UNIC Canberra: Celebrating International Year of Pulses

10 June 2016

The versatility and ease of preparation of pulses were on display at a school cooking class at Kilkenny primary School in Adelaide. It was no ordinary class for the 30 students who had the opportunity to cook a range of dishes with the help of celebrity chefs and VIPs. The event was the culmination of the school’s focus on the International Year of Pulses (IYP) and had been preceded by a short talk on the benefits of pulses at the school assembly by Peter Semmler, from the Australian IYP Committee.

Peter, as well as internationally renowned chef Cheong Liew were also invited by UNIC Director, Christopher Woodthorpe, to each cook a specific dish with a team of students. With the Adelaide Advertiser on hand to record the event, the pressure was on in the kitchens as knives chopped, pans sizzled and the room was filled with enticing aromas. Having cleaned their stations, composted waste products and set out their dishes, the assembled sat down to a delicious six-course meal of soup, frittatas, fritters and fabulous salads as the pulses came into their own in a feast that will not be easily forgotten.

Students from across Namibia participate in 5th Model United Nations Namibia Conference

09 June 2016

The 5th Annual Model United Nations (MUNNAM) High School Conference took place at the Safari Court Hotel Conference Hall on the 8th and 9th of June 2016, with an overwhelming attendance of 70 students from 12 different high schools across Namibia, amongst these participating schools were two from the Otjikoto Region, namely Etosha Secondary School and Otjikoto Secondary School.

This year, two topics were discussed, both of which were themed around the newly implemented 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ‘Woman’s Empowerment and the Link to Sustainable Development’ (as it pertains to Goal 5 of the SDGs) and ‘Ensuring Universal Access to Water’ (as it pertains to Goal 6 of the SDGs). 

‘Woman’s Empowerment and the Link to Sustainable Development’ was the first topic to be tabled on the agenda for day one of the conference. The delegates deliberated and debated on the topic, exchanging interesting perspectives and crafting ideas and solutions. During the debate, they placed emphasis on defining ‘Sustainable Development’ and sought to shed light on the role an empowered woman can play in order for the goals to effectively materialise. 

Interestingly, the course of the discussion took a slightly different route during interim moderated sessions, as the aspect and technical relevance of religion, tradition, culture and gender-based violence gained permanence. The delegates weighed these factors against one another and discussed how they impede gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s knowledge of their rights. The delegates also discussed how both women and men can work together to bring about changes that will benefit the disenfranchised masses.

Pressure mounted up amongst the very eager delegates, as they had to ensure that a resolution was passed by the conclusion of the first day. Although a majority of the delegates where novice first timers, they managed to grasp the different concepts of diplomacy which made for exceptional deliveries of draft resolutions. 

A resolution was passed by the following sponsoring countries: Germany, Central African Republic, France, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, which, amongst a couple of other factors, focused on the importance of education as a means to empower women and to generate awareness of women’s human and social rights. 

The two-day conference was off to a great start, as the delegates moved to discuss‘Ensuring Universal Access to Water’ (as it pertains to Goal 6 of the SDGs),the second topic on the agenda. This topic was to the favour and warm reception of a number of delegates representing African and Asian countries, as most countries in these continental regions face serious water insecurities. Collectively, the delegates worked hard to attempt to dismantle factors attributing to the ineffective distribution of safe drinking water across the globe so as to come to amicable solutions on how this very pressing issue can be solved. 

The discussion was centred around the importance of global participation in alleviating the factors that hamper access to water, most especially in the poverty stricken countries of Africa, Asia and South America. Countries from the African and Asian continents such as Namibia, Central African Republic, South Sudan, South Africa, Ghana, India, China and Nepal (to name a few) called upon the more affluent and resourceful countries of the West to assist them in their efforts to ensure that they have sufficient access to water, as many of these countries are experiencing severe drought and climate variability and need expert, financial and physical assistance for aqua development and other initiatives relative thereto.

The dialogue concluded in a resolution being passed by the following sponsors: Ghana, South Sudan, China and South Africa. The resolution included calling upon the assistance of not only the West but the global community at large, as water insecurity affects every nation. 

The highlight of the second day was an award ceremony to honour those delegates who performed exceptionally at the conference. The judging panel, comprised of previous MUNNAM delegates who head up the University of Namibia debating society along with UNIC Windhoek’s National Information Officer Anthea Basson. They meticulously scored delegates on various indicators including content, delivery, participation and use of the rules and diplomacy, revealed the prize winners.

The “Best School Award” went to Delta Secondary School, who won the MTN Business Namibia’s, “Best School, floating trophy” as well as three thousand Namibian dollars for their school. The Delta Secondary School participants included Patience Masua, representing Germany, Thelma Mackinza, representing Central African Republic and Gabriel Haughk, representing India.

The “Best Delegate award”, as voted for by the participants, was awarded to Jules Van De Port from St. Paul’s College, representing Saudi Arabia at the conference. The “Best Delegate” received a trophy and one thousand five hundred Namibian dollars prize money from MTN Business Namibia.

Furthermore, two special achievement awards, along with one thousand five hundred Namibian dollars prize money was awarded to Nils Schuler, recognising his long standing participation since 2012 (as the youngest participant) and his active leadership role in the programme. Another special achievement award was given to Paulus Amuthenu, representing Ghana (from Academia Secondary School) for his active participation in the conference, effective use of the rules of procedure and overall diplomacy, analysis and comprehension of the programme.

The “Best Speaker award”, along with the one thousand five hundred Namibian dollars prize money was awarded to Gabriel Haughk, representing India, from Delta Secondary School.

With the sponsorship of MTN Business Namibia, the 5th Model United Nations Namibia (MUNNAM) High School conference proved to be a great success. As the delegates left the conference centre, many students commented that they were already excited for the next MUNNAN conference.

 

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UNIC Canberra: 2016 World Oceans Day

08 June 2016

While the wind whipped the surf up only a short distance away, UNIC Canberra celebrated World Oceans Day 2016 at two primary schools in Adelaide.  At both the Kilkenny and Fulham North primary schools, the young students were quick to put up their hands and engage in a discussion about keeping the oceans free of litter and enjoyed watching a short UNEP video about marine litter.  Speaking to the children, the UNIC Director, told them of one of the ocean garage patches which was one and half times the size of the state they lived in, South Australia and how marine litter impacts marine animals and plants.  When asked who had participated in a beach clean-up it was inspiring to see hundreds of hands up. The idea  of using less plastic and trying not to use plastic bags was also voiced by many of the children as was the importance of discarding litter properly.  They also recognised the importance of reusing plastic and were amazed when the UNIC Director showed them the plastic water bottle he had taken around the world with him.

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Cameroon: 2016 World Environment Day

06 June 2016

 

The Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development of Cameroon (MINEPDED) in collaboration with the United Nation System in Cameroon, organized the official ceremony to mark the 2016 World Environment Day on Monday, 06 June 2016 at the Yaounde Conference Centre. 

The ceremony which was organized on the Theme: “Illegal trade in wildlife”, was presided by His Excellency Hélé Pierre; Cameroon’s Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development. In his speech, Minister Hélé Pierre outlined measures put in place by the ministry to protect wildlife ruthless’ from poachers, stressing on punitive legal actions prohibiting this trade.

The message of the UNSG on this occasion was read by Mr. Mai Moussa ABARI, Acting Resident Coordinator. In the message, UNSG Ban Ki-moon “…urge people and governments everywhere to overcome indifference, combat greed and act to preserve our natural heritage for the benefit of this and future generations”. UNIC Yaounde distributed copies of the message to participants and the media. 

Students thrilled the over 560 participants with poems, sketches and traditional dances, which highlighted the need for protecting wildlife, especially elephants, gorillas, rhinos, tigers, etc. Prizes were awarded to winners of the Quiz competition, organized to grace the weeklong series of activities which included conferences, debates, educative talks, exhibitions and quizzes.

In attendance were students from the Holy Infant Primary and Secondary School Yaounde, Government Bilingual Practising High School, College Jean Tabi, Enfants Vert of the Protestant University of Central Africa, Universities of Yaounde I and II, Government officials and the civil society.