Category Archives: Technology

Deputy Secretary-General Asks African Union Dialogue for Help in Designing Development System towards Partnership on Region’s Transformation

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed's remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the African Union Dialogue, in New York today:

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this dialogue. I am honoured to be among such an influential group of people from my home continent.

This dialogue is testament to the strong partnership between the African Union and the United Nations. Our organizations have embarked on implementing two extremely ambitious agendas � Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Along with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement, these mutually reinforcing agendas provide a robust framework for action, across all dimensions of sustainable development. Their full implementation will significantly change prospects for people in Africa and around the world.

The transformative nature of these agendas requires significant changes to the way nations plan and implement their sustainable development priorities. It will require action at a breadth and scale never before seen. It will require partnerships across sectors, and aligning and unlocking international financing to advance human well-being.

It will also demand a United Nations development system recalibrated to meet the heightened demands of these agendas, and the priorities and challenges of all countries. It is in this context that the Secretary-General presented his vision to reposition the United Nations development system in June this year.

Three key principles guide our efforts: first, reinforcing national ownership and leadership across all activities of the United Nations development system; second, ensuring country-specific responses rather than a one-size-fits-all approach; and third, making country-level delivery the litmus test for success.

As the Secretary-General has stated, the true test of reform will not be measured in words in New York or world capitals. It will be measured through tangible results in the lives of the people we serve.

On the basis of these principles, the Secretary-General has put forward an initial set of 38 ideas and actions to strengthen the system. Combined, these measures provide a powerful road map for change that would significantly reposition the system to support the 2030 Agenda. It will also support implementation of Agenda 2063.

The Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063's First Ten-Year Implementation Plan feature a 90 per cent convergence in their goals. A system that is fit for purpose is one that can flexibly adapt to specific needs and priorities of regions and countries.

This idea is at the heart of the Secretary-General's vision for a reconfigured United Nations presence at the regional and country levels. We want to modulate our support to the unique priorities, needs and financing mix of each country.

Today our organizations continue to strengthen our partnership. We have raised our strategic partnership through the adoption of a Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security and we continue to seek ways to support the African Governance Architecture, including the African Peer Review Mechanism.

We are also working to enhance the United Nations' partnership with Africa's Regional Economic Communities, and we are supporting African integration, including through efforts to establish the Continental Free Trade Area. Preparations are now under way for a joint United Nations-African Union framework for implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.

Some elements for such a framework could focus on financing and partnerships. As we develop this new framework for cooperation, we need to ensure alignment and complementarity with any existing frameworks.

The United Nations development system is also actively supporting many of your Governments as they integrate the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 into country plans and strategies.

We have also initiated efforts to integrate Sustainable Development Goal targets and indicators into national statistical systems to ensure effective monitoring of progress. The High-Level Political Forum offers a platform for peer learning, as countries share their challenges, lessons learned and achievements. I commend the active participation of African Union members in the voluntary national reviews and encourage more to consider participating in the near future.

The General Assembly has also established the United Nations Monitoring Mechanism to review progress on commitments made towards Africa's development by African countries and their development partners. This includes commitments made under the 2030 Agenda, as well as corresponding commitments made by African countries for Agenda 2063.

And the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Platform for Africa's Development, which is currently being established as part of joint United Nations-African Union collaboration, will also play a critical role by integrating real-time data on key performance indicators of the 2030 Agenda, Agenda 2063, and other commitments made towards Africa's development.

The partnership between the United Nations and the African Union will continue to deepen in the coming years as both organizations seek to respond to the challenges facing Africa in areas of peace, security, human rights, governance and sustainable development. The United Nations development system can support our common priorities.

The Secretary-General and I are determined to remain ambitious in our efforts to reposition the system for the challenges and opportunities ahead. I ask you to stay engaged, help us maintain the ambition, share your perspectives. Help us design � together � a United Nations development system that will remain a partner of choice for Africa in its path of transformation. Thank you.

Source: United Nations

Togolese to Vote on Presidential Term Limits; Opposition Angry

LOME, TOGO � Togo will hold a referendum in the coming days on limiting presidential terms, after parliament failed Tuesday to put such a change into the country's constitution.

Announcing the decision to put the constitutional change to a popular vote, parliament head Drama Dramani told lawmakers: "You have voted for the revision of the constitution, but it's the people who will decide, by referendum, in the next few days."

Even though 62 of 63 lawmakers present backed the bill to set a two-term limit on the presidency, an opposition boycott meant the vote fell short of the four-fifths majority required to change the constitution.

Opposition members were angry that the measure did not include a clause that would make Faure Gnassingbe's ongoing presidency illegal and, with the possibility of two more five-year terms, could leave him in power until 2030.

Gnassingbe, now in his third term and whose family has ruled the former French colony for 50 years, had been president since succeeding his late father in 2005.

Thousands of people have joined anti-government demonstrations this month and more protests are planned for Wednesday and Thursday.

Gnassingbe's opponents have been seeking term limits for more than a decade, to align the former French colony with most of its West African neighbors.

Source: Voice of America

Cameroon Struggles to Meet Needs of CAR Refugees

MOLOUNDOU, CAMEROON � Cameroon's government says resurging violence in the Central African Republic has driven another 20,000 refugees into Cameroon this year and prevented the approximately 300,000 C.A.R. refugees who were already in the country from going home. The recent influx has increased humanitarian needs and tensions in border areas of eastern Cameroon.

Seven hundred children attend the government primary school in the Timangolo refugee camp on Cameroon's eastern border with the Central African Republic. There were 500 students three months ago.

Cameroon's government says most of the new refugees arriving from C.A.R. this year are women and children.

Among them is 14-year-old Itna Issiaka, whose parents were killed in Bangui three years ago. Itna fled to Cameroon after her uncle, who was caring for her, was killed in August. Itna sits under a tree and refuses to go to class.

She says she feels traumatized when she remembers her friends who are suffering, like Rafiatou, who is still in Bangui.

Itna's teacher, Cecile Mvogo, says most of the children find it difficult to integrate into their new environment.

Refugee children from C.A.R. have difficulty understanding languages spoken in eastern Cameroon, such as French and Gbaya, Mvogo says, so she uses a kind of sign language to communicate and to make them feel more comfortable.

Security issues

The conditions in the camps sparse, and refugees complain of water and food shortages. The U.N. refugee agency said as of April, just 5 percent of the funding needed for the refugees this year had been pledged.

The government is pleading with donors to mobilize resources to help the refugees, said Rene Emmanuel Sadi, Cameroon's minister of territorial administration and decentralization.

Security issues have also contributed to tensions with host communities.

Last week, the government of Cameroon arrested 30 refugees accused of harvesting food from local farms. They were sent back to the camps and asked not to leave unless they were returning to their country.

In addition, residents and local officials say fighters from the Central African Republic use the border zone in eastern Cameroon as a staging ground. Armed men from C.A.R. have been accused of kidnapping residents for ransom or stealing cattle and money.

Businessmen

One group of young refugees, however, has found a way to run a business outside the camps.

They started their poultry farm on the outskirts of Moloundou with 15 chickens. Three years later, the farm has 400 birds and has hired five staff members, including one Cameroonian.

But it wasn't easy.

Their first effort was growing and selling vegetables, says Rigobert Abazene. However, some people drove them from the plot of land they had cleared in the bush.

They didn't give up.

Flavien Malaka, 21, who saw his parents and uncle killed before he escaped to Cameroon, said he and his business partners refused to compromise their futures and the future of their country by forgoing their educations. However, they needed money to pay for school. So, they built the poultry farm with sun-dried bricks they molded themselves.

Malaka is now a third-year political science student at Cameroon's Yaounde 2 University. The poultry farm earns enough money to pay the university fees for all 10 young men.

Source: Voice of America

SOUTH AFRICA: ESKOM POSTPONES POWER CUTS TO DEBT RIDDEN MUNICIPALITIES

PRETORIA, -- State-owned power utility company Eskom has rescheduled electricity interruptions to three Eastern Cape municipalities following non-payment of their bills.

The power utility had planned the pending interruptions of bulk electricity to the municipalities of Raymond Mhlaba, Walter Sisulu and Inxuba Yethemba for Wednesday. However, the interruptions have been rescheduled for Friday.

This is to allow the municipalities additional time to make adequate payment or to table firm debt settlement proposals to Eskom.

Over the last few days, Eskom has been engaging the municipalities and the provincial government regarding the pending interruptions.

We are still hopeful that we will be able to find mutually acceptable solutions before Friday, 15 September. We firmly believe that the interruption of supply to any customer for non-payment is always the option of last resort and we will continue to engage the municipalities over the next two days in an attempt to avert the supply interruptions, said Eskom.

Last month, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen said several municipalities were complying with the arrangements made with Eskom to settle their electricity debt.

The Minister said this when he briefed media after President Jacob Zuma convened a meeting with political office bearers from all three spheres of government � Ministers, Premiers and Mayors � at Tuynhuys in Cape Town.

According to figures provided by the Presidency after the meeting, 58 municipalities owe the power utility R7.5 billion.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

FINANCE MINISTER URGES TAX PRACTIONERS TO GET TAXPAYERS TO PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE

JOHANNESBURG, -- South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has urged tax practitioners to assist the government in efforts to get taxpayers to pay their fair share.We encourage you as tax professionals to help us send the message that individuals an...