Monthly Archives: September 2015

Closing ‘vast’ gender gap, ending child marriage key priorities, Ghanaian President tells UN

30 September 2015 – Spotlighting the importance his country places on gender equality, the President of Ghana told the United Nations General Assembly today that a major priority will closing the “vast” gaps between men and women through, among other efforts, providing decent education for girls and working to end child marriage.

“Most of the world’s poorest people are women,” John Dramani Mahama said. “Currently we create programs and policies to address this imbalance, yet regardless of how successful they may be, they are not permanent solutions. They do not solve the ultimate problem, which is the vast inequality between men and women that so many traditions have inculcated.”

He also addressed the plight of children and the work his country is doing to address their needs.

“In order to address the issue of child mortality and malnutrition, preparatory work is underway to earmark disbursements for pregnant women and mothers of children under the age of one,” he said.

He noted the central role of education in achieving gender parity, emphasizing that it was “the key to change.”

“In Ghana, we have made tremendous progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goal target on universal basic education. We instituted the ‘Girl Child Program,’ which encourages parents to send girls to school, and at the primary level we have achieved gender parity between boys and girls,” he said.

Turning to the practice of child marriage on the continent, Mr. Mahama highlighted that, in West Africa, two out of five girls are married before they turn 18, face increased maternal mortality rates and “are subject to the sort of poverty that is nearly insurmountable.”

“Ghana has launched a campaign, under the auspices of [the UN Children’s Fund] to end child marriage in our nation by focusing not only on getting young girls in school but also on keeping them there their education is complete,” he continued. “This is being achieved through enhanced access to secondary education and beyond without compromising quality.”

On UN reform, he emphasized that it was time “for greater inclusivity in the United Nations.”

“The world that was in 1945 does not exist now in 2015,” he continued, “so the visionary Organization that was formed to meet the needs of that world must now be reformed to meet the needs of this one.”

He also delineated those needs, among them the issues caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Boko Haram and Al-Qaida, as well to address the situatio of those killed in the South Sudan conflict and the “thousands dead in Syria, in Pakistan, in Nigeria, in Mexico, Afghanistan and Somalia; thousands more, the majority from African nations, dead in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to flee poverty, hunger, disease or political strife or persecution.”

Managing the Refugee Crisis: Budgetary measures under the European Agenda on Migration

Days after the College of Commissioners presented a set of priority actions to be taken within the next six months to manage the refugee crisis, the European Commission has today made a first set of concrete proposals for €1.7 billion of EU funding in 2015 and 2016 in order to address the refugee crisis – money EU Heads of State and Government committed to matching last week. The money will provide emergency assistance to the most affected EU Member States, increase staffing at front line EU agencies, and provide assistance and humanitarian aid in third countries. The Commission is now counting on the budgetary authority – the Parliament and Council – to fast track the adoption of these measures, as they committed to doing last week.

Today’s proposals involve €801.3 million for 2015, and will be funded in part from new funding in the form of a proposed draft amending budget for 2015. In this regard, the Commission is proposing additional commitments of €330.7 million from Member States. Second, the Commission is proposing that funds are relocated from other areas. For this, the Commission foresees €70.6 million from other programmes and actions and €400 million originally foreseen for humanitarian aid and funding for European neighbourhood policies.

The second set of proposals for the remaining €900 million for 2016 announced last week will be included in an amendment to the draft budget 2016 in October 2015.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “The European Commission has been consistently and continuously working for a coordinated European response on the refugees and migration front. We have achieved a great deal in a short space of time. And we will continue to work flat-out to bring common, European solutions.

Budget and Human Resources Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva said: “Europe is facing the consequences of one of the biggest crises in its recent history. We have acted quickly to align our resources with priorities, doubling the EU funds available to help refugees and the communities receiving them. We are using the EU budget in a swift and flexible way to address this crisis.”   

Last week, the European Commission committed to reinforcing its financial support for the crisis. In a first step, for the remainder of 2015, the Commission is mobilising €801.3 million to support the following priority actions:

  • €100 million to reinforce the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF) for emergency assistance to the most affected EU Member States. This is in addition to the €73 million already exhausted;
  • €1.3 million to increase the funding for the three relevant EU agencies to cover 60 staff for FRONTEX, 30 for the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and 30 for Europol for 2015;
  • €300 million to reinforce the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) to allow an increase of the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis and provide assistance to third countries hosting refugees from Syria. Together with the further €200 million being redeployed, the total funding for the Trust Fund for Syria will reach more than €500 million. Member State contributions should match the EU funding: so that the Fund would reach a total of at least €1 billion.
  • €200 million to provide immediate resources to respond to the needs of the UNHCR and the World Food Programme and other relevant organisations in order to help refugees immediately. This money has already been planned for humanitarian aid and civil protection and will now be used specifically to address the refugee crisis. Member State contributions should match the EU funding.  

This is in addition to the large sums (over €300 million) being released in 2015 as pre-financing under the multi-annual funds for migration and borders (of a total of around €7 billion set aside for 2014-2020).

The proposal respects the agreement on the EU’ seven year financial plan. The €801.3 million do not require additional payments on behalf of the Member States in 2015.

At the informal meeting of EU Heads of State or Government of 23 September 2015, Member States welcomed the Commission proposals on the mobilisation to the EU budget and committed to match them with their own contributions. This also includes the funds already mobilised – The EU is already mobilising €1 billion for Turkey and €17 million for Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to help our neighbours tackle the migration challenge. The Emergency Trust Fund for Africa with an initial capital contribution from EU financial means of €1.8 billion also needs to be matched by Member State contributions.

Next Steps

In addition, in October this year the Commission will propose additional €900 million to add to the Draft Budget for 2016, to support the following priority actions in 2016:

  • €600 million for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund, as well as for increased staffing of FRONTEX, EASO and EUROPOL. This would be on top of the €780 million planned for the emergency relocation scheme;
  • €300 million to provide humanitarian aid to refugees hosted in countries neighbouring Syria and other third countries. Member State contributions should match the EU funding.  


On 23 April 2014, in Malta, Jean-Claude Juncker presented a five point plan on immigration, calling for more solidarity in the EU’s migration policy as part of his campaign to become European Commission President.

Upon taking office, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker entrusted a Commissioner with special responsibility for Migration to work on a new policy on migration as one of the 10 priorities of the Political Guidelines, the political programme based on which the European Parliament elected the Commission.

On 13 May 2015, the European Commission presented its European Agenda on Migration, setting out a comprehensive approach for improving the management of migration in all its aspects.

On 27 May 2015, the European Commission already came forward with a first package of implementing measures of the European Agenda on Migration, including relocation and resettlement proposals, and an EU Action plan against migrant smugglers.

On 25-26 June 2015, the European Council agreed to move forward on the proposals made by the European Commission in the European Agenda on Migration, focusing on relocation and resettlement, returns and cooperation with countries of origin and transit.

On 20 July 2015, the Justice and Home Affairs Council agreed to implement the measures as proposed in the European Agenda on Migration, notably to relocate people in clear need of international protection from Italy and Greece over the next two years, starting with 32,256 in a first step, and to resettle 22,504 displaced persons in clear need of international protection from outside the EU.

On 9 September 2015, the Commission proposed a new set of measures, including an emergency relocation mechanism for 120,000 refugees, as well as concrete tools to assist Member States in processing applications, returning economic migrants, and tackling the root causes of the refugee crisis.

On 14 September 2015, Member States adopted the Decision to relocate 40,000 refugees in clear need of international protection from Italy and Greece.

On 23 September 2015, Member States adopted the Decision to relocate 120,000 refugees in clear need of international protection from Italy, Greece and other Member States directly affected by the refugee crisis.

For more information

MEMO/15/5730: Questions and Answers: additional funding to address the refugee crisis

European Commission Communication: Managing the refugee crisis: Operational and budgetary measures under the European Agenda on Migration

The European Agenda on Migration: Legislative Documents, Factsheets and Press Materials

Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs Website

Crisis Forces CAR President to Leave UNGA Early

Hey DAWNSers!  Before we get to the day’s Digest, we have some exciting news to share. We have entered into a partnership with the good people at Global Citizen to help us expand our reach and provide us with the necessary support to keep our newsclips service free and fantastic. — Tom and Mark

With strife on the streets of Bangui escalating, Catherine Samba-Panza cut short her New York trip. French helicopters reportedly fired on militias near the airport. “It marked a fourth day of clashes since the killing of a Muslim man on Saturday unleashed the worst sectarian violence this year in the former French colony and raised doubts over plans to hold elections. The vote, scheduled for Oct. 18 but expected to be postponed, is meant to conclude a restoration of democracy after Muslim rebels seized power in the mostly Christian country in 2013, plunging the nation of 4.5 million people into a spiral of religious violence. Samba-Panza, who took office when Seleka ceded power in 2014 under international pressure, said the unrest was being stoked by supporters of ousted former president Francois Bozize.” (Reuters

Saudi’s Under Pressure to Halt Yemen Bombing Campaign…Saudi Arabia and its allies faced mounting international pressure on Tuesday to halt a bombing campaign in Yemen the day after airstrikes killed dozens of people at a village wedding on the Red Sea coast. The attack occurred Monday morning in the village of Wahija, south of the city of Mokha, and appeared to be one of the deadliest involving civilians since the military campaign began in March. Witnesses said Monday that at least 70 people had been killed in tents set up for the wedding. On Tuesday, two local medical officials said as many as 81 people had died.

Stat of the day: The office of the U.N. human rights chief says 151 civilians have been killed in fighting in Yemen over two weeks in September, taking the civilian death toll to 2,355 over the last six months. (AP

On the UNGA Docket today: POTUS and VPOTUS are back in DC today. But the action still abounds in Turtle Bay. Palestine, Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan are on the speaker schedule on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Russia will chair a Security Council meeting to drum up support for its own anti-ISIS strategy.


The streets of the capital of the Central African Republic were deserted Tuesday with terrified residents sheltering indoors and 30,000 seeking refuge at the airport after three days of shooting and bloodshed. (AFP

The Central African Republic’s president appealed for calm Tuesday as the United Nations reported 36 people dead and almost 30,000 displaced in three days of bloodshed terrorising the capital Bangui. (AFP

Burkina Faso’s army took up positions on Tuesday outside the presidential guard’s camp in the capital Ouagadougou, a day after the military chief of staff said the elite unit was refusing to disarm after a short-lived coup. (Reuters

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged South Sudan Tuesday not to “betray and disappoint” the international community after its president promised to implement a faltering peace deal designed to end civil war. (AFP

Nigeria is struggling with an unprecedented economic crisis due to a plunge in oil revenues undermining the state’s ability to provide even basic services, Senate President Bukola Saraki said on Tuesday. (Reuters

A scorching drought that has cut South Africa’s key maize crop by a third is likely to continue into the southern hemisphere summer as an El Nino weather pattern strengthens, according to the latest forecast from the South African Weather Service. (Reuters


Syrian opposition forces say they will never accept President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, after signs that Western powers may be willing to work with the embattled leader to end the war. (AFP

The United Arab Emirates is introducing labor reforms aimed at tightening oversight of employment agreements for the millions of temporary migrant workers who make up the bulk of the country’s workforce, a top Emirati official said Tuesday. (AP

The Libyan coastguard said it rescued 346 migrants on Tuesday, almost 100 of them women and children, crammed onto rubber boats and stranded off the country’s coast. (AFP

The World Bank says the Palestinian economy has worsened for a third consecutive year. (AP

The U.S. is losing the battle to stop Americans from traveling abroad to enlist in ISIS, a bipartisan congressional task force concluded in a report released Tuesday. (CNN


Western embassies in Bangladesh have restricted their diplomats’ movements amid concern more foreigners would be targeted after an Italian was shot dead in the first attack in the country claimed by Islamic State. (Reuters

Deposed Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra filed a criminal case against the attorney general on Tuesday alleging unfair handling of charges against her that could see her jailed for 10 years. (Reuters

More than 200 ethnic Rohingya stormed out of an Indonesian encampment Tuesday as tensions erupted following alleged rapes and beatings by locals at the site where members of Myanmar’s long-persecuted minority have been held since arriving by boat four months ago. (AP

Two British journalists have gone on trial in Indonesia for allegedly trying to make a documentary about piracy without the correct visas, and could face up to five years in jail, an official said Tuesday. (AFP

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met U.S. President Barack Obama and France and Britain’s leaders on Monday, and called for a climate change agenda from upcoming global talks in Paris that helps developing countries with access to finance and technology. (Reuters

The Americas

The news keeps getting worse for the once-ballyhooed Brazilian economy, compounding the delicate political situation for President Dilma Rousseff, who polls show is the nation’s most unpopular president since the 1985 return to democracy. (AP

The justice accord signed at peace talks between Marxist FARC rebels and the Colombian government does not address possible prison time for those who confess crimes committed during the country’s 51-year war, the rebel group said on Tuesday, contradicting government statements on the issue. (Reuters

Peru declared a state of emergency in six provinces on Tuesday after protests over a big Chinese copper mining project left three people dead and 15 injured. (AFP

Greenpeace called on Brazilian authorities on Tuesday to reject an environmental assessment for a hydroelectric dam on the Tapajos River in the Amazon because it was a “marketing tool” that disregarded the indigenous people living along its banks. (Reuters

…and the rest

An international press freedom group says the European Union has been too lenient in its treatment of media abuses in Hungary and accuses it of economic bias in defending the rights of journalists. (AP

More than half a million migrants have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year — 383,000 of them arriving in Greece, the United Nations said on Tuesday. (AFP

Austria may have to use force to ease any backlog of migrants if Germany decided to no longer let them enter via their shared border, but will continue to work closely with its neighbor to expedite the flow, the Vienna government said on Tuesday. (Reuters

European stock markets recovered their poise Tuesday despite an earlier rout in Asia which featured a 4 percent slide in Japan’s main index. (AP

A top U.N. human rights official says efforts by Russia-backed separatist rebels to block the flow of humanitarian aid to people in eastern Ukraine could amount to crimes against humanity. (AP


The SDGs Should Stand for Senseless, Dreamy, Garbled (Foreign Policy

The not-so-easy task of educating girls (Humanosphere

A Change of Perspective on Social Good (UN Dispatch

We Can Overcome Poverty and Hunger by 2030 (IPS

Maybe Trevor Noah Shouldn’t Be So Comfortable With An Indoor Toilet (Goatas and Soda

In two charts, this is what refugees say about why they are leaving Syria now (Monkey Cage

Piketty’s contribution to unpacking inequality: timely and relevant (The Conversation

The majority of the world’s children are in school. So why aren’t they learning? (Guardian

Secret aid worker: As a woman, I’m seen as a piece of meat (Guardian

Bad time to change UN refugee supremo? (IRIN

It’s Up To The World: Pay For The Global Goals Or Buy Everyone A Latte (Goats and Soda



Public Interest Registry Appoints Dorcas Muthoni to Enset’s Board of Directors

Internet Hall of Fame Inductee to Serve Two-Year Term

RESTON, Virginia, Sept. 30, 2015 / PRNewswire — Public Interest Registry — the not-for-profit manager of .org, .ngo and .ong — today announced the appointment of Dorcas Muthoni to the board of directors of nonprofit domain registrar Enset, a subsidiary organization. Muthoni, a member of the Internet Hall of Fame and CEO and founder of OPENWORLD LTD, will begin a two-year term as director this month.

Muthoni is an accomplished entrepreneur and computer scientist whose leadership and technology advocacy has been recognized by groups including the Anita Borg Institute for Women, Women’s Forum and the World Economic Forum. In addition to serving as an Internet Society Fellow to the Internet Engineering Task Force and World Bank infoDev Global Forum, Muthoni is the founder of AfChix, a mentorship and capacity building initiative for women in computing across Africa.

“The Internet can provide NGOs and nonprofits with so many powerful tools to advance their missions and I’ve seen firsthand how technology can make a positive impact,” said Muthoni. “Enset’s mission to serve organizations who might not have the means or skills to access these digital tools is critical to ensuring all NGOs and nonprofits can be a part of the global online community.”

Founded in 2015 by Public Interest Registry, Enset supports nonprofits around the world as a trusted provider of digital tools for NGOs to use the Internet to advance their own mission. The registrar enables organisations to register their .ngo and .ong domains as part of OnGood, a suite of services exclusively for NGOs to improve visibility, raise funds and better connect with their audiences. Enset will also provide .org – the third largest top-level domain.

Muthoni joins two other experienced technology and philanthropy leaders on Enset’s board of directors. Erik Huizer joined Enset’s board of directors in 2014 as chairman and is the current chief technology officer at SURFnet, the national education and research network provider in the Netherlands. Jenny Hodgson, who was also appointed to Enset’s board of directors in 2014, is the executive director of the Global Fund for Community Foundations.

“Muthoni Dorcas’ background, expertise and strategic vision will make her an instrumental member of the Enset board,” said Maarten Botterman, Chairman of Public Interest Registry’s Board of Directors. “Combined with our existing directors, Dorcas’ leadership and guidance will help us position Enset as the only nonprofit domain registrar committed to helping organisations of all sizes and reach leverage the power of the Internet to raise awareness, funds and support for their missions and causes.”

About Public Interest Registry
Public Interest Registry is a nonprofit organisation that operates the .org top-level domain — the world’s third largest “generic” top-level domain with more than 10.5 million domain names registered worldwide – and the newly launched .ngo and .ong domains and OnGood community website. As an advocate for collaboration, safety and security on the Internet, Public Interest Registry’s mission is to empower the global noncommercial community to use the Internet more effectively, and to take a leadership position among Internet stakeholders on policy and other issues relating to the domain naming system. Public Interest Registry was founded by the Internet Society ( in 2002 and is based in Reston, Virginia, USA.

Michael Lock
(202) 223-9260

Written question – Commission's position on the possible independence of Catalonia – P-012942/2015

Margaritis Schina, spokesman for the Commission, has made a remarkable statement on the independence process in Catalonia. He said that a Member State region which becomes independent automatically becomes a ‘third country’ which has to make an application for EU membership. The Commission thus stands by the position set out by Romano Prodi in 2004 — in spite of the massive support for independence in Catalonia — and upheld in the public debate on the recent independence referendum in Scotland. I also refer to the statement made by former Commissioner De Gucht, the day after the Scottish referendum: ‘We could hardly have refused EU membership to an independent Scotland’ (in the Flemish weekly Knack, 19 September 2014).

1. On what grounds in law and in the Treaties is the Commission spokesman’s statement based?

2. On what legal basis does the Commission propose to draw a distinction between EU citizens in Catalonia and EU citizens in the rest of Spain?

3. Can the Commission explain how its support for peoples striving for autonomy and independence, in such places as South Sudan, Kosovo and East Timor, relates to its unchanged attitude to similar processes within the EU?