AUC Chairperson H.E Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma officially opens the 6th Batch Training of the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps (AU-YVC).

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma officially welcomed the 6th Batch of the African Union Youth Volunteer Core (AU-YVC) training program.

Her Excellency took the opportunity to share valuable knowledge with the young people that are taking part in this year’s program. She described their experience as a great privilege to contribute to the work of the AU and further stated that she is looking forward to exposing them to work skills benefiting from the competences of those who would be assigned to her Office. The future of Africa took centre stage in her address, revealing the AU’s position and vision for young people. In relation to Agenda 2063, the Chairperson stated, ‘we consider that the people who are going to drive Agenda 2063, those who will develop this continent to be prosperous, integrated and peaceful are young people along with women. You are part of that youth!’ As the Chairperson engaged the young people, she constantly reminded them to never stop believing in their abilities and never losing hope in the African continent and its people. In her own words, ‘this is the first step to Pan-Africanism’. The Chairperson concluded her speech to young people by offering advice on the importance of time management, passion for work, maintaining vibrancy and [Description: Description: cid:E990674E-6CFF-4519-AD01-FEF5EF89D17B] creating bigger opportunities for the next generation than those that were created for them.

In a true display of encouraging youth participation, Her Excellency, with the assistance of University of Johannesburg’s Vice Chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, opened up the floor for young people to pose questions. Her answers revealed her journey from Cabinet Minister in South Africa to the AUC, plans to include vocational college graduates into the AU-YVC program, the need to quantify the work that women contribute to economies and the support structures that have enhanced her career. The open session also gave AU-YVC training participant Heba Shama the opportunity to share her story. The young Egyptian shared her journey of discovery in identifying, appreciating and understanding her own Africanness, which began whilst she was studying in the USA. She further praised the AUYVC program for the work it is doing in helping her solidify her identify.

Addressing the audience before Her Excellency took to the podium, Acting Head of the Youth Division within the AUC, Dr Beatrice Njenga, gave insight into the program. She described the AU-YVC as a flagship programme which aims to instil the spirit Pan-Africanism, volunteerism, leadership, life skills, personal initiative, creativity and collective responsibility in young people across the continent and in the diaspora. This year’s Batch of 80 participants (65% female and 35% male) from 37 AU Member States was selected out of 5000 applicants. In relation to the higher percentage of females, Dr Njenga stated, ‘we are pleased to have more females in this year’s Batch as 2015 is the AU’s Year for Women Empowerment’. The training will conclude on the 19th of December 2015 and a majority of the participants will be deployed to different organisations in Member States across Africa including the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The programme is currently supported by AU Member States and Ford Foundation. The training in Johannesburg is hosted by the University of Johannesburg and supported by the AU Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation among others.

Find out more on this on-going event at @AUYouthProgram and Facebook – AU Youth Program

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: AUC Chairperson H.E Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma officially opens the 6th Batch Training of the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps (AU-YVC).

Categories: AFRICA

Implementation of INDCs another red line Africa will not cross in COP 21 negotiations, according to AMCEN Chair

The joint Pan African lead institutions brought together African ministers; representatives of their leaders and policymakers to plan the way forward under a new climate change agreement in Paris while upholding Africa’s priorities through regional solidarity on the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) during the 2015 United National Conference on Climate Change in Paris (COP21) Africa Day event today.

The three Pan-African institutions, including the African Union Commission (AUC); the African Development Bank (AfDB); the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) brought together hundreds of African policy makers and experts attending COP 21 to enlighten them on Africa’s proposed amendments to the draft Paris Agreement (especially Articles on the INDCs) now making its way through the negotiation process.

The Egyptian Minister of Environment, Dr. Khaled Fahmy who currently chairs the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) told the meeting that the provision of means of implementation for the INDCs is a thick red line that Africa will not cross in Paris just because “we want an agreement at all cost.”

He said that the other red lines concerned the necessity to have an agreement with a real balance between adaptation and mitigation; while the other is on the legally binding aspect of the expected agreement.

“We are not in Paris to re-write the Convention but to ensure its judicious implementation”, he said, charging that “all African countries having drawn up their different INDCs in accordance with the Peru outcome, the time now is for implementation; and for all to abide by it.

All parties to the COP21 including African countries are expected to express their INDCs—public declarations of post-2020 climate actions they intend to take under a new international agreement to help global mitigation ambitions, as well as adaptation goals within the context of their national priorities, circumstances and capabilities. With INDC submissions to date, global warming is expected to be maintained at 2.7 degrees Celsius, which is above the global ambition of 2 degrees Celsius increase. So far, out of the fifty-four African nations, fifty-three have submitted INDCs.

The day began with an opening session chaired by the Ethiopian Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace in her opening statement, stressed that the Africa Day is not about lamenting the risks and challenges posed by climate change, but instead to serve as an opportunity for the continent to showcase to the rest of the world solutions underway to mitigate these challenges, specifically through the development of INDCs.

“The Paris Climate COP is the pinnacle of the global climate change negotiations that has historic milestone from the Africa COP in Durban COP17”. It proofs the level of commitment by the global community in addressing the adverse impacts of climate change and reduction of the greenhouse gases”, she said.

Mr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UNECA, said that it is important, therefore, that Africa’s Parties submission on INDCs lead to the conclusion of a new agreement under the Convention that is in full conformity with its principles and provisions, in particular those of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

“In addition, Annex I Parties need to make “equitable and appropriate” mitigation contributions towards achieving the objective of the Convention taking into account their cumulative historical responsibility and use of atmospheric space and resources and that cumulative emissions in Africa remain extremely low”, Mr. Lopes concluded.

The contributions forthcoming from developed country Parties relating to mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity are in a balanced manner in the context of a global and comprehensive agreement for the period beyond 2020.

AfDB representative, Anthony Okon Nyong, speaking on behalf of Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB President noted that “the vision of the African Heads of State and Government to embrace green growth and low carbon development for Africa’s transformation outlined today are meant to propel us into a future which promotes sustainable development for generations to come.”

“Africa has come with solutions on renewable energy; adaptation and loss and damage”, he said.

There were two technical presentations on INDCs by the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change and the UNECA. A Ministerial dialogue followed on INDCs showcasing Africa’s readiness in addressing climate change, including its ability to deliver on its own potential with international cooperation in addition to the contribution of INDCs to the overall development of the continent. The ministerial dialogue was chaired by H.E Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, Foreign Minister of Algeria; and vote of thanks was given by H.E Dr. Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure & Energy, AUC while Ms. Olushola of the AUC served as a Master of Ceremony.

Over 500 participants attended Africa Day, which saw the participation of high level delegates from the governments of Algeria; Cameron, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda, in addition to the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change, African Union Commission, African Ministerial Conference on Environment, Pan-African Parliament, African Development Bank, East African Community, European Investment Bank, Green Climate Fund, International Labor Organization, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, United Nations Development Program, and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Throughout the day, leaders discussed the region’s priorities with respect to climate change, while considering the status of INDCs development in Africa and their challenges and opportunities moving forward in implementation.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: Implementation of INDCs another red line Africa will not cross in COP 21 negotiations, according to AMCEN Chair

Categories: AFRICA

Press Statement of the Peace and Security Council 560th meeting on the ongoing efforts to neutralize the Boko Haram terrorist group

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 560th meeting held on 26 November 2015, was briefed by the Commission on the ongoing efforts to neutralize the Boko Haram terrorist group, including the operationalization of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) established by the Member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and Benin. Council also listened to the statements made by the representative of Niger, as Chair of the LCBC, as well as by those of Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria. Council took note of the statements made by France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, as well as by the UN Secretariat and the European Union (EU).

Council recalled its earlier pronouncements on the Boko Haram terrorist group, including press statement PSC/PR/BR(DXVIII) adopted at its 518th meeting, held on 25 June 2015.

Council acknowledged the progress made on the ground in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group. In this respect, Council noted the recovery of areas that had previously been under the control of this group and other related operations to eliminate the threat it poses. Council nonetheless expressed concern at the continued ability of the Boko Haram terrorist group to carry out attacks against civilians, as well as against military and security forces, and to destroy infrastructure and livelihoods, as illustrated by the incidents that have taken place in various locations in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Council strongly condemned these cowardly attacks and expressed, once again, the AU’s solidarity with the affected countries and their Governments.

Council commended the LCBC Member States and Benin for their continued efforts to fully operationalize the MNJTF. In this respect, Council welcomed the conclusions of the Special Session of the Committee of Chiefs of Defense Staff of the LCBC Member States and Benin held in Ndjamena, Chad, on 20 August 2015, including the effective deployment of the pledged contingents in the Area of Responsibility, transfer of authority to the MNJTF Command, and continued staffing of the MNJTF Headquarters. Council also noted with satisfaction the other steps taken fully to operationalize the MNJTF, including the Conference of the Communication and Signal Directors of the LCBC Member States and Benin and the inaugural meeting between the MNJTF Force Commander and Sector Commanders, held in Ndjamena, on 5 and 13 November 2015, respectively.

Council urged the LCBC Member States and Benin to persevere in their efforts and to enhance their cooperation within the framework of the MNJTF, bearing in mind the relevant provisions of the strategic Concept of Operations (CONOPS) adopted in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 7 February 2015, as endorsed by Council in communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CDLXXXIX)-Rev.1, adopted at its 489th meeting held on 3 March 2015, and by the Extraordinary Summit of the LCBC Member States and Benin, held in Abuja on 11 June 2015.

Council commended the Commission for the steps taken, in line with the relevant provisions of communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CDLXXXIX)-Rev.1, in support of the operationalization of the MNJTF. In this respect, Council noted the deployment of a Start-up Team to the MNJTF Headquarters in Ndjamena and the subsequent establishment of the AU Support Team (AUST), the provision of communication equipment to facilitate coordination between the MNJTF Headquarters and Sector Headquarters, as well as between the MNJTF Headquarters and the AU Commission, the procurement of vehicles, and the hiring of staff to help run the MNJTF Headquarters.

Council also noted the steps taken to ensure that the MNJTF comply fully with international humanitarian and human rights law in the conduct of its operations, including the secondment, for a period of two months, by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the request of the Commission, of a senior human rights officer, who provided advice on the setting up of a human rights component, including its structure and staffing, adherence by the deployed uniform personnel to international human rights and humanitarian law standards, and mainstreaming of human rights. Council urged for the continuation and enhancement of these efforts, bearing in mind that scrupulous respect for international human rights and humanitarian law is a sine quo non for the effective neutralization of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Council further noted the steps taken by the Commission to secure additional funding amounting 50 million Euros from the EU, within the framework of the Africa Peace Facility, to assist in various areas, including command, communication and control information systems (C3IS), infrastructure development at the level of both the MNJTF Headquarters and Sectors Headquarters, ground transportation, air mobility, including assets to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities, human resources and medical support. Council, having expressed its deep gratitude to the EU for this support in the spirit of the Africa-EU partnership, and looks forward to the urgent signing of an Agreement that would pave the way for the disbursement of the pledged funds. Council requested the Commission, once the required procedures with the EU are finalized, to ensure the timely and effective delivery of the planned support and to take all required administrative measures to this effect, and to continue to closely coordinate its efforts in this respect with the LCBC member countries and Benin.

Council noted with gratitude the support provided by international partners to the MNJTF. Council reiterated its appreciation to the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France for their invaluable support, and urged other partners also to contribute to the ongoing efforts. In this respect, Council requested the Commission to reactivate its plans for the holding, by February 2016, at the latest, with the support of the UN, of a Donors’ Conference to mobilize additional resources, including finances, logistics and equipment, for the MNJTF.

Council noted with satisfaction the adoption by the UN Security Council, on 28 July 2015, of Presidential Statement S/PRST/2015/14 in which it, inter alia, reiterated its strong condemnation of all terrorist attacks and other abuses committed by Boko Haram; commended the LCBC and Benin for their continued efforts to fully operationalize the MNJTF; called upon the international community and donors to support the MNJTF, invited the Secretary-General to support the Commission’s plans for a Donors’ Conference, called on Member States to contribute generously to the AU Trust Fund and requested the Secretary-General to advocate strongly with the internatinoal community and donors in support of this effort; and, having recalled that Boko Haram has been designated as associated with Al Qaeda by the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), expressed its readiness to consider listing individuals, groups, undertakings and entities providing support to Boko Haram. Council looks forward to the continued engagement of the Security Council on this matter and to support, as may be appropriate, by the UN Secretariat to the efforts to the activities of the MNJTF.

Council commended the Economic Community of the Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for their contribution to the ongoing efforts against the Boko Haram terrorist group. Council looks forward to the holding of the planned joint ECCAS/ECOWAS Summit to enhance coordination between the two organizations in the fight against Boko Haram.

Council appealed for greater international mobilization to assist the populations affected by the attacks carried out by the Boko Haram terrorist group, as well as the countries hosting refugees fleeing the atrocities committed by this group.

Council stressed, once again, the need to complement the military and security operations against the Boko Haram terrorist group by sustained national and regional efforts, to improve livelihoods, promote education and job creation, as well as ensure the protection of human rights, particularly those of women and girls. Council called for renewed efforts in this respect by the LCBC Member States and Benin, with the support of the larger international community. Council reiterated its request to the Commission to liaise with the LCBC, to identify practical steps through which the AU and its relevant structures could contribute to these efforts.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Categories: AFRICA

Press Statement of the Peace and Security Council 560th meeting on the ongoing efforts to neutralize the Boko Haram terrorist group

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 560th meeting held on 26 November 2015, was briefed by the Commission on the ongoing efforts to neutralize the Boko Haram terrorist group, including the operationalization of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) established by the Member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and Benin. Council also listened to the statements made by the representative of Niger, as Chair of the LCBC, as well as by those of Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria. Council took note of the statements made by France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, as well as by the UN Secretariat and the European Union (EU).

Council recalled its earlier pronouncements on the Boko Haram terrorist group, including press statement PSC/PR/BR(DXVIII) adopted at its 518th meeting, held on 25 June 2015.

Council acknowledged the progress made on the ground in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group. In this respect, Council noted the recovery of areas that had previously been under the control of this group and other related operations to eliminate the threat it poses. Council nonetheless expressed concern at the continued ability of the Boko Haram terrorist group to carry out attacks against civilians, as well as against military and security forces, and to destroy infrastructure and livelihoods, as illustrated by the incidents that have taken place in various locations in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Council strongly condemned these cowardly attacks and expressed, once again, the AU’s solidarity with the affected countries and their Governments.

Council commended the LCBC Member States and Benin for their continued efforts to fully operationalize the MNJTF. In this respect, Council welcomed the conclusions of the Special Session of the Committee of Chiefs of Defense Staff of the LCBC Member States and Benin held in Ndjamena, Chad, on 20 August 2015, including the effective deployment of the pledged contingents in the Area of Responsibility, transfer of authority to the MNJTF Command, and continued staffing of the MNJTF Headquarters. Council also noted with satisfaction the other steps taken fully to operationalize the MNJTF, including the Conference of the Communication and Signal Directors of the LCBC Member States and Benin and the inaugural meeting between the MNJTF Force Commander and Sector Commanders, held in Ndjamena, on 5 and 13 November 2015, respectively.

Council urged the LCBC Member States and Benin to persevere in their efforts and to enhance their cooperation within the framework of the MNJTF, bearing in mind the relevant provisions of the strategic Concept of Operations (CONOPS) adopted in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 7 February 2015, as endorsed by Council in communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CDLXXXIX)-Rev.1, adopted at its 489th meeting held on 3 March 2015, and by the Extraordinary Summit of the LCBC Member States and Benin, held in Abuja on 11 June 2015.

Council commended the Commission for the steps taken, in line with the relevant provisions of communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CDLXXXIX)-Rev.1, in support of the operationalization of the MNJTF. In this respect, Council noted the deployment of a Start-up Team to the MNJTF Headquarters in Ndjamena and the subsequent establishment of the AU Support Team (AUST), the provision of communication equipment to facilitate coordination between the MNJTF Headquarters and Sector Headquarters, as well as between the MNJTF Headquarters and the AU Commission, the procurement of vehicles, and the hiring of staff to help run the MNJTF Headquarters.

Council also noted the steps taken to ensure that the MNJTF comply fully with international humanitarian and human rights law in the conduct of its operations, including the secondment, for a period of two months, by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the request of the Commission, of a senior human rights officer, who provided advice on the setting up of a human rights component, including its structure and staffing, adherence by the deployed uniform personnel to international human rights and humanitarian law standards, and mainstreaming of human rights. Council urged for the continuation and enhancement of these efforts, bearing in mind that scrupulous respect for international human rights and humanitarian law is a sine quo non for the effective neutralization of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Council further noted the steps taken by the Commission to secure additional funding amounting 50 million Euros from the EU, within the framework of the Africa Peace Facility, to assist in various areas, including command, communication and control information systems (C3IS), infrastructure development at the level of both the MNJTF Headquarters and Sectors Headquarters, ground transportation, air mobility, including assets to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities, human resources and medical support. Council, having expressed its deep gratitude to the EU for this support in the spirit of the Africa-EU partnership, and looks forward to the urgent signing of an Agreement that would pave the way for the disbursement of the pledged funds. Council requested the Commission, once the required procedures with the EU are finalized, to ensure the timely and effective delivery of the planned support and to take all required administrative measures to this effect, and to continue to closely coordinate its efforts in this respect with the LCBC member countries and Benin.

Council noted with gratitude the support provided by international partners to the MNJTF. Council reiterated its appreciation to the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France for their invaluable support, and urged other partners also to contribute to the ongoing efforts. In this respect, Council requested the Commission to reactivate its plans for the holding, by February 2016, at the latest, with the support of the UN, of a Donors’ Conference to mobilize additional resources, including finances, logistics and equipment, for the MNJTF.

Council noted with satisfaction the adoption by the UN Security Council, on 28 July 2015, of Presidential Statement S/PRST/2015/14 in which it, inter alia, reiterated its strong condemnation of all terrorist attacks and other abuses committed by Boko Haram; commended the LCBC and Benin for their continued efforts to fully operationalize the MNJTF; called upon the international community and donors to support the MNJTF, invited the Secretary-General to support the Commission’s plans for a Donors’ Conference, called on Member States to contribute generously to the AU Trust Fund and requested the Secretary-General to advocate strongly with the internatinoal community and donors in support of this effort; and, having recalled that Boko Haram has been designated as associated with Al Qaeda by the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), expressed its readiness to consider listing individuals, groups, undertakings and entities providing support to Boko Haram. Council looks forward to the continued engagement of the Security Council on this matter and to support, as may be appropriate, by the UN Secretariat to the efforts to the activities of the MNJTF.

Council commended the Economic Community of the Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for their contribution to the ongoing efforts against the Boko Haram terrorist group. Council looks forward to the holding of the planned joint ECCAS/ECOWAS Summit to enhance coordination between the two organizations in the fight against Boko Haram.

Council appealed for greater international mobilization to assist the populations affected by the attacks carried out by the Boko Haram terrorist group, as well as the countries hosting refugees fleeing the atrocities committed by this group.

Council stressed, once again, the need to complement the military and security operations against the Boko Haram terrorist group by sustained national and regional efforts, to improve livelihoods, promote education and job creation, as well as ensure the protection of human rights, particularly those of women and girls. Council called for renewed efforts in this respect by the LCBC Member States and Benin, with the support of the larger international community. Council reiterated its request to the Commission to liaise with the LCBC, to identify practical steps through which the AU and its relevant structures could contribute to these efforts.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: Press Statement of the Peace and Security Council 560th meeting on the ongoing efforts to neutralize the Boko Haram terrorist group

COP21: Launch of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative

The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative was launched at a Session during the High-Level Meeting on “Lima-Paris Action Agenda: Focus on Energy” on 07 December, 2015 at the COP21. The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) aims to add an additional 10 GW and 300 GW of renewable energy capacity to the African energy sector by 2020 and 2030, respectively, and is endorsed and supported by the Governments of France, Germany, U.S., and Canada.

The High-Level Meeting was organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (RENA) and the Sustainable Energy for All. The Session of the launch of this Initiative was attended by High-Level representatives of Government and International Organizations including African Ministers from Egypt, Nigeria, Benin, Senegal, Cameroun, Kenya, and Madagascar. Ministers from France, Germany, UK, Italy, Spain and Canada also attended the Session. H. E. Dr Khaled Fahmy, Minister of Environment of the Arab of Egypt and the Chair of AMCEN and H.E. Dr. Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, delivered keynote speeches at the opening of the Session.

In his Speech, H.E. Dr. Fahmy welcomed the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and stated that it represented a landmark opportunity to move forward Africa’s sustainable energy development agenda. Mr. Fahmy further stated that the AMCEN and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt will work together with all African Member States and stakeholders to ensure that the objectives of this Initiative are fully implemented in Africa.

Dr. Ibrahim, in her speech also welcomed this Initiative and re-iterated the commitment of the African Union Commission to support initiatives aimed at developing renewable energy and other modern energy sources in Africa. She pointed out that the implementation of this initiative will accelerate already on-going efforts to provide modern and sustainable energy access to all Africans. Dr. Ibrahim called on all stakeholders and Member States to leverage the opportunities provided by the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and continue to harmonise their efforts and mobilize the required financial and technical resources needed to achieve Africa’s energy access Agenda. “We will work hard to support and see the success the African Renewable Energy Initiative and also call upon all stakeholders including Member States, financial institutions, the private and public sectors, civil societies and research institutions, amongst others, from all parts of the world to join us in our endeavours”, she Stated.

The Launch Session also included Signature Ceremonies; where H.E. Neven Mimica, European Commissioner in charge of International Development and Cooperation and other European countries signed on stage joint Declarations for Sustainable Energy for All in Africa with African Partners. The signings included: (1) Nigeria with France, Germany, Italy, UK and Spain; (2) Benin with France; (3) Senegal with France and Germany; (4) Cameroun with France; (5) Kenya with France, Italy, the Netherlands and the US; (6) Madagascar with France and Germany.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Categories: AFRICA

COP21: Launch of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative

The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative was launched at a Session during the High-Level Meeting on “Lima-Paris Action Agenda: Focus on Energy” on 07 December, 2015 at the COP21. The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) aims to add an additional 10 GW and 300 GW of renewable energy capacity to the African energy sector by 2020 and 2030, respectively, and is endorsed and supported by the Governments of France, Germany, U.S., and Canada.

The High-Level Meeting was organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (RENA) and the Sustainable Energy for All. The Session of the launch of this Initiative was attended by High-Level representatives of Government and International Organizations including African Ministers from Egypt, Nigeria, Benin, Senegal, Cameroun, Kenya, and Madagascar. Ministers from France, Germany, UK, Italy, Spain and Canada also attended the Session. H. E. Dr Khaled Fahmy, Minister of Environment of the Arab of Egypt and the Chair of AMCEN and H.E. Dr. Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, delivered keynote speeches at the opening of the Session.

In his Speech, H.E. Dr. Fahmy welcomed the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and stated that it represented a landmark opportunity to move forward Africa’s sustainable energy development agenda. Mr. Fahmy further stated that the AMCEN and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt will work together with all African Member States and stakeholders to ensure that the objectives of this Initiative are fully implemented in Africa.

Dr. Ibrahim, in her speech also welcomed this Initiative and re-iterated the commitment of the African Union Commission to support initiatives aimed at developing renewable energy and other modern energy sources in Africa. She pointed out that the implementation of this initiative will accelerate already on-going efforts to provide modern and sustainable energy access to all Africans. Dr. Ibrahim called on all stakeholders and Member States to leverage the opportunities provided by the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and continue to harmonise their efforts and mobilize the required financial and technical resources needed to achieve Africa’s energy access Agenda. “We will work hard to support and see the success the African Renewable Energy Initiative and also call upon all stakeholders including Member States, financial institutions, the private and public sectors, civil societies and research institutions, amongst others, from all parts of the world to join us in our endeavours”, she Stated.

The Launch Session also included Signature Ceremonies; where H.E. Neven Mimica, European Commissioner in charge of International Development and Cooperation and other European countries signed on stage joint Declarations for Sustainable Energy for All in Africa with African Partners. The signings included: (1) Nigeria with France, Germany, Italy, UK and Spain; (2) Benin with France; (3) Senegal with France and Germany; (4) Cameroun with France; (5) Kenya with France, Italy, the Netherlands and the US; (6) Madagascar with France and Germany.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Source:: COP21: Launch of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative

Categories: AFRICA

28th High Level meeting of Heads of the United Nations Missions in West Africa

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, will chair the 28th High Level meeting of Heads of the United Nations Missions in West Africa, on 11 December 2015 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Participants:

Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa (UNOWA)

Mrs. Aïchatou Mindaoudou, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI)

Mr. Miguel Trovoada, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS)

Mr. Mongi Hamdi, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)

Mr. Farid Zarif, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)

Where: Hôtel Pullman, Abidjan

When: Friday, 11 December 2015 at 13.30

Context: Under the chair of The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the meeting will bring together the Heads of the United Nations Peace Missions in West Africa (UN Mission in Liberia, UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, Special Envoy for the Sahel, United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau, UN Operations in Côte d’Ivoire).

This bi-annual meeting will focus mainly on governance and security developments in the sub-region and discuss ways and means to continue to strengthen coordination between the various UN entities in the sub-region. The Heads of Mission will also review progress in the implementation of their respective mandates.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).

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Source:: 28th High Level meeting of Heads of the United Nations Missions in West Africa

Categories: AFRICA

Remarks Before Meeting With Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra

Remarks

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Paris, France

December 9, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. I want to say thank you to my friend Ramtane for his leadership and for Algeria’s leadership with respect to the mediation in Mali, where they successfully managed to get an agreement and are working still to reduce the tensions. And also we’ve been particularly engaged on the subject of Libya, and today we’ll talk at length about that because we have a meeting in Rome coming up in an effort to try to see if there isn’t a way to advance that process. So I’m very glad to see you again, and I look forward to visiting Algeria again. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMAMRA: Please, welcome. President Bouteflika and I are very grateful to you and to President Obama for all your leadership regarding Africa, Mali, but also communities that Syria and a number of key problems that humankind is faced with, beginning, of course, with the climate change.

SECRETARY KERRY: Absolutely. Thanks, my friend.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMAMRA: It was my pleasure to be able to see you again.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very much.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMAMRA: Thank you.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

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Source:: Remarks Before Meeting With Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra

Categories: AFRICA

Nigerian winners to receive awards from Her Majesty The Queen

It has been announced that three young people from Nigeria are among 60 young people from across the Commonwealth who are being recognised as exceptional leaders in their community. These 60 young people will receive a prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award.

The Award, which will be presented in London by Her Majesty The Queen in 2016, and is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in their communities.

This year’s Award winners, aged between 18 and 29 and who come from all over the Commonwealth, are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of different issues including; education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.

Nigeria’s Twenty three year old Imrana Alhaji Buba has been selected for the Generation Change Fellowship of the United States Institute of Peace and was also inducted into the Global Alliance for Youth Leaders. Imrana is the founder of an organisation which encourages peace building. Since 2010 he has partnered with local groups to visit surrounding villages to carry out community building and youth education programmes. His organisation now has more than 600 members. Imrana also offers training for unemployed young people. He offers training for unemployed young people to help them channel their potential in order to maximise the community building work he has carried out.

Twenty three year old Olanrewaju Adeloye, also from Nigeria, has always had an interest in health care and went to university to study medical physiology. Three years later he worked as an intern at a small primary health centre, in a deprived area, which served over 12,000 pregnant mothers and newborns a month. As a result of this experience he co-founded SaferMom; a startup which uses low cost mobile technologies (SMS, voice services and apps) to engage mothers with health information through pregnancy and their baby’s early years. More than 900 women in nine rural communities now use this service.

Olumide Femi Makanjuola, twenty eight, has been working for almost a decade in the LGBTI+ sphere. His work includes offering sexual health and human rights education and services to LGBTI+ persons in Nigeria. In 2013 he helped produce a documentary on the impact of the same sex marriage prohibition law on LGBTI+ persons called Veil of Silence, which has been screened in over 14 countries. Olumide has spoken about his work at the European Union Parliament, European Asylum Support Office, the World Pride Human Rights Conference and other related forums. The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme was established in 2014 by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief and the Royal Commonwealth Society in recognition of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth. Over the next three years the Programme will support thousands of young people to achieve their goals. Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: “Once again 60 incredible young people from around the Commonwealth have shown strength, leadership, empathy and drive. Some of our winners are just embarking on their leadership journey and others are more established. Either way, we recognise not only what these amazing young people have achieved, but also their potential in changing people’s lives for the better in the countries and communities in which they live.” To see a full list of Award winners and Highly Commended runners up, and read more about their stories please visit www.queensyoungleaders.com .

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Abuja.

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Source:: Nigerian winners to receive awards from Her Majesty The Queen

Categories: AFRICA

UN and partners call for US$ 2 billion for emergency needs in the Sahel

United Nations agencies and partners today launched the Sahel humanitarian appeal for 2016. The regional plan calls for US$1.98 billion to provide vital assistance to millions of people affected by crises in nine countries across Africa’s Sahel region.

“In the Sahel, the combined effects of climate change, abject poverty, fast population growth and a tormenting rise in violence and insecurity dangerously undermine the lives, assets and future prospects of some of the most vulnerable communities in the world,” said Toby Lanzer, Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel. “We need the renewed support of the international community to ensure millions are afforded the most basic assistance and protection they deserve to survive and live a dignified life,” Lanzer added.

In 2016, some 23.5 million people – almost one in six – will not have enough to eat, of which at least 6 million will require emergency food assistance. Acute malnutrition will threaten the lives and development of 5.9 million children under five years of age.

“Agricultural assistance is essential to restore people’s livelihoods and contribute to halt the vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerability in the Sahel”, said Vincent Martin, Head of the sub-regional resilience and emergency office for West Africa (FAO) and FAO Representative in Senegal. “For the many families who rely on subsistence farming, timely assistance will allow them to continue to grow their own food, secure income and take advantage of local economic opportunities.”

A spike in violence has worsened the already dire situation in the region and has led to new peaks of displacement. Today, 4.5 million people have been forced from their homes, representing a threefold increase in less than two years. In addition to the volatile situation in Mali, where insecurity continues to hamper the return to their homes of some 200,000 Malians, the violence across the Lake Chad Basin accounts for more than half of the displaced people in the Sahel.

“The world has sadly not yet woken up to the scale of the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin. 30 million people live in areas affected by Boko Haram’s senseless acts of terrorism. Their random targeting leaves entire populations in fear, and 2.5 million have so far had to flee from their homes”, stressed Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), one of the organisations providing assistance to the displaced in north-east of Nigeria.

“Mounting humanitarian need is the most visible symptom of the triple crisis of poverty, insecurity and climate change that plagues the Sahel region,” Lanzer concluded. “As humanitarians, we will do our part, delivering essential food, health care, safe water and sanitation to families; treating children from malnutrition and striving so they can stay in schools despite the odds. We also pledge to work with countries and organisations engaged in development and stabilisation programmes, without which humanitarian aid will be required indefinitely.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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Source:: UN and partners call for US$ 2 billion for emergency needs in the Sahel

Categories: AFRICA

UK and Kenya sign new Defence Co-operation Agreement (DCA)

Today saw the signature of a new Defence Co-operation Agreement (DCA) between the UK and Kenya. The document, signed on behalf of their respective Governments by British High Commissioner Nic Hailey and CS Defence Raychelle Omamo, will now go forward for ratification in the UK and Kenyan Parliaments.

The new DCA will significantly enhance defence co-operation between the two countries, with increased interaction between the three Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) services and UK Armed Forces. This will increase the operational effectiveness of both nations, and further contribute to Kenyan and wider regional security. It will also enable the continuation of British military training in Kenya, worth approximately Ksh 9 billion per annum to the Kenyan economy.

Speaking following the signature at KDF Headquarters, new British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey said:

“The UK is Kenya’s longest-standing defence and security partner, and both our countries want to see the relationship continue and grow. This new agreement is based on mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, the Kenyan Constitution and the shared interest of our military relationship.”

Notes to Editors

The military relationship between the UK and Kenya is a genuine partnership, based on mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, in which both countries benefit.

UK defence spend in Kenya last year was around Ksh 8.7 billion, with the majority (Ksh 7 billion) going directly into the Kenyan economy. The remainder went towards institutional development, collective and individual training, capacity building, gifting of equipment, operational assistance and community projects.

Finalizing the new Defence Co-operation Agreement (DCA) will allow for strengthened defence engagement in areas such as border security and Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) capability, and continue training and capacity building to Kenya and other AMISOM troop-contributing countries.

Contrary to some media reporting, the UK has never sought immunity from prosecution for soldiers who commit crimes in Kenya. The UK Government insists on legal accountability for all its personnel in line with either British or Kenyan law, depending on which is most appropriate in the circumstances

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Nairobi.

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Source:: UK and Kenya sign new Defence Co-operation Agreement (DCA)

Categories: AFRICA

Africa-Led Renewable Energy Project Receives Billions in Backing from International Community

The ambitious Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), an African-led plan to add 10,000 MW of additional renewable energy on the continent by 2020, has received over $10 billion worth of backing from the international community at COP21.

At an event on the sidelines of the Paris climate meeting, the European Union, Sweden and G7 jointly pledged $10 billion. In particular, Germany will contribute $3.25 billion, France $2.2 billion, Sweden $500 million and Canada CA$110 million to the initiative, which will provide clean power to millions across the continent.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “Africa’s renewable energy revolution will ensure access to clean, reliable and efficient energy, while ensuring we do not add to the greenhouse gas emissions we are gathered here in Paris to reduce. The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative aims to do just that. Such leadership from Africa, and the financial backing from the international community announced today, provides fresh hope that we can tackle the twin challenges of sustainable development and climate change.”

African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina said, “Africa is tired of being in the dark. The Lack of electricity has put the brakes on Africa’s industrialization. Through the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, we can sustain fast economic growth in Africa and on a low carbon development pathway.”

Approximately 600 million people have no access to electricity in Africa, with the figure expected to rise to 700 million by 2030 without further action, a 2015 UNEP report found. As a result, many rely on wood or other biomass to cook and heat their homes, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from indoor air pollution.

AREI- which was launched by representatives of the African Union, the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, and the African Development Bank, among others-aims to help achieve sustainable development and enhanced well-being by ensuring universal access to clean and affordable energy.

In its second phase, the initiative is targeting the mobilization of Africa’s massive renewable resources, such as solar, geothermal and wind, to generate at least 300 GW by 2030, more than doubling current.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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Source:: Africa-Led Renewable Energy Project Receives Billions in Backing from International Community

Categories: AFRICA