UNIC Windhoek Participates in Government-run World Water Day Commemoration

23 March 2016

United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek participated in the World Water and Wetlands Commemoration at Von Bach Dam in Okahandja.

Von Bach Dam is one of the three main dams that supply water to central region of Naibia, including Windhoek. Due to a lack of rainfall and the relentless drought, dams are extremely low on water and Namibia is at risk of running out of freshwater by October 2016. Visitors to the Dam are shocked to find out how little the water there is and how severe the water crisis is. 

Following a welcome by the Mayor of Okahandja, Cynthia Ortmann, the Chairperson of the Commemoration’s planning committee opened the event by introducing what World Water Day is and stressing the importance of the themes of the day.

Cliff Olivier, from Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater), spoke about the water crisis affecting the country and discussed various methods of securing freshwater besides from dams and rivers. These methods include tapping into underground water aquifers, desalination and treating used water.

He explained that with more pollution, more chlorine is needed to clean water, which makes the process of treating water more difficult. “Please stop polluting, look after wetlands, and be careful about what you pour into your drain. You look after yourself by looking after the water.” 

Dieter Tolke and Laura Ashipala from the City of Windhoek (CoW) gave an engaging presentation on water supply and consumption in the capital during the severe drought that Namibia has been facing.

Citing a 30% increase in demand for water last year, CoW urged the audience to reduce their water consumption by 30% in order to conserve freshwater resources.

In between the speakers, students danced, sang and played drums in celebration of water. 

Following the performance, Anna Shiweda, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry emphasized the importance of educating the public on efficient, wise and conscientious water consumption.

"Let us educate our children to use water wisely, adapt or adopt innovative ways to ensure the available limited water generates the desired maximum benefits for a much longer period than anticipated," she said.

Students from various schools across Namibia’s central region, shared with the audience what they had learned about water conservation and water treatment during their trip to a water treatment plant in Okahandja a day before the event, on World Water Day. A competition of performances about water followed.

UNIC was part of the planning committee for the commemoration, helping organize the event throughout several weeks. UNIC shared pictures information about the commemoration and educational information from various partners on its social media campaign which lasted from 15 March to the end of the month. 

The event, which took place on March 23rd, was the second day of a two-day commemoration run by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry with its partners NamWater, the City of Windhoek, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the University of Namibia and the Namibia University of Science and Technology.

Categories: Windhoek
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Diplomatic Briefing on the Fiji Tropical Cyclone Winston Flash Appeal

22 March 2016

On 22 March, as part of our ongoing cooperation between the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and UN colleagues in the Pacific, UNIC Canberra together with the UN Regional Office in Fiji hosted a teleconference briefing on the Fiji Tropical Cyclone Winston Flash Appeal for the Diplomatic community in Canberra. 

Streaming live from Fiji were Ms Osnat Lubrani, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator, and Mr Sune H. Gudnitz, Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Regional Office for the Pacific in Fiji. Ms Lubrani and Mr Gudnitz provided an update on the situation on the ground, progress of recovery operations and the required additional resources to provide critical emergency relief to 350,000 people affected by tropical cyclone Winston. 

Demonstrating the strong level of interest in the matter, the briefing room was filled to capacity with attendees asking detailed questions regarding the Appeal and how their countries can better support the recovery effort.

Category 5 cyclone Winston – the most devastating tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere – struck the Pacific island nation Fiji during the night of 20 February, taking more than 40 lives and affecting 350,000 people, 40 per cent of the total population. 

For the full briefing by the RC, click here

For more information about the Flash Appeal, read here

Categories: Canberra
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Interview with National Information Officer by NBC, Afrikaans Radio Station

18 March 2016

To celebrate the World Water Day and to raise awareness of the importance of water in many aspects of life, UNIC Windhoek went on radio to highlight the Centre’s Water social media campaign leading up to the official commemoration that took palce at Von Bach Dam.

With the world diving in the digital age, it is important to take advantage of social media platforms to share a message. "It also has allowed us to reach the broader Namibian public as people retweet and share our posts," said the National Information Officer Anthea Basson.

UNIC Windhoek utilized information from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the City of Windhoek and NamWater to generate this dynamic campaign which incorporates interactive as well as educational content about the importance of saving water, the role of water in jobs, climate change, health and wellness, and tips to conserve water. 

A large part of this campaign was the #shortershower challenge. With the help of Gazza, the local Kwaito Artists, the Centre challenged the public to save water by showering under 5 minutes while listening and singing along to a song. By the time the song finished, they should be out of the shower! Gazza’s ‘My Boeta’ and ‘My People’ are great jams to take a shorter shower with. Once the participants finished their shorter shower, they were expected to post about it on social media and challenge their friends to do the same.

Listeners were encouraged to learn more about World Water Day by visiting the Centre’s social media sites. Officer Basson highlighted the key activities planned for the two-day commemoration and she enthusiastically appealed to the Namibian public to join and save water together.

Categories: Windhoek
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Master in Logistics at Inter-Force Training Centre

18 March 2016

United Nations Information Centre  (UNIC) Desk for Italy took part in the activities of the 24th two-week training course in Logistics UN/NATO/EU during 16 and 18 March. 

The Desk for Italy has been featured regularly in the Master’s schedule since its inception, as one of the two UN entities among the training agencies (along with UN Logistics Base in Brindisi), hinging on the solid long-lasting cooperation established with the Ministry. 

The course featured 30 high-ranking officials from Italy’s Army, Carabinieri, Air and Marine forces, who are trained on the logistics policies and practices by key international organizations. The desk officer provided an overview of the UN peacekeeping, its evolution, the outcome of 2015’s three relevant key reports, the role of public information in the field context, drawing upon information gathered from headquarter and United Nations Liaison Office for Peace and Security (UNLOPS) Brussels well as on an exhaustive PPT created by UNRIC.

The desk officer provided participants with the broader picture, in an effective complementing exercise with UNLB, whose task is rather to detail the more technical logistics aspects of a UN mission.

Categories: Brussels
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