Author Archives: Mouton

Sowing the seeds of environmental harmony at Pandora Pre-Primary School for International Mother Earth Day

On 10 April 2019, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) teamed up to bring International Mother Earth Day to the youngsters of Pandora Pre-Primary School in Khomasdal, Windhoek.

In honour of Earth Day, a special visit was paid to Pandora Pre-Primary School to spark the children’s fascination about planet Earth, gardening, and appreciating our environment. The children shared their excitement with well-known songs and nursery rhymes. It was a great way to help the children to settle and feel comfortable to participate in the interactive presentation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13, 14 and 15.

It does not take much to turn children into natural environmentalists. With minimum efforts and conversations, we taught the youngsters to appreciate butterflies and flowers and why we can’t just leave our trash on the ground. The children enthusiastically considered the things the Earth gives us. They thought about different sources of water and their favourite plants and animals, and mentioned these to the team through the interactive engagement.

Along with their ideas and enthusiasm, the preschoolers were also confronted with the world’s environmental challenges. The presentation summarized the links between pollution, deforestation and breathing air as a natural health effect for all. Climate change is a global challenge that has no borders and all of us (including children) are mentioned in climate change discussions to combat it.

The outdoor activity was the best way for the children to learn by doing, understanding the relevancy of what they are doing in the garden, and how what they are learning in the classroom can be put to use in their real lives. Just knowing that they have planted something, tended to it and watched it grow and ripen innocently, allows them to form a relationship with nature and science.

The ideal introductory gardening experience also provided the children with hands-on learning, inquiry, observation, experimentation and when edible plants are used, children are more motivated to taste, eat, and enjoy fruits and vegetables. The small garden is a wonderful way for the school to grow their own veggies (as they provide meals to the youngsters), thus also contributing toward food security and self sufficiency.

Educational materials to enhance teacher-children learning about the SDGs and climate change were handed to the school.

Lights out at UN HOUSE Namibia for #EarthHour

On 30 March 2019, the UN System in Namibia joined the millions across the globe in observing #EarthHour by switching off the lights of the UN compound from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, local time.

A great opportunity for the UN to lead by example and connect with the Earth in such a unique way. It is imperative to voice the importance of and put the spotlight on renewable energy which is clean AND green. Citizens should be encouraged to build the habit of turning off their lights whenever they are not needed. It is also important to know savings in energy and money will make the habit worthwhile. Turning off lights will also keep a room cooler, an extra benefit in the summer.

With an assortment of visuals, the UN virtually brought our audience content aimed to inspire them to interact with nature and empower them to take the protection of the Earth into their own hands.

Earth Hour intends to amplify the all-important conversation about the fate of our planet and move people to go beyond the hour to instigate change for the environment. With this year’s digital #Connect2Earth initiative, the UN in Namibia aims to spark conversations about the inter connectivity that exists in nature and the ways in which people feel connected to the environment. The UN Namibia used the hashtag on its social media platforms and prompted individuals to reflect on the impact they have on biodiversity.

One of the objectives of Earth Hour 2018-2020 is to meet the Aichi Biodiversity Target 1 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity:

“By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.”

Educating people about the need to preserve biodiversity will more likely motivate them to make more sustainable decisions.

Given the alignment between climate change and sustainable development, the SDGs present an opportunity, as never before, to forward climate action and ensure tackling climate change is a priority for human development.

To ensure sustainability, we have to take action and make the right choices to steer the world away from a climate catastrophe.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

On 11 February, the United Nations, partners worldwide, women and girls will mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Why does it matter?

Recent studies suggest that 65 per cent of children entering primary school today will have jobs that do not yet exist. While more girls are attending school than before, girls are significantly under-represented in STEM subjects in many settings and they appear to lose interest in STEM subjects as they reach adolescence. Debunking the myths that girls do not like the sciences and other and gender stereotypes, along with investment in teacher trainings, gender-responsive technology and innovation can reverse these trends.

With Sustainable Development Goal 9, part of the Global Goals that world leaders agreed to in 2015 with a deadline of 2030, countries around the world have pledged to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. Yet, a look at where funding is allocated a different picture. At present, only 1.7 per cent of the global GDP is dedicated for research and experimental development

As the fourth industrial revolution starts, women still have less than two-third of the economic opportunity that men have. The jobs of the future will be driven by technology and innovation, and if the gender divide in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is not bridged soon, the overall gender gap is likely to widen. Continue reading

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL REMARKS AT UNITED NATIONS HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CEREMONY

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

REMARKS AT UNITED NATIONS HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CEREMONY

New York, 28 January 2019

[as delivered]

We are here together to remember the victims of the Holocaust – the six million Jews and many others murdered during a period of unprecedented, calculated cruelty, when human dignity was cast aside for a racial ideology.

I extend a special welcome to the Holocaust survivors with us today, especially Mr. Marian Turski and Ms. Inge Auerbacher, who will share their testimony.

This International Day marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp 74 years ago yesterday. I also pay tribute to the veterans here today for their role in bringing the war and Holocaust to an end.

Yesterday was, by the way, also the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad.  That prolonged the blockade — 872 days of siege, starvation and suffering – that was a horror within the horror. Continue reading

Work for a brighter future

New forces are transforming the world of work: Technological development. Climate change. Demographic shifts. Globalization.

These transitions call for decisive action. We need to seize the moment to unlock the opportunities that these changes bring.

The Global Commission on the Future of Work has undertaken an in-depth examination of the future of work. Its landmark report outlines the steps needed to achieve a future of work that provides decent and sustainable work opportunities for all.

This landmark report by the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work examines how to achieve a better future of work for all at a time of unprecedented change and exceptional challenges in the world of work.

Download the Report here:

https://www.ilo.org/global/publications/books/WCMS_662410/lang–en/index.htm

2019 New Year’s Message by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Dear fellow citizens of the world,

I wish you a happy, peaceful and prosperous new year.

Last New Year, I issued a red alert, and the dangers I mentioned still persist. These are anxious times for many, and our world is undergoing a stress test.

Climate change is running faster than we are.

Geo-political divisions are deepening, making conflicts more difficult to resolve.

And record numbers of people are moving in search of safety and protection.

Inequality is growing. And people are questioning a world in which a handful of people hold the same wealth as half of humanity.

Intolerance is on the rise.

Trust is on the decline.

But there are also reasons for hope. 

The talks on Yemen have created a chance for peace.

The agreement signed in Riyadh in September between Ethiopia and Eritrea has eased long-running tensions and brought improved prospects to an entire region. 

And the agreement between the parties to the conflict in South Sudan has revitalized chances for peace, bringing more progress in the past four months than in the previous four years.

The United Nations was able to bring countries together in Katowice to approve the Work Programme for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Now we need to increase ambition to beat this existential threat.

It’s time to seize our last best chance.

It’s time to stop uncontrolled and spiraling climate change.

In recent weeks, the United Nations also oversaw landmark global agreements on migration and refugees, that will help to save lives and overcome damaging myths.

And everywhere, people are mobilizing behind the Sustainable Development Goals – our global blueprint for peace, justice and prosperity on a healthy planet.

When international cooperation works, the world wins.

In 2019, the United Nations will continue to bring people together to build bridges and create space for solutions.

We will keep up the pressure.

And we will never give up.

As we begin this New Year, let’s resolve to confront threats, defend human dignity and build a better future — together.

I wish you and your families a peaceful and healthy New Year.  

Good Practices, Success Stories and Lessons Learned in SDG Implementation – Call for Submissions

Submit your contribution!

Three years into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals (SDGs), many Governments, UN entities, international and regional organizations, Major Groups and other Stakeholders, are planning or have initiated evidence-based stock-taking of progress.

Where do we stand? Are we on track? What are the inspiring breakthroughs and success stories that are showing results and impacts? What are the good practices that can be replicated and scaled up? What are the gaps and constraints and how should we address them? Looking ahead, what steps should we take to accelerate progress?

These are among the questions that are under consideration. To help answer these questions, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) is launching a call for submissions of good practices, success stories and lessons learned in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. The submissions will be analyzed by a dedicated inter-agency team coordinated by UN DESA, and the results will be made available online for easy access and broad dissemination. Where applicable, the submissions can serve as inputs to thematic preparations for the 2019 sessions of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

An event will be organized in the lead-up to the 2019 HLPF convened under the auspices of the General Assembly to showcase a selection of the good practices and success stories and to present the main findings of the evidence-based stock-taking. It is hoped that the submission, collection, analysis and dissemination of good practices, success stories and lessons learned will help galvanize the momentum for implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

Submissions can be made between 1 November 2018 and 28 February 2019 by using a web-based portal. All are encouraged to follow the template to the extent possible. For queries, please email DSDG@un.org, at the Division for Sustainable Development Goals of UN DESA.

We look forward to receiving your submissions.

Visit: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs/goodpractices

Photo exhibition encourages youth to stand up for human rights

20 November, Windhoek: The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek launched the #StandUp4HumanRights Photo Exhibition in collaboration with the Human Rights Documentation Centre of the University of Namibia (UNAM) on 20 November 2018.

The exhibition consists of images of the movers and shakers behind the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document for human rights which came to life in 1948. It sets the fundamental human rights to be universally protected for all people. The 70th Anniversary, being celebrated this year, is a chance for the world to celebrate this document and to reaffirm the enduring principles and standards it established.

Open to students and the public for a week at the UNAM Campus in Windhoek, the exhibition allowed visitors to reflect on the context of the Declaration and educate themselves on the extensive research done by the those who championed and formulated the document.

The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor John Baloro, officially opened the exhibition and delivered remarks on behalf of UNAM. He said, “The event exemplifies the University’s commitment to human rights. It also reminds us that the youth are the future and have the responsibility to uphold and ensure the promises as well as the fulfilment of this illustrious document.” Continue reading

Windhoek International School (WIS) SDG club visit the UN house

The WIS learners “Make the World a better place” through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), visited the UN house. The group buzzed with excitement as they toured the building, stopping by each agency and finding out which SDG relates to which UN agency in Namibia.

After the tour, the group made their last stop in the library where Anthea Basson from the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek tested their understanding about the tour and provided more information about the United Nations and the SDGs. She expressed her gratitude to the young SDG advocates and their teacher for reaching out to UNIC Windhoek for teaching support on specific projects.

She encouraged them to continue their excellent work and learning process and most importantly to take action. Reminding them of their integral parts in working towards the achievement of the SDGs

The visit ended with a group photograph in front of the UN House.  The Centre were impressed with the elevated level of awareness and understanding the group has shown throughout the sessions.

The UNIC staff have facilitated several learning sessions with the school which involved children of all ages in an enriching experience to take action and providing complimenting resources for our SDG educational outreach programmes in Namibia.

UN Day #UnitedwithUNNamibia

On the 24th October, the United Nations (UN) in Namibia celebrated 73 years of existence under the theme #UnitedwithUNNamibia. This entailed visiting different community centres: The Humble Care Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre, the Katutura Old Age Home, the Central Hospital Children’s Cancer Ward and the International University of Management (IUM).

Since its formation, the UN’ s goals have been to protect human rights and ensure peace for all. In Namibia, the UN has established itself as a trusted partner in its fight against poverty and in the path towards sustainable development. While challenges remain, Namibia has made great strides in line with national and international development agendas.

Reiterating the UN’s support in addressing these challenges, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i. Rachel Odede said, “Our partnership framework with the Government, the United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF) 2019-2023, outlines our plan of action to ensure that we eradicate poverty and inequality. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also clear, we must end poverty, protect the environment and ensure prosperity for all.”

Odede visited the ECD with colleagues from the UN and the Ministry of Education. Giving children a solid foundation in the early years is the best investment society can make in ensuring they succeed in life. The UN donated educational materials to help build that foundation, as well as healthy snacks, two trees and a pledge to donate a water tank. The children also learned about the importance of sanitation, how and when to wash their hands properly. Continue reading