President Kiir and Machar report ‘important progress’ following meetings in Juba (by Beatrice Mategwa)

12.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
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The second day of talks between South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, and his former deputy, Riek Machar ended with both leaders reiterating their desire for peace as they promised to meet regularly in the lead up to the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity, expected on 12 November 2019.

A handshake, a hug and other pleasantries exchanged upon Machar’s arrival, the leaders and their subordinates soon took their seats, but not before an invocation of spiritual intervention, complete with song and prayer.

“No matter the magnitude of the issues that we will face, it is incumbent upon us to do that which is well, which is right – that is to come together and reason,” said the chair of the South Sudan Council of Churches Bishop Alkangelo Wani Lemi, setting the mood of the day’s deliberations.

It was no surprise, in a country where religion seems to play a significant role.

In April this year, South Sudanese leaders visited Rome, where Pope Francis knelt to kiss their feet, and on Wednesday morning, there was an obvious recourse to that spirit.

“It is in reasoning, in dialoguing, and in sitting together and accepting one another, that we will put everything on the table and discuss for the good of the people whose hands have not forgiven its leaders,” continued Bishop Wani Lemi.

The mood set, the two leaders and their representatives went into a closed-door meeting, emerging hours later to briefly speak to the eagerly waiting members of the media.

“You have now seen how we are; we are progressing very well in our discussions,” said President Kiir, as journalists pricked up their ears, seeking to hear more.

For the opposition leader, there was a certain significance to being back home.

“Juba is home, and I have come back to Juba, even if I go away for some time,” said Dr. Machar. “IGAD (the regional intergovernmental bloc), will determine my status to be free to come and discuss more with you here, but we have made important progress,” he added, promising frequent meetings, particularly after a summit organized by IGAD.

Acknowledging the limited time to the deadline for the formation of a transitional government, the two leaders preferred to let their subordinates divulge the fleshy details of their meetings.

“It is a positive move and a commitment towards the stability of South Sudan,” said Tut Gatluak, President Kiir’s advisor on security affairs, who is also the chair of the National Pre-Transitional Committee.

“We also talked about [the] non-signatory parties. As you are all aware, we have parties led by Thomas Cirillo and Paul Malong, and there is need to bring them on board. Without them, this peace may have difficulties and that is why we must move as one people; as South Sudanese,” said Henry Odwar, the deputy chair of Machar’s political movement.

Apart from the need to fund the peace process, Odwar also reported that part of the discussions highlighted an urgent need to take peace messages to every part of South Sudan and the diaspora.

Also spotlighted, was the need to incorporate the agreement into the country’s constitution, the creation of a free political space, security laws, and the contentious issue concerning the number of states and their boundaries.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Source: Apo-Opa

New UNHCR evacuation of refugees from Libya to Italy, as Tripoli fighting continues

12.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
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A group of 98 vulnerable refugees have been today evacuated out of Libya to Italy, the third direct humanitarian evacuation to the country this year.

With Libya continuing to suffer the consequences of ongoing conflict, such evacuations are a lifeline for the most vulnerable refugees living in detention centres and urban areas, who are in dire need of safety and protection.

The evacuees are from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, and include 52 unaccompanied children. The youngest is Yousef, a seven-month-old baby from Somalia, born in detention and traveling with his parents. Many of the refugees had been in detention in Libya for long periods, some for more than eight months.

“Today we have taken 98 people to safety, but this is still only a small number compared to the thousands who need such help. There are still some 3,600 refugees in detention centres. We urgently need to find solutions for them, as well as thousands more vulnerable refugees living in urban areas,” said Jean-Paul Cavalieri, UNHCR Chief of Mission for Libya.

UNHCR is grateful for the co-operation of the Libyan Ministry of Interior, and for the support of our partner LibAid, for their assistance with securing their release and transfer out of the detention centres.

“Today’s evacuation is an example of solidarity, and we thank the Italian authorities for making this possible. We hope that other countries will heed this example and provide similar, life-saving humanitarian evacuations”, said Roland Schilling, UNHCR Regional Representative for Southern Europe.

Prior to the evacuation, the refugees were being hosted in the Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in Tripoli, after UNHCR had secured their transfer from detention. In the GDF, they were provided with food, shelter, medical assistance including psycho-social support, as well as clothes and hygiene kits.

Following this evacuation, UNHCR has assisted 1,474 vulnerable refugees with leaving Libya in 2019, including 710 to Niger, 393 to Italy, and 371 who have been resettled to other countries in Europe and Canada.

 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Source: Apo-Opa

Liberia: Farm to market road rehabilitation activity

12.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
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June 2018 – June 2020 I Implementer: 21st Century, SSF, Westwood, Solid Rock, B& Sons,
Atlantic Engineering, Cardno Emerging Market, CDM International

Under the Farm to Market Road Rehabilitation (F2MRR) activity, USAID works to provide sustainable cost-effective feeder roads network in Liberia. The activity mainly focuses on Bong and Grand Bassa Counties.

The activity is implementing the rehabilitation of Feed the Future (FtF) farm-to-market roads to support FtF goals of poverty alleviation and hunger reduction. Rehabilitated feeder roads reduce travel time and transportation costs for surrounding communities and farmers. In addition, road rehabilitation work brings direct employment opportunities for residents of rural communities. Commercial activities generated by improved roads in turn create a market for agricultural and other products.

Current Activity

  • Rehabilitating 13.3 kilometers of farm-to-market roads

Accomplishment to Date

  • Rehabilitated 59km of road in two counties, total kilometers of roads rehabilitated by USG to 941 kilometers

Planned Outcomes

  • Aggregators and processors of rice, cassava, vegetables, and other targeted value chain actors will be able to reach smallholder farms to purchase produce for processing and sale, particularly in urban areas;

  • Increase smallholders access to farms all year round;

  • Increase market access for farmers, thus reducing market prices and improving food security;

  • Increase access to basic services (schools, health centers etc.); and

  • Reduce travel time and cost for commuters.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Source: Apo-Opa

Potential returnees gain confidence following dialogue with leaders in Wau (by Dawit Kahsay Tedla)

12.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
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In light of the expected full implementation of the revitalised peace agreement, South Sudanese across the country are pushing for more dialogue initiatives to promote deeper understanding of what the new deal entails.

One such information session was held earlier this week by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Wau. The objective was to engage residents of the protection of civilians site, community leaders, and local authorities to promote confidence building and social cohesion.

“I can’t express how happy I was today to see parties from both political camps joining together, smiling and hugging each other,” said Jenty John, an internally displaced person in Wau. “Today’s event really encouraged me to start thinking about returning to my former home.”

During the forum, residents of the protection site highlighted the success of negotiations held this July amongst the neighbouring areas of Tonj, Wau, and Gogorial to end acts of inter-communal cattle raiding, saying that this kind of progress sparks hope that durable peace can be restored on a national level.

“I am very excited about the thought of going back home to be with my family and continue farming, and I know that many of the displaced feel the same,” said community leader Arkangelo Majak Makor.

Despite their eagerness return to their homes, residents of the protection site say it is a big step for them, as many find themselves grappling with how to get back on their feet in the face of uncertainty and insecurity. Local authorities at the forum responded to these concerns by assuring the potential returnees that they would work hard to provide a safe environment.

“Peace is our collective responsibility,” said military representative Rodolfo Andrea. “Each of us are citizens of this country and have a duty to implement the peace agreement.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Source: Apo-Opa

Somalia: UN warns of lowest cereal production since 2011

12.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
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With the latest analysis showing that Somalia’s main harvest was the worst since the famine in 2011, Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock today called for sustained funding to protect recent gains made in beating back hunger and reiterated the importance of the Government’s Resilience and Recovery Framework, which is at the centre of efforts to break the paradigm of recurring humanitarian crises in Somalia.

He was speaking at the end of a two-day mission to Somalia undertaken with the World Bank Group’s Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships, Mahmoud Mohieldin, and the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
 
“The latest food security analysis for Somalia shows that our response is working. One million fewer Somalis are hungry today than had been projected because we acted early when we saw the situation could deteriorate and because aid workers are able to deliver,” Mr. Lowcock said.
 
“The analysis also showed that the harvest from the April-June cropping season is the worst since 2011 because of poor and erratic rains, followed by flooding at the end of the rainy season. As a result, up to six million people are now projected to be food insecure over the coming months. A third of them will be severely food insecure without sustained aid. And climate-related events will continue to have deleterious effects on the humanitarian situation in Somalia.”
 
Over the past 30 years, droughts have become more intense and frequent in Somalia, which also faces recurring flooding during the rainy seasons. Much of Somalia’s infrastructure is dilapidated as a result of the decades-long conflict and lack of investment, which further undermines the country’s ability to cope.
 
Together with ongoing conflict, these shocks continue to drive people from their homes. The 2.6 million people already displaced are often marginalized on the fringes of society, facing evictions and other indignities.
 
The delegation visited Baidoa where nearly 360,000 people who fled slow onset drought, terrorist attacks and armed conflict over the past three years live in 400 sites in and around the town.
 
“Conflict and marginalization perpetuate drivers of fragility and fuels displacement. A sustained humanitarian response must be combined with government-led developmental and peacebuilding approaches to promote reconciliation and to assist people to rebuild their country,” said Mr. Fernandez-Taranco. The Peacebuilding Fund that his office manages is supporting the Midnimo project that brings together humanitarian, development and peacebuilding elements to address the impact of displacement in Baidoa.
 
In a constructive meeting with Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire in Baidoa, the three officials commended the Government for its leadership on the Recovery and Resilience Framework and reiterated their commitment to supporting the Government to address the impacts of repeated cycles of disaster.
 
“The World Bank Group will continue to support Somalia’s efforts to boost investment in its productive sectors and infrastructure in line with the priorities of the Recovery and Resilience Framework and the new National Development Plan for 2020-2024,” said Mr. Mohieldin. “However, unlocking substantial additional investment requires Somalia to qualify for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. The coming months will be critical in this regard and we welcome the authorities’ efforts to sustain the positive track record established over the last few years on institutional and economic governance reforms.”
 
One innovative way the World Bank Group and partners are supporting the Government to change the paradigm of recurring crisis is by rolling out an anticipatory action model in Somalia which would release funding for pre-agreed projects to mitigate the impact of drought when it is forecast. The Famine Action Mechanism (FAM), developed by the World Bank Group, the United Nations and NGOs, is expected to be operational to provide anticipatory financing with funding from the World Bank Group next year. OCHA is also supporting work towards anticipatory action financing to recurrent drivers of humanitarian needs in Somalia.
 
The FAM builds on earlier help international partners have provided to mitigate the worst of climate shocks through early action. In 2017, the UN and partners averted famine in Somalia by sounding the alarm early, which spurred donors to contribute generously to the response.
 
“Following the failed harvest and the impact of flooding, I urge all donors to step up their generous support to enable the provision of life-saving assistance alongside long-term and durable solutions to help prevent a recurrence of humanitarian crises,” said USG Lowcock.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Source: Apo-Opa

United States Supports New Alexandria University Center of Excellence for Water

12.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

U.S. Embassy - Cairo
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Today, the Center of Excellence for Water at Alexandria University opened for business, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and the American University in Cairo (AUC). The establishment of this new Center is part of the long-standing commitment by the United States to support Egypt’s most important priorities, including water, healthcare, and agricultural development.

The Alexandria University Center of Excellence links Egyptian and American researchers and the private sector to find solutions to the challenges Egypt faces related to sources of water, wastewater service provision, and irrigation. The Center will also design new courses and degrees for Egyptian universities and provide scholarships for Egyptians seeking to study in fields related to water issues.

“USAID is proud to support the Center of Excellence to benefit a generation of Egyptian students who will be able to apply critical thinking skills and knowledge to their research and work in water-related fields,” said USAID/Egypt Mission Director Sherry F. Carlin.  “These students will be equipped to create solutions to Egypt’s future water challenges.”

This new Center is part of a five-year, $90 million USAID initiative that also includes a Center of Excellence for Agriculture hosted at Cairo University in partnership with Cornell University and a Center of Excellence for Energy hosted at Ain Shams University in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The three Centers focus on areas identified as priorities by the Government of Egypt’s 2030 Vision and will drive research and innovation in sectors that are key to Egypt's future economic growth.

USAID’s support for the Center of Excellence for Water is part of the $30 billion that the American people have invested in Egypt through USAID since 1978. To find out more about USAID’s work in Egypt, please see https://www.usaid.gov/egypt, and follow on Facebook and Twitter at @USAIDEgypt.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy – Cairo.
Source: Apo-Opa

Ghana Health Service and Partners launch polio vaccination campaigns in Ghana

12.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

World Health Organization (WHO)
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The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has launched series of vaccination campaigns against polio outbreak to prevent the spread of the virus in high risk areas among children under five. The first phase which is termed ‘round zero’ would ensure that children in all districts in Greater Accra who are eligible, are vaccinated from September 11 to 14th.

The polio outbreak response campaign comes after the health sector confirmed three events of circulating vaccine derived polio virus type 2 (cVDPV2) from 8 July this year. Two of the samples testing positive for cVDPV2 were from environmental surveillance : one each from Koblimagu in Tamale Metropolis (Northern Region) and Agbogbloshie in Accra Metropolis (Greater Accra Region) in July and August this year. The third isolate was confirmed in a sample from a 2 year 9-month old girl in Chereponi District (North East Region) who developed Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) in July this year. Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, Director General of the GHS, who launched the campaign on 11th September 2019, said teams of health workers and volunteers would move from house to house, schools, markets, lorry stations, churches and mosques to vaccinate all eligible children under 5 years.

He said there would also be fixed posts at health facilities, regular weighing centers and other designated areas during the four day vaccination period. He said the Service intends to carry out round one of the campaign from September 25 to 28 in all districts in the Northern, North East, Savanna, Upper East and Greater Accra Regions. “Round two, scheduled for 16-19 October this year would also cover all districts in the Northern, North East, Savanna and Upper East Regions,” he said. The Service has according to Dr Nsiah Asare planned a nationwide vaccination campaign which would use inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), for all children born from January 2016 to June 2018 in all districts across the country later this year. He said the vaccination was free of charge saying: “I wish to assure the general public that the vaccine is safe and effective to prevent type2 polio and protect children from the disabling and potentially deadly disease, hence the effort to encourage all parents and caregivers to ensure their children under 5 years of age are vaccinated during these exercises”. The Director General thanked the media and all who have contributed to bring Ghana this far in the journey to eradicate polio.

Dr Owen Kaluwa, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, said it is very prudent for children in Agbogbloshie and all parts of Accra, to be vaccinated against polio; a disease that can kill or cripple infected persons for life. “On Thursday 29 August 2019, a polio virus was identified in the Agbogbloshie environment and this puts the live of all persons in this market and the whole of Greater Accra at risk of polio especially children who are less than 5 years old,”. The vaccination campaign in Greater Accra Region, he said, presents an opportunity for children to be protected against this deadly disease. Dr Kaluwa called on the media, to create awareness and generate demand for the vaccination campaign. He said the WHO together with partners, will provide the needed support to the country to ensure the success of the effort

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).
Source: Apo-Opa

United Nations and World Bank Group call for sustained funding to relieve suffering in Somalia

12.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
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With the latest analysis showing that Somalia’s main harvest was the worst since the famine in 2011, Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock today called for sustained funding to protect recent gains made in beating back hunger and reiterated the importance of the Government’s Resilience and Recovery Framework, which is at the centre of efforts to break the paradigm of recurring humanitarian crises in Somalia.

He was speaking at the end of a two-day mission to Somalia undertaken with the World Bank Group’s Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships, Mahmoud Mohieldin, and the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco. “The latest food security analysis for Somalia shows that our response is working. One million fewer Somalis are hungry today than had been projected because we acted early when we saw the situation could deteriorate and because aid workers are able to deliver,” Mr. Lowcock said. “The analysis also showed that the harvest from the April-June cropping season is the worst since 2011 because of poor and erratic rains, followed by flooding at the end of the rainy season.

As a result, up to six million people are now projected to be food insecure over the coming months. A third of them will be severely food insecure without sustained aid. And climaterelated events will continue to have deleterious effects on the humanitarian situation in Somalia.” Over the past 30 years, droughts have become more intense and frequent in Somalia, which also faces recurring flooding during the rainy seasons. Much of Somalia’s infrastructure is dilapidated as a result of the decades-long conflict and lack of investment, which further undermines the country’s ability to cope.

Together with ongoing conflict, these shocks continue to drive people from their homes. The 2.6 million people already displaced are often marginalized on the fringes of society, facing evictions and other indignities.

The delegation visited Baidoa where nearly 360,000 people who fled slow onset drought, terrorist attacks and armed conflict over the past three years live in 400 sites in and around the town. “Conflict and marginalization perpetuate drivers of fragility and fuels displacement. A sustained humanitarian response must be combined with government-led developmental and peacebuilding approaches to promote reconciliation and to assist people to rebuild their country,” said Mr.
Fernandez-Taranco. The Peacebuilding Fund that his office manages is supporting the Midnimo project that brings together humanitarian, development and peacebuilding elements to address the impact of displacement in Baidoa.

In a constructive meeting with Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire in Baidoa, the three officials commended the Government for its leadership on the Recovery and Resilience Framework and reiterated their commitment to supporting the Government to address the impacts of repeated cycles of disaster.

“The World Bank Group will continue to support Somalia’s efforts to boost investment in its productive sectors and infrastructure in line with the priorities of the Recovery and Resilience Framework and the new National Development Plan for 2020-2024,” said Mr. Mohieldin. “However, unlocking substantial additional investment requires Somalia to qualify for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. The coming months will be critical in this regard and we welcome the authorities’ efforts to sustain the positive track record established over the last few years on institutional and economic governance reforms.”

One innovative way the World Bank Group and partners are supporting the Government to change the paradigm of recurring crisis is by rolling out an anticipatory action model in Somalia which would release funding for pre-agreed projects to mitigate the impact of drought when it is forecast. The Famine Action Mechanism (FAM), developed by the World Bank Group, the United Nations and NGOs, is expected to be operational to provide anticipatory financing with funding from the World Bank Group next year. OCHA is also supporting work towards anticipatory action financing to recurrent drivers of humanitarian needs in Somalia.

The FAM builds on earlier help international partners have provided to mitigate the worst of climate shocks through early action. In 2017, the UN and partners averted famine in Somalia by sounding the alarm early, which spurred donors to contribute generously to the response. “Following the failed harvest and the impact of flooding, I urge all donors to step up their generous support to enable the provision of life-saving assistance alongside long-term and durable solutions to help prevent a recurrence of humanitarian crises,” said USG Lowcock.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Source: Apo-Opa

ITU-UNESCO and the AUC to join forces in promoting “Health, Education and Big Data for enhancing wellbeing” in Tech Talk Event on 24 September 2019

12.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

UN Information Centre in Cairo
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The Digital Inclusion Tech-Talks is a TED-style event organized by ITU, UNESCO and AUC as part of the 2019 Digital Inclusion Week for the Arab States. The 2019 Health Exhibition and Tech-Talks will be held on 24 September at the Centennial Campus of the America University in Cairo’s Tahir Square campus. The event will highlight initiatives that are increasing awareness and behavior change through innovative uses of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and data to enhance health and educational outcomes.

The 2019 ITU-UNESCO Digital Inclusion Week will be held from 22-28 September 2019 under the theme “Health, Education and Big Data for enhancing wellbeing”. The Week contributes to enlarging the space for participation and enhancing individual and societal well-being. In particular, it supports understanding of the 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and explores how digital inclusion and the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can enhance the well-being of individuals and societies. The Week promotes collaboration, the sharing of case studies and experiences to identify best practices and contribute to more effective actions and policies.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Information Centre in Cairo.
Source: Apo-Opa

USTDA Supports Wind and Battery Storage Project, Opportunities for U.S. Business in Kenya

12.September.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)
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The U.S. Trade and Development Agency has awarded a grant to Kenya’s Craftskills Energy Limited for a feasibility study to develop a 50-megawatt wind power plant with integrated battery storage capacity in Kenya. U.S. firm Delphos International will execute the study.

“This project has both the structure and the smarts to succeed,” said USTDA Acting Director Thomas R. Hardy, “Craftskills has quality partners and already implemented other major wind power projects in Kenya. USTDA believes U.S. companies will be very competitive in the supply of the project’s major components.”

In addition to a wind resource assessment and plant design, the study will explore a battery energy storage solution that will enhance the capacity of the power plant and stabilize the intermittency of wind power to the grid. The result would be more power delivered more reliably to Kenyan consumers at a competitive cost.

“The U.S. Embassy is proud to continue its support for this project,” said U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter. “We are committed to helping our Kenyan partners gain access to U.S. government resources that will help them grow their economy with the expertise of American companies.”

Craftskills CEO Simon Guyo added, “We are grateful to USTDA for its support, foresight, and commitment.  Craftskills looks forward to bringing this pioneering clean energy project to fruition with the help of the study.”

This project supports Power Africa and the Electrify Africa Act by increasing generating capacity, introducing advanced storage technologies, and supporting private sector involvement in Kenya’s energy sector.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
Source: Apo-Opa