences, and work together to drive progress.

“By joining forces to achieve our goals, we can turn hope into reality – leaving no one behind,” said Co-Chair of the SDG Advocates group Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway.

Said Co-Chair of the SDG Advocates and President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, “This is a time of great hope for the world. If we work smartly together and stay on course, we can raise millions out of poverty and significantly expand basic social services for many more by the 2030 end date of the SDGs.”

The Secretary-General has appointed some members of the previous class of SDG Advocates as SDG Advocate Alumni, and looks forward to their ongoing support and engagement.

For more information, please visit www.unsdgadvocates.org.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL’S SDG ADVOCATES ARE:

CO-CHAIRS

  • His Excellency Mr. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana (Republic of Ghana)
  • Her Excellency Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway (Kingdom of Norway)

MEMBERS

  • Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians (Kingdom of Belgium)
  • His Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, Emir of Kano (Federal Republic of Nigeria)
  • Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder, Education Above All Foundation (State of Qatar)
  • Richard Curtis, Screenwriter, Producer and Film Director (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
  • Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Activist, Environment and Indigenous Rights (Republic of Chad)
  • Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group (People’s Republic of China)
  • Graça Machel, Founder, Graça Machel Trust (Republic of Mozambique)
  • Dia Mirza, Actress and Film Producer, UN Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador for India (Republic of India)
  • Alaa Murabit, Founder, The Voice of Libyan Women (Canada)
  • Nadia Murad, Nobel Laureate, Chair and President, Nadia’s Initiative, UN Office on Drugs and Crime Goodwill Ambassador (Republic of Iraq)
  • Edward Ndopu, Founder, Global Strategies on Inclusive Education (Republic of South Africa)
  • Paul Polman, Chair, International Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Chair of the Board of United Nations Global Compact (Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  • Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University (United States of America)
  • Marta Vieira da Silva, Footballer, Orlando Pride, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador (Federative Republic of Brazil)
  • Forest Whitaker, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation (United States of America)

The Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate Alumni are:

  • Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden (Kingdom of Sweden)
  • Ambassador Dho Young-Shim, Chairperson, United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty Foundation (Republic of Korea)
  • Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Laureate, Founder, Gbowee Peace Foundation (Republic of Liberia)
  • Shakira Mebarak, Founder, Pies Descalzos Foundation (Republic of Colombia)
  • Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini, Founder, Leo Messi Foundation (Argentine Republic)
  • Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, Founder, Grameen Bank (People’s Republic of Bangladesh)

UN Cameroon at the Yaoundé “Promote” International Trade Fair

The United Nations System in Cameroon participated in the 7th edition of the Yaoundé International Trade Fair for Business, SMEs and Partnerships code-named “PROMOTE”, which took place this year from 16 to 24 February 2019 at the Yaounde Conference Centre on the theme ‘business climate and sustainable development’. UN’s was a means of bringing the organisation closer to the people, sensitise on the SDGs and give the public an opportunity to ask questions on the work of the system in Cameroon

The official launching ceremony of the exhibition trade fair took place on Monday 18 February 2019 by Cameroon’s Prime Minister H.E. Joseph Dion Ngute, who expressed government’s appreciation to all participating companies to the trade fair. H.E Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana Minister of trade encouraged the exhibitors especially foreign companies, thanking them for choosing to do business with Cameroon. He further stated that if agricultural methods were modernised, it could improve on the business atmosphere in Cameroon, given that agriculture remains the backbone of the economy. The UN Resident coordinator, Allegra Baiocchi, said that Cameroon needs to build a conducive environment for business to grow, and called on Cameroonian companies to ensure they are doing business responsibly, in line with the ten Principles of the UN Global Compact.

On Wednesday 13 February 2019 and prior to the kick-off of the trade fair, UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita and Ms. Audrey Moneyang; Youth policy Assistant (UNDP) were special guests on “MIDI LIFE”, a One-hour midday programme on national television “Cameroon Radio and Television” (CRTV), to situate the raison d’etre of UN’s presence at Promote (engage youths to the “youth Connekt” initiative and engage the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the SDGs and also finance the SDGs), as well as inviting the general public to visit the UN stand.

The United Nations System in Cameroon organise 3 conferences at the Trade Fair village, to educate youths, and engage economic operators and the private sector to finance the SDGs:

  • Youth innovation and business opportunities: the youth connekt approach” presented the different opportunities available or youths in economic, social and profession domains.
  • Financial inclusion to reduce inequalities and accelerate emergence in Cameroon” highlighted the fact that financial inclusion was a critical enabler to meeting the SDGs and leave no one behind, especially actors of micro finance sector.
  • The private sector: key to realising the SDGs in Cameroon” gave an insight on the indispensable role to be played by the private sector towards achieving the SDGs in Cameroon and the world.

UNIC prepared and animated a weeklong “ONE UN Stand” with documents, videos, and other information material from the UN family; UNECA, UNFPA, UNIC, UNWOMEN, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNV, UNDP, etc.. Displayed were documents education, gender equality and violence against women, Volunteering, contraception, condoms and HIV/AIDS, financial inclusion, basic facts on the UN, SDGs factsheets, Africa Renewals, and other books by UNIC. The SDG mystery wheel was present at the stand. Visitors unceasingly spinned the wheel and answered questions on the respective goals. Some SDGs gadgets such as mugs, pens, t-shirts, books were awarded as Prizes for good presentations and answers. Visitors greatly appreciated the game as it gave a broader knowledge on the SDGs. Many took pictures with the SDG ring as well.

Cameroon’s Prime Minister and Head of Government; H.E. Joseph Dion Ngute visited the UN stand on Wednesday 20 February, during which he and his suit were handed gifts consisting of UN documents and magazines.

 

 

Mrs. Allegra Baiocchi; UN Resident Coordinator was on hand in a live webcast interactive session with visitors on Friday 22nd February, to provide answers to the numerous questions of visitors present at the stand on the UN and its activities.

One UN Stand at the Youth Village in Cameroon

The Ministry of Youth and Civic Education organised an Open Day / Exhibition code named “Youth Village” at the National Museum with theme “Youth, great opportunities and participation in building a peaceful, stable and emerging Cameroon” to mark the 53rd edition of the youth week. The youth village which ran from the 1st to 11th of February 2019, culminated with the National Youth Day Official ceremony on 11 February.

The Cameroon Government, International Organisations, Governmental Organizations and civil society, showcased their respective activities, mostly carried out by young people in Cameroon, through the various documents and other multimedia on display in the stands. Several participants equally visited the respective stands, for guides and information on the different activities and opportunities available for youths within the institutions or structures and oriented youths on employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The United Nations seized this opportunity to promote the Sustainable Development Goals, the UNV program, and UN’s contribution to Cameroon’s development policy, with a thrust on the humanitarian situation in the Northern, Eastern, North West and South West regions of the country. Highlight was the launch of national consultations for the implementation of the “Youth Conneckt” initiative in Cameroon.

The UN System in Cameroon was also present with a One-UN Stand, prepared and animated by UNIC. The stand decorated by SDG gadgets, SDG t-shirts, SDG roll up and the SDG game, also contained information on the works of various UN agencies in Cameroon and the sub-region. Documents on display were provided by UNWomen, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNV, UNESCO, UNIC, UNECA, UNDP, IOM, etc most of which were distributed to the visitors.

The SDG mystery wheel game was a major attraction, as visitors had the opportunity to test their knowledge of the 17 goals at a spin. Those who played the game went home with SDG branded prizes, which ranged from mugs, T-shirts, pens, books as well as the universal declaration of human rights.

The special guest at the stand was Minister Mounouna Foutsou of Youth and Civic Education.

Away from the stand, conferences, concerts, guided visit of the museum, educative talks on maternal health, HIV AIDS, entrance examinations into some professional schools, dance and games were part of activities that graced the youth village during the 11 days.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ 2019 New Year video message

Dear fellow citizens of the world, I wish you a happy, peaceful and prosperous new year.

Last New Year, I issued a red alert, and the dangers I mentioned still persist. These are anxious times for many, and our world is undergoing a stress test. Climate change is running faster than we are. Geo-political divisions are deepening, making conflicts more difficult to resolve.

And record numbers of people are moving in search of safety and protection. Inequality is growing. And people are questioning a world in which a handful of people hold the same wealth as half of humanity.

Intolerance is on the rise. Trust is on the decline. But there are also reasons for hope.  The talks on Yemen have created a chance for peace. The agreement signed in Riyadh in September between Ethiopia and Eritrea has eased long-running tensions and brought improved prospects to an entire region.

And the agreement between the parties to the conflict in South Sudan has revitalized chances for peace, bringing more progress in the past four months than in the previous four years.

The United Nations was able to bring countries together in Katowice to approve the Work Programme for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Now we need to increase ambition to beat this existential threat. It’s time to seize our last best chance. It’s time to stop uncontrolled and spiraling climate change. In recent weeks, the United Nations also oversaw landmark global agreements on migration and refugees, that will help to save lives and overcome damaging myths.

And everywhere, people are mobilizing behind the Sustainable Development Goals – our global blueprint for peace, justice and prosperity on a healthy planet. When international cooperation works, the world wins.

In 2019, the United Nations will continue to bring people together to build bridges and create space for solutions. We will keep up the pressure. And we will never give up.

As we begin this New Year, let’s resolve to confront threats, defend human dignity and build a better future — together. I wish you and your families a peaceful and healthy New Year.

Urgent Support Needed to Respond to Humanitarian Needs in Cameroon

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Cameroon

Yaoundé, 20 February – Humanitarian needs in Cameroon have risen by a third this year owing to an upsurge in insecurity and violence, leaving one in six people – mostly women and children – requiring assistance. Today we launch the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan appealing for US$299 million to provide support to 2.3 million people.

“The humanitarian emergency in Cameroon must remain high on our agenda. We must step up efforts to meet the needs of the affected population, many of whom are surviving in deplorable conditions without assistance,” said Ms. Allegra Baiocchi. the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Cameroon.

“In recent years, funding for humanitarian response has not kept pace with the needs. This means that we have been unable to provide enough food, water or medicine to vulnerable people, treat malnutrition or assist displaced families. This is very worrying as humanitarian needs are likely to continue growing in the coming months,” Ms. Baiocchi said.

In 2018, only 40 per cent of the $320 million needed for humanitarian assistance was received.

This year, around 4.3 million people need urgent assistance. Displacement has risen by 82 per cent compared with 2018. Renewed armed attacks have driven tens of thousands more Nigerians into Cameroon’s Far-North region, which already hosts 138,000 refugees. In North-West and South-West regions, worsening violence has uprooted 437,000 people and forced over 32,000 to seek refuge in neighbouring Nigeria. The East, Adamaoua and North regions host 275,000 Central African refugees.

“We acknowledge the scale of the humanitarian emergency and urge all actors to work with the Government to address the rising needs,” said MINAT. “We must also work together to not only ease the suffering of vulnerable populations, but to seek lasting solution for communities to withstand adversity.”

The crises arising from armed violence add to existing chronic vulnerabilities, including inadequate basic services, epidemics, food insecurity and malnutrition as well as the impact of climate change.

The 2019 humanitarian response plan focuses on providing immediate assistance to save lives, bolstering the protection of affected civilians, identifying risks and vulnerabilities to support the resilience of communities to shocks.

UNITED TO REFORM

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has made proposals to reform the United Nations since the beginning of his term in January 2017. To improve the delivery of our mandate, the United Nations is making sweeping changes in the following areas:

  • Development
  • Management
  • Peace and Security

Development. The 2030 Agenda will require bold changes to the UN development system for the emergence of a new generation of country teams, centred on a strategic UN Development Assistance Framework and led by an impartial, independent and empowered resident coordinator.

Management. A new management paradigm for the Secretariat and a United Nations that empowers managers and staff, simplifies processes, increases transparency and improves on the delivery of our mandates.

Peace and Security. The overarching goals of the reform are to prioritize prevention and sustaining peace; enhance the effectiveness and coherence of peacekeeping operations and special political missions and move towards a single, integrated peace and security pillar.

“The goal of reform is a 21st-century United Nations focused more on people and less on process, more on delivery and less on bureaucracy. The true test of reform will be measured in tangible results in the lives of the people we serve – and the trust of those who support our work.” UN Secretary General António Guterres,  27 November 2018

https://reform.un.org/

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