Mandela Made Right Decisions at Sensitive Times - Iranian Diplomat

27 July 2015

UNIC Tehran together with their partners from the Iranian International Studies Association (IISA) and with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a roundtable discussion to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day in Tehran on 27 July 2015.

Ambassador and Director-General for Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hussein M. Abdullahi  said, “Mandela chose the path of mercy, not revenge for the sake of unity of his people and the bright future of South Africa.” He further stated that two major characteristics made Nelson Mandela different from other political celebrities of his time: firstly, he voluntarily left his political position when he was at the peak of power and secondly, he never sought retaliation when he had the means to do so.

The theme behind the Day, "Take Action, Inspire Change" the heroic life of Nelson Mandela and his dedication to social justice and promotion of peace, were highlighted by Public Information Officer Ms. Maria Dotsenko.  Ms. Dotsenko read the UN Secretary-General’s message on the occasion of Nelson Mandela International Day for nearly 120 intellectuals, government officials, artists, university professors and students who came together at the UN Office in Iran. 

Among the notable speakers, former Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to South Africa, Mr. Javid Qorban-Oghli, told the audience that Mandela’s outstanding ability to compromise made him a remarkable politician in the international arena. 

“The ability to relate morals with politics was another significant characteristic of Mandela,” the former Ambassador added. 

During the event, president of IISA, Dr. Arsalan Qorbani and Secretary of IISA, Dr. Ziaoddin Saboori, spoke about the late Mandela’s personality and achievements regarding the culture of peace and reconciliation. 

Renowned actress and UNICEF Goodwill ambassador, Ms. Mahtab Karamati, was among the distinguished guests at the ceremony.

At the end of the discussion, a book entitled “Nelson Mandela Forever” by Mr. Meysam Shahbabaee was unveiled. The book consists of photographs taken during Mandela’s funeral service and other ceremonies held in 2013. Former President Mohammad Khatami and current Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif penned prefaces for the book. 

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Helen Clark Visits Zambia

19 July 2015

UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark was in Zambia from 16 to 19 July 2015. During this visit she held a number of meetings with Republican President Mr. Edger Lungu, The National Assembly, Minister of Foreign Affairs and corporating partners of the United Nations in Zambia.

She also took part in the official launch of the “HeforShe” Campaign which took place in Chief Nyampande area and Misolo Village in Petauke, of the Eastern Province in Zambia, some 500 kms from the capital city Lusaka on 18 July. She was accompanied by the UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan and UNDP staff. The launch was graced by the Head of State, various traditional Chiefs, the Ministers of Gender; Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Women for Change and other partners.

In Lusaka, she saw the President and Vice President, who hosted a lunch on environment and climate change resilience, attended by the Ministers of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Agriculture and Tourism as well as the French Ambassador and the Director  of the Disaster Mitigation and Management Unit; the Speaker of the National Assembly  and Chairs of main Committees and Caucuses, including the new Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) Caucus; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who also hosted a reception for her; the Ministers of Commerce, Trade and Industry and Transport, Works and Supply and Communications, who co-hosted a meeting with the private sector; the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, who hosted a meeting with youth representatives.  The Chief Justice hosted lunch with senior members of the judiciary.  She also met the diplomatic community in Lusaka and the UN Country Team.

Her field trip to Eastern Province was a great success.  The President agreed to launch the Zambia HeForShe campaign and spent the whole day with the UN Team at Chief Nyamphande's village and then at Misolo village visiting the Anti-GBV One-Stop Shop there. We could not have a better platform for pushing forward this campaign. Driving around Eastern Province, Helen was struck by the persisting levels of rural poverty, which she had also seen in other countries, such as Malawi and Tanzania, which have not experienced conflict since independence.  She found the persistent rural poverty and inequalities in such circumstances shocking and she hopes that, among other work, the UN (UNDP) extractives project, once launched, can become part of a solution for dealing with persistent rural poverty and inequalities.

UNIC Lusaka helped organize both local and international media to cover the event as well as coordinate the media team while in the field as well as the press briefing held in Lusaka prior to her departure on July 19, 2015.

Launch of MDGs report 2015 and Round-table on SDGs

08 July 2015

In global launching of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report 2015, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Dhaka organized a round-table discussion with the participation of stakeholders and young representatives from eight universities to talk about eight millennium goals and the post-2015 development agenda - proposed SDGs. The development and governance activist Dr. Zahurul Alam, spoke on the occasion as chief guest while Kazi Ali Reza, Director (communication) of Dhaka Ahsania Mission presided over. UNIC Officer-in-Charge M. Moniruzzaman moderated the round-table and shared the salient features of the report where there is significant improvements in various goals during the last fifteen years globally including Bangladesh. Apart from youngsters, NGO activists, academicians, media representatives, civil society members and cultural personalities took part in the discussion.

In his speech, the session chair focused on inclusiveness and equity that play a key role for sustainable development and growth while the chief guest emphasized on quantitative and qualitative growth. Special guest Mission, raised the issue of economic disparity and asked the youngsters to come forward to reduce it.

The young representatives said that young voices needed to be heard and opportunities needed to be created as well. Issues like consumerism, sharing of knowledge, data analysis, role of NGOs, maternal mortality, attitude towards women, discrimination, poverty, climate change, environment-friendly industrialization, quality education, inclusiveness and equity came-up in the round-table discussion. The participating universities/colleges were University of Dhaka, North South University, BRAC University, Daffodil International University, Dhaka Medical College, United International University, Sunny Dale and Scholastica. The participants will hold a follow-up round-table after shaping of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) scheduled in September 2015.

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Launch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report in Moscow

07 July 2015

On 7 July, UNIC Moscow launched the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report in Moscow, to an appreciative audience of 30 government officials, academics, experts, journalists and students. Each guest received a copy of the Report and a competent presentation was made by Dr. Lilia Ovcharova, Professor of Higher School of Economics (HSE) and Director of the Institute for Social Development Studies, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Dr. Ovcharova made a comprehensive 30-minute overview, focusing on key achievements of the MDG campaign and the main problems faced in the course of 15 years of its implementation. She stressed that the key MDG achievement was the improvement of the lives of millions. The Goals, she said, served as a framework for local, national, regional and global monitoring of development progress resulting in remarkable gains; in many parts of the world, especially in the poorest countries. Finally, Dr. Ovcharova mentioned the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programme, which will focus on where the international community has left off, and the new challenges at the forefront of the global agenda.

In her overview, she pointed out some critical factors that affected the MDG programme. First, the abundance of political and, especially, military conflicts in certain regions of the world aggravated the situations and in many cases prevented the implementation of the right policies. Thus, the number of refugees and internally displaced people is at its highest since the Second World War and it impedes the progress. Second, the inequality in access to basic services between countries and within them still exists and, in many places, is on the same level it was 15 years ago, despite all our efforts.

Then the floor was opened for questions and comments, which were quite substantive. Those related to the role of institutions in the MDGs implementation process; the methodological issue of mix-up between the terms “malnutrition” and “hunger” in the Goal 1 of the MDGs and the summing-up of its results; the comparison between institutions: which of them help underdeveloped countries battle inequality better; and, of course, the role of the Russian Federation in the pursuit of MDGs. The last question sparked a lively discussion between several participants.

Most participants praised the Report as highly informative and were pleased by a thorough and illustrative presentation. Judging by the active participation of the guests in the discussion, the issues presented by the MDG review resonated deeply with the attendees.

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