Imbibe the Culture of Peace – UNIC enjoins Nigerians

The National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria, Oluseyi Soremekun, has enjoined Nigerians to imbibe the culture of peace and noted that “Peace is sacrosanct and non-negotiable. Everyone needs to imbibe the culture of peace by upholding mutual trust and respect for one another.”

He said this while speaking at a workout tagged, “Sweat4Peace” organised by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Galaxy4Peace, in collaboration with UNIC as part of the countdown activities to mark the International Day of Peace (21 September). The event held at the Federal College of Education (Technical) Akoka Lagos was attended by over 150 people.

Explaining this year’s theme: ‘Together for Peace: Respect, safety and dignity for all’, Soremekun  explained that the theme honours the spirit of TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life. “It also encourages everyone to work together for peace and uphold mutual respect for one another. He explained.

Citing the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the National Information Officer said, “In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats. We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbours as ‘the other’. Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential.” He added, “Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights. Together, let us build bridges. Together, let us transform fear into hope.”

Soremekun further noted that peace was at the centre of development, from the family level to the global stage. According to him, without peace, none of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could be achieved.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres congratulates new President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has congratulated the new President of the General Assembly, Mr Miroslav Lajčák. “He and I have had good discussions in recent months about our shared hopes for this session. I have no doubt the Assembly is in very capable hands.” Mr Guterres said in his remarks at opening of the 72nd session of the General Assembly in New York, on 12 September 2017.

His experience, his vision and his wisdom, are recognised by all of us that have the privilege to know him. I also welcome President Lajčák’s choice of theme for the year to come: “Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet”. The Secretary General’s statement reads further:

I look forward to working together for progress on all our areas of work.

Our world faces serious threats — from the proliferation of nuclear weapons to global terrorism, from climate change to inequality.  

We also face major challenges, from migration to the unintended consequences of technological advances, such as cyber attacks.

People around the world are rightly demanding change and looking for governments and institutions to deliver.  

We all agree that the United Nations must do even more to adapt and deliver.  That is the aim of the reform proposals that this Assembly will consider.  

I look forward to working with you, distinguished delegates, to strengthen our Organization to better support the Member States and to produce better results for the people we serve.

One key change, within and beyond the United Nations, must be to empower the world’s women and girls.

Yesterday, I launched a roadmap for achieving gender parity throughout the United Nations, at all levels.  I appeal to you to put forward women candidates for vacancies.  Parity at the UN will improve performance at the UN.

Despite today’s conflicts and the grinding daily impact of poverty, I remain convinced that this is far more an era of transformational potential.

May the 72nd session of the General Assembly take bold steps to seize those opportunities as we continue to serve “we the peoples”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ Remarks at Closing of the 71st Session of the General Assembly

Mr. President,
Excellencies,
Let me begin with a warm and heartfelt thank you to President of the 71st session of the General Assembly Peter Thompson.
Thank you for your vision.  Thank you for your energy.  Thank you for your unmistakable assertive voice that may have given some of us flashbacks to our grammar school principals!

But most of all thank you for helping to steer the Member States to a solid record of achievement over the past year.
Day in and day out, you brought us together.
That spirit of unity has particular meaning today, the 16th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and other targets.

This was an assault on the United States.  But so many of our Member States saw their citizens murdered that day.
I know you join me in expressing our sorrow and solidarity on this day.
Excellencies,

In looking back over the work of the 71st session of the Assembly, I see many highlights.
Last September’s high level meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants adopted the landmark New York Declaration, pointing the way towards compassionate and people-centred ways to address this challenge.

The resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of operational activities for development set the stage for re-positioning the United Nations to better support countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Assembly also took other important steps to advance the 2030 Agenda, including the establishment of the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries and the adoption of the indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets.
President Thomson, I know you were especially pleased to convene the Ocean Conference in June.  This was a timely exercise that has helped to raise awareness about the need to sustainably use the world’s marine resources.

It also showed the big impact that small island developing states such as Fiji can have in shaping the international agenda and providing solutions for shared problems.
Over the past year the Assembly continued to serve as a forum for pressing global issues, from human trafficking to antimicrobial resistance.  I have been pleased to see the doors of the Assembly opening ever wider to vital partners such as civil society, the private sector and, above all, young people.

Of course, the past Assembly also took up the task of selecting a new Secretary-General.  With new features such as candidate dialogues and vision statements, that process has established new standards of transparency and interactivity.  It is an honour to have gained your trust and to be sitting here today.  I thank you as well for approving my proposal to establish the Office of Counter-Terrorism — a key element in the reforms that I have set in motion.
Excellencies,

To all the Member States, congratulations on a productive 71st session.
To Ambassador Thomson, you once said that you wanted your tenure to be measured by how good a start we get in implementing the 2030 Agenda.  By that yardstick and many others, you can be very proud of your accomplishments.
Finally, to the incoming President Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, we look forward to working with you to build on the 71st session and make the 72nd session a great success in serving the world’s people.

Thank you.

UN Secretary General calls for surge in diplomacy for peace as UNILAG holds Model United Nations (MUN)

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, has called for a surge in diplomacy for peace and for a new emphasis on preventing conflicts.  “We are also working to improve living conditions everywhere through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” he said in his message to the Lagos Model United Nations (LMUN) 2017 organised by University of Lagos (UNILAG) in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos Nigeria.

The LMUN held 13 – 15 July 2017, had the theme, “Innovation, Development, and Diversity for Global Sustainability” and was attended by 200 delegates from 14 Universities in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Mr Guterres noted that “All parents want a better life for their children.  All religions value peace.  All communities thrive when they value diversity”. “Today”, he continued, “people around the world are inter-connected.  Conflict, environmental destruction, poverty and injustice affect everyone.  We have to work in common cause for our common humanity.”

He urged the delegates to follow the UN social media accounts and stay fully engaged in their communities.  “Together, let us create a more compassionate, inclusive and peaceful world”. The Secretary General added in the message read by UNIC Lagos Knowledge Management Assistant, Ms Bolanle Olumekor.

Addressing the delegates, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, noted  that the Lagos Model United Nations is “essential in preparing our minds on the need to achieve global peace and prosperity through your simulation of global actions by modelling the UN through your Committees.”

Represented by the Acting Director, Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Abiodun Richards Adejola, the Minister explained that simulation in communication skills, diplomacy, public speaking, resolution writing, international law and politics as well as trade relations would assist in understanding the overall objectives of the United Nations, its rules of procedure and its modus operandi.

The Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Professor Ademola Abass, in his speech urged the delegates to read more in order to learn more. “Among the benefits that learning offers is that you get to critically analyse your knowledge and take it even further,” he noted.

Mr Onyeama explained further that the future of this country and the world rests in the ability of the delegates to look inwards and outwards for ways they can reinvent the wheel positively, to actively challenge old traditions and models that do not necessarily translate into this era, to explore the ways they can marshal the amount of time spent with technology for good.”

The Dean Faculty of Law, UNILAG, Prof Ayodele Atsenuwa, thanked the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and other partners for ensuring the success of the LMUN. She emphasised the commitment of the student-organisers for their drive.

The Secretary General of the LMUN, Mr Aliu Gabriel, in his message, urged delegates during committee sessions to foster innovative ideas towards addressing some of the prevailing issues around the world.

Add vocational skills to your education – UNIC urges youth

The National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Oluseyi Soremekun, has called on Nigerian youth to add vocational skills acquisition to their formal education in order to be marketable, employable and economically sustainable for a secured future.

He made this call while speaking at the 2017 World Youth Skills Day observance organised on Friday 14 July 2015 by Yes-I-Believe Academy (YIBA) in collaboration with UNIC. Expressing concern at the high number of unemployed youth, the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2014, designated 15 July as World Youth Skills Day. The theme for this year’s observance is “Skills for the Future of Work”.

World Youth Skills Day, Soremekun disclosed, is in recognition of the fact that fostering the acquisition of skills by youth would enhance their ability to make informed choices with regard to life and work and empower them to gain access to changing labour markets.

He explained that education and training are key determinants of success in the labour market. Skills and jobs for youth feature prominently in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 4.4 calls for a substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills.

The National Information Officer noted that “Everyone has inborn skills. No one is empty and useless. Identify your passion, your skill area and seek help to develop it and be a master of your future. Your future lies in your hands. Acquire a skill today.”

Explaining the reason for youth unemployment, the National Information Officer explained, “One reason for youth unemployment is structural unemployment, a mismatch between the skills that workers in the economy can offer and the skills demanded of workers by employers. Structural unemployment affects all regions around the world and it impacts not only economies but also hampers the transition to equitable and inclusive societies envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Speaking at the event, Mrs Nneoma Effanga, a Makeup expert, urged the youths to shun idleness and develop their talents which might not be related to their course of studies. Such a step, she said, might be that which would secure their future.

Stressing the importance of skills acquisition, the Executive Director of YIBA, Mr Niyi Adekunle, declared that no vocational skill is demeaning. He urged the participants who were mainly students of Yaba College of Technology, not to treat vocational skills training with contempt as it might be a saving grace for some even after their graduation from other fields.

The programme also featured exhibition of vocational skills products and some practical sessions featuring wire-works, shoes, make-up kits and application, art-works and soft-furniture among others.

Facilitators of the practical session included Mr Akinwande Ademosu (Motivational Speaker); Mrs Oreoluwa Solana (Crystal Design); Mr Gbenga Ogundimu (Shoe Maker); Mrs Oyebola Jennifer (Art work) Ms Opeyemi Olowoporoku (Beads Making) and Mrs Busola Oluwatimileyin (Interior Design).

 

UNIC, LCCI hold first MSMEs Day, calls for increased support to MSMEs

Following the United Nations General Assembly resolution of 6 April 2017 designating 27 June as Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Day in recognition of the need to improve small business access to microfinance and credit, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria in collaboration with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), on 28 June 2017 held the first ever observance of MSMEs Day at the Commerce House Lagos Nigeria. The event was attended by 110 stakeholders including media.

Addressing the participants, the Director of UNIC, Mr Ronald Kayanja, who was represented by the National Information Officer, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, advocated increased support to MSMEs in Nigeria. “The goal of MSME Day is to raise public awareness of the contribution of Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to sustainable development and advocate for and provide increased support to MSMEs.” He noted. “Micro-, small and medium enterprises”, Mr Kayanja explained further, “are the first responders to societal needs. They are responsible for significant employment and income generation opportunities across the world and have been identified as a major driver of poverty alleviation and development.”

The Director emphasized that MSMEs tend to employ a larger share of the vulnerable sectors of the workforce, such as women, youth, and people from poorer households; and “Efforts to enhance access to finance for SMEs across key sectors of national economies are an important element of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

He added that SDG targets 8.3 and 9.3 called for enhancing the access of SMEs to financial services. In addition, SMEs are an important element in the implementation of SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure).

In her remarks on the occasion, the President of LCCI, Dr (Mrs) Nike Akande, observed that the major challenges facing MSMEs in Nigeria include poor access to credit; lack of bankable business plans, competitive marketing strategy, standard accounting systems as well as dearth of requisite vocational and technical skills, inadequate infrastructure, unstable policy and regulatory environment.

She called for a stable policy and regulatory environment that supports the reforms on the ease of doing business in Nigeria. Similarly, Dr Akande recommended that the issues of taxation, trade and foreign exchange policies should be managed in line with international best practices.

UNIC Trains Lagos Model United Nations (MUN) Organisers, Stresses Accuracy of Simulations

In promoting Model United Nations (MUN) simulations that accurately represent how the United Nations actually functions, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria, has organised a training workshop for organisers of the University of Lagos Model United Nations.

Conducting the training held today at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, the UNIC National Information Officer, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, explained the structure of the UN and the procedures and processes used for reaching decisions, as well as guidance on how to prepare for MUN conferences.

He disclosed that it had become imperative for the United Nations to provide technical support to organisers of MUN as up to 99% of MUN simulations around the world are not reflective of how the United Nations works.

“If you are organising a MUN simulation, then it must mirror the UN processes and procedures of deliberation and decision making. If the simulation deviates from the reality, then it is not MUN and should not be regarded as such.” He declared.

Mr Soremekun enjoined the participants who included students and faculty advisors to take MUN quality control very seriously and added that the UN Information Centre would continue to support MUN organisers around the country.

The training workshop was preparatory to the Lagos Model United Nations organised in partnership with UNIC and scheduled to hold at the University of Lagos from 13-15 July 2017.

UNIC Trains Lagos Model United Nations (MUN) Organisers, Stresses Accuracy of Simulations

In promoting Model United Nations (MUN) simulations that accurately represent how the United Nations actually functions, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria, has organised a training workshop for organisers of the University of Lagos Model United Nations.
Conducting the training held today at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, the UNIC National Information Officer, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, explained the structure of the UN and the procedures and processes used for reaching decisions, as well as guidance on how to prepare for MUN conferences.
He disclosed that it had become imperative for the United Nations to provide technical support to organisers of MUN as up to 99% of MUN simulations around the world are not reflective of how the United Nations works.
“If you are organising a MUN simulation, then it must mirror the UN processes and procedures of deliberation and decision making. If the simulation deviates from the reality, then it is not MUN and should not be regarded as such.” He declared.
Mr Soremekun enjoined the participants who included students and faculty advisors to take MUN quality control very seriously and added that the UN Information Centre would continue to support MUN organisers around the country.
The training workshop was preparatory to the Lagos Model United Nations organised in partnership with UNIC and scheduled to hold at the University of Lagos from 13-15 July 2017.

Replace Fear with Kindness – UN Secretary General

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has encouraged the world to replace fear with kindness in a message on the 100 Days countdown to the International Day of Peace.
In preparation for the International Day of Peace which is observed every year on the 21st of September, he encouraged the world to embrace peace as he restated his appeal for peace which he made upon assuming duties as Secretary General in January 2017.
The Secretary General stated that “the International Day of Peace embodies our shared aspiration to end the needless suffering caused by armed conflict”. He identified the day as a moment for the peoples of the world to acknowledge the ties that bind them together, irrespective of their countries.
Mr Guterres explained that there is more to achieving peace than the laying down of arms. He said “True peace involves building bridges, combating discrimination and standing up for the human rights of all the world’s people”. He went on to explain the theme for this year’s International day of Peace. According to Mr Guterres, the theme, which “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” is focused in particular on the plight of refugees and migrants all over the world. He asserted that the obligation of the international community is to ensure that all the people forced to flee their homes receive the protection they are entitled to under international law. He said “Our duty as a human family is to replace fear with kindness”.
He urged the world to remember in the next hundred days that “millions of vulnerable members of society need our understanding and assistance.” He stated that we should all strategize together about what we can do to help them, and recognize the many ways in which they contribute to and strengthen their host countries.
Mr Guterres added the need to redouble efforts in addressing the root causes of conflict, advance work for the Sustainable Development Goals, and heighten emphasis on preventing violence in the first place.

UN Human Rights Office clarifies error on Nigeria

A spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday explained why a reference to Nigeria in the High Commissioner’s keynote speech to the Human Rights Council was deleted shortly after it was delivered in Geneva on Tuesday.

“Regrettably, because of a technical error with our databases, the reference to Nigeria in the original speech stated incorrectly that one visit by Special Procedures was accepted last year, and that the last previous visit before that was in 2007,” said the High Commissioner’s Spokesperson Rupert Colville. “In fact, four mandate holders visited Nigeria last year, in two separate visits, and another visit had occurred two years earlier. We corrected the error as soon as it was brought to our attention, and a new version of the speech, without the incorrect reference to Nigeria, was posted on our website.”

In January 2016, there was a joint visit by three Special Rapporteurs (on the right to health; on contemporary forms of slavery; and on sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution). This was followed in August 2016 by a separate visit by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons.

The February 2104 visit was by the Independent Expert on minority issues. The term ‘Special Procedures’ is applied to a category of independent UN human rights experts, numbering 57 in total.  Most of them are Special Rapporteurs, but they also include some Working Groups and Independent Experts.

To see the corrected version of the High Commissioner’s speech to the Human Rights Council go to: www.ohchr.org