02 May 2013
UNIC Antananarivo and UNESCO, in partnership with the Media in Action and for Training (MAF) and the International Organization of the Francophony (OIF), celebrated Press Freedom Day under the theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media” for two days at Antsirabe.
On 2 May, a workshop on the topic “The media’s freedom of expression, deontology and ethics of the journalist during the elections” was conducted for 24 journalists and students studying journalism, at ESSVA Antsirabe school. Issues raised included the exactitude of fact reporting (facts are sacred, comments are free), the public’s right to information, and impartiality concerning the candidates.
The following day, there was a ceremony held at Hotel Flower Palace Antsirabe, which included official speeches by the MAF President and representatives from OIF, the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Transition (CENI-T) and the UN.
At the end of the event, there was a reading and signing of the “Chart of Journalists” written by journalists from the Vakinankaratra region. The key points highlighted in the Chart include: the balance of information without discrimination and distinction, the agreement of press publishers on freedom of expression, the agreement on the regulation against the violations of electoral laws and codes, the truth, balance and respect of the person of the candidate, the agreement against corruption, the agreement on the general interest of the information without an attempt of debate, the work of the organizations (UNDP, CENI-T, UN System and OIF).
24 April 2013
On 24 April, the UN System in Madagascar launched both the Human Development Report 2013, “The Rise of the South: Human progress in a Diverse World” and the Human Development Report in Africa for 2012 at the Hotel Carlton Anosy, in the presence of the UN Resident Coordinator in Madagascar, the Prime Minister and Vice-Prime Minister. The audience included the media, civil society, diverse ministries and NGOs.
The UNDP Economic advisor Simplice Zouhon Bi made a presentation that highlighted the main issues and recommendations of both reports as well as lessons learnt from emergent economies. He pointed out three conditions for sustainable development: a proactive State in terms of development, the integration in world markets and innovative social policies. Indeed, Madagascar is 151st on the HDI classification, with 0,483, a position mainly due to the 2009 unending political crisis.
Recommendations from the audience included a rural security policy, the removal or reduction in tax on agricultural equipment and material, the access to credit, the application of standard techniques in industrial activities and agricultural subsidies, and the participation of the youth to national wealth creation.
At the end of the event, the two reports were distributed to the participants. Electronic and hard copy are available at the UNIC Library. The event received high media coverage.
19 April 2013
On 10 April, UNIC Antananarivo organized a cine-debate for the 19th Commemoration of the Genocide in Rwanda at the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in partnership with the UN Clubs. The ceremony began with the quotation of the UN Secretary-General Message on the occasion of the Commemoration of the Genocide in Rwanda. A history professor gave a short background of the Rwandan genocide before the documentary film “Duhozanye: A community of resilience, hope and dignity” was screened. During the discussion that followed, students were made aware of the potential dangers of racial discrimination and intolerance. They were encouraged to speak out against violence, discrimination and racism and to promote, respect of human rights and peace.
Further, on 19 April, the UN System and the Rwandan Community invited members of the diplomatic corps and UN partners to an official ceremony to commemorate the Day. The ceremony started with a silent walk in memory of the victims, followed by a welcoming statement by the Rwanda diaspora representative and a minute of silence and prayers.
The documentary “Tuez-les Tous” (kill them all), retracing the circumstances of the genocide was screened at this occasion. A panel on the topic “Let us commemorate the Rwandan genocide while fighting for non-dependence” took place after the film followed by debates.
The four Rwanda lessons (Preventing genocide, responsibility to protect, sexual violence as a tool of war, and justice and reconciliation process) were exhibited and hard copies distributed to the audience at both events. Copies of both films were given to the schools for future screenings.
19 April 2013
On Friday 19 April, UNIC Antananarivo with together with several UN agencies organized the first conference-debate for the “1000 Days of Action to achieve the MDGs” campaign which was led by UNDP Economic Counselor Simplice Zouhon Bi and INSTAT Director Niaina Randrianjanaka (National Institute of Statistics).
The conference discussed the progress achieved, the challenges that still need to be addressed and the views on how to achieve the MDGs in Madagascar. The statistics presented during the debate show that it would be difficult for Madagascar to achieve the eight MDGs before 2015. Indeed, poverty worsened between 2005 and 2010, mainly because of the 2009 political crisis.
Mr Simplice Zouhon Bi presented two scenarios for the MDGs achievement: the “status quo” scenario which includes the role of the private sector, the institutional capacities of the public sector and the assistance of the Technical and Financial Partners; and the scenario of the “collective jump” which involves the sensitization of development actors, technical assistance and development aid and specific support by the UN System – framework of MDGs acceleration, resources mobilization and aid coordination.
The moderator invited the participants to be committed, engaged to take more actions for reducing poverty in Madagascar. All the stakeholders recognized that it is time to work together and to coordinate the actions in order to get more and better results.
Proposals from the audience abounded: the RFA (African Women Network) suggested the reopening of CSB 2 (basic health centers); an activists highlighted the restoration of democracy; the CNFM (national Malagasy Women Council) proposed to involve the future candidates to the presidential elections in the 1000 Days campaign; the UN Clubs remeinded their involvement in development activities; the Girl scouts solicited to grant more value to youth actions.