Category Archives: Secretary General’s Message

21 June 2015 International Day of Yoga

Secretary General’s Message

yogo_layout1During a visit to India this year, I had the opportunity to practice yoga with one of my senior advisors. Although he happened to be a son of the country, I might equally have done the same with many other colleagues from different parts of the world. Yoga is an ancient discipline from a traditional setting that has grown in popularity to be enjoyed by practitioners in every region. By proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, the General Assembly has recognized the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations.

Yoga offers a simple, accessible and inclusive means to promote physical and spiritual health and well-being. It promotes respect for one’s fellow human beings and for the planet we share. And yoga does not discriminate; to varying degrees, all people can practice, regardless of their relative strength, age or ability.

I discovered this for myself on trying to do my first asana, a tree pose suited to beginners. It took a moment for me to gain my balance but once I did, I appreciated the simple sense of satisfaction that yoga can bring.

Sec Gen gets yoga lesson from Senior advisor Nambiar se stephs tweet for caption

On this first-ever International Day of Yoga, let us see the benefits of this practice in terms of individual well-being as well as our collective efforts to improve public health, promote peaceful relations and usher in a life of dignity for all.

17 June World Day to combat Desertification

Secretary General’s Message 

“Invest in healthy soils”Ban-kimoon

Land degradation and desertification undercut human rights, starting with the right to food.  Nearly 1 billion people lack adequate nutrition, and those living off degraded areas are among the most affected.  Their situation could worsen if land degradation, as projected, reduces global food production by 12 per cent by 2035.

Food security is also impacted by the decline in water resources.  Due to land degradation there is less water and snow being stored in the ground.  In 10 years, two out of every three people in the world could be living under stressed water conditions. Continue reading

15 June World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

338432_UN-Ban%20Ki-moonSecretary-General’s Message for 2015

It is a disturbing and tragic fact in our world that members of the older generations are too often neglected and abused. This painful reality generally goes ignored by mainstream society. At the same time, the ageing of the world’s population has added urgency to promoting and defending the rights of older persons, who are expected to make up more than 20 per cent of the global population by 2050.

Resolved to shed light on this injustice, the United Nations General Assembly has designated 15 June as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The annual commemoration has helped to generate an emerging global discussion of a once-taboo issue as people come together to support the rights of older persons to a life free of violence and abuse. Continue reading

UNIC Windhoek marks International Day of UN Peacekeepers: honouring the men and women serving under the flag of the United Nations.

“Highlighting the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) mission”

The International Day of UN Peacekeepers is an annual celebration and commemoration of United Nations Peacekeepers worldwide. This year’s event coincide with the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, drawing attention to the theme: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. In lieu hereof focusing on past peacekeeping missions, the importance of present ongoing missions and the deployment of future peacekeeping missions.

Bringing it home, Namibia, just celebrated its 25th year of independence and it only seemed fit to look at the past and pay tribute to the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) mission, and how the transition took place ushering in the independence of Namibia as a nation.

On Friday the 29th of May 2015, the Centre visited Jan Möhr High school to educate as well as enlighten 250 grade 10, 11 and 12 learners on peacekeeping operations worldwide. Emphasis has been placed on the UNTAG mission which was established to assist the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Martti Ahtisaari to ensure the early independence of Namibia through free and fair elections under the supervision and control of the United Nations and bearing in mind that the majority of the learners present have been born after the transition and independence took place and it would benefit them immensely to comprehend this historical democratic process.

The outreach commenced with a short briefing on what peacekeeping day is all about as well as an interactive discussion on what the term “peacekeeping” meant to the learners. The teaching were complimented with the screening of a short video clip exclusively prepared for this year’s    celebration that helped the leaners visualize and enlarged their scope of what peacekeeping missions involve. They were very intrigued and attentive as the video played. Once the video was done they applauded the UNTAG soldiers and peacekeepers worldwide that sacrifice and lay down their lives to ensure that security, political support and peace building assistance is given to countries who wish to transition from conflict to peace.

The in-depth lesson plan on the UNTAG mission were conducted with ease, because the learners seemed to have a good background on the facts such as what the abbreviation UNTAG stands for, who the Resident Representative of the UNTAG mission to Namibia was during the transition period and as well as who the current Secretary-General of the United Nations is.

Two learners were appointed as the UN Secretary-General for the outreach proceedings and to deliver the International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2015 message. They did this with enthusiasm and pride. This was then followed by a candle lighting ceremony which was done to pay tribute to all the lives lost during peacekeeping missions worldwide.

To conclude the exercises, the learners then wrote messages of gratitude and appreciation to recognize those who took part in the UNTAG mission as well as to the peacekeepers currently involved in ongoing mission around the globe.  Coincidently, among the group of learners we were pleasantly surprised to find a young boy that indicated and expressed his appreciation for all peacekeepers worldwide, as his own mother is currently involved in a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

It was impressive to see how willingly the learners participated in the gratitude messages, and how heartfelt their messages were. On a whole they seemed to understand the important role that peacekeepers play in securing peace and stability.

Secretary-General’s message

2015 – Earth Day’s 45th anniversary – could be the most exciting year in environmental history.

The year in which economic growth and sustainability join hands. The year in which world leaders finally pass a binding climate change treaty. The year in which citizens and organizations divest from fossil fuels and put their money into renewable energy solutions. These are tough issues but we know what’s at stake is the future of our planet and the survival of life on earth.

On Earth Day we need you to take a stand so that together, we can show the world a new direction. It’s our turn to lead. So our world leaders can follow by example. For many, climate change seems like a remote problem, but the reality is that it’s already affecting people, animals and places around the world. A change needs to be made. On April 22 we are harnessing the power of Earth Day to show our communities and our leadership that we want action on climate. It’s our turn to lead.


In 2015, let’s redefine what progress looks like. It’s Our Turn to Lead.

Sustainable Development

One billion people still live on less than $1.25 per day. One of the biggest controversies over a treaty has been the issue that developing countries don’t want to give up economic growth no matter the environmental cost, since the US and other developed countries got to pollute their way to the top.


Making a Difference
Over 400,000 people came together this past September in NYC for the biggest climate march of all time. Their call for action from the city streets reverberated around the world. They rallied for their leaders to recognize the catastrophic implications of climate change.

Time for a Treaty
Over the past 20 years, there have been a series of failed attempts to create an effective international treaty on climate change mitigation. In 1997, the first major international agreement was passed, The Kyoto Protocol. The US—one of the top polluters—didn’t ratify. Since then, many Summits and many efforts to come to agreement—Rio, Copenhagen—have ended in a flop.

UN Namibia Celebrated International Women’s Day

On Monday, 9 March 2015, the Secretariat of the UN Communication Group, UNIC Windhoek brought together the UN Family in supporting and celebrating the significance of International Women’s Day or encouraging unity among UN sisters by embracing the 2015 theme: “ Empowering women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!”

 UN Staff Namibia

                                  UN Staff Namibia

The UN staff f in Namibia celebrated the women in their lives. They are the cornerstones of their communities who worked tirelessly in making countless differences in their lives and those around them. The staff gathered in spirit and to acknowledge and pay tribute to:

  • those in small remote areas and refugee camps;
  • those living in huts in urban and rural areas / villages;
  • those working with us in the UN House, the poor, the rich, and the unemployed women of our time;
  • those in schools, colleges and universities,
  • those who are mothers, working women, and those who do both;
  • those who are single, married, divorced or widowed;
  • those who are young, old or disabled; and
  • those known to us and the strangers on the street;

The UN staff united to make the women of the past proud: those who stood up for change and fought for the rights that we live and enjoy today. The staff acknowledged the women of the present:  those present, those around the world and the ones who used their voice to help make our world a better place.  The staff looks towards the future women: the individuals who will continue to champion women’s voices, break barriers and keep visible women’s achievements and plights.

UN Namibia salutes and made the women of the past proud, inspired the women of the present and provides the women of the future with vision.

We all took a moment to reflect as the National Information Officer of UNIC Windhoek called upon forty volunteers to light a candle of solidarity and to pay tribute to all the women to symbolize our connection with women and with each other.

Jennifer Bitonde (WFP) Micaela Marques De Sousa (UNICEF), Tharcisse Barihuta (UNAID), Dr. Helena Ndume (Namibian Ophthalmologist)

Jennifer Bitonde (WFP) Micaela Marques De Sousa (UNICEF), Tharcisse Barihuta (UNAID), Dr. Helena Ndume (Namibian Ophthalmologist)

The well-known, Namibian Ophthalmologist, Dr. Helena Ndume as guest of honour added great value to the commemoration , especially to the young working class women of the country who require the guidance and path-breaking ideas to lead their way to strike out to secure their futures and to contribute to their families, communities and societies.  As a successful career women and mother, she shared in-depth knowledge with the UN women on “women work life balance.”

Other speakers were, Ms. Micaela Marques De Sousa, UNICEF Representative who traveled backwards in time and shared with us her personal success story in embracing the 2015 theme and in the same vein answering the following questions: How can women cultivate career success? How did she as a woman manage to progress in her career while also enjoying life outside of work? Basically, sharing the tidbits she have learned over the years in working for the UN, her fears and unbridled possibilities, how she found success and how she sustain in remaining on top.  Micaela, motivated the UN women to take responsibility for their own success, be champions of their own ideas and landscapers of their careers. She also acknowledged the men’s role and stressed that women need their support to be successful. The UNICE Representative encouraged men to recognized and nurture female talent. She also touched on the on issues of progress, the MDGs and the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

The WFP Officer-in-Charge, Jennifer Bitonde delivered the UN Secretary –General’s statement, the Acting UN Resident Coordinator and UNAIDS Country Representative Tharcisse Barihuta  delivered the closing remarks, followed by the voted of thanks given by Gesine Knolle, member of the UN Communication Group. The welcoming remarks were delivered by UN Communication Chairperson, Emma Mbekele and Anthea Basson represented the UN Secretariat of the UN Communication Group served as Director of Ceremonies.

Most of the staff dressed up in their traditional attire or purple. Why purple? Purple symbolized justice and dignity, two values strongly associated with women’s equality.


2015 Holocaust Observance

Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community”. 

                                                                                                        UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The Holocaust was a turning point in history, which prompted the world to say “never again”. The significance of resolution A/RES/60/7 is that it calls for a remembrance of past crimes with an eye towards preventing them in the future.

The UNIC Windhoek 2015 Holocaust  educational outreach programme aimed to raise awareness about the circumstances which made this genocide happen, to sensitize for social and individual strengths and weaknesses and finally memorize the losses of that genocide.

On Wednesday, the 4th of March UNIC Windhoek visited the Windhoek International School and were warmly welcomed by 50 grade 10 and 11 students. The UNIC team cautiously launched the intense topic by presenting a patchwork of different pictures showing significant marks of the Holocaust as the yellow star, the life in a ghetto, beds in a death camp, a mass of dead bodies and a portrait of Adolf Hitler.

Grade 10 and 11 learners from the Windhoek International School

Grade 10 and 11 learners from the Windhoek International School

The students were to describe the pictures and express their inner thoughts and feelings attached to the incidences. Due the respond it was rapid to see that the students were already well acquainted with the topic.

This ease the flow of the presentation into the grounding conditions of Germany during 1930, which place emphases on the economic and political situation and the mood of anti-Semitism as well as the stairs of Hitler’s rise.

We went into more depth with a clip showing the “Milgram experiment” to explain why people act against their convictions in the context of power of obedience. The students were delighted to see how these mechanism of the human psych work and were surprised how far people go, if they don`t have to take responsibility for their behavior/manners.

To intensify the individual skills of the adolescent they became actively involved in assigned group work in answering the following question: “Who am I?” The students have to describe themselves as unique as they are in context of optic, character and specials. The second group read the story of the15 year old girl “Anne Frank”, a young Jewish victim of the genocide and the third group of student got to discuss about statements in terms of the concept of the enemy.

Learners delving into group work "Who am I"

Learners delving into group work “Who am I”

Finally the crowd compared notes over what they have concluded and highlight connections to the subject. Humbly they’ve expressed their creative side as they delve into the issue. After that an insightful exchange of ideas, the one and half hour teaching session comes to a close with a candle light ceremony.

Holocaust Candle Light Ceremony

Holocaust Candle Light Ceremony


UNIC Windhoek team were pleased to see that the presentation not only informed the adolescent about the devastating effects of the Holocaust, but also sparked up a strong individualistic interest to prevent future genocides.

Secretary General’s message on the Intl. Day in memory of the victims of the holocaust

Message on the International Day of Commemoration

in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

27 January 2015


Seventy years ago today, allied forces liberated Auschwitz Birkenau, the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp.

More than a million inmates, primarily Jews, were brutally and systematically killed in the place where the Nazis introduced the monstrous concept of “industrialized murder”. Among the other victims were non-Jewish Poles, political prisoners, Soviet prisoners of war, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, disabled persons and Jehovah’s witnesses. Continue reading


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.