17 April 2013
On 17 April, UNIC Buenos Aires Director, David Smith gave a special lecture to the students of political science and international relations at Universidad de Palermo, one of the leading private universities in Argentina. Mr. Smith presented a general overview of the work the UN is doing in Latin America, with a special focus on the UN´s role in the reconstruction of Haiti.
He also highlighted the many accomplishment the region has achieved in the last 20 years in its fight against poverty. However, he also noted that Latin America remains as the most unequal region of the planet. Poverty has been reduced to the lowest levels in three decades. Child mortality has dropped significantly. But Latin America and the Caribbean remains the most unequal region in the world—and also the most violent.", he said.
According to a recent report by UNDP, from 2000-2010, homicide rates- while declining in most regions worldwide - rose by 11 percent across the region. In countries with data for 1980-90, robberies have almost tripled over the last 25 years. One in 10 robberies involves violence, usually with firearms. On a typical day in Latin America, 460 people are victims of sexual violence, usually women.
However, the region has also been praised by the UN as an example of democratic transitions and nuclear free-zones, as stated by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier this year: "In the wake of the Arab Spring, the UN has provided a space for several countries of the Americas to share their experiences on democratic transitions with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. We can and should build on this important work.”
A Q&A session follow the lecture, with student's questions ranging from human trafficking to world peace.
12 April 2013
Itsoseng Combined High School in Hebron, North West Province, hosted the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Pretoria for a FUN Day event on 15 March. The theme of the event was poverty elimination and development and the UN’s involvement in addressing these issues. Radhika Lal, Strategic Planning Adviser for the UN Country Team was the guest speaker.
UNIC Librarian, Hope Kabamba, introduced the team and gave a brief introduction of the UN system and what the UN was doing in South Africa and globally. Radhika Lal explained what the UN Development Programme (UNDP) was doing in South Africa and globally. Her presentation on eradicating poverty prompted a lot of questions from the students who were very interested to know what the UN was doing to eliminate poverty and how the UN could help them in their community.
Thembi Lekoape, life orientation teacher, thanked the UN team and invited them to come back to the school in future for other briefings. In turn, Ms. Kabamba extended an invitation to all learners to visit the UNIC Library.
After the briefings, the UNIC team toured the school’s vegetable garden which is managed with the help of the government municipality in the area, which supplies water twice a week in order to sustain the crops. Due to high poverty levels in the area, the garden benefits some of the students who are struggling with food insecurity in their households. The students expressed great interest in the briefing and participated actively as the topic is a reality of life in their area.
08 October 2012
UNIC Windhoek coordinated a press briefing for the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Magdalena Sepúlveda, as she concluded her visit to Namibia. Her visit was in light of an invitation extended to her by the Namibian Government from 1 – 8 October 2012. Her visit included communities in the Karas and Kavango regions as well as various projects in the Khomas Region. In addition, meetings were held with the Namibian Government, representatives of the UN, NGO’s and the donor community.
Addressing the local media, Magdalena Sepúlveda highlighted some of her preliminary observations and recommendations. She provided specific recommendations in key areas such as health, education, employment, social protection, access to land, housing and gender equality. Sepúlveda concluded that the government’s poverty alleviation interventions have been disappointing due to the limited capacity for implementation and monitoring as well as a lack of a comprehensive strategy and weak coordination between various policies.
She said, “I welcome the fact that the Government has identified poverty and inequality as one of its key focus areas. However, more can and must be done. The Government must devise and adopt a policy reduction strategy based on human rights and actively engage individual groups, especially those living in poverty, in its design and implementation.”
UNIC coordinated live radio interviews which were featured in prime time slots on two radio stations in Namibia. There was heightened interest from the media, public and civil society on Sepúlveda’s visit and preliminary findings.
29 September 2012
As a part of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Colombo rescued 14 cows from the slaughter house for a very worthwhile cause.
In a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, UNIC coordinated the donation of 14 dairy cows, from a private milk company, to malnourished children.
The bovines were placed with farmers, who fed and cared for them. UNIC then selected a school where, during a private event on 29 September, the milch cows were presented to parents of the young students who suffered from malnutrition.
The UN initiative was highly acclaimed as a contribution for a better world. The ripple effect has given the UN positive attention through the State-run television, which has strengthened the Centre and its work.