Daily Archives: August 21, 2017

Written question – VP/HR – Closure of NGOs in Kenya – P-005200/2017

On Monday 14 August, the Kenyan NGO Coordination Board decided to de-register the Kenyan Human Rights Commission (KHRC). The Board subsequently ordered the closure of the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) and called for the arrest of the organisation’s directors. The financial assets of both the KHRC and AfriCOG were also frozen.

1. Is the VP/HR aware of the decision by the NGO Coordination Board, which, as Kenya’s national regulatory authority, oversees non-governmental groups, to close down both the KHRC and AfriCOG, and how does she judge these measures in terms of proportionality and legality?

2. Is the VP/HR aware of the fact that the NGO Coordination Board has on previous occasions attempted to shut down not only the KHRC, but also other NGO’s, including Haki Africa and Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), and how does she assess the timing of the most recent order from NGO Coordination Board’s Executive Director Fazul Mahamed to close the KHRC and AfriCOG only days after Kenya’s elections?

3. Will the VP/HR, either in person or through the EU ambassador to Kenya, express her concern over these recent developments at the highest level, and what effect will they have on the financial programming for Kenya under the European Development Fund?

IGAD Promotes Tourism in the Region

21-08-2017, Djibouti (Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this morning launched the IGAD Tourism Statistics Workshop for Strengthening of Tourism Statistical Systems & Development of Tourism Satellite Accounts for IGAD and Member States in Djibouti under the leadership of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism of Djibouti, Mr. Ali Daoud, The Director of Economic Integration-IGAD, Mr Elsadig Abdalla, and the Head Cluster on Sub-regional Initiatives for East Africa at the UNECA, Ms Daya Bragante.

This meeting is bringing together key IGAD tourism stakeholders, and serves as the 2nd Regional Tourism Meeting since the launch of the IGAD Sustainable Tourism Master Plan (STMP) 2013-2023.

The aim of this meeting is to advance IGAD STMP agenda, in particular, reviewing the implementation status with a view to identifying key milestones, key challenges and to recommending way forward to ensure that targets are met.

Mr Ali Dini declared that the meeting will allow harmonization of IGAD Member States procedures in regards to statistics, which will contribute to measuring progress made in the implementation of the IGAD STMP. “Our region is capable of engaging into the necessary reforms and investments in order to be more competitive as a premier global tourism destination”, he said.

Mr Elsadig highlighted that through collaboration between IGAD Secretariat, Member States, UNECA, and partners, the foundation land mark was laid with the IGAD Sustainable Tourism master plan 2013-2023. “The essence of this meeting is to see how far had we gone since we adopted our Master Plan, and to see how we can keep moving”, he said.

Ms Bragante noted the importance of tourism for the development of the region so rich in culture, history, and natural beauty.

The meeting provides a platform through which Member States and key tourism stakeholders exchange ideas and share lessons of best practice. In addition, given that there have been a number of developments including the African Union Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 for sustainable development, the meeting also serves as an opportunity to link the IGAD STMP to these emerging global and continental development agendas.

It is financially supported by the African Capacity Building Foundation, based in Harare the capital of Zimbabwe, and technical assistance is brought by the UNECA.
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Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, Speech at UNLEASH Awards Ceremony

Aug 21, 2017

The meaningful involvement of youth in SDG implementation and monitoring at all levels is essential for successful implementation of the agenda. Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP

As prepared for delivery.

“Young people powering innovations for sustainable development”

It is my pleasure to join you today at the UNLEASH Awards Show – the culmination of a fascinating Global Innovation Lab that has gathered more than 1,000 talented young people from around the world in Aarhus here today. 

Let me begin by thanking all co-conveners and partners, particularly our Danish partners, for their strong commitment over many years to sustainable development, youth and innovation. 

Key development and innovation challenges

More than 1.4 billion people – many of them poor – live in fragile and conflict-affected settings, 244 million people are on the move , and income inequality is increasing within rich and poor countries alike  while the stressors on our environment, including on the climate, are growing. These challenges are important to all of us, but especially to the young people who make up more than half of the world’s population today. You are part of this important age group, and you will grapple with these and other challenges over your lifetimes. 

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets out an ambitious vision for people, planet and prosperity over the next fifteen years. It was agreed to by world leaders in New York two years ago, and young people played a vital role in shaping its priorities through advocacy and participation in online and local consultations. The agenda aims to address the key development challenges of our time, from poverty and inequalities to hunger and disease to violence and conflict to climate change and disaster risks. It also aims to leave no one behind and to transform the way we live, work, and do business, so that we can build sustainable, inclusive, and peaceful societies. 

Over the past two years, SDG implementation has taken off. With UN support, countries from Colombia to Bangladesh have been aligning their development plans and programmes with the SDGs, involving a broad range of stakeholders in consultation and coordination, building up capacities to collect and analyze data, exploring new ideas and identifying innovative ways of financing this bold and ambitious agenda. 

For UNDP, supporting innovation is critical to achieving the SDGs. Some of our key priorities in doing so include: 

–    fostering development practices and business models that include and empower the most marginalized and vulnerable;
–    building more inclusive, responsive, agile and trusted public and political institutions; 
–    adopting behavior changes that encourage sustainable consumption and production, mitigate climate change, prevent violence and achieve gender equality, taking into account new insights from behavioral science and experimental approaches; 
–    rethinking the future of work and welfare and developing global standards for ethical practice and related safeguards; and
–    leveraging new and emerging data sources to improve SDG monitoring and accountability.

Young people as key agents of change and innovators

The agenda specifically recognizes youth as “critical agents of change”.  To ensure the success of the 2030 Agenda, we need all young people on board – all of you, young activists, innovators, disruptors and trailblazers.   

Young women and men are an important and influential demographic. Your generation is also far better connected than previous ones. Young innovators like you here today have been instrumental in overcoming divisions of geography, religion and culture by combining a keen social consciousness with art, technology, science and new ways of communicating to promote sustainable development. 

The meaningful involvement of youth in SDG implementation and monitoring at all levels is essential for successful implementation of the agenda. Yet, many young people still experience various forms of discrimination and marginalization, barriers in accessing their rights, limited civic and political participation, high levels of poverty, and limited access to health and education services, as well as decent jobs. We must urgently and collectively address these challenges and ensure that young people’s voices and ideas, as well as their willingness to influence decision-making, are better valued and supported. 

How UNDP can be a partner in innovation, especially with youth

UNDP is a leader in supporting youth and innovation, particularly in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Let me highlight how: 

–    At global and regional levels, UNDP has set up programs and platforms to boost youth participation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In July last year, with the support of Denmark and other partners, we launched our first Youth Global Programme for Sustainable Development and Peace, which aims to empower youth across all development contexts through greater economic and political participation and greater engagement in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Over 40 countries, from Sri Lanka to Somalia, have already been directly supported by this program. 

–    As there can be no development without peace, we are now also supporting consultations with young peacebuilders worldwide on the role of youth in peace and security. UNDP and Denmark are working together to prepare a global study on Young People, Violent Conflict and Peacebuilding. This study will, for the first time, document the contributions and challenges of young peacebuilders from around the world.

–    For the 2030 Agenda to be transformative, it must be adapted to local realities. In the Asia Pacific and Arab States regions, with partners like UN Women and UNV, we supported the establishment of regional networks of young influencers, activists and leaders to implement Agenda 2030 creatively in their local communities and to advocate for a stronger role for young people in formulating national policies. In the Arab States region, over the course of last year, more than 200 youth participated in national events, such as social innovation camps, meet-ups, and workshops. One of these young leaders launched a project that maps unused spaces in Jerusalem and organizes collaborative art gatherings and cultural exchanges, turning these spaces into clean, welcoming places for dialogue, conflict resolution, alternative tourism, and inspiration.  

–    We are also promoting new partnerships to tap into the catalytic power of technology for development. In July, we supported the “YouthConnekt” conference in Kigali with the Government of Rwanda, which brought together young African leaders, entrepreneurs and governments to identify new solutions to the region’s technology and development challenges. The YouthConnekt initiative is now working towards the establishment of a regional youth and innovation hub for Africa.

–    We have also stepped up our ongoing support to social entrepreneurs at the local level. For example, in Armenia, the European Union and UNDP have been supporting a social entrepreneurship project called Kolba Lab. The Lab provides support to social entrepreneurs with mentoring, training, seed funding and workspace, in the start-up phase of their businesses, enabling them to turn innovative ideas into solutions for real-world problems. Kolba Lab recently helped a social entrepreneur in the city of Gyumri design, build and install solar-powered streetlights that reduce energy consumption and make public spaces safer and more welcoming. 

–    Finally, since 2014, the UNDP Innovation Facility, with the support from Denmark as well, has provided seed funding for projects in 85 countries, which contributed to our work with young people on innovation for development. One project we are currently supporting through the Facility is in Myanmar, where a group of young women has created the app iWomen. The app shares educational content on entrepreneurship, markets, laws, rights and technology to inspire and mentor rural women to participate in public and political life. Since 2015, active users of the iWomen app increased from 1,050 to over 8,000, and women have shared more than 7,000 posts and 500 inspiring stories.   

These are a few examples of how we are trying to tap the potential of youth and innovation to make the 2030 Agenda a reality. Together, they give a sense of the enormous contributions that young people can make to development progress around the world.

Over the course of only 10 days here in Aarhus, you have co-created solutions that address some of the roadblocks we are facing in reaching the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda. I congratulate you on your work, and encourage you to take your initiatives forward from here. Rest assured that we will continue working with you and with other young people around the world to develop innovative solutions to our shared global challenges and to put those ideas into practice. 

Statement from the Press Secretary

President Donald J. Trump will address our Nation’s troops and the American people tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. (EDT) from Fort Myer in Arlington, VA, to provide an update on the path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia.  

News in Brief 21 August 2017 (AM)

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Emergency services on their way to the scene of a deadly mud slide in Freetown. Photo: UNICEF 2017

WHO working to prevent spread of diseases in wake of Sierra Leone tragedy

Preventing the spread of disease in Sierra Leone, where mudslides and flooding have killed hundreds of people, is “vital,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

The UN agency is working closely with the government to halt the potential spread of infectious diseases such as malaria and cholera.

It is estimated that around 500 people died as a result of flooding and mudslides around the capital, Freetown, last Monday.

Scores are still missing.

Together with its partners, WHO is ensuring that the injured and displaced receive ongoing healthcare as well as psychosocial support.

WHO explained that residents in the affected areas are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of pre-existing infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid and cholera as their water and sanitation facilities have been damaged.

People are being urged to take precautions to help prevent any outbreaks, such as washing their hands, only drinking water that has been properly boiled or treated, and using latrines.

Cholera response kits, which include tools to test for the disease, are also being distributed in at-risk areas.

UN expert calls for action on El Salvador gang violence

Authorities in El Salvador must do more to help and protect citizens fleeing gang violence.

The recommendation has been made by a UN human rights expert on the issue of displacement who concluded a five-day visit to the Central American country last week.

Special Rapporter Cecilia Jimenez-Damary described the situation of people there who have been forced to flee their homes due to the high level of gang-related violence as “a hidden tragedy.”

She also highlighted the need for statistics, though estimates suggest thousands have been affected.

The UN expert said gangs “dominate” areas and citizens through threats, intimidation and a culture of violence where killing is commonplace and extortion is widespread.

“The problem is more significant and widespread than the Government is currently accepting,” she said in a statement, adding that “the Government needs to acknowledge the full extent of internal displacement and act to tackle it and the gang violence which is driving it.”

UK funding to WFP supports Sudan displaced

Funding from the United Kingdom will help the World Food Programme (WFP) to feed nearly 370,000 displaced people in Sudan.

The UN agency announced the £4.5 million contribution, or roughly US$5.8 million, on Monday.

WFP will use the money to provide cash-based transfers and vouchers to displaced people so that they can purchase food and other essential items from local contracted suppliers.

Some 288,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in North and West Darfur states, as well as nearly 81,000 others at a camp in South Darfur state, are set to benefit.

WFP aims to support more than four million vulnerable people in Sudan this year, who include IDPs, refugees, those affected by climate change and host communities.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3’01″