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

United Nations calls for tolerance to promote peace in Nigeria

The United Nations has noted with concern media reports of an ultimatum issued by northern youth groups during a press briefing held at Arewa House on Tuesday 6th June 2017 in Kaduna calling for all Igbos to leave Northern Nigeria by 1st October 2017. This follows a sit-down-strike in the five States of South East Nigeria on 30th May purportedly meant to observe the 50th anniversary of Biafra.

‘We have to work together to resolve peacefully any concerns that different groups in the country may have,’ says the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria Mr. Edward Kallon. ‘I am heartened by reactions of leaders from all over the country condemning this ultimatum.’

The United Nations calls for tolerance and a spirit of togetherness in transparency to address the concerns of all the citizens in a peaceful manner, while ensuring that no one is left behind in the quest for sustainable development. The UN further urges especially cultural and religious leaders to play their part in guiding the youth to settle differences peacefully, while also calling for the re-invigoration of the National Peace Committee which worked tirelessly during the elections period in 2015 to play a role and address the current concerns that impinge on the peace of the country.

Nigeria is a great country with immense potential to build the welfare of its population and lead Africa in meeting the sustainable development goals. This can only be achieved in an atmosphere of the rule of law and peace, where all citizens live happily irrespective of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.

‘I commend the Federal and State Governments, youth and civil society leaders, security agencies, cultural and religious leaders for their efforts to promote peace in the country.’ Said Mr. Edward Kallon. ‘And the UN is ready to continue supporting Nigeria to build an enduring democracy in peace, prosperity and respect for diversity.’

For more information please contact Ronald Kayanja (kayanjar@un.org)

Take steps to sustainably manage and protect the ocean – Kayanja

Ahead of the United Nations Ocean Conference scheduled to hold from 5 – 9 June 2017 in New York, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has called for steps to sustainably manage, protect and conserve marine and coastal ecosystems.

He said this at the Ocean Conference pre-summit dialogue organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in collaboration with Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), FABE International and others, held on 31 May 2017 at Victoria Island Lagos.

Mr Kayanja who was represented by the National Information Officer of UNIC, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, explained that “We will have to reduce emissions that are causing changes in our oceans, as well as take measures that build resilience to the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change, such as sea level rise.”

He called for urgent action to reduce land-based pollution, which accounts for 80 per cent of marine pollution, including by reducing agricultural run-off that ultimately ends up in the oceans and causes ‘dead zones’.

In his welcome address, the Executive Director of NIOMR, Dr Gbola Akande expressed concern about the growing acidification of the ocean and the attendant social and economic impacts.

Other activities organised to sensitise the public about the Ocean conference and the need to protect the ocean included beach clean-up exercise, seafoods cooking competition and exhibition of products made from debris recovered from the ocean.

The beach clean-up exercise held at Magbon-Alade beach Lagos on Tuesday, 30 May 2017, had about 100 ocean advocates and community members in attendance. Clad in T-shirts branded, “Our Ocean, our future”, and equipped with rakes, garden gloves and trash bags, they recovered kilograms of debris from the shoreline.

Speaking at the beach, Mr Soremekun urged the Magbon-Alade community members to use the ocean sustainably. He enjoined them to desist from dumping refuse and debris into the ocean, which according to him, could affect the marine life.

UNIC, partners hold seminar, arts competition to mark No-Tobacco Day

As the global community marked the World No-Tobacco Day on Wednesday, 31 May 2017, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) and the United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN) have organised a symposium, students arts competition and exhibition, to highlight the health and additional risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

In his message, the Regional Director for the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, has called upon Member States to include tobacco control in their national policies, plans and SDG implementation frameworks. “Countries should fully implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco (WHO FCTC), including raising tobacco taxes to reduce demand for tobacco.” He continued, “The revenue generated for governments can be used to finance universal health coverage, health promotion as well as other development programmes.”

Dr Moeti’s message which was read by read by Dr Meimuna Esan of WHO Lagos Office, also urged individuals to help make a sustainable, tobacco-free world, either by never using tobacco products, or by quitting the habit. Protect your health and that of people exposed to second-hand smoke, including children, other family members and friends.

Welcoming the participants, the President of the Nigerian Heart Foundation, Mrs Francesca Emmanuel (CON), acknowledged that “We are overwhelmed by the threats that tobacco industry poses to the sustainable development of all countries, including the health and economic well-being of our citizens, especially our young population.”

She added that everyone should work towards a sustainable tobacco-free Nigeria through the collaboration of government, private sector, international organisations and the civil society.

Discussing the 2017 theme, “Tobacco: A threat to development”, the representative of UNAN, Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, explained that tobacco control could break the cycle of poverty, contribute to ending hunger, promote sustainable agriculture and economic growth, and combat climate change.

According to him, “Tobacco control has been enshrined in the Sustainable Development Agenda. It is seen as one of the most effective means to help achieve SDG target 3.4 of a one-third reduction globally, by 2030, of premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, cancers and chronic obstructed pulmonary disease.”

Ambassador Olukanni called for increased taxes on tobacco products, which he said could be used to finance universal health coverage and other development programs of the government.

In his goodwill message, representative of Youth Action on Tobacco Control and Health (YATCH), Mr Seye Omiyefa noted that every year, Nigeria loses all cadres of manpower and all categories of statesmen and leaders as a direct result of preventable tobacco-related deaths. He warned that “Nigeria is at the risk of losing its workforce if urgent steps are not taken by the government.”

The event, which was attended by students from seven Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in Lagos featured exhibition of artworks submitted by the students for the No-Tobacco Arts competition. The best artwork attracted a bicycle as the prize and it was won by Lawal Ayobami, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) students of Debiruss college, Ajah Lagos.

Humanity benefits by listening, learning and working with Africans – UN Secretary-General declares

In commemoration of the Africa Day 2017, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, has declared that all of humanity would benefit by listening, learning and working with the people of Africa. “Africa”, he continued, “provides the majority of United Nations peacekeepers around the world. African nations are among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees.”

Mr Guterress in his message to mark the Day disclosed that the UN partnership with Africa is also rooted in a deep sense of gratitude. “Africa includes some of the world’s fastest growing economies.” He noted.

The Secretary General reaffirmed his commitment as a partner, friend and committed advocate for changing the narrative about the diverse and vital continent.

Mr Guterres added that “Crises represent at best a partial view.  But from a higher platform of cooperation, we can see the whole picture – one that recognizes the enormous potential and remarkable success stories throughout the African continent.”

UNIC Director calls for family-friendly policies for work environment

In observance of the 2017 International Day of Families, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has called for Policies that encourage corporate responsibility and family-friendly work environments. “Family-friendly policies, he continued, “are essential and have already been proved to improve workers’ productivity and dependability.”

Mr Kayanja made this call today in his opening address at the Africa Family Life Delegate Conference organised by Centre for Sex Education and Family Life. Addressing over 600 delegates at the conference, Mr Kayanja noted that the working conditions of parents affect their ability to play an active role in their children’s education. “The International Day of Families therefore, is a day to focus on needed policies to create a good nurturing environment at family level for children to grow. For parents to effectively play this important role of nurturers, they need time with their children as they grow up,” he explained.

Drawing inference from the conference theme, ‘The Role of Family Life Education in Transforming Africa’ which aligns with the global theme of the International Day, ‘Families, Education and Wellbeing’, the UNIC Director highlighted the crucial role of the family as the centre for early childhood education. “We know that the education a child is exposed to before reaching age 8 is a determinant of what type of person we will have in society. Parents, grandparents and relatives play a major role at this stage, as they work with early childhood teachers in elementary/ nursery schools.” He said.

Speaking, the First Lady of Lagos, Mrs Bolanle Ambode underscored the centrality of family to development and noted that ‘without family, no country; without country, no continent and no world.’ Represented by her Special Assistant, Dr Arinola Oluwo, the wife the Lagos State Governor explained that the only way to have a world of our dream was to fix the family.

Welcoming the participants, the Principal Consultant, Centre For Sex Education and Family Life, Mr Praise Fowowe, explained that a dysfunctional family system could not build a functional society. He called on everyone to commit to ‘creating and promoting an effective family life education that can deliver a developed family system which ultimately would deliver a developed society.’

Mr Fowowe added that the most important government may not be the government of a nation afterall; according to him, “the most important government is actually what we have coined the ‘Family Government’. We strongly believe that the Family Government is the production factory of the society and until we become intentional about the development of an effective family system, we may not witness a developed continent we so desire.”

In 1993, the UN General Assembly declared 1994 as the International Year of the family and also that 15 May each should be observed by all Member States as the International Day of Families. The General Assembly noted that ‘families are the fullest reflection, at grassroots level, of the strengths and weaknesses of the social and development welfare environment, and as such offer a uniquely comprehensive and synthesising approach to social issues.’ It was further observed that families, as basic units of social life, are major agents of sustainable development at all levels of society and that their contribution to that process is crucial to its success.

Road Safety is part of SDGs and should be promoted by all – Kayanja

“#SaveLives#SlowDown campaign relates to the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and should be driven by all.” These were the words of the Director, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, when members of the #SafeCross Campaign and UNIC engaged to promote the Fourth United Nations Global Road Safety Week. ‘Safety on the road’, he continued, ‘is the responsibility of all and therefore, should not be left alone for the government.’

This year, the #SaveLives week, observed from 8 – 12 May is sub-themed #SlowDown. According to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), the theme is based on statistics given that excessive or inappropriate speed contributes to one in every three road traffic fatalities worldwide. Yet, only 47 countries of the world follow good practice on one of the main speed management measures, that is implementing an urban speed limit of 50km/h or less and allowing local authorities to reduce these limits further on roads around schools, residences and businesses. Studies have also indicated that road traffic crashes remain the number one cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years.

Mr. Kayanja also applauded the role of the role of State and Federal government in installing speed and traffic management measures such as; Traffic lights, roundabouts, speed bumps, zebra crossings, establishing speed limits appropriate for every type road in the country.

Conveners of the #SafeCross campaign, Messrs Chuks Anyaduba and Utchay Odims emphasized that the campaign involved all road users, both the motorists and pedestrians, as the motorists were educated on the intricacies involved in driving while the pedestrians were also enlightened on their use of the road.

Mr Kayanja was later presented with the ‘#SaveLives#SlowDown campaign’ banner on which he and the National Information Officer of UNIC, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, also appended their signatures.