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.

Presentation of MDGs National Monitoring Survey Results

24 February 2014

After several months of survey with more than 19,000 households throughout the country, the results of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) national monitoring survey conducted in 2012-2013 (ENSOMD in French), were presented at the Town Hall on 24 February under the presence of the Vice Prime Minister and the UN System Resident Coordinator in Madagascar. 

The main objective was to measure the progresses realized by Madagascar in reaching the MDGs. The UN System Resident Coordinator declared that the report served as a basis of reliable references and as a tool for decision-making and programming as Madagascar was preparing strategies and programs for economic recovery. The National Statistics Institute Director added that it could also be an important tool for the post-2015 agenda debates and for academic research. The Vice Prime Minister in charge of Economy and Industry summed up the report as such: 

- MDG 1: 71% of the interviewees live below the poverty line though the goal is 35%

- MDG 2: 69% of children achieve primary school though the goal is 100%

- MDG 3: literacy parity is 49% though the goal is 50%

- MDG 4: child mortality rate is 62‰ thought the goal is 53‰

- MDG 5: maternal mortality rate is 498 out of 100000 births though the goal is 122

- MDG 6: 8% of the interviewees use preservatives and malaria rate drops to 6%

- MDG 7: 38,9% of the interviewees have access to drinking water

Unfortunately, the survey was not able to measure the indicators for the MDG8 as it concerns financial resources mobilization and is beyond the framework of a survey with households. After the presentation of the above results, the officials officially opened an exhibition on the 8 MDGs in the Town Hall yard. The exhibition included governmental institutions as well as UN agencies working on MDG-related missions. The INSTAT Department of communication, UNIC Madagascar, UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Population Fund (UNFPA), worked together to organize this event.

Learning about UN activities in Azerbaijan

18 February 2014

To inform youth about the United Nations work in Azerbaijan and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UNO Baku team organized an informative session for students at the UN House, on 18 February. The event brought together the representatives of AIESEC, the international youth association and highlighted the importance of education, which was a good start for future networking and collaboration opportunities.

The UNO team screened a documentary and made a short presentation depicting the challenging work of the United Nations in hotspots around the world. The students got an opportunity to present their knowledge of both the United Nations and current events worldwide. Students were particularly interested in issues pertaining to the UN’s work in Azerbaijan, as well as the MDGs, which some thought were more critical for Azerbaijan than others, since some of the goals are no longer an issue in the country.

“Today we found the session very informative, and we learned many things about the work of the UN in Azerbaijan,” said Murad Zeynalov, Local Committee President of AIESEC. The UNO Baku team also discussed the possibility of organizing joint events with AIESEC to raise youth awareness about the MDGs and other development issues that remain main priorities for the United Nations.

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Discussion on gender inequality and women’s empowerment

12 February 2014

Long involved in the struggle for gender equality, UNO Baku held an information session on 12 February for students of ADA University in order to better acquaint them with the aims of the UN’s third Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of “Promoting gender equality and empowering women.” The session brought together highly-qualified masters students interested in issues of gender-based violence. 

The UNO Baku team informed the students about the United Nations as well as its involvement in the implementation of the UN’s MDGs. The session continued with a screening of a documentary film about the promotion of gender equality, and later a short video about the Secretary-General’s campaign to eliminate violence against women and girls, “UNiTE to End Violence against Women.”

The UNO intern and ADA master’s student Nigar Asgarova made a presentation with her colleagues Tatiana Sanina (Moldova) and Sammy Kinyanjui (Kenya) on combating domestic violence through the use of available channels of recourse and support. 

Afterwards, the presenters responded to questions from those in attendance. Due to the cultural diversity of the audience, the presenters found themselves confronted by challenging and thought-provoking questions, which led to heated debates. After expressing his gratitude, master’s student Richard Sarpong, from Ghana, pointed out that, “it’s very important to raise awareness on violence against women. However,” he continued, “where I come from, men too, often encounter violence from women. I hope your next presentation can address this issue.”

Students thanked the UNO members for raising public awareness and drawing attention to the issue. Students also showed great interest in internship opportunities at the UN.