Category Archives: Sustainable Development Goals

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.

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.

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.

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

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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Secretary-General’s remarks on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

[Watch the video on webtv.un.org]

I am very pleased to be with you to discuss this essential topic.
Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic. It is a moral affront to all women and girls and to us all, a mark of shame on all our societies, and a major obstacle to inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.
At its core, violence against women and girls in all its forms is the manifestation of a profound lack of respect – a failure by men to recognize the inherent equality and dignity of women.
It is an issue of fundamental human rights. The violence can take many forms – from domestic violence to trafficking, from sexual violence in conflict to child marriage, genital mutilation and femicide. It is an issue that harms the individual but also has far-reaching consequences for families and for society.
Violence experienced as a child is linked to vulnerability and violence later in life. Other consequences include long-term physical and mental health impacts and costs to individuals and society in services and lost employment days.
This is also a deeply political issue. Violence against women is tied to broader issues of power and control in our societies. We live in a male-dominated world. Women are made vulnerable to violence through the multiple ways in which we keep them unequal.
When family laws which govern inheritance, custody and divorce discriminate against women, or when societies narrow women’s access to financial resources and credit, they impede a woman’s ability to leave abusive situations.
When institutions fail to believe victims, allow impunity, or neglect to put in place policies of protection, they send a strong signal that condones and enables violence. In the past year we have seen growing attention to one manifestation of this violence.
Sexual harassment is experienced by almost all women at some point in their lives.
No space is immune.
It is rampant across institutions, private and public, including our very own. This is by no means a new issue, but the increasing public disclosure by women from all regions and all walks of life is bringing the magnitude of the problem to light. This effort to uncover society’s shame is also showing the galvanizing power of women’s movements to drive the action and awareness needed to eliminate harassment and violence everywhere.
This year, the global United Nations UNiTE campaign to end violence against women and girls is highlighting our support for survivors and advocates under the theme ‘Orange the World: #HearMeToo’.
With orange as the unifying colour of solidarity, the #HearMeToo hashtag is designed to send a clear message: violence against women and girls must end now, and we all have a role to play. We need to do more to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable.
But, beyond that, it is imperative that we – as societies — undertake the challenging work of transforming the structures and cultures that allow sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence to happen in the first place.
These include addressing the gender imbalances within our own institutions. This is why we have adopted a UN system-wide gender parity strategy. We have achieved parity in the senior management group and we are well on track to reach gender parity in senior leadership by 2021, and across the board by 2028.
The UN has also reaffirmed its zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and assault committed by staff and UN partners. We have recruited specialized investigators on sexual harassment, instituted fast-track procedures for addressing complaints and initiated a 24/7 helpline for victims.
I also remain committed to ending all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and UN staff in the field – one of the first initiatives I took when I assumed office.
Nearly 100 Member States that support UN operations on the ground have now signed voluntary compacts with us to tackle the issue, and I call on others to join them, fully assuming their responsibilities, in training, but also in ending impunity.
Further afield, we are continuing to invest in life-changing initiatives for millions of women and girls worldwide through the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. This Fund focuses on preventing violence, implementing laws and policies and improving access to vital services for survivors.
With more than 460 programmes in 139 countries and territories over the past two decades, the UN Trust Fund is making a difference. In particular, it is investing in women’s civil society organizations, one of the most important and effective investments we can make.
The UN is also working to deliver on a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder, innovative initiative to end all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 500-million-euro EU-UN Spotlight Initiative is an important step forward in this direction. As the largest-ever single investment in eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide, this initial contribution will address the rights and needs of women and girls across 25 countries and five regions.

It will empower survivors and advocates to share their stories and become agents of change in their homes, communities and countries. A significant portion of the Spotlight’s initial investment will also go to civil society actors, including those that are reaching people often neglected by traditional aid efforts.
But even though this initial investment is significant, it is small given the scale of the need.
It should be seen as seed funding for a global movement in which we must play a role.
It is that global movement that we celebrate today, as we look forward to the coming 16 days devoted to ending gender-based violence. Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free of fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world.

Thank you very much.