Parliament President Sassoli to meet Fayez Al-Sarraj today at 14:30

08.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

European Parliament
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EP President David Sassoli will meet Fayez Al-Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord, today at 14:30.

The meeting is taking place during a visit by Mr Al-Sarraj to Brussels to discuss the ongoing situation in Libya with various EU leaders.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of European Parliament.
Source: Apo-Opa

Assistant Foreign Minister receives Ambassador of Kingdom of Morocco to Kingdom of Bahrain

08.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kingdom of Bahrain
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The Assistant Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Faisal bin Jabur Al-Doseri, received in his office at the Ministry’s General Court today, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Kingdom of Bahrain, Mustapha Benkhayi.

The Assistant Foreign Minister welcomed the Ambassador and commended the solid brotherly relations between the two countries and highlighted means to enhance the frameworks of cooperation and joint coordination, wishing the Ambassador success.

For his part, the Ambassador expressed his pleasure to have met with the Assistant Foreign Minister and noted in this regard the distinguished bilateral relations between the two countries, wishing the Kingdom of Bahrain further progress and prosperity.

The two sides also discussed several topics and issues of common concern.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kingdom of Bahrain.
Source: Apo-Opa

Uganda Government Looks to Save Billions through Asset Management

08.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) conducted a workshop on municipal Asset Management Action Plans (AMAPs) in Gulu, Uganda from 3 to 6 December 2019, putting 22 local governments on the path to proactive asset management.

With a generous financial contribution from the EU in the context of the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda, the workshop funded the participation of 95 local government officials from 22 districts and municipalities. Key officials from the central government participated as well.

The workshop incorporated the findings of the large scale application of the UN DESA and UNCDF diagnostic tool on municipal asset management in 20 districts and municipalities of Uganda over the course of 2019. The process was overseen by a joint committee of senior central government officials from the ministries of finance and local government. The Government of Uganda established the Committee to follow up on the outcome of the first UN AMAP workshop in Gulu in October 2018.

As with the previous cohort, the four-day workshop started with a guided tour of Gulu municipal assets. The team was intrigued to see what has changed since the last training. The first stop was the registry -what once looked like a junkyard with old equipment and documents strewn about, now has the semblance of a storeroom. The old equipment and scrap have all been cleared out and the heaps of unfiled documents organized into files. The older documents have been stored away in a case. The municipal council is yet to figure out a filing system, but the re-organization of the store is a first step towards more effective asset management.

A year later, across at the municipal yard, still grounded, is a tractor gathering strays: a rug, an old sponge and a broken table, while garbage collection around the municipal council continues to be minimized, unmanaged wasted poses potential health risks in spreading disease.

What does it take to get the fairly new tractor up and running? A set of tyres that cost about UGX 3,000,000 (approximately US$ 800). It seems like an easy solution, but the municipal engineer explains the cost of the tyres has not been included in the annual workplan and budget submitted for the current financial year. Given the rigid processes and procedures, he believes it is unlikely that at this time the cost will be included into the year’s plan, and, as such, the tractor will probably remain parked for at least another year.

The longer the tractor remains unused, it risks developing other issues such as mechanical problems or getting vandalized, which will render it inoperative and require, not just replacement of tyres, but the entire tractor unit—at least thirty times the cost of the tyres. Though there are no readily available figures, it is estimated that every year the Government loses billions of shillings replacing mismanaged assets, as local governments continue to struggle with lean financial resources given the ever decreasing allocations from the central government.

Yet, if the assets are properly maintained, costs can be reduced, efficiency maximized and service delivery guaranteed.

“More effective asset management will let citizens enjoy more dependable services without unexpected failures and indefinite interruptions,” remarked Mr. John Walala, Director Local Government Inspection, Ministry of Local Government at the opening of the workshop in Gulu, as he urged local government officials to take ownership and responsibility for government assets under their stewardship.

To ensure improved delivery of essential public services and ultimately achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), local governments have to prioritize the management of public assets, to make the most of what they already have to deliver services. Effective asset management looks at the entire lifecycle of an asset from acquisition through maintenance and disposal. But first, local governments need to know what assets they own and their condition to effectively manage and utilize them.

Prior to the training workshop, UN DESA and UNCDF supported the participating local governments to undertake an asset management profiling survey to ascertain existing asset management systems. The survey revealed most local governments lack updated registers, nor clear management systems for the existing assets. For instance out of the 20 local governments only eight had updated building registers.

Admittedly there is laxity with how government officials manage government assets but the rigid processes and procedures, various systems and legal frameworks give way to uncertainty.

“We have heard complaints from officers, and acknowledge there are inconsistencies within the various legal frameworks that we have to harmonize to streamline how assets are managed at a national level,” said Jennifer Muhuruzi Bigirwa as she discussed the draft asset management framework set to be in place July 2020, which will provide guidelines on how to operate, maintain and allocate assets.

Over four days, the participants who were grouped according to their local governments were tasked to develop asset management action plans (AMAPs) focusing on one priority asset. The groups presented their plans and received feedback from colleagues and facilitators on how to refine these plans.

“The template developed for the training was carefully designed and should be adopted by ministries and local governments and customized to develop various action plans relevant to the institution,” shares Marley Ben Lawrence Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Kole District Local Government.

For Julius Eonyorello, District Engineer Amuria District Local Government the training went well as it targeted the right people, “People have been ignoring maintenance, as an individual you push for it but get overpowered. It's good that the decision makers like the administrative officers are also present at this training so they can understand the need.”

The training comes at a time when Uganda is preparing for her Third National Development Plan (NDP III) which comes into effect in June 2020. The NDP III is the third in a series of plans whose objective is to implement the Uganda Vision 2040 aspiration to become a middle income country by 2040. One of the strategies of the development strategies of the NDP III is to increase domestic revenue mobilization. Over coming months UN DESA and UNCDF will continue to provide technical assistance to the local governments to ensure their AMAPs are linked to the revenue mobilization action plans as well as NDP III.

Uganda is one of four countries including Tanzania, Bangladesh and Nepal being supported by UN DESA and UNCDF in the introduction of the Asset Management Action Plans.

The Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) is a Government of Uganda programme overseen by the Office of the Prime Minister and financed by the European Union whose overall goal is to consolidate stability in Northern Uganda, reduce poverty and under-nutrition and strengthen the foundations for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development. UNCDF works with select local governments to strengthen their capacity to fulfill their core mandate.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

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Sudan: Intercommunal clashes displace tens of thousands in volatile Darfur region

08.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

UN News

“Violence between communities in and around El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur State, had reportedly killed at least 54 people, injured 60 and displaced 40,000, since 28 December”, OCHA Spokesperson Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva, adding that humanitarian partners were working to verify the displacement figures.

There have also been reports of attacks on camps for internally displaced people, and homes being burned. Humanitarian partners are closely monitoring the situation and gathering information on needs to respond as soon as the security situation allows.

During the Darfur conflict between the Government, their militiamen allies and rebel groups, which began in 2003, the UN estimated that around 300,000 were killed, and around 2.7 million forced from their homes. Former president al-Bashir was indicted for war crimes including genocide, nine years ago.

“Thousands of people had crossed the border into Chad seeking refuge in villages near the border”, Mr. Laerke said, adding that the displaced within West Darfur had taken refuge in schools and government buildings, while the UN and partners were supporting the government response and that of national partners.

Close to 4,000 flee into Chad: UNHCR

For his part, Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), added that UNHCR teams had identified at least 3,700 people, including more than 2,000 women and 500 children under-five, who had crossed the border between West Darfur and Chad.

“The conditions were dire, and most refugees were staying out in the open; food and water were urgently needed”, he explained.

According to OCHA, shelter, food, water, health services and non-food items are the most urgent priorities.

Amid security concerns, the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) has helped to relocate 32 aid workers to Zalingei, Central Darfur.

“The situation in the affected area was currently calm and seemed to be stabilizing”, concluded the OCHA spokesperson.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.

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300 Somali Police Force (SPF) officers begin special tactics training

08.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

African Union Mission in Somalia
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About three hundred (300) Somali police officers are undergoing specialized training at the General Kahiye Police Training Academy in Mogadishu, Somalia, after which they will form part of the Federal Darwish Police—a special tactics unit of the police.

“At the end of this training, our police special forces including the Haramcad, Darwish and the Birmad will be fully equipped and their combined capability will constitute a major force that can secure population centers,” said the Somali Police Commissioner, Maj. Gen. Abdi Hassan Mohamed, at the official opening ceremony of the training.

The Federal Government of Somalia has embarked on a drive to revive the Darwish special police unit by extensive recruitment and refresher training throughout 2020.

The training is being conducted by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Police component, United Nations Police (UNPOL), European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP) United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM) through the Joint Police Program.

The Joint Police Program is a 5-year program led by the Federal Government of Somalia, with funding from the European Union, UK Aid and the German Federal Foreign Office. The Joint Police Program supports increased police visibility, presence, capability and accountability and the implementation of the New Policing Model in Somalia at Federal and Federal Member State level.

AMISOM Police Commissioner, Augustine Magnus Kailie, said such training was crucial in transforming the SPF into a capable force that can protect the people of Somalia.

“As we have come to assist, build your capacity, you also should be standing ready to see how best you can tap from the various experiences and support you will receive so that as the Darwish especially, you will stand firm to defend the people of Somalia,” AIG Augustine Magnus said.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Police Commissioner, Meinolf Schlotmann, urged the officers to work as a team saying success of their mission hinges on unity of purpose.

“If I can give you one advice only; please work as a team and that will make you successful. If you act as a team, the output will be much greater and you will have much more success to serve your communities,” said Meinolf.

Upon completion of the training, this unit will be integrated into the Somali Police Force and deployed to all the Federal Member States of the Government of Somalia.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Mission in Somalia.
Source: Apo-Opa

Call for Proposals: Julia Taft Refugee Fund for FY 2020

07.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) is pleased to welcome South African proposals for a Julia Taft Refugee Fund grant to finance onetime, low-cost interventions that address critical gaps in refugee protection and assistance.

Applications are due by January 26, 2020 and can be directed to the attention of Mr. JJ Harder at PretoriaPolRSVP@state.gov

The Taft Fund is intended to meet gaps in refugee assistance by issuing grants to local NGOs for quick-impact projects of up to $25,000 that are not addressed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, International Organization for Migration, or NGOs receiving U.S. government funding.  The Taft Fund is intended for projects that include a target beneficiary base of at least 50 percent refugees.  These should be one-time interventions, not sustained programs.  We cannot provide direct support to host governments.  We may entertain proposals for support of international NGOs, but the preference is to support reliable local NGOs to encourage capacity building for smaller, local partners.

Applications must include:

  • Legal name and address of applying NGO
  • Description of the proposed program, benefits to the beneficiaries, and justification of the request.
  • Budget (Grants are limited to a maximum of $25,000)
  • NGO’s DUNS number and SAM.gov registration
  • Copy of NGO’s Code of Conduct

In February, a U.S. Mission to South Africa panel will select a proposal it will recommend for funding to PRM.  Funding is limited and not guaranteed.  Please email PretoriaPolRSVP@state.gov with questions.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa.

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U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa
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Joint statement by the High Representative of the European Union for Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom

07.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ministère des Affaires Etrangères de la République Française
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Confronted with the worrying recent military escalation in Libya and also in view of the Foreign Affairs Council scheduled for Friday 10th January, we met in Brussels today to reaffirm our commitment to immediately halt the fighting around Tripoli and elsewhere and to discuss on how the EU can further contribute to the UN mediation and to a swift return to political negotiations.

The EU is of the firm conviction that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis and that a protracted conflict will only bring more misery to ordinary people, exacerbate divisions, increase the risk of partition, spread instability across the region and aggravate the threat of terrorism. An immediate cessation of hostilities is therefore crucial.

All the members of the international community need to strictly respect and enforce the UN arms embargo. Continuing outside interference is fuelling the crisis. The more the Libyan warrying parties rely on foreign military assistance, the more they give external actors undue influence on sovereign Libyan decisions, to the detriment of the country’s national interests and of regional stability.

In particular, we stressed the necessity to avoid unilateral actions such as the signing of agreements which further exacerbate the conflict or actions which create a pretext for external interference that are contrary to the interests of the Libyan people, as well as to European interests, as underlined by the European Council conclusions of 12th December 2019.

On the contrary, the Berlin process and UN mediation efforts put the needs of all Libyans to the forefront and suggest sustainable solutions to core issues such as unifying institutions, distributing the country’s wealth equitably, and outlining a realistic roadmap towards a political settlement.

We urge all Libyan parties to sincerely embrace these UN-led efforts and to return to negotiations. The EU will continue to support the UN mediation and will help implementing any decisions that may be taken in Berlin.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministère des Affaires Etrangères de la République Française.
Source: Apo-Opa

Deaths from Democratic Republic of the Congo measles outbreak top 6000

07.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

World Health Organization (WHO)
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With the death toll from the world’s worst measles epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) surpassing 6000, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for more funding to stop the outbreak.

Under the leadership of the DRC Ministry of Health, WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and other partner aid agencies vaccinated more than 18 million children under five across the country in 2019. However, in some areas, routine vaccination coverage remains low and 25% of the reported measles cases are in children over the age of five, who are the most vulnerable.

“We are doing our utmost to bring this epidemic under control. Yet to be truly successful we must ensure that no child faces the unnecessary risk of death from a disease that is easily preventable by a vaccine. We urge our donor partners to urgently step up their assistance,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Since the start of 2019, around 310 000 suspected measles cases have been reported. The epidemic has been aggravated by low vaccination coverage among vulnerable communities, malnutrition, weak public health systems, outbreaks of other epidemic-prone diseases, difficult access by vulnerable populations to health care and insecurity that has hampered response in some areas.

Lack of funding remains a huge impediment to successfully curbing the outbreak. So far, US$ 27.6 million have been mobilized. However, a further US$ 40 million are required for a six-month plan to extend the vaccination to children between six and 14 years and to reinforce elements of the outbreak response beyond vaccination, including improving treatment, health education, community engagement, health system strengthening, epidemiological surveillance and response coordination.

“We recognize the Government’s engagement in the efforts to end the outbreak and we are grateful for the generosity of our donors. But we still need to do more,” said Dr Amédée Prosper Djiguimdé, Officer in charge of WHO office in the DRC. “Thousands of Congolese families need our help to lift the burden of this prolonged epidemic from their backs. We cannot achieve this without adequate finances.”

The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Médecins du Monde, Médecins Sans Frontières, United Nations Children’s Fund, WHO and other partners have been supporting the Government to bring the long-running epidemic under control. In December 2019, WHO trained 60 health professionals from the Ministry of Health to conduct a range of services, including community engagement, health education and surveillance. These health professionals are being deployed this week as part of the response.

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

UNSMIL Convenes Meeting of Libyan Economic Experts to Discuss Establishment of an Experts Commission to Unify Financial And Economic Policy and Institutions

07.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL)
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UNSMIL convened yesterday a meeting of 19 Libyan economic experts representing the main Libyan financial and economic institutions as well as the different economic sectors. The experts, who took part in the meeting, were selected based on their capacity to represent interests from across the Libyan political and geographic spectrum.

The Libyan experts agreed that the Libyan economy was under duress due to the institutional fragmentation caused by the conflict and that this was having an increasingly detrimental impact on the daily lives of Libyans. It was also agreed that any comprehensive political settlement would require a mechanism to unify financial and economic policy as well as the institutions.

The participants discussed a proposal to establish a Libyan Expert Economic Commission (LEEC).  This proposal was initially developed in preparation for the National Dialogue and has now been introduced in the Berlin process.  Participants provided input on the prospective Terms of Reference of the LEEC including ideas on its purpose, mandate and structure.

The Berlin process is the second step in the three-step initiative to bring an end to the conflict laid out by SRSG Ghassan Salame in his July 29, 2019 briefing to the Security Council.  The third step is a Libyan-led process to reach a comprehensive settlement that addresses the underlying drivers to the Libyan crisis.  This meeting in Tunis is part of the economic basket, complemented by a military track and a political track.  UNSMIL is working to activate all three of these Libyan-led tracks this month.

Representatives from the international community were invited to portions of yesterday’s meeting to lend their support.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
Source: Apo-Opa

Okwach earns Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA) nomination

07.January.2020 · Posted in APO-OPA

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU)

Geoffrey Okwach has been nominated in the Most Promising Athlete (Male) category of the 2019 Sports Personality Of The Year (SOYA) Awards.

Okwach's year kicked it off with a call up to the National U20 Team in January before earning Simbas and Shujaa call ups later in the year.

The KCB youngster was part of the Kenya U20 (Chipu) squad that lifted the Barthes Cup in April 2019 as they beat defending champions Namibia 21-18 at the KCB Sports Club.

His exemplary performance during these two versions of the game saw him get his call up to the senior National Teams: Simbas and Shujaa.

Okwach earned his first senior fifteens cap for the Simbas in the 16-5 Elgon Cup first leg defeat to Uganda in Kisumu in June 2019.

He was part of the Kenya Morans squad lifted the Robin Cahill Trophy at the Safari Sevens with a 19-14 win over South Africa at a packed RFUEA Grounds. He also bagged the top try scorer award at this tournament ,sharing it with South Africa’s Captain Siviwe Soyizwapi.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Kenya Rugby Union (KRU).

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Rugby@APO-opa.org

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