Celebrating UN Day in Azerbaijan

24 October 2014
Learning about the United Nations

On the occasion of United Nations Day, 24 October 2014, UNO Baku organized a “UN4U” outreach campaign at Qafqaz University in Baku by given a comprehensive presentation to students about the organization. The event was joined by the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations (ASAN Service) and brought together more than 50 students specializing in International Relations and Public Administration. 

During the opening remarks the Secretary General’s message was read out on the occasion of UN Day. It said: “The United Nations is needed more than ever at this time of multiple crises.  At this critical moment, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable. On United Nations Day, I call on governments and individuals to work in common cause for the common good.” 

 The event continued with a video screening about UN activities, its aims, structure, and ideals of peace and social and economic progress which have remained the basic goals of the organization since 1945. 

The UNO Baku team followed the message with a presentation on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and briefed the audience on MDG success in the country based on statistical facts provided by the government of Azerbaijan.  The audience was also informed about its post-2015 Development agenda and the current consultations with the Azerbaijani government for setting immediate priorities for Sustainable Development Goals. 

In the same context, a presentation was delivered on the most advanced system of public service delivery in Azerbaijan, by the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations (ASAN Service). ASAN is a new innovative model of public service delivery, where many services from various governmental departments and private companies brought in a single administrative building called “ASAN service” centres.   

During the event it was also mentioned that as part of MDG 9 - Establishing and Strengthening Good Governance, ASAN Service enables citizens of Azerbaijan to have more straightforward, efficient and transparent access to public services.

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UN Honors Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for her efforts to end maternal and new born deaths

24 October 2014
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta holding the award

The United Nations family in Kenya commemorated the 69th anniversary of the United Nations with pomp and color at the UN offices in Gigiri, Nairobi by selecting and presenting the First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta with the United Nations Award of the Year.

The First Lady earned the coveted title for her efforts to stop preventable maternal and newborn deaths in the country. She was selected for successfully raising awareness and funds to address the plight of women and children in need of quality healthcare.

The First lady, moved by the gesture by the UN family, in her acceptance speech said, “I am humbled with the recognition that you confer on me today, and I would like to dedicate this award to all of you, the Kenyan men and women who join me every day in the fight to reduce maternal and early childhood deaths .... We are not there yet but we shall get 'Beyond Zero'.”

The UN also recognized, Fanice Lisiagali of Health Care Assistance Kenya (HAK) for her commitment and efforts in creating a rapid response system for survivors of Gender Based Violence(GBV).

Other features included exhibitions by various UN agencies, entities and programs on the work of the United Nations.

In her speech Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, UNON Director-General praised Kenya for being a unique base for UN activities, “Kenya is home for a unique United Nations presence: United Nations offices at Nairobi, UN head quarters in Africa and the global head quarters of two very important programs United Nations environment Program, UNEP and UN-Habitat. 

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UN Day marked with funfair in Lagos

24 October 2014
Students in a play to mark UN Day

It was a slightly cloudy Friday morning in Lagos.  The streets looked normal - the traffic, cacophonous sound, the siren-blasting security vehicles; with vendors and hawkers dotting the major roads.  As one veered off the expressway into one of the feeder roads Ajah, a Lagos suburb, a more euphonious sound faded in with an increasing decibel as one moved closer to the premises of Sunglee Formation School, Ajah, Lagos, the venue of the Day observance.

With funfair, over 200 students from Basic to Senior Secondary level presented country information of selected UN member States including recitation of their National Anthems, which drew a resounding applause from the guests. Of particular note was the drama presentation hinged on ‘The importance of community cooperation in fostering peace’ staged by the students.

The UN Day observance had started a day earlier with the visit to Falomo Senior High School, Ikoyi Lagos where over 50 students were engaged to discuss the United Nations and its works, as part of activities marking the 2014 United Nations (UN) Day.

In his message on the 2014 UN Day, the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, called for reaffirmation of commitment to the marginalized and vulnerable.

The message read on his behalf by the Senior Public Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Envera Selimovic, added that everyone should ‘work in common cause for the common good.’ 

Selimovic charged the students to always be of good behaviour and worthy ambassadors of their families in order to excel in life.

Speaking on the occasion, the Proprietress of Sunglee Foundation Schools, Mrs Caroline Olaniyi, noted that global peace began with individual families and therefore, called on everyone to be instruments for promoting peace.

The Secretary General’s message was also translated into Yoruba Language and shared with the students of Falomo Senior High School and a live radio audience on ‘Faaji 106.5 FM Lagos by the National Information Officer of UNIC, Oluseyi Soremekun.

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2014 Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU – EU-UN Partnership in crisis management and peace operations

24 October 2014
Participants at the Session

UNRIC Desk for Italy was invited to take part in a three-day international high-level multi-stakeholder initiative with a series of expert meetings, organized in Rome by the 2014 Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (Foreign Ministry) – jointly with the German Foreign Ministry and the Pisa-based academic center of excellence “Scuola Sant’Anna” - and hosted by the Defense Ministry’s Center of high military studies (CASD). 

The UN Secretary-General’s conviction about the potential of the cooperation between UN and EU on crisis management and field operations, expressed at the Security Council’s open debate on UN peacekeeping and regional partnerships in July 2014 was the gathering’s inspiring motto. 

Analyzing the way ahead for a new Plan of Action for the EU’s support to UN peacekeeping, international (UN: Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support and UN Liaison Office for Peace and Security – European Union: European External Action Service) and national governmental officials (ITA and GER Foreign and Defense ministries) as well as other key relevant stakeholders (European leading training and academic institutions) declined the three-day agenda into a number of working groups assessing lessons learned, best practices, way forward. Focus was on military capabilities, training issues and Europe’s new “Training initiative for civilian crisis management. 

A concrete angle was adopted, aimed at identifying aspects of such partnership in practice. The event, which allowed participants to celebrate the UN Day on its final day, as the first in a series of three. 

The second high-level seminar, scheduled to take place in Berlin on 13 November, will highlight lessons learned and future cooperation in the field of mandate coherence,  mission planning and rule of law activities. A wrap-up conference to be held in Brussels on 12 December will take stock of previous proceedings: outputs, recommendations and policy papers will be presented and finalized. An involvement of UNRIC could be envisaged on this occasion.