UN Committee to review Ghana’s record on children’s rights

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ghana’s record on children’s rights will be reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on Wednesday 20 May and Thursday 21 May in sessions that will be webcast live.

Ghana is one of the 195 states that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and so is required to undergo regular examinations of its record by the Committee of 18 independent experts.

The discussions between the CRC and the delegation from the Ghanaian Government will take place at Palais Wilson in Geneva at the following times:

20 May: 15:00-18:00 (13:00-16:00 in Ghana)

21 May: 10:00-13:00 (08:00 – 11:00)

The sessions will be webcast at http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.

Among the possible issues to be discussed: measures to eliminate discrimination against vulnerable children, particularly children with disabilities; steps to increase birth registration; measures to combat spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce poverty; legislation and awareness-raising to eradicate harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, early marriage and ritual servitude (Trokosi); measures to eradicate worst forms of child labour.

The full list of issues and Ghana’s submitted written report can be found here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=829&Lang=en . The CRC’s concluding observations on Ghana and the other countries being reviewed – Eritrea, Mexico, Honduras, Ethiopia, Netherlands, Laos and Israel – will be published on this page on 10 June.

Source:: UN Committee to review Ghana’s record on children’s rights

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The African Union to attend the East African Community meetings on the situation in Burundi / The AU High-Level delegation continues its consultations in Burundi

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, will attend the Summit of the East African Community (EAC) being convened in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, today, to discuss the situation in Burundi. Yesterday, 12 May 2015, the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Sma?l Chergui, participated in the preparatory ministerial meeting. The AU’s participation in the EAC meetings is a further illustration of its continued support to the regional efforts to address the crisis in Burundi.

In the meantime, the AU High-Level delegation, comprising former Togolese Prime Minister Edem Kodjo and Professor Ibrahima Fall of Senegal, continues its consultations with the Burundian stakeholders. The delegation met with President Pierre Nkurunziza, Foreign Minister Laurent Kavakure and other Government officials, as well as with representatives of political parties and civil society organizations. Throughout these consultations, the delegation underlined the imperative of dialogue and mutual accommodation as the only sustainable way to resolve the current crisis. It urged all concerned to bring all acts of violence and intimidation to an end, in order to facilitate the ongoing regional efforts to create the conditions required for the holding of free, fair, transparent, peaceful and inclusive elections. The High-Level delegation also met members of the international community in Bujumbura. Other consultations are scheduled today.

Source:: The African Union to attend the East African Community meetings on the situation in Burundi / The AU High-Level delegation continues its consultations in Burundi

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UNAMID deplores the outbreak of violence between Ma’alia and Reziegat in East Darfur

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, May 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UNAMID strongly deplores the rapid deterioration of tensions between the Ma’alia and the Reziegat tribes into armed confrontations resulting in the death of dozens of fighters from both sides and the injury of many others. The Mission remains gravely concerned about the continued mobilization on both sides despite a temporary lull in the fighting.

UNAMID continues to exert around-the-clock efforts to mitigate the impact of the fighting on the civilian population in the area. The Mission is ready to assist the Sudanese authorities in the ongoing evacuation of more than 50 injured tribesmen from both tribes to Khartoum for treatment. It also provided East Darfur State medical authorities with medicines and other surgical equipment which were in short supply. Mission officials are, in the meantime, coordinating closely with the UN Country Team to facilitate delivery of critically urgent assistance to those affected by the conflict. In addition, UNAMID peacekeepers in East Darfur have raised their level of preparedness and put in place proactive response measures to address any potential demands for physical protection or shelter for affected civilians.

Source:: UNAMID deplores the outbreak of violence between Ma’alia and Reziegat in East Darfur

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UN Committee to review Eritrea’s record on children’s rights

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Eritrea’s record on children’s rights will be reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on Tuesday 19 May and Wednesday 20 May in sessions that will be webcast live.

Eritrea is one of the 195 states that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and so is required to undergo regular examinations of its record by the Committee of 18 independent experts.

The discussion between the CRC and the delegation from the Eritrean Government sessions will take place at Palais Wilson in Geneva at the following times:

19 May: 15:00-18:00 (16:00-19:00 in Eritrea)

20 May: 10:00-13:00 (11:00 – 14:00)

The sessions will be webcast at http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.

Among the possible issues to be discussed: requirement for children in final year of schooling to attend military camps to complete their education; impact of prolonged duration and low wages of military service on conscripts’ children; child refugees and migrants fleeing Eritrea, children separated from their parents; steps to eliminate female genital mutilation and child marriage; maternal and child mortality; child malnutrition; lack of juvenile justice system.

The full list of issues and Eritrea’s submitted written report can be found here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=829&Lang=en

The CRC’s concluding observations on Eritrea and the other countries being reviewed – Mexico, Ghana, Honduras, Ethiopia, Netherlands, Laos and Israel – will be published here on Wednesday 10 June.

Source:: UN Committee to review Eritrea’s record on children’s rights

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Philips breathes new life and light into South Africa’s oldest sea-faring monuments – the Clock Tower, Port Captain’s building and the Swing Bridge with spectacular digital LED illumination

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, May 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• Philips’ annual Cape Town to Cairo roadshow kicks-off in the Mother City, with an ambition to drive the LED lighting revolution across the continent

• New Philips digital lighting innovations will meet demand for sustainable energy consumption

Royal Philips (AEX: PHIA, NYSE: PHG) (http://www.philips.com), the global leader in LED lighting, kicked off its sixth consecutive Cape Town to Cairo roadshow (http://www.philips.com/C2CAfrica) by lighting up the iconic Clock Tower, the Port Captain’s building and the Swing Bridge, at the popular V&A Waterfront (http://www.waterfront.co.za) in Cape Town, South Africa. This year’s roadshow theme, ‘Sustainability through Innovation’ is more pertinent than ever before as the company spearheads the LED lighting revolution in Africa with smart lighting solutions designed for the continent.

Logo Royal Philips: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/philips-1.jpg

Logo “Philips’ Cape Town to Cairo roadshow”: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1927

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1976 (Cape Town – Clock Tower, Port Captains Bldg & Swing Bridge)

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1977 (Cape Town – Clock Tower)

Photo 3: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1978 (Cape Town – Port Captains Bldg & Swing Bridge)

Photo 4: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1979 (Cape Town – Port Captains Bldg & Swing Bridge)

Photo 5: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1980 (Cape Town – Port Captains Bldg & Swing Bridge)

LED lighting solutions to improve energy performance in public spaces

As a contribution to enhancing the attractiveness of iconic monuments across Africa while reducing energy consumption in parallel (a project that Philips started during last year’s roadshow), Philips has installed its latest Vaya LED lighting solutions (http://www.colorkinetics.com/vaya) combining warm and cool daylight colors to create an almost mythical atmosphere around the Clock Tower, the Port Captain’s building and the Swing Bridge that bring history to life. The LED Lighting installed has a lifetime of up to 50,000 (fifty thousand) hours and is entirely cutting edge, with each luminaire having its own IP address; a precursor to the future of connected lighting in an environment steeped in history.

Lighting is thought to consume around 15%(1) of the total electricity output of an industrialized economy like South Africa; it has been calculated that approximately half of a city’s energy bill goes on lighting – for public offices, schools and outdoor environments. We can make significant savings – on average 40% – simply by switching to energy-efficient lighting technologies.

With electricity use a constant concern across the African continent, workable and sustainable solutions are needed now more than ever. Driven by an increase in urbanization and transformation in Africa, a tremendous opportunity for economic and social development exists. However, large scale growth also presents huge challenges, specifically with regard to energy. Energy efficiency is crucial to achieving smart cities of the future that are livable, safe and also aesthetically pleasing.

Illuminating South Africa’s oldest sea-faring monuments

The V&A Waterfront is a very popular destination for international visitors and locals in Cape Town; the illumination of these iconic monuments at the Waterfront adds to the beautification of the entire area.

The Clock Tower

The stately octagonal Victorian, Gothic-style Clock Tower (http://www.gatewayguides.co.za/Gateway_Guides/V&A_Waterfront_files/V%26A%20Waterfront.pdf?_sm_au_=irVFPPfS4ffTW7tq) was built in 1883 and was the Port Captain’s first office in the newly constructed Cape Town harbour. It housed the tide gauge mechanism which worked by a shaft connected to the sea. It also contained all the instruments that the Port Captain needed such as a clock for ships to see the correct time, signal flags, Morse lamps and a telescope.

The Port Captain’s building

With the rapid growth of the harbour, a beautiful gabled building was constructed in 1904 to house the Port Captain who till then operated from the Clock Tower.

“The spectacular lighting of the Clock Tower, the Port Captain’s building and the Swing Bridge demonstrates the incredible advances that are being made in the efficiency and beauty of LED illumination”, says Thierry Boulanger, Vice President and General Manager, Philips Lighting Africa. “LED lighting innovations provide completely new opportunities to policy makers and governments to enhance city beautification and at the same time contribute to energy saving. We are extremely proud to see how Philips’ lighting solutions are contributing to improving the attractiveness of these iconic monuments on the V&A waterfront while reducing energy consumption”.

The advantages of the Philips Vaya LED lighting solutions (http://www.colorkinetics.com/vaya) provided at these monuments include:

• Dynamic lighting that makes it possible to adjust the atmosphere of the site (change of intensity and color).

• A longer lifespan of the installation: around fifty thousand (50,000) hours compared to twelve thousand (12,000) hours with conventional lighting.

• A reduction in maintenance costs: LED luminaires require little maintenance, while at the same time they cut energy consumption by 80% compared to conventional lighting.

“The lighting of the Port Captain’s building, the historic Clock Tower and the Swing Bridge goes a long way in beautifying aspects of the V&A Waterfront,” states Colin Devinish, Executive for Operations, V&A Waterfront. “As a destination popular with international visitors and frequented by locals we are constantly striving to improve and enhance this important part of South African history; collaborating with Philips was a win-win.”

First stop on the sixth Cape Town to Cairo roadshow

Cape Town is the first stop on Philips’ annual pan-African Cape Town to Cairo roadshow (http://www.philips.com/C2CAfrica) which will cover 12,000 km across 11 cities and 8 countries over a period of 4.5 months. The roadshow has gained significant momentum over the past five years, allowing Philips to get to the heart of some of the key issues facing Africa – advancing healthcare access, leading the LED lighting revolution, and providing products and solutions that meet the aspirational needs of the rising middle class.

This year too, while driving the conversation around sustainable energy solutions, Philips has pledged to illuminate iconic national monuments or provide road and street illumination with digital LED technology, leaving behind a permanent legacy while reducing energy consumption by up to 80% compared to conventional lighting.

The next stop on the roadshow will be Johannesburg on 13 – 14, May 2015.

Join the Cape Town to Cairo journey via Twitter @philipsSafrica or visit www.philips.com/C2CAfrica.

(1) Lighting Africa: https://www.lightingafrica.org/

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Royal Philips.

For further information, please contact:

Radhika Choksey

Philips Group Communications – Africa

Tel: +31 62525 9000

E-mail: radhika.choksey@philips.com

About Royal Philips:

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) (http://www.philips.com) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2014 sales of EUR 21.4 billion and employs approximately 108,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at www.philips.com/newscenter.

Source:: Philips breathes new life and light into South Africa’s oldest sea-faring monuments – the Clock Tower, Port Captain’s building and the Swing Bridge with spectacular digital LED illumination

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NEW STUDY REVEALS HUGE IMPACT OF HUNGER ON ECONOMY OF MALAWI

LILONGWE, Malawi, May 13, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Malawi’s economy loses nearly MKW 150 billion (nearly US$600 million) annually due to the effects of child undernutrition. This is the alarming finding of a new study launched today in Lilongwe.

The Cost of Hunger in Africa: The Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition in Malawi report shows that the country loses significant sums of money each year as a result of child undernutrition through increased healthcare costs, additional burdens to the education system and lower productivity by its workforce. It estimates that child undernutrition cost Malawi 10.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2012 (most recent year with complete data).

Particularly detrimental are the consequences of stunting. Stunting (low height for age) occurs when children miss out on critical nutrients – including proteins, vitamins and minerals — while in the womb and in the first two years of life. People affected by stunting face lifelong consequences starting in childhood such as frequent illness, poor school performance, having to repeat classes or dropping out altogether, and having low productivity at work.

According to the study, which used data from 2012 as the most recent complete set of records, 60 percent of adults in Malawi suffered from stunting as children. This represents some 4.5 million people of working age who are not able to achieve their potential as a consequence of child undernutrition. In Malawi, where two thirds of people are engaged in manual activities, it is estimated that MWK 16.5 billion (US$67 million) was lost due to the reduced productivity of those who were stunted as children.

The study was undertaken in Malawi by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, in collaboration with the initiative’s partners: the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the African Union Commission (AUC), the New Partnership of Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

“The study findings have clearly shown that adequate nutrition is critical for one’s physical and intellectual development and work productivity, and is therefore an integral element for socioeconomic development,” says Honourable Goodall E. Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development. “It is in this context that we are determined as a government to channel adequate resources towards nutrition interventions. Government will also strengthen institutional and human capacity for the effective delivery of nutrition services.”

The Cost of Hunger in Africa is a 12-country study highlighting how undernutrition is not just a health issue, but an economic and social one as well that requires multisectoral commitment and investment. So far, it has been conducted in six countries in Africa including Malawi. Previously surveyed in southern Africa was Swaziland which was found to lose the equivalent of 3.1 percent of its GDP due to undernutrition.

The continent-wide and multi-partner initiative is led by the African Union Commission Department of Social Affairs, within the framework of the Revised African Regional Nutrition Strategy (2005-2015), and aligned to the objectives of the African Task Force on Food and Nutrition Development (ATFFND) and the principles of pillar 3 of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The findings of the Malawi report show that in order for Malawi to achieve sustainable human and economic growth, special attention must be given to the early stages of life. Without measures to combat and eliminate undernutrition, the cost to Malawi at current rates could increase at a higher pace by 2025, leading the country to not meeting the World Health Assembly global target for reduction of stunting.

The Cost of Hunger report comes at a crucial time for Malawi. Earlier this year, the southern part of the country suffered flooding which affected more than 1.1 million people, a quarter of whom were displaced from their homes. With huge areas of arable land lost in the floods, the food security outlook was made worse when in March severe dry spells badly affected crops across the country. The Government estimates a 28 percent reduction in maize production alone this year. This is likely to mean that already-vulnerable people could be pushed deeper into food insecurity during the lean season later this year and early next year.

Source:: NEW STUDY REVEALS HUGE IMPACT OF HUNGER ON ECONOMY OF MALAWI

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