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Africa nominates Zimbabwe’s Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Dr Walter Mzembi, as continent’s candidate for the post of UN – WTO Secretary General

Africa nominates Zimbabwe’s Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Dr Walter Mzembi, as continent’s candidate for the post of UN - WTO Secretary GeneralAfrican nations have nominated a Zimbabwean, Dr Walter Mzembi, as their candidate to become the new head of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UN – WTO) (UNWTO.org/en). Should Mzembi get this post, it will be the first time in the organisation’s 43-year history that an African would head the organisation.

Speaking during the UN General Assembly in New York, Africa’s longest-serving tourism minister said that he was humbled and privileged to have been chosen by the Government of Zimbabwe, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) as the continent’s candidate.

“Since the establishment of the UN -WTO in 1994, no African has ever become its Secretary General. Almost all the geographical areas of the world have produced a secretary-general, except Africa. In fact in 42 years, three secretaries-general have come from Europe, while one each has come from the Americas and Asia. I am therefore delighted to be representing my region as the continent’s united candidate”.

“The UN-WTO is the world’s leading international organisation promoting tourism as a driver of economic growth, environmental sustainability and inclusive development”

If elected, Mzembi will come on board in 2017, during the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development”. Globally, his said that his plan would be to align the three tourism-specific Sustainable Development Goals on ‘decent work and economic growth’; ‘responsible consumption and production’; and ‘life below water’. Regionally, he said that he would further embed tourism’s intervention in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

A former member of the UN-WTO’s Executive Council, and current chairman of the UN-WTO’s Commission for Africa, Mzembi was instrumental in convening the 20th UN-WTO General Assembly in 2013. This global conference, which was hosted jointly by Zimbabwe and Zambia, was described by the current Secretary General, Dr Taleb Rifai, as “the best attended ever” in the history of the organisation. Rifai, a Jordanian national, retires next year.

Membership of the Madrid-based UN-WTO, one of the 17 specialised agencies of the United Nations, covers 157 countries, 6 territories, and 480 affiliate groups representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations, and local tourism authorities. The organisation promotes responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism and works to make tourism an effective tool for development.

“The UN-WTO is the world’s leading international organisation promoting tourism as a driver of economic growth, environmental sustainability and inclusive development. My vision has always been to use tourism to promote peace, security and social harmony and, if I am appointed, I hope to be able to steer tourism development towards climate change adaptation and mitigation, and ultimately reduce poverty among communities”, concluded Mzembi. Read more….

International Day of Peace celebrated in South Sudan with a call for renewed hope

International Day of Peace celebrated in South Sudan with a call for renewed hopeIn Juba, the official programme was held at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre, under the national theme: “Together We Can Heal the Nation” and was broadcast live on UNMISS’s Radio Miraya

To commemorate the International Day of Peace, in South Sudan, the United Nations’ Funds, Programmes and Agencies, and the peacekeeping mission organized a number of events across the country, in collaboration with the National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation (NPPR) and other non-governmental organisations; alongside the launch of the 100 days of peace activism; a platform for all voices calling for peace, healing, and reconciliation to unite and send powerful messages to leaders and calling for a peaceful resolution to the current crisis.

In Juba, the official programme was held at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre, under the national theme: “Together We Can Heal the Nation” and was broadcast live on UNMISS’s Radio Miraya. It featured colourful drama, poetry and musical performances, and speeches by the Chairperson of the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the Speaker of Transitional National Legislative Assembly, and the reading of the Secretary-Generals’ message by Deputy Special Representative Moustapaha Soumare, who in emphasizing the significance of the day, said that ‘peace is about much more than putting weapons aside. It is about building a global society in which people live free from poverty and share the benefits of prosperity’ noting that peace meant ‘ growing together and supporting each other as a universal family’

“Under the global theme “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” a number of activities were organized in various parts of the country by UNMISS”

In his additional comments, Ambassador Soumare noted that the renewed fighting in Juba in July, had been ‘a grievous setback, one which resulted in loss of life and forced scores of civilians to flee their homes’ adding that ‘as we mark today as International Day of Peace, we must have renewed hope that South Sudan can turn a new page and achieve a lasting peace. The people of South Sudan have suffered far too long, and they deserve nothing less.” The key note address at the event was delivered by James Wani Igga, Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan. The Mission, Force complement, led by British officers, and the Nepalese battalion, based at UN House, made a special donation of various essential items to a local community, close to the newly created arms free zone.

Under the global theme “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” a number of activities were organized in various parts of the country by UNMISS; in Western Bahar El Gazal, Upper Nile, and Western Equatoria these included football and volley ball tournaments, cultural shows, traditional dances and flag raising ceremonies, whilst in Eastern Equatoria, the Rwandan Battalion of UNMISS facilitated a “Health Care Day” for the local communities. Read more…

Rotary announces US$35 Million to support a Polio-Free World

Rotary announces US$35 Million to support a Polio-Free World$8.15 million will go toward stemming the recent outbreak in Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad Basin region

Rotary (www.Rotary.org) today committed an additional $35 million in grants to support the global effort to end polio, bringing the humanitarian service organization’s contribution to $105 million in 2016.

The announcement follows recent reports of three new cases of wild poliovirus in Nigeria: two cases in July, and one in August. The three cases are the first to be detected in Nigeria since July 2014. With these cases, funding for polio eradication is particularly vital as rapid response plans are now in action in Nigeria and surrounding countries to stop the outbreak quickly and prevent its spread. Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) (http://www.PolioEradication.org) are acting to immunize children in Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad Basin (Chad, northern Cameroon, southern Niger and the Central African Republic).  Nearly one-fourth of the funds Rotary announced today ($8.15 million) will support the emergency response campaigns in this at-risk region, and last month Rotary provided $500,000 to immediately assist with the outbreak response.

“While we are disappointed with the recent news coming out of Nigeria, this situation underscores the extreme importance of widespread immunization campaigns”

While significant strides have been made against the paralyzing disease, with just 26 cases reported in 2016, polio remains a threat in hard-to-reach and underserved areas and conflict zones.

“While we are disappointed with the recent news coming out of Nigeria, this situation underscores the extreme importance of widespread immunization campaigns and strong disease surveillance in all countries of the world until polio is fully eradicated,” said Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. “This funding will help ensure that Rotary and our GPEI partners are doing all that we can to redouble our efforts and protect the progress in polio-free parts of the world, as well as stop transmission in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now Nigeria.”

To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, experts say $1.5 billion is urgently needed. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has contributed more than $1.6 billion and countless volunteer hours to fight polio. Through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year.

Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. José Mário Vaz, President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau

Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. Mr. José Mário Vaz, President of the Republic of Guinea-BissauHe commended the progress made by political leaders in Guinea-Bissau

The Secretary-General met today with H.E. Mr. José Mário Vaz, President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. He commended the progress made by political leaders in Guinea-Bissau with the recent signing of an agreement on a six-point roadmap to end the political crisis, facilitated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“The two leaders also discussed the socio-economic impact of the crisis on the population of Guinea-Bissau”

The two leaders also discussed the socio-economic impact of the crisis on the population of Guinea-Bissau and the importance of creating conditions for the full resumption of international financial support to Guinea-Bissau.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.