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Youth’s Potential is world’s potential – Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Anotnio Guterres has acknowledged that young people’s potential is the world’s potential. Therefore, “We must do more to enable young people to shape the decisions affecting their lives.” He said in his message to the University of Lagos Model United Nations (LAGMUN) conference organised by the university in collaboration with the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos. Held 13 – 15 August 2018, at the University of Lagos, the conference was attended by 230 delegates from 11 universities across the nation.

In the message delivered by the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, the Secretary General noted that the world needs less hatred, more dialogue and deeper international cooperation; and added that empowering the world’s young people is also an imperative.

Earlier, Mr Kayanja congratulated the organising team of the conference and acknowledged the importance of the conference theme: ‘Innovation and Collective Action Towards Achieving the SDGs’.

He explained that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)“ are aimed at People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. Emphasising the need for reduced inequality, he said, “It is dangerous and counterproductive to have an island of prosperity in a sea of poverty. As a delegate to this Lagos Model United Nations (LAGMUN) conference, you are a global citizen and therefore should be concerned about what happens in other regions of the world.”

Speaking in the same vein, the keynote speaker, Prof Ademola Abass, in his paper titled, ‘Innovation and Collective Action Towards Achieving the SDGs’, advocated for collective action towards national development and urged the delegates to be involved in activities happening around them.

“Success of the SDGs rests with all of us. Do not expect others to change the situation or change the world, you have got to change it yourself.” He added.

 

Young people need safe spaces to pursue their dreams – Guterres

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has emphasised that the world’s young people need safe spaces: public, civic, physical and digital spaces where they can freely express their views and pursue their dreams.

“In making the world safe for young people, we make the world better for all,” the Secretary General explained, “We must invest so that young people have access to education, training and decent jobs to achieve their full potential.”

He said this on the occasion of International Youth Day 2018 event organised by the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos; United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Strategy for Mentoring Initiative & Leadership Empowerment (S.M.I.L.E), on Saturday 11 August 2018, at University of Lagos Akoka Lagos.

He acknowledged that the hopes of the world rest on young people; and emphasised that the United Nations is strongly committed to listening to the voices of young people and opening pathways for meaningful participation in decisions that affect them.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Her Excellency, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, in her goodwill message, noted that youth activism is on the rise world over, particularly via social media due to broader connectivity and accessibility, therefore, their needs must be attended to. It is in the light of this, according to her, that President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrated its support to youth participation in governance by signing into law the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ bill which is a landmark victory for Nigerian youth.

Princess Orelope-Adefulire who was represented by Mr Gbenga Akinbayo, expressed her trust that activities of 2018 International Youth Day would complement efforts of the Federal Government in youth development.

The Youth Day observance featured three discussion panels under the central theme: “Safe spaces for youth”. The first panel discussed ‘Safe spaces for youth online; the second panel discussed the sub-theme, Youth Involvement in the Civic Space‘; while the third panel discussed ‘Improving Youth Well-being’.

Discussing the Safe spaces for youth online, the Communication Lead of Microsoft Nigeria, Mr Oluwamuyemi Orimolade, emphasised that “The future of the world is technology and technology drives the future; and the future is now.”

He posited further that more people would lose their jobs while more jobs would be created. “Position yourself now and be prepared for the future.” He added.

In her remarks, the Ms Jaiyeola Ayanbadejo of UNFPA, acknowledged that the hope of the world lies with young people of whom more than 400 million live amidst armed conflict or organized violence; and millions face deprivation, harassment, bullying and other infringements of their rights. She enjoined all to make the world safe for young people to make the world better for all.

The President of S.M.I.L.E, Mrs Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins, in her closing remarks, called on governments, private sector, development partners, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to encourage youth innovation and creativity as a driver of national development.

Addressing the press at the event, the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, explained that the 2018 theme recognises that youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves.

According to him, “Safe spaces ensure the dignity and safety of youth.  Safe spaces such as civic spaces enable youth to engage in governance issues; public spaces afford youth the opportunity to participate in sports and other leisure activities in the community; digital spaces help youth interact virtually across borders with everyone; and well planned physical spaces can help accommodate the needs of diverse youth especially those vulnerable to marginalization or violence.”

The event was also attended by the South Africa’s Consul-General in Lagos, Mr Darkey Afrika. International Youth Day is marked on 12 August every year.

UN, South African Consulate, Partners Mark Nelson Mandela Day

‘’Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us- if we believe, dream and work together for justice and humanity; a man of towering achievement who worked tirelessly for peace , equitable development and human dignity indeed one of the greatest leaders of our time. His life and work embodied the ideals of a democratic, free and equal society. It is therefore a day to reflect on the life and work of a legend who embodied the highest values of the United Nations’’ remarked the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr. Ronald Kayanja in his address at the Lecture organised on Monday 16 July 2018, by United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in collaboration with South Africa High Commission and Nigeria Institute for International Affairs (NIIA) as part of activities to mark the Nelson Mandela International Day (Centenary Celebration).

Mr Darkey Africa, the Consular General of the South Africa High Commission in Lagos, speaking at the event highlighted his brief encounter with Nelson Mandela and stressed that the legacy of Nelson Mandela resonates beyond the shores of Africa.

Nobel Laurette for Literature, Prof Wole Soyinka, recalled his personal encounter with Nelson Mandela describing him as an embodiment of humanism, service and leadership, humble, simple, unpretentious, determined and diligent.

At a similar event organised on Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, by UNIC, United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN) and Freedom Park Lagos, participants did a mandatory 67 minutes community service which involved cleaning of the park.

The Director of UNIC, Mr. Ronald Kayanja welcomed all guests and thanked UNAN for organizing the event in honour of Nelson Mandela. The South African Consulate General represented by Mr. Azwianewi Mbedzi in his address reminded all present about the meaningful contributions of Madiba to the world and that the objective of his commemoration is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better.

Gen. Ishola Williams (rtd) the Chairman of the event, paid tribute to Nelson Mandela by highlighting some of his services to mankind. He urged everyone to continue to uphold the legacy of Mandela who is an embodiment of peace, integrity, human dignity and indeed a great man.

Dr Babafemi Badejo the keynote speaker expressed his happiness about the fact that the whole world has set aside today to honor and recalibrate the life and achievements of Nelson Mandela. According to him, it is better to lead from behind and put others in front; however, good leaders take the front line when there is crisis. Mandela’s values included freedom, justice, diversity, equality, forgiveness, love and peace.

The Director of Freedom Park, Ms Aboaba Iyabo paid tribute to Nelson Mandela; describing him as a man of integrity and called on African leaders to provide the kind of leadership Mandela displayed.

Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, DG (NACCIMA), and other eminent personalities were present at the event. The celebration featured video clips, poems and a short drama on Mandela by students, and a cultural performance by Squad 1 Group.

UN Stands with you – Guterres Assures Youth At Ife Model UN

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, has assured young people around the world of the United Nations support for a brighter future. “As you stand up for our shared values, the United Nations stands with you.” He said in his message to the first Obafemi Awolowo University Model United Nations (IFEMUN) conference held 21-23 June 2018 and organised by the University in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC).

The conference which attracted over 250 delegates from Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa, was a three-day of networking and diplomacy in practice as students assumed roles of Ambassadors of UN Member States, and simulated the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.  In the message read by the National Information Officer of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun, the Secretary General emphasised that “We must do more to enable young people to shape the decisions affecting their lives. Empowering the world’s young people is also an imperative. Your potential is the world’s potential.”  Mr Guterres called for less hatred, more dialogue and deeper international cooperation. According to him, “Multilateralism is more important than ever.”

Speaking, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede, reiterated the commitment of the university administration to supporting value-adding activities amongst the students. The Model United Nations (MUN), according to him, is a platform for students of Political Science, International Relations, International Law and the social sciences in general, to express themselves and manifest their potentials.

He urged all delegates to be diligent in their roles as ambassadors of their assigned countries for the conference. “Make new friends, learn more about diplomacy and enjoy the hospitality of OAU, Ile-Ife.” He added.

The Chairman of the Conference Planning Committee, Prof Charles Ukeje, in his message, thanked UNIC for its support to the University in organising the first IFEMUN conference and commended the students for their commitment and determination to ensuring a successful conference.  He urge

Speaking at the closing ceremony on Saturday, 23 June 2018, Dr Soremekun explained that UNIC Lagos got aggressively involved in Model UN following the launch of UN4MUN by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), New York, to teach MUN teams how to bring their simulations more in line with the way the UN actually works. According to him, many MUNs across the world do not follow the actual rules and practices used at the UN. “It, therefore, became imperative for UNIC Lagos, being the field office of UN-DPI in Nigeria, to ensure quality of MUN conferences in terms of adherence to the rules of procedures of how a typical UN General Assembly, for instance, conducts its affairs.

The National Information Officer added that “Model United Nations (MUN) simulations are popular exercises for those interested in learning more about the UN. It is estimated that more than 400,000 students worldwide participate every year in MUN at all educational levels – from primary school to university. Many of today’s leaders in law, government, business and the arts participated in MUN as students.”

Addressing the delegates, the Secretary General of IFEMUN 2018, Mr Patrick Ojunde, expressed his delight about the quality of discussion by the delegates and expressed his expectation of a better IFEMUN conference next year.

The President of the General Assembly at IFEMUN 2018 conference, Mr Chimezie Judemary Udechukwu, brought the conference to a close at about 5 pm on Saturday 23 June 2018 and adjourned till IFEMUN 2019.

Other facilitators and Committee Chairs at the conference included Mr Adama Joshua Ugbede; Mr Kehinde Odanye; Ms Cynthia Akhagbeme Simeon; Ms Damilola Ifeoluwa Kehinde; Mr Daniel Obiyo; and Ms Daberechi Jewel Ike-Obioha.

We Need Less Hatred – Guterres

“We need less hatred, more dialogue and deeper international cooperation. Multilateralism is more important than ever. Empowering the world’s young people is also an imperative.” This was said by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message to the first Obafemi Awolowo University Model United Nations (IFEMUN) conference which started on Thursday 21 June 2018. In the message read by the National Information Officer of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun, the Secretary General emphasised that “We must do more to enable young people to shape the decisions affecting their lives. Your potential is the world’s potential. As you stand up for our shared values, the United Nations stands with you.”
Speaking, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede, reiterated the commitment of the university administration to supporting value-adding activities amongst the students and strengthen the international profile of the institution though the Model United Nations platform. He warmly welcomed all delegates, including those from outside Nigeria, to the conference.
The Chairman of the Conference Planning Committee, Prof Charles Ukeje, in his remarks thanked UNIC for its support and commended the students for their commitment to hosting the conference.

Respect Each Other’s Rights – UN tells Nigerians

As part of activities commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has organised a Human Rights commitment ceremony which entailed signing of the Human Rights Pledge board by dignitaries and others. Speaking on the occasion, the National Information Officer of the UNIC Lagos, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun, called on Nigerians to respect each other’s rights regardless of their differences in language, faith, tribe, geographical location or political affiliation.

According to Dr Soremekun, the UDHR recognises all human beings as equal and enjoins them to act towards one another in the spirit of brotherhood. “If everyone respects the other’s rights, the world would be a better place to live.” He noted.

The UDHR, he explained, is the most translated documents in the world having been translated into over 500 languages. “In Nigeria, the UDHR has been translated into Edo, Efik, Ibibio, Hausa, Igbo, Kanuri Yerwa, Tiv, Yoruba and Pidgin English. We have also finalised the translation into Ijaw and  Idoma languages.” He emphasised, “To demonstrate our commitment to inclusiveness, UNIC Lagos has also produced the world’s first complete braille version of the UDHR, which we launched in Abuja in December 2018.”

Dr Soremekun added that the activities marking the 70th anniversary of the UDHR was aimed at promoting the rights enshrined in the Declaration and what the UDHR means in our daily lives; Engaging broad audiences across the country and mobilise people for human rights; as well as reflecting on progress and challenges, and ways that each of us can stand up for human rights.

He therefore led the audience to make the Human Rights Pledge: “I will respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even I disagree with you. When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined, so I will stand up; I will raise my voice; I will take action; I will use my right to stand up for your rights.”

In his remarks, the Zonal Coordinator of the National Human Rights Commission, South West, Mr Lucas Koyejo, urged the audience who were mainly students, to pay more attention to the provisions of the UDHR, and make conscious efforts to understand and uphold the 30 Articles in the document.

Mrs Tola Akinsanya, representing the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, observed that Human Rights have evolved and classified into first, second and third generation rights, some of which have necessitated sheer political will to ensure full implementation.  According to her, Lagos State remains committed to ensuring that human rights are upheld and access to justice moves from a slogan to reality. She added that the Human Rights pledge would be a catalyst for the enforcement of human rights in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.

The President of Women Arise, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, in her remarks, charged the audience to “stand up for your rights even if you are standing alone.” “Raise your voice, take action. Your right is your right.” She reminded those who trampled on others’ rights to always remember that one day they would have their day in courts.

The Head of the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Kwasi Amankwaah emphasised that Human Rights is everybody’s business and “it begins with you”, he added.

The dignitaries and representatives of schools present, took turn to sign the ‘Human Rights Pledge Board’.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the end of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the end of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)

The Secretary-General welcomes the successful conclusion of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on 30 March 2018. 

 
The Secretary-General congratulates the people and Government of Liberia for their determination to turn the page on crisis and conflict. He commends the Government’s continued efforts to ensure sustained peace and sustainable development in Liberia.
 
As UN Peacekeeping departs Liberia, the Secretary-General appreciates the essential contributions of all partners in the Liberian peace process over the years, particularly the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), whose green helmets laid the foundation for United Nations peacekeepers in Liberia.
 
The Secretary-General is appreciative of the excellent leadership of his Special Representative for Liberia, Farid Zarif, thanks all previous leaders of the Mission, and pays tribute to all uniformed and civilian personnel who served with UNMIL. The Secretary-General expresses his profound respect to the memory of the 202 peacekeepers who lost their lives in the service of peace during the nearly 15 years the Mission was deployed in Liberia. He expresses his gratitude to all troop- and police-contributing countries.  
 
The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations family present in Liberia to continuing to support the Government with the implementation of outstanding reform activities with a view to ensuring that the hard-won peace can be sustained and the country and its people will continue to progress and thrive. 
 
Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General
New York, 30 March 2018

‘Responsibility to protect’ reforms UN Peacekeeping Operations – Kayanja

“The introduction of the responsibility to protect in the United Nations Peacekeeping rules of engagement was a major reform in the UN Peace Keeping Operations.” This assertion was made on Wednesday, 14 February 2018, by the Director of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja, while engaging International Relations and Political Science students of Covenant University on the topic, “The International Peace Architecture: Challenges for the 21st Century” during their ‘Town and Gown’ lecture.

According to him, following the tragedy of the genocide in Rwanda, the doctrine of responsibility to protect was introduced and it revolutionised UN peacekeeping operations, and saved millions of lives.

Explaining the contribution of the UN to global peace and security, Mr Kayanja noted that the number of wars around the world has decreased as more countries embraced democratic governance; and voices of youth and the marginalised are getting heard.

He noted that Chapter IV of the UN Charter deals with actions with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression. This Chapter, according to him, gives the Security Council where it deems necessary “to take action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security” using forces of Member States but under UN Command.

The Head of Department of International Relations and Political Science, Dr Oluyemi Fayomi, in her welcome address, thanked the UNIC Director and his team which included the National Information Officer, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun, and urged the students to tap from Mr Kayanja’s experience.

The Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ Message on The International Day of Zero Tolerance For Female Genital Mutilation (6 February)

Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of the human rights of women and girls.

Over 200 million women and girls alive today have experienced female genital mutilation in 30 countries across three continents.

Without concerted, accelerated action, a further 68 million girls could be subjected to this harmful practice by 2030.

With strong political engagement, we are seeing success in several countries. But this progress is not enough to keep up with population growth. Unless we act now, the number of cases will continue to rise.

Sustainable development cannot be achieved without full respect for the human rights of women and girls. Sustainable Development Goal 5, with a focus on gender equality, calls for the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030.

Together with the European Union, the United Nations has launched the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year undertaking that aims to create strong partnerships and align efforts to end all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation.

With the dignity, health and well-being of millions of girls at stake, there is no time to waste. Together, we can and must end this harmful practice.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ Message On The Olympic Truce For The Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games And Paralympic Winter Games

In one week’s time, the world will gather in PyeongChang in the Republic of Korea, united by the Olympic Spirit: in solidarity; mutual respect; and friendly competition.

The Olympics and Paralympics showcase the best of the world’s athletic achievements, and the best of humanity.

The Olympic Truce, which dates back to Ancient Greece, allows for the safe travel of athletes and spectators, and demands peace among participants during the period when the games take place.

Its fundamental message is that our common humanity can transcend political differences.

This ideal has more resonance than ever on the Korean peninsula.

I call on all parties to conflict to observe the Olympic Truce during the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Let the Olympic Flame shine as a beacon to human solidarity.

Let the Olympic Truce help spread a culture of peace.