UN Secretary-General António Guterres seeks support for girl-child to reach their potentials

There is the need to uphold the equal rights, voices and influence of girls as they can be powerful agents of change, therefore nothing should keep them from participating fully in all areas of life.

Director, United Nations Information Centre, Mr Ronald Kayanja made this submission in Lagos at the Raising Girl Summit, an Initiative of the The Green Girl Company, Ltd, while delivering the 2019 message of the United Nations, Secretary General António Guterres

He stated that the day is set aside ‘to celebrate achievements by, with and for girls since the adoption of the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action – a comprehensive policy agenda for the empowerment of women and girls

According to the Secretary-General, to enable girl child reach her potential, excel in work place, there is the need for investment in 21st century skills, health, and safety.

Expressing delight that today, more than 1 billion girls younger than 18 are poised to take on the future as they are challenging stereotypes and breaking barriers.

‘Girls are organizing and leading movements to tackle issues such as child marriage, education inequality, violence and the climate crisis. As the theme of this year’s observance underscores, they are proving to be unscripted and unstoppable’.

He stated that across nearly 25 years, more girls have attended and completed school, fewer getting married or becoming mothers while still children themselves, and more gaining the skills they need to excel in the workplace.

The Secretary General, General António Guterres however advocated for concerted efforts and investments in their health, safety and 21st-century skills at ensuring that all girls reach their potential.

Messages were also released by Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem on the International Day of the Girl, 11 October, UN Women Executive Director,  Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for International Day of the Girl, 2019 and Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child,

Several stakeholders including, UNESCO,  GLOBAL Youth Leadership and Girl – Child Foundation Ibadan,  International Charitable Initiative for Girl Child and Woman Development Foundation, Seraphim Outreach,   Heart Minders, Alimosho Local Government, Soar Africa Foundation, Boundless Hands Africa, International Centre for Human Rights, Nonviolence and Safety Awareness and Youth for Human Rights International collaborated with United Nations Information Centre, UNIC, Nigeria to mark the day with several activities.

Mental Health Day: UN advocates stronger investments in services

Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Target 3.4 seeks that by 2030, there will be reduction by one third in premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promotion of mental health and well-being.

Within Target 3.4, however suicide rate is observed as indicator of premature mortality , therefore suicide is a global public health problem.

United Nation’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message to the commemoration of World Mental Health Day has however called for greater action on the parts of all stakeholders to tackle issues of mental health across the world.

According to him, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29, noting that mental health has been neglected for too long.

The UN Secretary-General pointed that stronger investment is needed as he expressed worry that ‘every 40 seconds someone makes the tragic decision that life is no longer worth living’

At the Commemoration of the event in the premises of the United Nations Information Centre, Nigeria, in Lagos, Experts and Stakeholders also expressed concern that suicide affects people of all age groups in all countries, and that 800 000 people die by suicide every year.

They also expressed concern that 79% of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries as there are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide.

Those who spoke at the event included representative of the World Health Organisation, Dr Memuna Esan, a Chief Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Mrs Funmi Akinola and Dr Olu Ajomale of the Lagos Mental Health Desk.

They unanimously advocate effective prevention measures that would restrict access to means of suicide, school-based interventions, follow-up care and community support and training of health workers in early identification and treatment of mental health cases

Low cost bricks converted from Plastic waste classroom

Frontier technologies offer answers to modern challenges in our cities- UN

Diverse challenges including waste management, energy among others face the modern society but the power and responsibility to shape the future of cities and towns lies in the hands of everyone.

The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, to this end, has called for steps to alter the way our cities function so that challenges associated with waste and energy among others can be addressed.

The UN Secretary General made the call in his message to this year’s World Habitat Day.

According to him, World Habitat Day, was to remind  “the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns in the face of rapid and unplanned urbanization which can generate or exacerbate many challenges, including the climate crisis”

He pointed that this year’s World Habitat Day is focused on  “the problem of waste and the potential of frontier technologies to transform waste into wealth”.

“World Habitat Day highlights the central role our cities and communities play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Well-planned and smartly managed cities can steer us towards inclusive growth and low-emission development.”

“Frontier technologies can offer better and cheaper answers to these daily challenges.   For example, automation and artificial intelligence can help sort recyclables more efficiently. Sensors in smart packaging can help reduce food waste, while other innovative technologies are turning organic waste into renewable energy and compost. And new materials – such as advanced biodegradable plastics – can reduce environmental impact.”

“We must reduce the amount of waste we produce, and, at the same time, start seeing it as a valuable resource that can be re-used and recycled, including for energy”

The Secretary General expressed that with cities in the lead and frontier technologies in widespread use, the world can achieve major advances on the road to sustainable urban development adding that there was the need to invest much more especially in waste management.

Meanwhile, the UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif had submitted that this year World Habitat Day was an opportunity to think about how we can all make a real change in the cities and towns where we live.

In a separate message to the occasion, UN-Habitat Executive Director said It was a time for the world to look at ways that challenges that cities face each day and find ways to improve everyone’s lives.

“As hubs of innovation and creativity, cities are the best place to come up with solutions”

She said noted that “One of the most intractable problems that is all too evident in many of our communities, are the mounds of waste in the streets, the effluent in our rivers, our overflowing landfills and the thick smoke from smouldering piles of rubbish”.

Every year our homes, factories, industries, offices, markets and shops produce 7 -10 billion tonnes of waste that are polluting our air, soil and water, killing marine life, contributing to climate change and threatening the health of our planet and its population.

UN-Habitat Executive Director, stressed that this year, there was the need to highlight that sustainable waste management can contribute to happier, greener, healthier cities

NGOs’ are key players in realisation of 2030 Agenda UNIC, Nigeria

Peace and Security, protection of Human Rights, and Sustainable Development form the major mandates of the United Nations.

The United Nations works across the world with Governments, NGOs, CSO’s, and Private Sector to achieve the goals of Peace and Development.

However, peace can not be sustainable without justice.

The Director, United Nations Information Centre, Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja stated this in Lagos while playing hosts to a Non-Governmental Organisation, Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, who came soliciting for partnership with UNIC Nigeria.

Mr Kayanja told the team that UNIC, Nigeria, promotes Communication and Advocacy of UN activities working with Resident Coordinator and agencies of the United Nations to ensure that the host country and nations of the world achieve sustainable development.

He maintained that peace would be compromised where pockets of prosperity and sea of poverty co-exist, thus there was the need for accelerated action as embodied in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which he described as interrelated.

The Director noted that Non-Governmental Organisations working with communities have lots to do in the actualisation of the Agenda 2030 – a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.

Mr Kayanja submitted that to fast track the agenda, Heads of State and Government gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in September in New York to follow up and comprehensively review progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He stressed that the gathering led to the adoption of the Political Declaration, “Gearing up for a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”.

The Director cited that activities of the NGO, CEPEJ in the area of Peace and Environment would go along way to help resolving issues around mutual tolerance and justice in the environment.

The National Coordinator, Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice, Comrade Sheriff Mulade lauded, UNIC, Nigeria for its role in Nigeria and hands of support with the NGO in the areas of peace promotion, tolerance between communities and environmental justice.

Comrade Sheriff and his team also used the occasion to present report card of the activities of the NGO United Nations Information Centre, Nigeria.

Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria seeks protection of Aid workers

There is the need for all parties to conflict in Nigeria especially the North East to ensure the protection of aid workers and to respect international humanitarian law and the delivery of aid according to the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality.

The Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon in a statement made the call where he mourned the execution of an aid worker.

Describing the incident as shrinking of humanitarian space, he urged authorities to ensure that perpetrators were brought to justice

“The United Nations calls for the immediate release of all aid workers who are still in captivity”

Mr Kallon also expressed concerned about the “increasingly dangerous and restrictive operating environment for implementing humanitarian assistance in crisis-affected areas, where humanitarian aid worker continue to face challenges as they strive to safely and timely deliver urgent life-saving assistance”

The Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria explained that UN in Nigeria is working in line with the 2019-2021 Humanitarian Response Strategy, jointly agreed with the Government of Nigeria, to provide life-saving assistance to 6.2 million of the most vulnerable people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

United Nations targets Climate Action Summit to address Global Peace and Insecurity

United Nations want communities  to demand for Concrete Climate Action from leadership at all levels to foster peace in view of the threat posed by Climate Change.

This will lead to actualization for peace and development as Climate Change has been linked to conflicts and survival of the earth.

This was contained in a message by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Gutteres presented by the Director, United Nations Information Centre UNIC,Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja at the Celebration of the International Peace Day 2019 in Lagos on Friday, 20th of September, 2019.

Peace Day Celebration_2019

United Nations International Peace Day 2019

He told the participants at the event organised by the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice, Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources in Collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre, Lagos that ‘Peace is at the heart of the work of the United Nations’ and that the UN would continue to lead awareness and mobilise governments, partners, civil societies, faith-based organisations to come together and work

‘to make ‘the world safe for us and future generations’

Speaking further on the theme for this year peace day which is ‘Climate Action for Peace’, Secretary-General pointed that ‘peace is more than a world free from war’ but a world that is stable, where everyone can enjoy fundamental freedoms, where every-one thrives rather than meets basic needs.

The Secretary General of the United Nations stated however that today’s world is faced with a ‘Climate Emergency’ and global crisis, which he described as a new threat to security and lives.
He however called on every one to take action and make demand from leaders, describing it as a race that must be won.

‘That’s why I am convening a Climate Action Summit in view of the Global Crisis’

Mr Kayanga had earlier noted that though climate change had been with human society for a long time, but ‘more recently, we have experienced much faster changes in climate globally, with rapid rise of average temperature near the earth surface’

He stressed that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated were the leading cause of the earth rapidly changing climate and identified increased population, burning of fossil fuel like coal, oil and gas for electricity, deforestation as other factors that have accelerated climate change.

The current conflicts in Nigeria is not unrelated to the changes in climate and so is the farmer herder violence witnessed in parts of Africa.

He outlined the ways to survive the situation was adaptation, that is, changes in process and practices to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change, and mitigation to help stop the global temperature rising.

He particularly challenged  young people to lead in the advocacy that protect the environment.

The Knowledge Management Assistant at the United Nations Information Center Lagos, Mrs Bolanle Olumekor, used the occasion to highlight the significance of the 17 objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals, urging participants to mainstream these policies to achieve peace in the world.

In their goodwill messages Other stakeholders at the occasion including the delegates from Oshodi Local Government, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Open University of Nigeria, National Youth Service Corps, University of Lagos, Cultural group, The Nigeria Army, and secondary school students in the state all corroborated that harm done to the climate is harm done to humanity.

The affirmed the need for stakeholders to work together for change

The United Nations Information Centre, Nigeria was presented with Award for Promotion of Peace in Nigeria

 

Sustainable Development Goals achievable through political will-UNIC Nigeria

Actualisation of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria will be achieved with political will, goal setting and taking ownership by government at all levels especially local governments.

Director of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja highlighted this in Lagos while receiving a delegation from Alimosho Local Government led by the Council Chairman, Honourable Jelili Sulaiman.

The team visited the centre to solicit support and partnership for International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October 2019 being planned by the council.

Mr Kayanja explained that United Nations SDG Goals 4 which aimed at ensuring quality education for all and promotion of lifelong learning will be achieved with creation of awareness and implementation of initiatives that will better the lots of the citizens as well as the girl child.

The Director said so far Alimosho Local Government was working in line with the theme for this year, International Day of the Girl Child, “GirlForce: Unscripted and unstoppable”, UN would provide assistance to make it a success.

He noted that the International Day being planned by the council would achieved its lofty objectives when girl child was inspired through showcasing of individuals who have stepped beyond stereotypes to achieve success in the society.

“Observation of this International Day as being planned by the council would go along way to educate the public on issues of girl child, promote goodwill and galvanise resources to address these global problems”

“When leaders set goals, share their visions that they can get support from different stakeholders” He added

The UNIC Director who also affirmed the commitment of the Centre at supporting the council in organising a successful programme also encouraged the team to give attention to elimination of open defecation in the area.

“We must avoid reinforcing stereotype, and encourage girl child to build confidence and determination by showcasing individuals in the community who succeeded in breaking barriers” He stated

The Director who also presented the Universal Human Rights Charter to the team urged them to set agenda that will enable the council deliver in provision of social services as enshrined in the SDG.

The National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Dr. Oluseyi Soremekun also stressed that UN work in Nigeria encouraged collaborations with stakeholders on areas of development, promotion of dialogue, among tolerance among people of different culture, religion and race.

He stressed that the centre was working with stakeholders through provision of information that will bring services of United Nations to the public in the area of human rights, peace, and development.

The Council Boss, Honourable Jelili Suleiman had earlier told the UN Information Centre, Lagos that he anchored his polices and activities on SDG’s template and  was working on provision of education infrastructure at creating conducive environment for learners in the council areas.

He stated that the council had also incorporated skills acquisition to the curriculum of primary school pupils to prepare them for vocational skills towards self-reliance.

UN Security Council Press Statement on Acts of Terrorism in Northeast Nigeria

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack on 27 July 2019 in the Nganzai Local Government Area in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, which resulted in at least 60 killed and others injured.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the people and Government of Nigeria. The members of the Security Council wished a speedy recovery to those injured.

The members of the Security Council commended the efforts of countries in the region, including through the Multinational Joint Task Force, to effectively combat terrorism, and encouraged further progress in this regard.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Nigeria and all other relevant authorities in this regard.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist attacks.

The Wildfire of Hate Speech

Around the world, hate is on the march.  A menacing wave of intolerance and hate-based violence is targeting worshippers of many faiths across the globe.  Sadly – and disturbingly – such vicious incidents are becoming all too familiar. 

In recent months, we have seen Jews murdered in synagogues, their gravestones defaced with swastikas; Muslims gunned down in mosques, their religious sites vandalized; Christians killed at prayer, their churches torched.

Beyond these horrific attacks, increasingly loathsome rhetoric is being aimed not only at religious groups but also minorities, migrants, refugees, women and any so-called “other”. 

As the wildfire of hate spreads, social media is being exploited for bigotry. Neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements are growing.  And incendiary rhetoric is being weaponized for political gain.

Hate is moving into the mainstream in liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes alike – and casting a shadow over our common humanity.

The United Nations has a long history of mobilizing the world against hatred of all kinds through wide-ranging action to defend human rights and advance the rule of law.  Indeed, the very identity and establishment of the Organization are rooted in the nightmare that ensues when virulent hatred is left unopposed for too long. 

We recognize hate speech as an attack on tolerance, inclusion, diversity and the very essence of our human rights norms and principles.

More broadly, it undermines social cohesion, erodes shared values, and can lay the foundation for violence, setting back the cause of peace, stability, sustainable development and human dignity.

In recent decades, hate speech has been a precursor to atrocity crimes, including genocide, from Rwanda to Bosnia to Cambodia.

I fear that the world is reaching another acute moment in battling the demon of hate. That is why I have launched two United Nations initiatives in response. 

First, I have just unveiled a Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech to coordinate efforts across the whole United Nations system, addressing the root causes and making our response more effective.

Second, we are developing an Action Plan for the UN to be fully engaged in efforts to support safeguard religious sites and ensure the safety of houses of worship.

To those who insist on using fear to divide communities, we must say: diversity is a richness, never a threat.

A deep and sustained spirit of mutual respect and receptivity can transcend posts and tweets fired off in a split second.  We must never forget, after all, that each of us is an “other” to someone, somewhere. There can be no illusion of safety when hate is widespread.

As part of one humanity, it is our duty to look after each other.

Of course, all action aimed at addressing and confronting hate speech must be consistent with fundamental human rights. 

Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech. It means keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, which is prohibited under international law. 

We need to treat hate speech as we treat every malicious act: by condemning it, refusing to amplify it, ountering it with the truth, and encouraging the perpetrators to change their behaviour.  

Now is the time to step up to stamp out anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, persecution of Christians and all other forms of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance.  

Governments, civil society, the private sector and the media all have important roles to play. Political and religious leaders have a special responsibility to promote peaceful coexistence.  

Hatred is a danger to everyone – and so fighting it must be a job for everyone.  

Together, we can put out the wildfire of hate and uphold the values that bind us together as a single human family. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UN General Assembly Elects Nigeria as President, Guterres Hails the President-Elect

The United Nations General Assembly on 4 June 2019, in New York elected Nigeria’s Professor Tijjani Mohammad-Bande as the President of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande has had an outstanding career as a scholar and diplomat. He received a B.Sc (Political Science) from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria (1979); MA (Political Science), Boston University, USA (1981); and Ph.D (Political Science), University of Toronto, Canada (1987).

He started at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria, rising from Graduate Assistant in 1980 to full Professor in 1998, and ultimately to Vice-Chancellor, in 2004, a position he held for five years. Between 2000 and 2004, he served as the Director-General of  Le Centre Africain de Formation et de Recherche Administratives pour le Dèveloppement (CAFRAD), in Tangier, Morocco. From 2010 to 2016, Professor Muhammad-Bande held the position of Director-General of Nigeria’s National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, the country’s most reputable policy institution for training leaders from the public and private sectors, including high echelon officials of Nigeria’s Armed Forces.

As Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, he worked with colleagues from all regions of the world to achieve common objectives. He served as the Vice-President of the General Assembly during the 71st session and remains active in several fora, including as Chair of the United Nations Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34), Member, Advisory Board of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre and Chair of the ECOWAS Group (2018-2019).

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has congratulated Professor Mohammad-Bande, who will assume duties in September.

“It is my pleasure to congratulate Professor Tijjani Mohammad-Bande as President of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. From your years as Permanent Representative of Nigeria, you know the United Nations well.” The Secretary General said, “As a Nigerian and an African, you have invaluable insights into the continent’s challenges – such as the Sahel and Lake Chad basin – and more broadly into the challenges our world faces across the three pillars of our work, peace, sustainable development and human rights.”

Guterres noted that Prof Mohammad-Bande would be in office as the United Nations geared up to commemorate her 75th anniversary – an occasion that he hoped could be used to reaffirm the value of international cooperation and the vision of the Charter.

September, according to him, would see a crucially important series of meetings, including the Climate Action Summit and the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, and the high-level meetings on universal health coverage, Small Island developing states and financing for sustainable development. 

The Secretary General commended Her Excellency María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, for her outstanding work as President of the 73rd session.  “I am most grateful for her support, especially for her support, of the United Nations reform and her overall stewardship of this body.” He added.