UNCT holds 2014 retreat… meets Oyo State Governor, engages local communities

15 April 2014

The UN Country Team in Nigeria visits a local community

The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) led by the Resident Coordinator, Mr Daouda Toure, recently held its 2014 annual retreat and engaged local communities in Ibadan, Oyo State, South-West Nigeria.  

Attended by representatives of eighteen UN Agencies, Programmes and Funds including the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, represented by its National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, the retreat featured a courtesy call on the Governor of Oyo State; visit to UN project sites; presentations on the implementation of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) III and its core component, Delivery as One (DaO).

Receiving the team in his office, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, expressed his appreciation of the choice of Oyo State as the host the UNCT annual retreat. He pledged the support of his administration to all UN programmes and projects in the State. 

The Governor therefore sought the assistance of the United Nations on seven fronts: Development of an Industrial park; Peace and Security; Physical Infrastructure; Preventive medical service delivery; Logistics centre; Agricultural development and Training especially vocational training, knowledge and skill acquisition.

In his remarks, the Resident Coordinator acknowledged the commitment of the government of Oyo State to infrastructural development and empowerment of the people. However, Mr Toure noted that there were still more to do, especially in the area of health management, education and youth empowerment.

In line with its programmes, the UNCT made a field visit to Sabo Community to engage some young women who were beneficiaries of an empowerment scheme supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The team also visited another ILO-supported project site to engage rescued victims of child labour, who had been enrolled in Agbaje Memorial Primary School at Agbaje market area of Ibadan, the Oyo state capital. The project which was to eliminate child labour in the community, had assisted over 110 children to go back to school.

In an interactive session, one of the rescued children, Mariam Agbaje, age 10, disclosed to the UNCT that she was engaged to pick melons in the market for which she was being paid the sum of Thirty-Naira (N30) per day. Another rehabilitated child worker, Ayomide Oladokun, 12 years said he was a street hawker of water in a sachet, popularly known as ‘pure water’ with a daily wage of N30 on a turnover over of N500. Both of them were grateful to the UN and Gallilee Foundation, the project managers, for rescuing them from the dangers of the street and bringing them to school. They expressed their joy of being with other children in the classrooms.

Engaging the women, many of whom were widows, the UNCT had a first-hand accounts of the huge impact a UN project had made in the lives of people. The women, who spoke one after the other, acknowledged that the project had organised them into cooperative society; empowered them in such a way that they could afford to send their children to school and make daily savings from the income generated from the project economic empowerment scheme.

In their deliberation at the retreat, the UNCT noted that elections is  a major flagship programme for the UN in Nigeria; therefore, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the lead Agency on elections, was mandated to convene a meeting of Agencies that have planned activities related to elections to agree on a road map of working together to Deliver as One. 

Speaking on the elections, the Resident Coordinator assured that the UN would reinforce its advocacy to the Federal Government that issues of elections should not stop interventions in other thematic areas.

In regards to Delivering as One (DaO), the UNCT noted that all the states of the federation were DaO states explaining that any UN Agency that had presence in any state, would speak and act for the UN. However, Agency leads in some states were decided: the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) as the lead Agency; Lagos -(World Health Organisation – (WHO); Anambra - UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Oyo and Kogi - UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO); Benue - UNICEF; Borno – UNICEF; Ekiti - UNDP; Cross River - UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and Niger - UNDP.

The retreat ended with a sound commitment by the UNCT to implement the UNDAF III 2014 -2017, with vigour and within the framework of Delivering as One UN.

Intensify Efforts to Meet MDG targets – Urges UN Resident Coordinator

14 April 2014

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer and Lion's Club Representative exchange their respective Organisation's flags

The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Nigeria, Mr. Daouda Toure, has called on corporate bodies, the Civil Society, and other development partners to intensify efforts geared towards achieving the targets set for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) even as the United Nations and the entire world are already talking about post-2015 sustainable development.

He made this call in his goodwill message delivered at the 36th Annual Lions Day with the United Nations, held recently at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Lagos. The theme of the day was ‘In fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals’ under the chairmanship of Prof Segun Awonusi of the University of Lagos. This was in continuation of the Lions Day with the UN held at the UN Headquarters in February 2014.

The Resident Coordinator who spoke through the National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, charged the participants to double their efforts towards eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving Universal Primary Education; promoting gender equality and women empowerment; reducing child mortality; and improving maternal care. 

He added that all hands must be on deck to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development. “We have started and there is no looking back,” he declared.

In his opening remarks, the Multiple District Chairperson, Professor Ayoade Adesokan, observed that the Lions Club International and the United Nations shared some things in common. This, he said, included creating and fostering a spirit of understanding among the people of the world which is one of the purposes of the Lions Club.

Professor Adesokan added that the relationship between the United Nations and Lions Club International dated back to 1945 when the leaders of the Club were asked to help develop the non-governmental organisation charter for the United Nations.

The peak of the ceremony was the traditional exchange of flags between the two Organisations.

UN Nairobi Commemorates “Kwibuka20”

14 April 2014

UN security officer signing commemoration book

The 20th anniversary dubbed "Kwibuka20” of the Rwandan Genocide was commemorated at the UN complex in Nairobi on 14 April.  The function organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Nairobi, in collaboration with the Rwanda High Commission, was attended by over 500 guests comprising of UN staff, Rwanda community, friends of Rwanda, Permanent representatives, University students and Kenya Government representatives.

UNIC requested students from various schools in Nairobi to give their impressions of peace by writing letters and painting.  Their impressive letters and paintings were mounted and exhibited at the lobby of the complex.  The branding of the exhibition was the emblem “20” made of white roses and 20 burning candles.  A similar emblem was made on the foreground of the lobby where staff and guests laid their roses and observed a minute of silence. Other features for the Day’s programme included a short video and a song titled “Kwibuka”, screened before the guests.  

Walk to commemorate victims of the Rwanda genocide

Speeches to mark the Day were delivered before a solemn audience by Ms. Yamina Karitanyi, High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda to Kenya, and Ambassador Ruth Solitei, Chef de Cabinet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya, while Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, UNDP Resident Co-ordinator, delivered the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon’s message. 

The function climaxed with a “Walk to Remember”, by UN staff and invited guests, which started at the UN complex and ended at the Rwanda High Commission grounds, led by the Rwanda High Commissioner Ms. Yamina Karitanyi, UNIC Director, Nasser Ega-Musa and the Kenya Government representative, Ambassador Ruth Solitei.  

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Sustainable energy for all - students' competition on energy

11 April 2014






For the third consecutive year, the UNRIC Desk for Italy granted its patronage to a competition opened to students of the Emilia Romagna region and traditionally centered upon energy-related topics (http://www.sgrservizi.it/trofeosgr). 

This year’s theme, “New energy to your holiday”, saw a number of theoretical and practical activities aimed at testing the youth’s energy awareness. The Desk Officer delivered a message that emphasized the importance of energy-related issues in light of the crucial role that a correct use and concept of energy may play within the wider context of sound environmental practices. 

The occasion was also used as an opportunity to touch upon the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.  Reference was also made in this regard to the UN Secretary-General’s priorities for the year and the key upcoming appointments later in 2014. 

In his message to the participants, the Officer stressed the pivotal place that the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, launched by the Secretary-General in 2012 keeps holding, having caused a number of similar initiatives that are bound to continue in the future.