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UN Secretary-General appoints Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi of Nigeria as Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Damilola Ogunbiyi of Nigeria as his Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of United Nations-Energy. The Secretary-General also welcomes the announcement by the Administrative Board of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) that Ms. Ogunbiyi has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SEforALL.

Ms. Ogunbiyi succeeds Rachel Kyte of the United Kingdom as Special Representative, Co-Chair of United Nations-Energy, and CEO of SEforALL. The Secretary-General expresses his gratitude to Ms. Kyte for her dedication and commitment to the United Nations, her achievements in accelerating universal energy access, and her leadership in advancing sustainable energy transition in the context of the Paris Agreement.

Ms. Ogunbiyi brings extensive leadership experience and a track record of supporting energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa to these roles. She was the first woman to be appointed as Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency. She is also responsible for implementing the Nigerian Off Grid Electrification Programme and successfully negotiating the Nigerian Electrification Project, to rapidly construct solar mini-grids and deploy solar home systems across Nigeria. She also developed the Energizing Economics Initiative and Energizing Education Programme, which provide sustainable and affordable off grid power solutions. Before joining the Federal Government of Nigeria, Ms. Ogunbiyi was the first woman to be appointed as the General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board, which is responsible for public lighting, independent power projects, and energy development serving millions of people across the State. Prior to this, she consulted for the United Kingdom Department for International Development on public-private partnerships.

Ms. Ogunbiyi is a globally respected leader with a broad and diverse international network in the area of energy development, which includes key relationships with leading multilateral and bilateral partners and the private sector. She is also one of the Commissioners for the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty.

The announcement comes as the world is about to enter the final decade to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. SEforALL is an international organization, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, that is dedicated to helping the world achieve SDG7 and Paris Agreement targets.

SEforALL continues to have close ties to the United Nations through an existing relationship agreement, partnerships with United Nations agencies and Ms. Ogunbiyi’s roles as Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of United Nations-Energy

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. 










Urgent Efforts Needed To Protect Bees – Amina Muhammed

Amina New DSG Portrait

“Urgent and wide-ranging efforts are needed to protect bees across wild, agricultural and urban habitats,” said the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Muhammed in her message on World Bee Day commemorated every 20 May.

The Deputy Secretary General observed that the decline and disappearance of bees and wild insects would have drastic consequences for global ecosystems and human well-being. “Bees are clearly crucial for our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet populations of bees and other pollinators have decreased significantly. Intensive agriculture and pesticide use are placing bees in ever greater danger. Bees are being exposed to new diseases and pests.” She explained, “Our non-governmental organizations, as well as beekeepers’ associations, research organizations and academia, have a key role to play.

Drawing a parallel with UN field staff, the Deputy Secretary General acknowledged that bees were among the hardest working creatures on the planet. “I would say, much like our UN staff we have in the field, peacekeeping and humanitarian.” She noted.

Muhammed therefore called on everyone to work together to ensure that these hard-working creatures could thrive so that the ecosystems and humans that depend on them could do the same—today and for future generations.

To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the United Nations designated 20 May as World Bee Day. 20 May coincides with the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native Slovenia and praised the bees for their ability to work so hard, while needing so little attention.


UN Secretary-General appoints Nigerian into Civil Society Advisory Board on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Ms Joy Ezeilo

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has announced the appointment of a Nigerian, Ms Joy Ezeilo as a member of seven distinguished experts to serve on the newly established Civil Society Advisory Board on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Ms. Ezeilo is the Dean of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria and the National Chairperson, Sexual Assault Referral Network Nigeria. From 2013 -2016, she was a member of the Board of Trustees for the United Nations Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking.

The aim of the Civil Society Advisory Board on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, is to foster closer interaction with civil society and external experts and organizations as part of the United Nations efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse. 

The functions of the Board include advising the Secretary-General on ways to strengthen preventive measures and accountability mechanisms to address sexual exploitation and abuse by both United Nations personnel and non-United Nations forces operating pursuant to a Security Council mandate.  Members of the Board serve in their personal capacity and will not receive any compensation or remuneration.

Other members of the Board are Ms. Rosa Freedman (UK), Mr. Pablo de Greiff (Colombia), Ms. Adrijana Hanušić Bećirović (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid (Morocco), Mr. Vitit Muntarbhorn (Thailand) and Mr. Muna B. Ndulo (Zambia).

The establishment of the Board is an important element in the Secretary-General’s strategy outlined in his 2017 report Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach (A/71/818), to improve the United Nations response to sexual exploitation and abuse.

Let’s recognize the power of radio to promote dialogue and peace – Guterres

UNIC National Information Officer, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun presents message of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the World Radio Day

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has underscored the power of radio as a mass medium of communication. “On this World Radio Day, let us recognize the power of radio to promote dialogue, tolerance and peace,” he said in his 2019 World Radio Day message.

In the message read on his behalf by the National Information Officer of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun, at the Award event organised by the National Broadcast Academy in Lagos, the Secretary General noted that radio is a powerful tool.

A group photograph of dignitaries and faculty of the National Broadcast Academy at the event

“Even in today’s world of digital communications, radio reaches more people than any other media platform. It conveys vital information and raises awareness on important issues. And it is a personal, interactive platform where people can air their views, concerns, and grievances. Radio can create a community.” Mr Guterres added.

UNIC National Information Officer, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun (Left) exchanges pleasantries with the Coordinator, World Radio Day, National Broadcast Academy, Ms Uchenna Obaseki (Right)

Explaining the rationale behind the choice of 13 February for World Radio Day, Dr Soremekun said, “During its 67th Session, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 13 February, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, as World Radio Day.

He explained that the 2019 Theme: ‘Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace’, took its roots from the Sustainable Development Goal 16 and provided a platform for dialogue and democratic debate over issues, such as migration or violence against women, and could help to raise awareness among listeners and inspire understanding for new perspectives in paving the way for positive action.

Speaking, the Director of the National Broadcast Academy, Engineer Ajibola Abiola, noted that radio is still the most dynamic, reactive and engaging medium there is, adapting to 21st century changes and offering new ways to interact and participate. “Radio provides the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face.

UNIC National Information Officer, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun decorates Mr Jude Uchea with the SDGs-Wheel pin at the event

In her closing remarks, the Coordinator of the 2019 World Radio Day event at the Academy, Ms Uchenna Obaseki, thanked the broadcast industry partners especially the United Nations for their support. She hinted that the National Broadcast Academy would have a greater observance of the World Radio Day in 2020.

Earlier, Dr Soremekun decorated a participant, Mr Jude Uchea, of the Academy Production Department, with the SDGs-Wheel Pin for his brilliant summary of the message of the UN Secretary-General.

No country, no region, can tackle global challenges alone – UN-DSG Amina Muhammed

United Nations Deputy-Secretary-General Amina Muhammed addressing the audience at the Kaduna State Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) Acceleration Conference 2019, on Tuesday 22 January.

Against the backdrop of rising global challenges, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Muhammed, has emphasised that no country or region alone could tackle the global challenges of today. “In the regions today, no country is alone. Our borders don’t make any difference in the Sahel when we talk about issues of terrorism, migration, and climate change. No country, no region can tackle the global challenges of today,” said Ms Muhammed at the opening of  Kaduna State Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Acceleration Conference 2019, on Tuesday, 22 January 2019, under the theme: “Building Effective Partnership For Accelerated Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.  

Despite a global decline in people living in poverty, the Deputy-Secretary-General observed that extremepoverty has remained high due to conflicts and other factors. She explainedthat “There are many reasons why people are in poverty: when there is noenabling environment and when there is no stability. Unfortunately, globalhunger has risen over the past few years. That’s a great concern.” However, shedisclosed that in the world today there is enough to feed the world two tothree times over but there are so many Inequalities in many places and millionsgo to bed hungry.

Those big issues, according to her, “affect the way we will invest, they short change us in the revenue otherwise would have been put into governance.” The Deputy-Secretary-General noted that it was important to put everything into national perspective, look at the regional context as the global one is addressed.

On global plan and local action for the achievement of the SDGs, Ms Muhammed underscored the importance of effective partnership as exemplified by the conference which she observed the involvement of the Federal Government, State Governments, the international community, Civil Society, local authority and community.  

She advocated for gender inclusion in implementation and results: “Part of our population, especially women and girls, has to be put at the centre of the results we have. They should not only be at the centre of our policies, we also want to see them at the centre of our results.” She explained further that “We need to see young people at the centre of the impact that is made on everyone’s life. Because they are not the future tomorrow; they are the future today.”

Also speaking at the conference attended by Hon. Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed; Resident Coordinator of UN in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon; representative of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, H.E. Prince Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and others from the UN system and the Civil Society, the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, disclosed that the State made history as the first in Nigeria to present an in-depth analysis of its SDGs data and strategy for implementation at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York. Malam El-Rufai said his administration has made progress by adopting the SDGs targets and indicators, investing in data that allows “us to know where we are coming from and what we have achieved so far.”

According to the Governor, “We believe that evidence-based data improves our decision-making process by indicating which outcomes are more realistic and how much is required to fund the programmes that ensure that no one is left behind.” He explained that the state was developing integrated and sustainable Infrastructure that would make Kaduna State a leading investment destination in Nigeria: “our comparative advantage’’ to drive the revamping of the industrial sector, to make our state globally competitive.

Mallam El-Rufai added that Kaduna state stood out as a pacesetter in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). iority48

UN Secretary-General Addresses Covenant Model UN Conference, Emphasises SDGs as Blueprint for Prosperity and Healthy Planet

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has emphasised that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the world’s blueprint for dignity, prosperity and a healthy planet. “Our world today enjoys remarkable opportunities to advance common progress.  The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our blueprint for dignity, prosperity and a healthy planet,” said the Secretary-General in his message to the first Covenant International Model United Nations (CIMUN) conference, read by the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) for Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja.

The conference which was organised by Covenant University Ota, in collaboration with UNIC Nigeria, was themed, “Restructuring the future through innovative ideas”, and attended by over 300 delegates from 8 countries and 12 institutions at the opening plenary held on 16 January 2019. Despite the remarkable opportunities, Guterres explained, “we the peoples” also face many complex challenges:  “Armed conflicts have deepened.  Global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War.  Climate change is moving faster than we are.  Inequality and nationalism are on the rise, while trust and solidarity are on the decline.”

These problems and challenges, according to him, are increasingly global – and increasingly grave.  “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.“ He added.

Earlier in his opening remark, Mr Kayanja observed that “The achievement of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires innovative ideas. Therefore, there is no other time to discuss the theme, “Restructuring the Future Through Innovative Ideas” than now,” He added that in Model United Nations (MUN) conferences, delegates are the Ambassadors of their assigned countries to the UN. “Let your presentations reflect the reality of the countries you are representing.” He urged the delegates.

The Vice Chancellor of Covenant University, Prof A.A.A. Atayero, in his keynote address presented by Prof Sheriff Folarin, noted that “It is only by innovative ideas that we can restructure, own and control the future.” He acknowledged that the United Nations has either redefined humanity or changed the world through sustained programmes, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, environmental development programmes and erstwhile Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as its current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and several other innovative programmes and initiatives.

Of particular interest, according to the Vice Chancellor, is the trickle-down idea of simulated UN System through Model United Nations (MUN) which brings the vision, philosophy, goals and workings of the UN to the micro levels, which should solidify the UN’s reach and consolidate its gains.

“Aside preparing the youths for leadership in the future, it alsoinculcates in them the enduring traditions, disposition and skills of conflictmanagement, peace-building and a new world order in the context of peace andstability.” Prof Atayero added, “It is light of this that I commend andcongratulate the United Nations and particularly appreciate the United NationsInformation Centre in Nigeria for the cooperation, guidance and support.”

The Secretary General of CIMUN 2019 was Mr Andikara Honour Etiubon while Dr Oluyemi Fayomi of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Covenant University Ota was the Faculty Advisor.

UN Signs Media Partnership Agreement with Anambra State Government

The United Nations headquarters, New York has entered into a media partnership agreement with Anambra State Government, to engender professional relationship between the UN News and Media Division and Anambra State Broadcasting Services (ABS). Facilitated by the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria, the agreement was the first in the entire South-East Nigeria.

Handing over the agreement to the Anambra State Governor, H. E. Willie Obiano, on Wednesday, 21 November 2018, at Awka, Anambra State, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, noted that the agreement was part of the on-going efforts of the United Nations to reach the furthest anywhere in the world through media partnership. “The UN Media Partners initiative of the UN News and Media Division (NMD), Department of Public Information, New York, tells the UN’s story through television, radio and the Internet, working together with partners in the media worldwide to raise awareness of the UN’s goals and highlight its successes.” He explained.

Dr Chambas assured that the UN in Nigeria would continue to diversify its language of communication to the Nigerian people and stressed that “We will continue to be deliberate in the use of local languages in order not to leave no one behind. Currently, we have weekly programmes running in Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages across the country.”

Responding, Governor Obiano thanked the UN system in Nigeria for its support to Anambra State over the years and pledged that the State would continue to fulfil its part of all agreements with the UN towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Managing Director and CEO of Anambra Broadcasting Services, Nze Uche Nworah, expressed his delight about the partnership agreement and promised to work hard towards ensuring the success of the partnership and the development of Anambra State.


Nigeria’s Private Sector Joins United Nations To Tackle Humanitarian Crisis in North-East

Leading Nigerian companies from the banking, energy, legal and consumer services sectors, among others, have joined forces with the United Nations, in support of the Government of Nigeria, to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the country’s north-east.

 The United Nations Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative (NHF-PSI) was launched on Thursday in Lagos, marking the first time that the private sector is collaborating with the United Nations through a country-based fund that pools resources to deliver humanitarian aid to people in need.

The crisis, triggered largely by the ongoing conflict in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, has claimed the lives of 27,000 people over the last decade. Today more than 7 million vulnerable women, men and children are in need of life-saving aid, such as food, safe water and medicine.

 “I am proud to be a part of this unique opportunity for the private and public sectors to collectively offer solutions to a local humanitarian crisis. The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative creates hope for our disadvantaged citizens and promotes social development for our dear nation,” said Adewale Tinubu, Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC, one of Africa’s largest integrated energy solutions providers. 

The initiative aims to not only harness the financial resources of Nigeria’s dynamic private sector, but also the entrepreneurial and innovative expertise of Africa’s largest economy, in a move that will see the country’s private sector working alongside the United Nations and Member States, and also international and Nigerian non-profit organisations who are working on the front lines of the response.


“The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative presents a unique opportunity to create a blueprint for future private sector engagement in humanitarian action across the globe,” said Mr. Edward Kallon, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria. “Investing in the vulnerable people of north-east Nigeria is an investment in humanity that will last for generations. That is business for good.” 

“Together we – the private sector and the UN – can take meaningful and high-impact decisions and actions, merging our money and our minds, helping our countrymen, and building on progress made so far,” said Jim Ovia, Founder and pioneer Group MD/CEO of Zenith Bank.

Fourteen companies and groups announced their support for the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative, and will join to form a Steering Group, the collaborative efforts of which will raise awareness and resources, while promoting innovative solutions, to support humanitarian action in the north-east. The Steering Group, Co-Chaired by Jim Ovia, Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, and Kyari Bukar, of Nigeria Economic Summit Group, include Adewale Tinubu, Group Chief Executive of Oando Plc; Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head Marketing and Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd; Olumide Akpata, Partner, Templars Law; Patrick Akinwuntan, Managing Director and CEO, Ecobank Nigeria Plc; Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director and CEO, Access Bank Plc;  Yaw Nsarkoh, Executive Vice President for Nigeria and Ghana, Unilever Plc; Onyeche Tifase, Managing Director and CEO, Siemens Nigeria Ltd; Dr. Bryant (ABC) Orjiako, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc.  Nominated members include Georgios Polymenakos, Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd and Country Manager, Coca Cola Hellenic Group; Kemi Okusanya, General Manager, Visa West Africa Ltd, Oscar Onyema, CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange and Samaila D. Zubairu, President and CEO, Africa Finance Corporation.  

The event in Lagos was hosted and sponsored by Oando Plc, and additional sponsorship was provided by Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Access Bank Plc, Unilever Plc and Mr. Samaila Zubairu, President and CEO of the Africa Finance Corporation, enabling a strong start to this collaboration.