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UNIC Windhoek hosts first UNAM Model United Nations mock conference

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek hosted the first Model United Nations (MUN) UNAM Mock Conference at the United Nations (UN) House in Windhoek on 28 June 2017.

MUN is a global UN youth initiative in which students simulate different organs of the UN, most notably the General Assembly. Participants represent different member states of the UN and confront pressing world issues, through fierce debate, lobbying and drafting UN resolutions.

The programme is focused on enhancing debating skills, critical thinking, public speaking, research and writing skills. It also enhances the youth’s understanding of the UN Structure and contemporary debates relating to current global concerns and possible solutions. The distinguished programme runs at schools and universities across the world and, within Namibia, is spearheaded by UNIC Windhoek, since its introduction to the country in 2011.

Under the guidance of UNIC Windhoek and the UNAM Model UN Society, participants deliberated over the following topic: “The Role of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the modern world, particularly in regards to Africa.” The topic is a contentious issue that could have serious repercussions on matters pertaining to justice on the African continent.

Even though it was a mock debate, with the official conference to be held later this year, discussions and speeches were compelling from the get-go, as delegates approached the topic from a myriad of different perspectives in order to find common ground.

The debate concluded with an award ceremony acknowledging all participants, with special recognition given to the best speaker, as well as best overall delegate of the session. The winners, along with all other participants, put forward a comprehensive and professional display, emphasizing the training and preparation they have received from MUN UNAM, in addition to the technical support they received form the UNIC team throughout the year.

UNIC Windhoek and UNAM sign Internship Letter of Agreement

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek and the University of Namibia (UNAM) signed a joint internship letter of agreement to continue making work integrated learning a reality for tertiary students.

Professor Lazarus Hangula, the Vice Chancellor of UNAM and Anthea Basson, the National Information Officer and Head of UNIC Windhoek, came together on 26 June 2017 at UNAM’s Department of International Relations to sign the letter. Continue reading

UN Namibia #MondayMenu: 26 June –2 July 2017

What’s happening at UN Namibia this week? Check out the #MondayMenu for 26 June –2 July 2017.

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek and the University of Namibia are signing an internship letter of agreement on Monday, 26 June 2017. In line with SDG 17 ‘Partnerships for the Goals’, UNIC Windhoek is partnering with tertiary institutions to empower the future leaders of tomorrow.

UNESCO will be conducting Regional Trainings of Education Officers on the use of the Kopana Community of Practise (this falls under our UNESCO/China Funds-in-Trust (CFIT) Project which aims at “Capacity Development for Quality Teacher Education in Namibia”. Trainings will occur in all regions and will be done alongside NUST, NAMCOL and UNAM and from 26 June-11 Aug. Continue reading

Tertiary students learn about the SDGs

As part of the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) Windhoek’s mission to disseminate information concerning the United Nations (UN) mandate and current UN campaigns and activities, UNIC hosted an SDG workshop for the University of Namibia (UNAM) Model United Nations Society at the UN library on 14 June 2017.

The Sustainable Development Goals will form an important basis for the society’s simulations of UN bodies, it is therefore imperative that the members understand what the SDGs are and why they are key to the world’s development agenda.

The Model UN programme strives to create a transformative and dynamic experience aimed at enhancing participants understanding on current global issues. The program is designed to promote critical thinking, public speaking, writing capabilities, as well enhancing diplomacy and negotiation skills.

13 participants from different faculties including Law, Psychology and Economics to name a few, attended the presentation in order to familiarize themselves with the principles, goals and challenges of the SDGs.

Participants were particularly curious about the global statistical data put forward in order to better comprehend the magnitude of certain issues, especially related to climate change, and the role that Governments of member states can play in order to respond to such crisis without compromising the needs of their nation.

Overall, the discussions were lively and filled with debates revolving around the interrelatedness, impact and possible solutions regarding the of the 17 SDGs. The informative discussion definitely generated healthy momentum towards what is sure to be an inspiring and competitive 2017 Model UN chapter.

High School Practicum students conduct Mentor and Peer Evaluation

On 18 May 2017, the High School Practicum Student’s first task of the programme for Day 9 was dealing with peer and mentor assessment. The students were assessed using set criteria  such as self confidence,  self-direction, communication skills, social and cross cultural skills and critical and creative thinking. The learners received a guideline sheet where the criteria and evaluation aspects were defined in detail. Furthermore they received an evaluation sheet where the learners could choose 3 mentors and team mates who would asses them in the mentioned categories.

The team had a 30 min tea break followed by an exercise where the learners had to write a short statement about their favorite part of the High School Practicum Programme. While reading out their statements afterwards, the favorite topics where collected on a whiteboard and were identified to be: the Work Integrated Learning(WIL) Workshop from the NUST Cooperative Education UNIT, the excursion to the National Library of Namibia, the Paratus Telecom presentation about technology and education, the engagement with the SDGs on the 2nd day of the HSPP, the exhibition to Wernhill park where the team needed to inform the public about the SDGs, the presentation and theoretical performances of day 4 which were educating the team about the importance of accurate information and finally the personal interviews with Anthea. Continue reading

Practicum students discover the importance of accurate information

On Thursday 11 May 2017, the High School Practicum Students reflected on their 4th day of the programme. UNIC’s Anthea Basson welcomed the group back and listened to each person’s reflection and feedback.  This simple exercise provided insight in the value of listening with intent and valuing and appreciating what the next person has to say.  Following a session of taking group pictures, the UNIC team took to the stage and role played a scene.

Mpho  from UNIC Windhoek,set the scene and acted out a play as a political figure delivering a public speech to the community. He was campaigning for a fictional political party (“BBB”) where he was slandering his opponent, the fictional “GGG” party. E.g. he blamed the “GGG” for not keeping their promises to the public. During his speech he didn’t provide the community with valid facts or evidence. He opened the floor for questions where UNIC’s Emma acted as a journalist and attempted to ask him questions such as, “could you provide evidence for your claims against the “GGG” party?” Mpho avoided informative answers and chose to raise his voice and insult the journalist for asking inquisitive questions.

He ended the play by asking the group what was wrong with his speech. Together a discussion  unfolded about the speech and the students concluded that the speech contained sure elements and traits of propaganda. The objective of the role play and discussion was to teach the students how to identify vague, subjective and misleading information presented as accurate facts.This was followed by a presentation by the UNIC team on the importance of accurate information. The presentation detailed the evolution of communication, tracing the timeline of news, new forms of journalist, the digital era as well as the prevalence of “fake news.” Continue reading

High School Practicum programme kicks off in Windhoek

On the 8th of May 2017 the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Windhoek officially set into motion  the two week High School Practicum Programme  where young selected students from a variety of schools can engage themselves in the world of the United Nations (UN).

The day started off with a meet-and-greet with the UN Resident Coordinator (RC), Ms. Kiki Gbeho. The RC delivered an extremely motivational message inspiring the students to work hard, dare to be different, stand up for themselves and to take  space, i.e. take your seat  at the table, make use  of opportunities. Through her motivational speech she put great emphasis on the  “3 Es”, empowerment, education and employment.

After a brief tea break the participants received an insightful overview of the UN System. They learnt that the UN was started in October 1945 after the Second World War in order to promote peace and never allow such an event to occur again. Currently it has a total of 193 member states out of 196 existing countries. At first the UN did not have a large world membership but as the years passed more and more countries joined the organization, as the young people were  orientated through a timeline. Namibia joined the UN in 1990 on the 23 of April. In order for a country to be a part of the UN they have to agree with “The Charter of the United Nations.” The  students learnt  that the current  Secretary General is Antonia Guterres who replaced Ban Ki Moon at the start of the year 2017. Continue reading

Staff members promise to Communicate as One for the SDGs at UNCG Town Hall

On Wednesday, 19 April 2017, the United Nations Communications Group (UNCG) Namibia hosted a Town Hall for all United Nations (UN) Namibia staff members in order to rally support of the UN’s efforts to Communicate as One for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UNCG, which consists of focal points from agencies comprising the UN System in Namibia, is responsible for planning, implementing and reporting on communication-related joint activities in Namibia. These include internal communications (within and amongst different UN entities working in Namibia, including regional and headquarter entities) and external communications (with government, development partners, media and the wider public).

Welcoming UN staff to the UNCG Town Hall, the UN Resident Coordinator (RC) Kiki Gbeho complimented the relentless efforts of the staff members in mobilizing local capacity, and encouraged UN Namibia to double its efforts so as to give the country as many opportunities as possible for accelerating development.

The RC further highlighted the SDGs, as projects, policy proposals, outreach activities, research and all other UN activities all function to achieve these 17 Goals. The SDGs aim to end global poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

Following the RC, the Deputy Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Namibia, Marcus Betts encouraged staff to unite together to achieve the SDGs, reemphasizing the SDGs as the guidelines for UN Namibia’s efforts and attitudes.

In an effort to personalize the SDGs from an abstract framework and re-situate them in everyday life, Betts asked the crowd, “How do we bring the SDGs into our personal lives?” Continue reading

More can and needs to be done to fight old age poverty – UN expert urges Namibia

WINDHOEK / GENEVA (13 March 2017) – The United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, today commended the Namibian Government for its political determination and vision on how to improve the lives of all Namibians by 2030 and to protect their human rights”, and “urged the Government to deliver on its promises.”

I call on the Government to deploy every effort possible to finalize and put into motion the comprehensive national policy on the rights, care and protection of older people. A dedicated policy on older persons is key to ensuring improved protection of their rights,” the UN Expert said.

She also emphasized that “any policy on older persons has to adopt a human rights-based approach,” and added that the United Nations principles on older persons alongside the core human rights instruments should guide the Government’s efforts in this regard.”

Ageing in Namibia is just beginning to take shape,” the UN Expert noted. While the proportion of older persons has remained somehow constant at around 7 per cent since independence, the projected growth rate of the older population in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be faster than that experienced by any other region since 1950. “The challenges associated with an ageing society are not a distant phenomenon,” the UN expert emphasized. “It will result in immense pressure on the care system as a growing number of older persons will be living with chronic diseases and disability.”

Low population density and accelerated levels of urbanization have the potential to erode the traditional family care system. Further investment by the Government in health and care infrastructure is required to provide alternatives to the older persons in rural areas.”

Care can no longer be considered simply a family matter and I call on the Government to step up its effort to revise the Aged Persons Act in order to fully provide for the rights, protection, care and welfare of older people.”

Namibia has come a long way since it gained independence only 27 years ago. It has since enjoyed political stability and steady economic growth and is ranked as an upper middle-income country,” the Independent Expert said. “We owe recognition to these Namibian achievements,” she outlined.

Despite all the efforts, Namibia continues to be among the most unequal countries in the world. “While I acknowledge that poverty levels have been brought down significantly since independence, they remain high for certain parts of the population and certain regions of the country,” the Independent Expert said.

I am also fully aware that some of the inequalities that persist are the legacy of colonial rule and that attitudes do not change overnight,” she added.This does not mean that the existing disparities in income and land distribution are acceptable, and I have to insist that more can and needs to be done to fight old age poverty.

The launching of the Action Plan towards Prosperity for All, the so-called Harambee Prosperity Plan 2016/17 – 2019/20, has a great potential to foster enjoyment by older persons of their rights as it specifically refers to the social protection for older persons and addresses key areas such as hunger, poverty, and housing.”

While the establishment and expansion of an extensive system of social grants is a significant achievement and example to follow, the universal non-contributory old age grant in many households constitutes the only income as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I acknowledge the huge positive impact of the old age grant to reducing poverty levels, while it is important to ensure that earmarked assistance reaches its intended beneficiaries.”

There are serious concerns about violence against, abuse and maltreatment of older persons and in particular older women in Namibia and there is too little discussion about it”. It is estimated that around 4 to 6 per cent of older persons have experienced some form of maltreatment at home. Poverty, inequality, substance abuse are contributing factors, but also entrenched attitudes including about corporal punishment. “The government has an obligation to tackle this as a matter of priority.”

“I would like to assure you that I heard your call for technical cooperation and capacity building. The international community has indeed an important role to play in complementing and supporting your efforts to address the challenges of an ageing society and in particular in the fight of old age poverty. I will do my utmost to encourage the international community to continue its cooperation with Namibia, including through financial and specific technical support. ”

During her ten-day visit, Ms. Kornfeld-Matte visited Windhoek, Katutura, Okahandja, as well as Rundu, Silikunga, Zone and Mpungu in the Kavango Regions and met with various Government authorities, non-governmental organizations, the academia and others working on the rights of older persons, as well as older persons themselves and their representative organizations.

The Independent Expert will present her findings and recommendations of her country visit in a report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017.

ENDS

Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte (Chile) was appointed by Human Rights Council as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons in May 2014. Ms. Kornfeld-Matte served as the National Director of the Chilean National Service of Ageing where she designed and implemented the National Policy of Ageing. She has a long career as an academic and is the founder of the programme for older persons at the Pontificia Unversidad Católica de Chile. Learn more.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page –Namibia

Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en

For further information and media requests, please contact Mr. Khaled Hassine
(+41 22 917 93 67, during the visit +41 79-444-3940, khassine@ohchr.org) or write to olderpersons@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts in Geneva:
Bryan Wilson, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 9179826/ mediaconsultant1@ohchr.org)

You can access this press release online

Tag and share – Twitter: @UNHumanRights and Facebook: unitednationshumanrights

UN Namibia #MondayMenu: 30 January – 5 February 2017

What’s happening at UN Namibia this week? Check out the #MondayMenu for 30 January – 5 February!

The 2017 #MondayMenu information campaign artwork went through an image makeover for the New year!  By incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals branding we bring into focus the 17 Goals which Namibia and member states around the world committed to work toward! The new layout is colourful and clean and will be used to communicate the UN System in Namibia’s weekly calendar.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, PEPFAR and USAID is convening a meeting on HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health and rights for adolescent girls and young women. The “Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Consultation on HIV Prevention and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for Adolescent Girls and Young Women” aims to elaborate approaches and strategies for how best to reach adolescent girls and young women with HIV prevention in the context of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

More than 100 delegates from across the globe are expected to attend the meeting.  Participants will be a mix of technical experts, advocates, major donors, government officials and representatives of civil society organizations. The meeting will take place at Safari Hotel, Windhoek from 1-3 February 2017.

The fifty-fifth session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD55) will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 1 to 10 February 2017. The priority theme for the 2017-2018 review and policy cycle would be “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all”. Learn more about this event: http://bit.ly/2j9xFIM

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. For this reason, UNIC Windhoek will be hosting a photography workshop for its staff on 2 February. The idea behind the workshop is to equip UNIC’s team members with the skills to take dynamic photos that tell stories and can be used to communicate the work of the United Nations.

World Cancer Day is commemorated each year on 4 February. Taking place under the tagline ‘We can. I can.’, World Cancer Day will explore how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer. Learn more about this UN International Observance: http://bit.ly/1RwhII2

Did you know that 2017 is the International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development? This is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers