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THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, 10 December 2014

On Human Rights Day we speak out.

We denounce authorities who deny the rights of any person or group.

We declare that human rights are for all of us, all the time: whoever we are and wherever we are from; no matter our class, our opinions, our sexual orientation.

This is a matter of individual justice, social stability and global progress.

The United Nations protects human rights because that is our proud mission – and because when people enjoy their rights, economies flourish and countries are at peace.

Violations of human rights are more than personal tragedies. They are alarm bells that may warn of a much bigger crisis.

The UN’s Human Rights Up Front initiative aims to heed those alarms. We are rallying in response to violations – before they degenerate into mass atrocities or war crimes.

Everyone can advance the struggle against injustice, intolerance and extremism.

I call on States to honour their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year. I call on people to hold their governments to account. And I call for special protections for the human rights defenders who courageously serve our collective cause.

Let us respond to the cries of the exploited, and uphold the right to human dignity for all.

 

 

 

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THE SECRETARY- GENERAL MESSAGE

INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY, 9 December 2014

            Corruption is a global phenomenon that strikes hardest at the poor, hinders inclusive economic growth and robs essential services of badly needed funds. From cradle to grave, millions are touched by corruption’s shadow.

            On this year’s observance of the International Anti-Corruption Day, we call again on people everywhere to get involved in “Breaking the Corruption Chain”.

            Next year the world will agree a new post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Our aim is to empower individuals and catalyse governments, the private sector and civil society to help lift millions out of poverty, protect the planet and achieve shared prosperity and dignity for all. Eliminating corruption and its harmful impacts will be crucial to our future well-being.

To dismantle corruption’s high walls, I urge every nation to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Corruption. Its ground breaking measures in the areas of prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and asset recovery have made important inroads, but there is much more to do.  Public services must uphold the highest standards of integrity and ensure that appointments are driven by merit. Public servants, as well as elected officials, must be guided by ethics, transparency and accountability.

The private sector also has a crucial role. Good behaviour is good business. Business groups can convert anti-corruption action into firm support for sustainable development.

I call on everyone to help end corruption, and come together for global fairness and equity. The world and its people can no longer afford, nor tolerate, corruption.

 

Bravo to the UN Cares team of Namibia

untitledNamibia received UN Cares 2014 Award for implementing wellness activities for UN employees and families.

The UN Cares Award is a way to recognize the work of UN Cares teams all over the world who work hard to implement the UN Cares 10 Minimum Standards by sharing knowledge with their colleagues, making male and female condoms available in the workplace, promoting staff to know their HIV status, reaching families with information and skill-building, and addressing stigma and discrimination.

1 December 2014 -The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thanks all UN Cares teams worldwide for their commitment and congratulates the five winning teams in this short video message. www.uncares.org/UNAIDS2/content/un-cares-award-2014

2014 has been indeed a great year for the UN Namibia.  The UN Country Team has the following to say in recognize excellence in the work of UN Cares team:

“Well deserved congratulations for a job well done. I want to comment the UN cares team for the excellent work being done. Let’s keep up the momentum in the years ahead. You have the full support of UNCT in this – UNRC. I join the “Chief” to congratulate everyone for this well – deserved award – UNFPA. Very proud of you all! – WHO. This is indeed a well-deserved recognition! Congratulations and more grease to your elbows!! United we Stand!!! – FAONA. Bravo to UN CARES team and the cooperation of all staff members who made the activities of UNCARES successful. 2014 has been indeed a great year for the UN Namibia. On behalf of the Staff Associations we commit our continuation to support activities that will bring staff together (Zumba, UNGAMES etc.) Great work!UNDP.”

 

 

 

 

Secretary-General’s Message: Africa Industrialization Day

ban_ki-moon_portrait“INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT: AGRO INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT FOR FOOD SECURITY”

New York, 20 November 2014 – Many African economies have shown impressive growth rates in recent years, but increased prosperity has not always translated into inclusive wealth creation. Far too often, economic development depends on the extraction of natural resources and on low-skilled labor, which has resulted in a weak manufacturing base and uneven distribution of wealth.

Agriculture still accounts for the major share of rural household income and employs over 60 percent of Africa’s labor force, particularly women.  Low agricultural productivity continues to threaten food security in Africa as a whole.

I therefore welcome this year’s theme for Africa Industrialization Day: the importance of inclusive and sustainable industrialization and the close links between agro-industrial development and food security.

Africa needs a green, clean industrialization that leapfrogs outdated, polluting processes and platforms and benefits from new technologies. Inclusive and sustainable industrialization is a key stepping stone towards sustained economic growth, food security and poverty eradication in Africa.

On the occasion of Africa Industrialization Day, I reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations to promote Africa’s inclusive and sustainable industrial development to help ensure an economically prosperous and socially integrated continent.

 

 

 

 

 

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The “UNiTE To End Violence against Women” campaign has launched this year’s Call for Action: “Orange YOUR Neighbourhood: End Violence against Women and Girls”.

This year, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence occur at a critical juncture for efforts to end violence against women and girls (VAW/G) as the world gears up to mark the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the Millennium Development Goals reach their deadline, and a new global development agenda takes shape. This moment therefore provides an important opportunity to galvanize additional attention around the issue of violence against women and girls.

  • The UNiTE Campaign activities on the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism have the following objectives:
  • To focus government attention on the issue of violence against women and girls as one of the Critical Areas of Concern of the Beijing Platform for Action;
  • To call for the inclusion of the issue of violence against women and girls in all Bejing+20 discussions as well as those around the post-2015 development framework;
  • To amplify the calls of UN Women’s Beijing+20 campaign to mobilize governments and citizens alike to demand a world where gender equality is a reality by demonstrating the intersectionality of the concerns reflected in the Beijing Platform for Action through the lens of violence against women and girls;
  • To raise the profile of the UNiTE campaign and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UNTF) and its grantees with a view to raising funds for the UNTF grant giving cycle in 2015.

In 2013, the UNiTE campaign launched a global call for action to “Orange the World in 16 Days.” UN entities, civil society organizations and individuals across the world led an array of creative and highly visible events in over 50 countries, which drew attention to the issue and created opportunities for discussion around current initiatives and solutions. The initiative aimed to create the symbolic image of a world free from violence against women and girls. The colour orange was a uniting theme which ran through all events as one of the official colours of the UNiTE campaign, and as a bright and optimistic colour, representative of a world free from violence against women and girls.

The 20th anniversary of Beijing opens new opportunities to reconnect, regenerate commitment, charge up political action and mobilize the public. The emphasis of UNiTE campaign activities will therefore be on engaging the community and the individual, and taking the UNiTE campaign ‘local’ through ‘door to door advocacy’ – not only in government buildings and town halls, but also in villages, libraries and market places. Everyone has a role to play in their community: men, boys, religious leaders, local politicians, barbers, food stall sellers, shop owners, teachers, doctors and police officers.

International Day of Tolerance: “Treating Each Other with Respect and Tolerance”

Presentation on Respect and Tolerance

Presentation on Respect and Tolerance

A joint educational outreach initiative by UNIC and UNESCO to teach children about respect and tolerance. Four UN staff members of the aforementioned organizations delivered a designed lesson plan to grade 8 and 9 learners of Hochland High School.

Approximately 400 learners sit in on this presentation. The presentation provided a brief overview of the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance and also how to fight intolerance. The learners were visibly interested and when told all are equal, several learners murmured in agreement.

The learners were then divided into four groups with each group being led by a UN staff member. The groups were guided on an interactive game on tolerance. Stickers of different shapes and sizes were put on the backs of the learners. The identified categories included: circles, triangle, squares and an additional category of different shapes such as arrows, pentagons etc. In accordance of the different shapes, learners were instructed to form groups. The expectation was that the learners should form groups in association of the different shapes.  This happened in most cases, however, there were several exceptions. One of the groups was made up of circles, however, there were 4 triangles in the group. When asked: who are you? The learners identified themselves as the circle group, but allowed the 4 triangles to join anyway. Another group was made up of many different shapes. When asked why they formed a group the learners responded “We are friends, we don’t care about the shapes”. This was great to see that even though most groups had a certain dominant shape no one was excluded for having a different shape.

Hochland High Learners playing a game on Tolerance

Hochland High Learners playing a game on Tolerance

After the presentation and the interactive game the learners were given the opportunity to ask questions. Aside from questions on tolerance, the learners were very interested about the work of the United Nations in Namibia. The learners also embraced the idea of learning learning about other cultures and the fight against intolerance. The topic spark great interest among the learners and more so also used it as an excused to question the UNIC interns about Germany. The students were equally delighted to teach the interns about Namibia and how to say hello in various Namibian languages.

The learners were very happy to have learned about tolerance and several asked the UN staff to visit their school more often.

Namibia Commemorated 69th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations

Musinga T. Bandora presented framed preamble of the UN Charter to Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, Speaker of the National Assembly

Musinga T. Bandora presented framed preamble of the UN Charter to Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, Speaker of the National Assembly

On Friday 24 October 2014, the United Nations celebrated its 69th birthday. To commemorate this date the UN staff along with members of the Namibian government, members of the diplomatic corporation, members of the civil society and media celebrated the UN Day in Windhoek at the Safari Court Hotel and Conference Centre.

The event started with a display of the UN’s work in Namibia. Each agency exhibited their work on a local as well as on an international level. The guests received personal insight into the work of the various agencies present in Namibia. It was an ideal opportunity to snatch up the latest publications available including copies of the UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Bill of Rights was also freely available.

The organized event took off in full swing with Ms. Anthea Basson leading the programme as Director of Ceremony. The UN Resident Coordinator, Musinga T. Bandora, addressing audience by placing great emphasis on the work of the UN despites its failures and challenges in a troubled world.

Bandora, highlighted that the UN in Namibia as of last year witnessed many important milestones: the signed and launched the Namibia-UN Partnership Framework-UNPAF- that provides context of our development work in the country from 2014-2018; the UN and the government successfully hosted the historic visit of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon and the inauguration of the UN House; the country also bottomed out of the drought emergency; Namibia served with excellence as Chair of the SADC Organ for Politics, Defense and Security; the country is in the middle of an election process and everything seems to be progressing very well.

On the forefront, the country is also looking forward to the inauguration of the new President and Government of Namibia in March 2015. The country will be celebrating a quarter of a century of independence. The UN will also be celebrating twenty five years of its presence in Namibia an opportunity for joint celebration- of the many solid achievements of Namibia and its partnership with the United Nations.  UN Country Team will consult with Government on the fitting way of celebrating UN@25 in Namibia.

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon’s video message was also screened at the occasion, followed by H.E. Selma Ashipala Musavyi, Permanent Secretary, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Namibia personal introduction of the Speaker of the National Assembly.  The intimidating presence of the Hon. Dr. Theo Ben Gurirab, Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia were much appreciated, more so for sharing his personal political reflection. Gurirab underscored his role in the UN and his contribution to Namibia’s independence, but also how Namibia and the UN as a whole can and should work to improve the world.

On behalf of the UN Staff in Namibia a framed preamble of the UN Charter was presented as a gift to Dr. Theo-Ben Guirab by Mr. Bandora.

Throughout the day’s proceedings the staff and invited guests enjoyed performances by the Four Cousins dance group and that of a very well-known Namibian reggae musician, Ras Sheehama. Ras Sheehama first songs “Cassinga” address the battle of the Cassinga Massacre, a controversial South African airborne attack on a South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) refugee camp and military base at the former town of Cassinga, Angola on 4 May 1978. The artist’s second performance tied in well and correspond with the work of the UN’s plea to call and end to poverty.

UN Country Team Media Dinner Engagement

UN Country Team of Namibia

UN Country Team of Namibia

On the 24th of September 2014, the United Nations Communication Group on behalf of the Country Team (UNCT) invited representatives of Namibian media to a Media Dinner Event. This event was designed to promote the partnership between the UN agencies in Namibia with the different Namibian media house, ranging from newspapers, television and radio. Before the event started, introductions of the UN staff as well as the representatives of the media were made. During this introduction the media were able to put a face to the respective UN agencies.

The event officially opened with the welcoming remarks by Mr. Musinga T Bandora the UN Resident Coordinator. In these remarks he thanked the media for their role in promoting the image of the UN within Namibian society.

Following the welcoming remarks the floor was opened for questions and discussions with the media. The media representatives were given the opportunity to ask not only Mr. Bandora, but also to approach the Heads of Agencies with their questions.

UNICEF Representative, Micaela Marques de  Sousa addressing a question on malnutrition.

UNICEF Representative, Micaela Marques de Sousa addressing a question on malnutrition.

The questions ranged from how prepared Namibia is in regards to the Ebola crisis through to whether the UN would be involved in monitoring the upcoming elections in Namibian. The UNICEF and UNAIDS also elaborated in detail about their work in Namibia, with both  able  announcing  success stories whilst highlighting the importance to continue working with Namibian children and HIV/AIDS victims respectively.

The media welcomed this event as a chance to learn more about what the UN does in Namibia as well as being able to ask specific questions to the relevant agencies. Many representatives of the media spoke about the benefit of such an event with great interest being shown for such events to be held in the future. Likewise the UN acknowledged the media’s important role in informing the Namibian public about the UN. The event was then brought to an end with a Vote of Thanks by Anthea Basson the head of the United Naitons Information Centre (UNIC).

Members of different media houses and the UN System in Namibia

Members of different media houses and the UN System in Namibia

 

Grade 4’s visit to the UN House in Windhoek

Grade 4 learners from the Windhoek International School at the UN House

Grade 4 learners from the Windhoek International School at the UN House

As part of the annual UN4U programme, UNIC welcomed grade 4 learners from Windhoek International School to the UN House. The group of approximately 40 learners were visibly excited to be in the UN House and very eager to learn about the UN, already asking questions before the presentation had even begun.

The presentation aimed to highlight to the children what the UN does and how it works. The children learnt about the Security Council, the General Assembly as well as peacekeepers and UN organisations such as UNICEF and UNDP.

The presentation was highly interactive and the learners asked a lot of questions during the presentation. These questions ranged from naming the current Secretary –General, where the UN headquarters are, to guessing the five permanent member states of the Security Council. The children were very eager to take part in the discussion and this was evident with a tremendous show of hands for each question. Impressively, almost every single question was correctly answered.  Alternatively, there were a very keen interest on the well-being of children and the overall work of UNICEF.

At the end of the presentation, the children’s knowledge and attention span was put to the test. Four questions were put to them and learners who were able to provide the correct answer were awarded with a soccer ball. Afterwards, the children got to ask questions of their own. Out of the blue the learners change course of direction and focused on the UN’s fight against Ebola and a possible cure for it.  The 9 year olds surprised us all and also wanted to know about the working partnership between the UN and the government in Namibia. The hyperactive bunch went as far as to challenge the UNIC team on the permanency of the five Security Council members.

The learners and teachers thanked UNIC for inviting them to the UN House and as an incentive the learners each received a blue water bottle with the UN emblem inscribed by the Centre as well as snacks and a soft drink.  On their way out of the building the learners demonstrated their interest in the UN with many of them stopping in their tracks to look at a curved wall covered in portraits of the current and former UN Secretary – Generals.

The Primary school teachers also expressed a keen interested in future educational outreach projects with the United Nations Information Centre.

9 year olds from the Windhoek International School listening attentively to the UN4U presentation.

9 year olds from the Windhoek International School listening attentively to the UN4U presentation.

 

Namibian Parliament mark International Day of Democracy

“Youth can’t look up to corrupt leaders” Musinga T. Bandora, UN Resident Coordinator

Speaking at the observance by the Namibian Parliament of the 2014 International Democracy

Musinga Bandora, UN Resident Coordinator - Namibia

Musinga Bandora, UN Resident Coordinator – Namibia

the Resident Coordinator stated that this year’s theme “Engaging Young People on Democracy” underlines the challenges and opportunities of young people for engaging in democratic processes.

The theme is most opportune as Namibia is in the middle of an election process. In two months the country will be going to the polls to elect a new President and Parliament.

Mr. Bandora also outlined that it is estimated that people between the ages of 15 and 25 constitute a fifth of the world’s population. Yet, studies show declining faith among young people in traditional politics. Participation in elections, in political parties and traditional social organizations is declining.

However, this does not suggest that the youth are apathetic to social and political causes. Informal, youth-led movements for democratic change are on the rise, he said. Using new communication channels in social networks, young people are making their mark on democracy-building- in new ways. The National Assembly Speaker, Theo-Ben Gurirab annual sponsorship and patronage of the Youth Parliament testifies to this commitment.

Fortunately, here in Namibia we see a rising interest by the Youth in conventional politics and its processes. According to statistics released by the Electoral Commission of Namibia, eighty five percent of the Namibian youth have registered to vote. It is reported that 44%, of the 1,151million registered during the first phase registration fall within the 18 to 32 years age group. Against a total Namibian youth population of about 600,000 this represents 85% youths who have registered. This is very commendable indeed but the challenge is to sustain the youth’s interest and inspire them to go out and actually vote in November.

But how do we rekindle and sustain the interest of the youth in mainstream politics? Politics must be made interesting to the young people. We must make use of mobile technology and social media as communication tools to disseminate information and as a means to receive feedback, opinions and suggestions on issues and challenges faced by young people.  The youth are plugged in, connected-whether on emails, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Myspace, and the others. Only through this powerful social medium are we able to reach and communicate with them effectively.

The youth need inspiration. And in politics, it means political role models. If there is a perception, rightly or wrongly that politics and politicians are corrupt or out of touch, the youth will have no inspiration and no one to look up to.  A dictator, an inept or corrupt leader is not inspiring. Cynicism can only be defeated by inspiration through excellence, integrity and commitment of politicians-who are looked upon to provide the example.

The year’s event organized by Parliament and attended by pupils from various high schools within the city was aimed at encouraging the youth to actively engage in politics. The highlight of the day was the personal engagement of the youth in a question and answering session with the Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab, the UN Resident Coordinator, Musinga Bandora, Dr. André September, Coordinator, Ecumenical Social Community Action Council of Churches in Namibia, Hon. Juliet Kavetuna, Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Hon. Petrus Damaseb of the High Court, Adv. Notemba Tjipueja, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia, Mr. Graham Hopwood, Executive Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and Hon. Shaandre Finnies, Deputy Speaker of the 4th Session of Children’s Parliament.