Gilbert Chagoury annonce le règlement du litige Chagoury par le gouvernement des États-Unis

WASHINGTON, 31 juillet 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Le gouvernement des États-Unis a convenu de régler l’action en instance de Gilbert Chagoury.  M. Chagoury a déposé la plainte auprès du Tribunal du District de Columbia en septembre de 2016, s’efforçant à tenir le gouvernement responsable de fuites d’informations fausses sur M. Chagoury provenant prétendument de dossiers du gouvernement. […]

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New Report Details How Legacy Financial Institutions Are Deepening Financial Inclusion Through Fintech Partnerships

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and the Institute of International Finance (IIF), with the support of MetLife Foundation, today released a new report examining how partnerships between mainstream financial institutions and fintechs are expanding access to the formal financial economy to the unserved and underserved, particularly […]

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AU: Return of Nigerian Refugees from Cameroon Should Be Voluntary

MAROUA, CAMEROON � The African Union Peace and Security Council has urged Cameroon to ensure the repatriation of Nigerian refugees fleeing Boko Haram is done on a voluntary basis.

Hundreds of refugees, most of them children, complain they are thirsty and hungry as they leave Cameroon on their way back to Nigeria.

They are escorted by troops from the multinational joint task force fighting the Boko Haram insurgency.

Cameroon Red Cross official Joseph Guisso is among the humanitarian staff accompanying the refugees. He said the military escort is necessary because Boko Haram fighters can surprise them at any moment.

He said they have confidence in the task force and strongly believe the killings will end soon.

The soldiers told VOA Boko Haram has been organizing sporadic attacks on a small scale since January. During the past two years, the regional force has retaken much of the territory Boko Haram once controlled.

The number of Nigerian refugees repatriated from Cameroon has not been made public. In March, the governments of the two countries signed a tripartite agreement with UNHCR that stipulated the repatriations must be voluntary.

In June, the U.N. refugee agency condemned what it called the Cameroonian government’s forced repatriation of 887 Nigerian refugees to the border town of Banki. The United Nations said there had been other similar incidents.

Cameroon’s government has denied allegations of forced returns.

Cameroon has struggled to meet the humanitarian needs of the approximately 115,000 Nigerian refugees within its borders, as well as an estimated 200,000 Cameroonians displaced by the conflict.

Suicide attacks have picked up recently in border areas in Cameroon, with at least 30 attacks reported in June, including some targeting refugee camps. Far North region of Cameroon Governor Midjiyawa Bakari has argued it would be better for refugees to go to safer localities in their own country.

A delegation from the African Union visited the northern town of Maroua on Friday. The chairman of the African Union Peace and Security Council, Nigerian-born Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, led the delegation. He told VOA only refugees who choose to go back should be repatriated.

“We want to thank the government and people of Cameroon first for hosting these refugees and coordinating all the necessary sectors. With the United Nations agencies, we are suggesting and proposing that all the refugees should return in safety and in dignity,” said Adeoye.

Aid agencies have also expressed concern about the conditions to which refugees are returning. UNHCR and Doctors without Borders have warned food, water and other resources are dangerously overstretched in border communities in Nigeria.

Source: Voice of America

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Nigeria Scaling Up Boko Haram Fight, Seeking Abducted Oil Workers

ABUJA � Nigeria has scaled up its military response to the Boko Haram insurgency and will secure the northeast, the acting president’s spokesman said on Sunday, adding that the search for oil workers abducted by suspected members of the jihadist group will go on.

Members of an oil prospecting team were kidnapped in the northeast’s restive Lake Chad Basin region on Tuesday, prompting a rescue bid that left at least 37 dead including members of the team, rescuers from the military and vigilantes, officials say.

Three kidnapped members of the oil team later appeared in a video seen by Reuters on Saturday.

The insurgency has killed 20,000 people and forced some 2.7 million to flee their homes in the last eight years, and the frequency of attacks has increased in the last few months. At least 113 people have been killed by insurgents since June 1.

Military will ‘scale up their efforts’

In a statement on Sunday, the office of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo said he had ordered the military to scale up their efforts and activities in Borno, the state worst hit by the insurgency, to maintain a strong, effective control of the situation and secure lives and property.

The federal government of Nigeria is not only on top of the situation, but will define the end of these atrocities by both winning the war and winning the peace in the northeast, said the emailed statement issued by Osinbajo’s spokesman.

President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria on May 7 to take medical leave in Britain for an unspecified ailment. He handed power to his deputy, Osinbajo, seeking to allay concerns of a void at the helm of Africa’s most populous nation.

The government and military have repeatedly said Boko Haram � which also carries out cross-border attacks in neighboring Cameroon and Niger � was on the verge of defeat.

Boko Haram base captured

Buhari said in December that Boko Haram’s base in the northeast’s vast Sambisa forest had been captured.

The statement issued on Sunday said Osinbajo had ordered the continuation of search and rescue missions to locate and ensure the freedom of all remaining abducted persons following the kidnapping of oil workers.

The state oil company has for more than a year surveyed what it says may be vast oil reserves in the Lake Chad Basin as part of a bid to reduce the OPEC member’s reliance on the southern Niger Delta energy hub, which last year was hit by militant attacks on oil facilities.

Source: Voice of America

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Le programme Global Excellent Operator (Excellent opérateur mondial) de XCMG met en évidence les technologies intelligentes

XUZHOU, Chine, 28 juillet 2017 /PRNewswire/ — XCMG, une des principales sociétés manufacturières mondiales, a lancé le quatrième programme Global Excellent Operator (le « Programme »), au sein du XCMG Technician College (le lycée professionnel de XCMG), où 71 apprentis en provenance de neuf pays ont participé à des séances de formation conduites par des experts et des instructeurs expérimentés. […]

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Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon, everyone.

**Jerusalem

In an earlier statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, the Secretary-General had welcomed the news that the crisis in the Old City of Jerusalem has been defused, in line with the status quo at the holy sites before 14 July. He hopes that the dialogue will continue and contribute to creating an atmosphere of trust amongst the communities. The Secretary-General will remain engaged with all stakeholders to this effect.

**Syria

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller briefed the Security Council on the latest humanitarian developments in Syria by video teleconference from Amman.  She was speaking on behalf of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien.  She told the Council that, while we continue to see a reduction of violence in some areas since the 4 May Memorandum on de‑escalation, and particularly in Dar’a Governorate in the last weeks, the humanitarian and protection situation remains extremely difficult for civilians in many parts of the country.  She noted the resumption of military operations in the besieged area of eastern Ghouta in Rural Damascus and Jobar neighbourhood in Damascus city.

She said that the United Nations and partners are responding to those who have been displaced and is ready to provide support in Raqqa city, as soon as access and security conditions allow.  The health situation, particularly the low availability of trauma-care services, is a major concern, in view of the intense fighting and shifting front lines.  She added that we continue to engage with relevant parties on the ground to ensure that medical care is available to those who need it, but a lot more needs to be done.  The Emergency Relief Coordinator’s remarks are available in our office.

Earlier, the Security Council passed a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 January of next year.  The Council welcomed the progress that has been made in the leader-led progress since 2014 and encouraged the sides and all participants involved to sustain their commitment to a settlement under UN auspices.

**Mali

On Mali, you will have seen the statement from the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, that we issued yesterday.  Mr. Lacroix said he is deeply saddened by the news of a helicopter crash yesterday near Tabankort, in Gao region in northern Mali.  The crash claimed the lives of two German peacekeepers.  The helicopter was conducting surveillance over Tabankort in the aftermath of violent clashes between the signatory armed groups, Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad and Plateforme, which erupted on 11 July.  We join Mr. Lacroix in conveying our profound sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims and in expressing our condolences to the Government of Germany, and to the personnel of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

**Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, founder and leader of Nduma Defense of Congo has surrendered yesterday to the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO.  He has been transferred to Goma.  Sheka is wanted since 2011 under a national warrant for crimes against humanity, including for mass rapes.  Sheka presented himself to MONUSCO in full awareness of the fact that he is wanted by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to stand trial for alleged crimes.

MONUSCO is committed to supporting the relevant judicial authorities in pursuing criminal prosecutions for all human rights violations, in accordance with the rule of law.  MONUSCO has a standing agreement with the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government to ensure that all persons in the Mission’s care who are handed over to the national authorities are treated in accordance with all relevant human rights standards.

**Economic and Social Council

The Economic and Social Council elected its new bureau for 2017-2018 at its Organizational Session today.  The new President of the Economic and Social Council is Ambassador Marie Chatardová of the Czech Republic.  The other bureau members are Ambassador Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov of Tajikistan; Ambassador Inga Rhonda King of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Ambassador Marc Pecsteen of Belgium; and the forthcoming member of the Bureau from the Region of Africa.  That is it for me.  Are there any questions?

***Questions and Answers

Question:  I wanted to ask you, you read out the hopes on Cyprus.  I wanted to know if the UN has any response to the Turkish Cypriot leader saying that some heretofore closed towns will be opened up to returning, in one case, Maronites and most people are saying this is a first step to opening up Varosha, the closed southern part of Famagusta.  Does this… given the UN’s role in the talks and given this move, is it something that was raised to Mr. [Espen Barth] Eide?  What does the UN think of the reopening?  What does it think of the three villages and what would it say to the reopening of Varosha?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, as you know, in past years, there have been UN plans that involved the reopening of Varosha.  There has been no agreement on those in the past.  Obviously, if the parties are willing to consider new confidence‑building measures, that will be welcome, but we have to see what they are willing to do.

Question:  What if it were reopened under Turkish Cypriot authority and the Greek Cypriot side did not, as seems to be the case, agree to that?

Deputy Spokesman:  I don’t want to engage in hypotheticals.  The basic point is we would welcome any confidence‑building measures that are mutually agreed among the sides.  Yes, Benny?

Correspondent:  The SG just issued a statement commenting at the end of the…

Deputy Spokesman:  I know where you are going with that.

Question:  The situation is confusing, but it seems a new statement is warranted?

Deputy Spokesman:  Depending upon what the developments are we may see something further, but at this stage we are aware of the latest reports that there has been some… there have been some clashes at Al‑Aqsa compound.  We are trying to get some further details.  Obviously, we want, in line with what we have been saying both earlier today and yesterday, we want all the parties to exercise restraint and for there to be a de-escalation of the situation.  We welcomed the steps towards restoring the status quo as of 14 July and we wanted to see progress on that level.  And like we said in the statement, the Secretary‑General will remain engaged with all stakeholders to this effect.

Question:  Why is the Secretary-General trying to issue statements in real time like this, you know, like, because there were a couple of cases in the last few days that they issued one statement and then issued another that kind of retracted the last, or not retracted but…

Deputy Spokesman:  No.  No, it wasn’t a retraction.

Question:  Not a retraction, I’m sorry, but there was like a change on the ground that forced… or like he issued a statement about the three Palestinians who were killed and then he had to issue a statement about the three Israelis that were killed immediately after.  I mean, is it twice to be in real time is the question?  Or…?

Deputy Spokesman:  Would you rather we never issue statements?

Correspondent:  No, I’m asking, wondering out loud.

Deputy Spokesman:  Part of the calculation that diplomats need to make is when it is the most useful time to speak out.  Whenever there is worry that there could be a deterioration of the situation on the ground, we actually believe that it’s more important to state what is needed to encourage positive developments, and that’s what we have been trying to do.

Question:  Can I follow up on that?  Okay.  All right, so, yeah, what do you have to say about the fact that some measures were rolled back in Jerusalem and yet the unrest still remains in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, so, yes, what can be done now?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we have asked for the dialogue to continue.  We want an atmosphere of trust among the communities to be rebuilt and that remains one of our priorities.  Obviously, it’s a good sign that the parties have been willing to deal with each other, to take the positive steps that have been taken in terms of returning to the situation that we had on the ground before the middle of July.  We want all communities to work towards building trust with each other, to exercise restraint and to take positive actions to deescalate the situation.  Yes, Sherwin, your hand was up.  Okay, Ben.

Question:  Yeah, just on the statement from last night, you named the Israelis in asking them to demonstrate restraint, but there was no naming… specific naming of the Palestinians.  Why were the Palestinians left out of this statement?

Deputy Spokesman:  We have issued many statements in the last few days, and if you look at all of our statements put together, we call on all the sides to exercise restraint and to deescalate the situation.  What…?

Question:  But, is it all sides involved in this situation, is it just… are you blaming Israel or are you blaming both sides?  I mean, your statement just seemed a bit odd.

Deputy Spokesman:  The statement was not there to lay blame.  It’s there to express our concerns and to encourage progress towards resolving the situation.  We are happy with the steps that were taken in the hours since then.  Yes?

Question:  On a related issue, specifically about the status quo, the status quo was broken when, you know, the security situation on the ground changed after three policemen were shot dead and weapons were found in the compound.  So, by saying you want to return to the status quo, you basically are requesting that no security measures will be taken to address that situation?

Question:  That’s not the case.  That’s not the case.  We made it clear that we want the parties to confer on appropriate security arrangements.  The way it’s been handled in the past and the way we want to see it handled this time, as well, is for the Israeli authorities and the authorities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to work with each other.  And there are some positive and encouraging signals about that, and we are hopeful that that will help to restore the sense of trust that we feel is crucial.

Question:  Yet, you keep talking about the status quo as if that is something that is, well, static.  The problem with the status quo is that it was… that new problems came that need to tweak the status quo in a way that more security will be guaranteed for all, so it lends itself, in other words, to say: Don’t do metal detectors, don’t do cameras, don’t do anything that would be interpreted as breaking the status quo.  What can be done?

Deputy Spokesman:  Again, as I’ve pointed out, the bottom line for us is that security measures are agreed to by the relevant parties.  We want, in particular, for Israel and Jordan to continue with the historic role that they have played in dealing with each other on this matter.  Yes?

Question:  Just a follow‑up, exactly who are the relevant parties?  Are you saying it’s only Israel and Jordan, because even if they were to reach an agreement, let’s say on some use of cameras or other nonobtrusive surveillance technology, you have other parties involved, the Palestinian Authority, I believe President [Mahmoud] Abbas is still…

Deputy Spokesman:  No, I agree with you on that.

Question:  Let me just finish the point. President Abbas still, as far as I know, has not rescinded his decision to cutoff coordinating with Israel on security matters even after Israel took the step of removing the metal detectors and you also have the religious council, the Waqf Council, I’m not sure I’m pronouncing it right, and that still rejects whatever Israel has done and has called for a continued boycott, prayers in the streets, so who are the parties?

Deputy Spokesman:  No, I’m sorry; I don’t believe that’s the case.  I believe that that call was rescinded

Correspondent:  Actually unless that changed in the last 12 to 14 hours, that is the case.

Deputy Spokesman:  That was changed within the last few hours, yes.

Question:  Can you cite a specific statement by the Council… the Waqf Council?

Deputy Spokesman:  No, I don’t speak for the Waqf.  I speak for the Secretary‑General of the UN.  But, there have been positive movements both by the religious community leaders and by the Government of Israel, and we have been encouraging that.

Question:  And how do you explain the clashes you just referenced?  I mean, the point is, you talk about the relevant parties, but you seem to dance around the role that’s the imams in and around Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority figures, Hamas and so forth, that are continuing to incite unrest, so could you please clarify?

Deputy Spokesman:  Yes, we want all of the relevant parties to play a helpful role; and that includes the Palestinians, that includes the Israelis, that includes Jordan, that includes the Waqf, which, as far as we are aware, have allowed for worshippers to enter into the compound, which is what has been happening in the past hours.  There has been some violence, which according to the latest reports has to do with this crowd surge into the mosque.  We are hopeful it will be resolved, that matters will be resolved peacefully, that all parties will show restraint and the situation will be deescalated.  Yes, you had one.

Question:  Sure, I wanted to ask you about Myanmar, given what has taken place there, today the replacement without really any explanation of Ms. [Indira] Jaising by Mr. [Marzuki] Darusman the top… the three‑person panel that the Government is not allowing in.  Apparently, it’s because she said the situation of the Rohingya is deplorable and said it might be a genocide.  And I wanted to know, is that… in the UN system generally, which of those two words makes somebody perceive to be biased that they have to be removed from a panel and has the Secretary‑General taken any moves since the last time this was asked to you to ensure that this three‑person panel, whoever chairs it, can actually get in and assess the situation of the Rohingya?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, regarding the question of access, of course we encourage all Member States to work with the Human Rights Council and with the bodies that the Human Rights Council sends, and we will continue to do so.  Regarding the decision on replacement, I will leave it to my colleagues in Geneva to explain how the Human Rights Council comes about its decision.  That is a Member State decision that I would not be able to describe from here.

Question:  I guess I’m just wondering, they put out a press release and they just said that Darusman is in.  They did not even mention the person taken out.  And when you say Member States, was there a vote taken in terms of the UN system in terms of transparency, why did it happen?

Deputy Spokesman:  Please follow up with my colleagues in Geneva.  They can explain the actions of the Human Rights Council.  Yes?

Question:  There is a new report out today that draws pretty strong link between gang violence and the Central American triangle and the movement of children to the United States, the migration.  It sort of undermines the notion that these are just economic migrants.  And I’m curious if this migration topic has come up in recent meetings between the SG and members of the US Administration, and more broadly what the UN’s thinking is on this migration crisis in Central America and what is being done about it?

Deputy Spokesman:  As you are aware, we have a representative, Louise Arbour, who has been talking about this.  In fact, she spoke on migration issues just a few days ago in a speech we have made available, and I’d just refer you to what she has been saying.  Yeah?

Question:  Sure.  I wanted to ask you I guess about Catalonia, Cameroon and the Ng Lap Seng case.  In Catalonia, it’s reported that, and I guess if you can confirm receipt that the Catalonia and its entity called Diplocat has submitted a request to the UN electoral assistance division for observation in their referendum that they want to have, and basically Spain has bragged that the UN has not even confirmed receipt to avoid any attempt at manipulation.  So, it strikes me, it was submitted by the Carter Center, can you find out whether, in fact, it was received and if it’s not going to be… to be reviewed favourably, can you state why not?

Deputy Spokesman:  I think I have some language on our general rules about this that I can share with you afterwards.

Question:  How about the actual receipt?  Because Spain seems to acknowledge it was submitted and are very proud and brag that the UN won’t even confirm receipt.  Does the UN generally confirm at least receipt of letters from a place like the Carter Center or not?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, this office confirms receipt of letters to the Secretary‑General.  I’m not aware of letters that just go to different parts of the system.

Question:  Okay, and I also wanted to ask you, I guess I can boil this down.  There are two things about Cameroon.  One, there is a report of electoral — speaking of electoral assistance — of somebody from [Francois Lounceny] Fall’s office, Francis Najita, and some others that seem to be from the EU going on an electoral trip there.  So, given the expressed concern by DPA [Department of Political Affairs] about particularly the situation in the Anglophone areas, is it true that the UN is assisting in the upcoming election of a country that has had the same President for more than 30 years; and if so, what is the UN’s role?  What do they think about the electoral system in Cameroon?

Deputy Spokesman:  I don’t believe we have an electoral role with Cameroon, but I will check what DPA says, what the Department of Political Affairs says about it.

Question:  And apparently there is a delegation meeting with Adama Dieng today and I’d like to know, I guess I’m asking you to get a readout of the meeting from the UN side, from the adviser on the prevention of genocide?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, Mr. Dieng doesn’t normally provide readouts of all his various meetings.  And if he has something to say I will let you know, but otherwise I would not promise a readout of those meetings, because he meets with a variety of groups just to gain information on the various situations at hand.

Correspondent:  And finally, just on the Ng Lap Seng case, you received this from DGACM [Department of General Assembly and Conference Management], so I wanted to ask you, and I appreciate the executive officer, who I don’t think is a spokesperson, was willing to answer some questions but I now want to ask you about what he did answer.  What he answered is that, even now, two years or more after the indictment of John Ashe as President of the General Assembly for allegedly using the office to further a business scheme, it seems that DGACM of the Secretariat will do anything that an Office of the PGA [President of the General Assembly] said.  He said, if they request an email address you can receive the email.  He said…

Deputy Spokesman:  I received the email.  That is not what he said.  I would just… you had the language of the email.  Just look directly at what he said.

Question:  I’m asking you because I said to him Mr. Francis Lorenzo was never listed as a special adviser on the webpage of the PGA.  He was a full‑time Deputy Permanent Representative of a country.  So, does DGACM check these two facts and he said, no.  He said we do what the PGA asks, so I wanted to know:  is that appropriate after two years?

Deputy Spokesman:  If the President of the General Assembly asks for things like office space or desks or computers, they facilitate that.  That was his explanation to you.

Question:  What if he asks for change to a UN document that took place under Ian Botnaru to add in the name of a company, is that still the practice at the UN?

Deputy Spokesman:  Those are unrelated issues.

Correspondent:  Right, but I’m asking you.

Deputy Spokesman:  No, those are unrelated issues.  He is talking about having appropriate office facilities upon request from the President of the General Assembly.

Question:  Was it appropriate for DGACM to add the name of the Sun Kiang Ip Foundation to that resolution from an UN perspective?

Deputy Spokesman:  You’re aware of the problems that were disclosed at the time and I don’t have anything to add to what we said at the time.

Question:  And who was held responsible for adding the name of the company?

Deputy Spokesman:  I have nothing to add to what we said at the time.  Have a good afternoon, everyone.

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UN and Africa: focus on North-east Nigeria, UN camps in South Sudan and solar energy in Nigeria

27 Jul 2017

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Edward Kallon in the UN Radio studios in New York. Photo: UN News/Matt Wells

North-east Nigeria’s problems principally due to “development failures”

North-east Nigeria’s problems are principally due to long-term “development failures”, compounded by a Boko Haram terrorist insurgency that’s provoked a “crisis of global magnitude.” That’s the view of UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Nigeria, Edward Kallon, who is also UN Humanitarian Coordinator there. Nearly two million Nigerians have been internally displaced, while hundreds of thousands fled to neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger; countries which have also been deeply affected by Boko Haram violence. On Wednesday, the UN issued an appeal for more funding to help deal with the impact of those now returning home. Matt Wells asked Mr Kallon to outline UNDP’s priorities.

UNPOL officer in South Sudan, Cynthia Anderson, leads a team on a search of shelters in displaced persons camp in Juba. Photo: UNMISS/Daniel Dickinson

UN camp residents in South Sudan “feel safer” after weapons searches

South Sudanese citizens who have been displaced to UN protection camps as a result of conflict in the country say they feel safer when those camps are searched for weapons and other prohibited items. Currently around 219,000 people live in protection of civilians sites set up by the UN mission in South Sudan, UNMISS. To ensure the sites, known as POCs, remain civilian in nature, the mission regularly carries out surprise inspections. Daniel Dickinson joined one of the search operations in Juba, the country’s capital.

Nomadic children in Nigeria. File Photo: Rosie Collyer/IRIN

Solar energy and GPS bringing education to nomadic children in Nigeria

There is much the world can learn from nomadic cultures, according to a man who is using solar energy, GPS technology and virtual reality to bring education to children in Fulani communities in northwest Nigeria. Usman Muhammad Mareri is calling for more support for nomads and pastoralists who he believes have been “abandoned and neglected” by the international community. Mr Mareri is the founder and executive director of Centre for Renewable Energy which provides solar-powered tent classrooms for children who spend their days on the move herding cattle with their parents. He spoke to Dianne Penn on the margins of a recent UN General Assembly to push for more inclusive and equitable education.

Presenter: Matt Wells
Production Assistant: Ana Carmo
Duration: 10’00″

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XCMG’s Global Excellent Operator program highlights intelligent technology

XUZHOU, China, July 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Global leading manufacturer XCMG has kicked start the fourth Global Excellent Operator program (the “Program”) at the XCMG Technician College, a total of 71 trainees from nine countries have joined the series of training sessions led by experienced experts and instructors. In addition to the classic training courses […]

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Women Advancing Africa placing women at the centre stage of Africa’s Economic Advancement

The Women Advancing Africa Forum is set to bring some of the continent’s best and brightest minds together to shape a common agenda to accelerate the economic advancement of women in Africa DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, July 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The inaugural Women Advancing Africa (WAA) Forum is a new Pan-African flagship initiative launched by […]

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AFRICAN BICYCLE CONTRIBUTION FOUNDATION SELECTS CENTRAL GHANA’S BRONG AHAFO REGION FOR ITS FIFTH FREE BAMBOO BIKE DISTRIBUTION TO STUDENTS

Ghanaian Bicycle Company’s CEO prepares for three-city U.S. Fundraising Tour for the Foundation Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana, July 26, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — With its fifth distribution of ecologically-friendly, free bamboo bikes in Amasu, in Dormaa Central Municipal District, in Central Ghana’s Brong Ahafo Region, today, the African Bicycle Contribution Foundation (ABCF), a U.S.-based 501(c)3 […]

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Economic and Social Council Denies Consultative Status to Non-governmental Group with Alleged Terrorism Ties, Fills Vancancies in Subsidary Bodies

The Economic and Social Council concluded the third round of Coordination and Management meetings of its 2017 session today, adopting eight decisions on civil society’s participation within the United Nations and filling vacancies on several of its subsidiary bodies.

In its most debated action, the Council decided against granting consultative status to Fondation Alkarama, following objections by the representative of the United Arab Emirates, who introduced the draft, over the group’s alleged ties to terrorism.  His country had designated Fondation Alkarama a terrorist group, he said, and the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee set up pursuant to Security Council resolution 1267 (1999) had designated its founder as a financier and facilitator of such behaviour.

Those concerns resonated with several speakers, including India’s representative who said her country took such claims seriously.  The situation called for introspection on the Committee’s functioning.  “We need a much higher scrutiny of applications,” she said.  Algeria’s delegate asked how the Council could extend consultative status to a group whose members stood accused of being Al-Qaida members.  “We cannot accept organizations, the members of which are on terrorist lists,” he asserted.  The United States delegate likewise said that her delegation pushed to grant consultative status to all civil society organizations, except when their activities or funding were linked to terrorism or terrorist financing.

The Council also took up issues related to elections, nominations, confirmations and appointments on its subsidiary bodies, revising the office term for the 24 experts of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration on a one-time basis, to three years and seven months, beginning on 1 January 2018 and ending on 31 July 2021.

Turning to the Committee for Programme and Coordination, the Council nominated Cameroon to be elected by the General Assembly for a term beginning on 1 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2020.

The Council elected Lesotho, by acclamation, to the Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP) for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2020.  For the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the Council elected Spain, by acclamation, for a term beginning on the date of election and expiring on 31 December 2020.  Finally, the Council elected Romania, by acclamation, to the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission for a term beginning on 1 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2018.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 27 July, to begin its 2018 session with the election of the President and Vice-Presidents.

Non-governmental Organizations

The Council first turned to a draft decision titled, “application of the non-governmental organization Fondation Alkarama for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council”, contained in the report of the Committee on Non‑Governmental Organizations on its 2017 resumed session (document E/2017/32 Part II).

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay), speaking also on behalf of Australia, Belgium, Canada ,Chile, Czech Republic, Mexico, Finland, France, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States, said non-governmental organizations were indispensable partners in work to strengthen peace and security, as well as implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The decision to allow the Committee’s public sessions to be webcast marked an important step towards further transparency at the United Nations and stronger civil society involvement.

However, he said, the Committee’s resumed session in May had seen politicization and backsliding, notably with extensive debate over whether to allow a non-governmental group to speak, which had resulted in it not being allowed to do so.  Recalling the Committee’s duty to fulfil its mandate, notably by holding consultations with organizations in consultative status to discuss questions of interest, he requested the Non-governmental Organizations Branch to ensure that that important requirement was satisfied before the Committee’s January 2018 session.

SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia) speaking on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the Committee’s decision to accredit new and deferred applicants.  Yet, strong concerns remained that an open and fair approach was not uniformly applied to all applicants and that considerations falling outside the Committee’s purview were leading to repeated deferrals of numerous groups.  That the Committee recommended only 25 per cent of deferred applications for accreditation at its last session spoke to those concerns.  He encouraged the Committee to enhance its credibility, recalling the need to avoid the ad hoc overriding of Economic and Social Council rules for its work, and to ensure that the voices of civil society were heard during its proceedings.

AHMED ALMAHMOUD (United Arab Emirates), introducing the draft decision on Fondation Alkarama (document E/2017/L.35), proposed that the Council not grant consultative status to that group.  Noting that consultative status must come with responsibilities, not least to operate in accordance with Council resolution 1996/31 and the United Nations Charter, he expressed deep concern over Fondation Alkarama’s clear connection to terrorism.  The United Arab Emirates had designated it as terrorist organization, while the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee had designated its founder as a financier and facilitator of terrorism.  Fondation Alkarama had withdrawn a previous application following questions from the Committee about such connections, claiming they were politically motivated.  He expressed concern it had not been forthright in its recent application.  While hearing from diverse voices was important, the group’s connections to terrorism were incompatible with the Charter and he requested the Council to deny it consultative status.

MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria) expressed support for the remarks by his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, noting that special consultative status was based on principles in the United Nations Charter.  Members of Fondation Alkarama were being prosecuted in court and he expressed doubts about the group’s financing.  “How can we extend consultative status when certain members of the organization appear on the list of several Security Council committees,” he asked, and stood accused of being Al-Qaida members.  “We cannot accept organizations, the members of which are on terrorist lists,” he said, advocating against according consultative status to the group.

PAULOMI TRIPATHI (India) said the United Arab Emirates had raised serious concerns about Fondation Alkarama, affirming that the group had been declared a terrorist organization and that at least one of its founders was the subject of United States and United Nations sanctions.  India would work with the international community to fight terrorism and took such concerns seriously.  She expressed support for the decision to deny consultative status, stressing that the situation called for introspection on the Committee’s functioning and need for due diligence in the consultative mechanism.  “We need a much higher scrutiny of applications,” she said, urging the Committee’s secretariat to take such due diligence, including by collaborating with sanctions committees to avoid such situations in the future.

The Council then adopted the decision.

STEFANIE AMADEO (United States) said her delegation pushed to grant consultative status to all civil society organizations, except when their activities or funding were linked to terrorism or terrorist financing.  For such reasons, the United States had joined consensus on the text.

The Council then turned to Chapter 1 of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2017 resumed session, (document E/2017/32 Part II), adopting the seven draft decisions contained therein, the first of which was titled “applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification received from non-Governmental organizations”, as amended by the adoption of draft decision E/2017/L.35; followed by draft decision II, “withdrawal of consultative status of the non-governmental organization International Chamber of Commerce”, owing to a change of its status at the United Nations; draft decision III, “suspension of the consultative status of non-governmental organizations with outstanding quadrennial reports, pursuant to Council resolution 2008/4”; draft decision IV, “reinstatement of the consultative status of non-governmental organizations that submitted outstanding quadrennial reports, pursuant to Council resolution 2008/4”, draft decision V, “Withdrawal of the consultative status of non-governmental organizations, pursuant to Council resolution 2008/4”; draft decision VI, “dates and provisional agenda of the 2018 session of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations”; and draft decision VII, “report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2017 resumed session”.

Elections, Nominations, Confirmations and Appointments

The Council revised the term of office of the 24 experts of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration on a one-time basis, to three years and seven months, beginning on 1 January 2018 and ending on 31 July 2021, on the understanding that the following term for the Committee would begin on 1 August 2021 and end on 31 July 2025.  It also approved the Secretary-General’s nomination of the 24 experts listed in documents E/2017/9/Add.9 and Add.10.

Turning to the Committee for Programme and Coordination, the Council nominated Cameroon to be elected by the General Assembly for a term beginning on 1 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2020.  It postponed the following outstanding vacancies:  two members of the African States, one member of the Latin American and Caribbean States and three members of the Western European and other States, for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2020; and two members of the Western European and other States, both terms beginning on the date of election by the General Assembly, with one term expiring on 31 December 2017, and the second expiring on 31 December 2018.

Next, the Council elected Lesotho, by acclamation, to the Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP) for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2020.

For the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the Council elected Spain, by acclamation, for a term beginning on the date of election and expiring on 31 December 2020.  It postponed the following six vacancies on the Governing Council:  one member from the Latin American and Caribbean States, for a term beginning on the date of election and expiring on 31 December 2020; and five members from the Western European and other States for terms all beginning on the date of election and expiring as follows:  two members for terms expiring on 31 December 2018; one member for a term expiring on 31 December 2019; and two members for terms expiring on 31 December 2020.

In final action, the Council elected Romania, by acclamation, to the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission for a term beginning on 1 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2018.

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News in Brief 26 July 2017 (AM)

26 Jul 2017

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Nigerian refugees returning from Cameroon wait to register at Banki camp in northern Nigeria. Photo UNHCR/Romain Desclous

UN appeals for funding to assist vulnerable people in north-east Nigeria

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has launched an appeal for funding to scale up its activities in north-east Nigeria.

The agency says it will need an additional US$9.5 million because of an unexpected surge in the return of Nigerian refugees since the beginning of the year.

The majority are coming from Cameroon.

“We must do everything we can to assist these vulnerable people,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.

Many of the returnees are unable to go back to their homes due to security concerns and end up being displaced again, in dire humanitarian conditions, he noted.

Closure of London market “threat to cultural life” warns UN experts

Plans to close a London market as part of a gentrification project represent a threat to cultural life, a group of United Nations human rights experts has warned on Wednesday.

Furthermore, the move would result in the expulsion of current residents and shop owners from the place where they live and work, the experts say.

The Seven Sisters Indoor Market in the London Borough of Haringey faces closure under the redevelopment plans.

The market contains around 120 small shops, most of them family-run and with a few employees.

Since 2008, local residents and shop owners have been part of a legal battle to preserve the market and the area.

They have been challenging planning applications, organizing protests and raising awareness about the importance of the site.

The UN experts are asking UK authorities to be mindful of the consequences on the economic, social and cultural rights of the people living and working in the market.

World must do more to protect and conserve coastal mangroves

The world needs to do more to protect and conserve coastal mangroves which are among “the most threatened ecosystems on Earth,” the UN said on Wednesday.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO) made the call on the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem observed every year on 26 July.

Mangroves, shrub and tree species that live along shores and rivers help advance food security, sustain fisheries and forest products.

They also play a unique role in trapping and storing significant amounts of coastal blue carbon from the atmosphere and ocean, which is crucial for mitigating climate change.

Up to 67 per cent of mangroves have been lost to date, the agency says, and nearly all unprotected mangroves could perish in the next 100 years.

UNESCO is urging the global community to “reverse the trend of degradation” because of the essential role mangroves play in keeping the planet healthy.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’50″

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UN refugee agency seeks $9.5 million to assist Nigerian returnees from Cameroon

26 July 2017 &#150 The UN refugee agency is seeking an additional $9.5 million to scale up its activities in northeast Nigeria, as a result of an unexpected surge in self-organized returns of Nigerian refugees mainly from Cameroon since the beginning of the year.

&#8220This is a new emergency, which requires urgent attention,&#8221 said Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in a press release.

Between January and June 2017, nearly 135,000 refugees returned to Nigeria, mainly women and children. The majority left Minawao and Kolofata refugee settlements, in the Far North Region of Cameroon.

&#8220Many of these returnees are unable to go back to their homes due to security concerns and end up being displaced again, in dire humanitarian conditions,&#8221 he added.

The situation is particularly difficult in the town of Banki, where many are forced to live outdoors and have limited access to drinking water, food and medicine.

&#8220During my recent visit to the region, I was not only appalled by the scale of the humanitarian needs, but also deeply shocked at the level of trauma, social division and distrust,&#8221 said Mr. Türk, who visited both Nigeria and Cameroon over the past three weeks.

&#8220We urge the international community to pay more attention to this highly complex and challenging humanitarian and security situation,&#8221 he added.

As vulnerabilities increase over time, funding is, unfortunately, lagging behind needs. So far, UNHCR has received $41.1 million from donors out of a total funding requirement of $179.5 million for 2017 for Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Additional funding would allow UNHCR to increase its presence in border locations and improve border and protection monitoring. The agency also plans to expand reception facilities and launch mass information campaigns to ensure that Nigerian refugees in Cameroon’s Far North have accurate and updated information on the situation prevailing in areas of return in Nigeria.

Mr. Türk said that the Governments of both countries gave him assurances that action has been taken to stop involuntary returns.

The first meeting of the Tripartite Commission, comprising representatives from UNHCR, Nigeria and Cameroon, is expected to take place early August. The Commission was set up after the signature, last March, of a tripartite agreement on voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees.

It will be &#8220a positive step forward,&#8221 Mr. Türk said.

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UN refugee agency seeks $9.5 million to assist self-organized Nigerian returnees from Cameroon

26 July 2017 &#150 The UN refugee agency is seeking an additional $9.5 million to scale up its activities in northeast Nigeria, as a result of an unexpected surge in self-organized returns of Nigerian refugees mainly from Cameroon since the beginning of the year.

&#8220This is a new emergency, which requires urgent attention,&#8221 said Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in a press release.

Between January and June 2017, nearly 135,000 refugees returned to Nigeria, mainly women and children. The majority left Minawao and Kolofata refugee settlements, in the Far North Region of Cameroon.

&#8220Many of these returnees are unable to go back to their homes due to security concerns and end up being displaced again, in dire humanitarian conditions,&#8221 he added.

The situation is particularly difficult in the town of Banki, where many are forced to live outdoors and have limited access to drinking water, food and medicine.

&#8220During my recent visit to the region, I was not only appalled by the scale of the humanitarian needs, but also deeply shocked at the level of trauma, social division and distrust,&#8221 said Mr. Türk, who visited both Nigeria and Cameroon over the past three weeks.

&#8220We urge the international community to pay more attention to this highly complex and challenging humanitarian and security situation,&#8221 he added.

As vulnerabilities increase over time, funding is, unfortunately, lagging behind needs. So far, UNHCR has received $41.1 million from donors out of a total funding requirement of $179.5 million for 2017 for Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Additional funding would allow UNHCR to increase its presence in border locations and improve border and protection monitoring. The agency also plans to expand reception facilities and launch mass information campaigns to ensure that Nigerian refugees in Cameroon’s Far North have accurate and updated information on the situation prevailing in areas of return in Nigeria.

Mr. Türk said that the Governments of both countries gave him assurances that action has been taken to stop involuntary returns.

The first meeting of the Tripartite Commission, comprising representatives from UNHCR, Nigeria and Cameroon, is expected to take place early August. The Commission was set up after the signature, last March, of a tripartite agreement on voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees.

It will be &#8220a positive step forward,&#8221 Mr. Türk said.

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DHL Global Forwarding nomme Amadou Diallo PDG pour le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique

Amadou mettra au service de la région MEA plus de 20 ans d’expertise en logistique et intégration d’entreprises pour étendre le réseau et les partenaires de la région. DUBAI, le 26 juillet 2017 /PRNewswire/ — DHL Global Forwarding, le principal prestataire international de services de fret aérien, maritime et routier, a nommé Amadou Diallo PDG pour la région […]

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DHL Global Forwarding names Amadou Diallo as CEO for Middle East and Africa

Diallo will apply over 20 years of expertise in logistics and corporate integration to expanding the region’s freight connections and partnerships DUBAI, July 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — DHL Global Forwarding, the leading international provider of air, sea and road freight services, has appointed Amadou Diallo as CEO for the Middle East and Africa region. In the […]

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