Oct 142014
 

GAROWE, Somalia, October 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Ethiopia in its capacity as the Chair of the IGAD Council of Ministers, and the European Union (EU) welcomed the agreement signed today between the Federal Government of Somalia and Puntland State of Somalia to resume relations and work together on peace and state-building priorities.

“We welcome the agreement reached today between the Federal Government of Somalia and Puntland State of Somalia. This agreement is an important step forward in the path towards peace- and state-building for all Somalis. Puntland with its 16 years of experience in state building and governance has much to contribute to building a strong, peaceful, federal, democratic and united Somalia. Many crucial steps must be jointly taken in the coming months, including reviewing and implementing a Federal constitution and holding elections in 2016. We stand ready to support the implementation of this agreement, including through the New Deal Somali Compact. Somalia’s international partners remain committed to supporting the nation’s peace and state-building agenda in full respect of the Provisional Federal Constitution”.

Oct 142014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Thomas Mvubahe Bigaba, an IOM staffer in Goma in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is a passionate singer when he is not working with internally displaced people in North Kivu.

Thomas’ band has produced a Zouk song about IOM’s mission to the DRC and IOM is asking DRC’s national radio to air its catchy beat countrywide.

IOM also will post Thomas’ recording on its website and Facebook page. The song’s title: “IOM, Always Near the Vulnerable!”

Please download MP3 of the song here: https://soundcloud.com/iom-drc/iom | Lyrics

Oct 142014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Ethiopia has distributed essential non-food aid (NFIs) to 560 internally displaced households in Halobiyo, Kebele, Babile Woreda, in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia. …

Oct 142014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In a new Libya Situation Report this week, IOM notes that the devastating violence of recent months in the country has left some 200,000 migrant workers vulnerable with many in need of immediate evacuation assistance.

“As the security situation in Libya continues to deteriorate, there have been a large number of third country nationals (TCNs) trapped inside Libya as the borders between Libya and Egypt/Tunisia remain practically closed to them,” the report notes.

“Without valid travel documents and confirmed airline reservations, the authorities will not allow migrants to cross the border. Many also do not have sufficient means to organize their onward travel to their country of origin,” it adds.

The report goes on to explain that these obstacles are reflected “in the extraordinarily high numbers of migrants arriving on Italian shores during this summer.”

“Migrants who are destitute risk getting into overcrowded and dilapidated boats. This has led to the deaths of more than 2,000 migrants at sea and hundreds of bodies washed on Libyan shores in recent weeks,” it adds.

IOM says efforts are being made by the Libyan Coast Guard, which on October 2 rescued 190 migrants near the coastal town of Garabulli, some 60 kilometres from Tripoli. On the same day 167 migrants on board a boat in distress were saved by a Greek tanker about 90 miles north of Benghazi.

IOM Libya continues to track stranded migrants who wish to receive repatriation support through the IOM network. In the past two weeks, IOM booked 43 Sudanese on an Afriqiyah Airways outbound flight to Khartoum. One Yemeni and 11 Nepalese were also evacuated by land to the Tunisian border and then by air to their home countries. Another group of 22 stranded Nigerians were airlifted home via Cairo.

IOM Tripoli also is helping migrants to return home from Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport. It organizes the issuance and/or renewal of travel documents by liaising with concerned embassies in either Egypt, Tunisia or Libya. With most foreign representatives absent from the Libyan capital, the provision of valid travel documents is a major challenge both administratively and logistically.

Oct 142014
 

Nashville, Tennessee, October 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — United Methodist Communications collaborated with Chocolate Moose Media and iHeed to create an animation for West Africa that dispels myths about how Ebola is spread and promotes prevention. The video can be downloaded free at http://www.ebolavideo.org.

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Screenshot: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/141013umc.jpg

“Our goal is to provide education that leads to better understanding to prevent infections,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “Ebola gains foothold in poor communities where mistrust, resistance to proper care and lack of understanding of the virus and is widespread. The church’s advantage lies in its network of trusted leaders who live in the affected regions.”

United Methodist Communications (http://www.umcom.org), the global communications agency of The United Methodist Church, is using several approaches, including providing text messages to clergy in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Commentaries by trusted leaders encourage cooperation with health programs.

The agency provided partial funding for Chocolate Moose Media (http://www.chocmoose.com) to create the video. The executive producer is iHeed (http://www.iheed.org), a mobile-health-education innovator.

“I have created what I hope will be a compelling video to prevent the spread of Ebola,” said Chocolate Moose Media founder and award-winning director Firdaus Kharas. “My approach is to combine animation with non-coercive persuasion by having Africans speak to their own broader family.”

Accessed through download for local playback, all partners will distribute the video to reach as many as possible. Distribution channels include international organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society and churches and through social media using #Ebolavideo.

“Through a combination of weak health infrastructure, inconsistent levels of education and unpreparedness, this epidemic has become a global threat,” said Dr. Kunal D. Patel, medical director of iHeed. “Digital media can fill the gaps. In combination with technologies such as mobile phones, cinemas, projectors and tablets, animated information can help.”

The United Methodist Church is responding in a number of other ways in a joint effort by the United Methodist Committee on Relief, West African United Methodist church leaders and regional health boards, denominational health facilities, and others. Visit http://www.umc.org/ebola.

According to the World Health Organization, 7,470 cases of Ebola had been reported as of Oct. 3 (http://goo.gl/ni3P1M), with 3,431 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Ebola is transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads through person-to-person transmission. Contact with the body of a deceased person can also play a role in transmission.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the United Methodist Communications.

Contact:

Natalie Bannon

nbannon@umcom.org

+1 615 742-5413

Oct 132014
 

JUBA, South Sudan, October 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura has concluded her first visit to South Sudan with a Joint Communique with the government that outlines clear steps they will take to prevent and address sexual violence crimes. Sexual violence is a consistent characteristic of the conflict and is being perpetrated by all the parties.

The Special Representative met with President Salva Kiir at the beginning and the end! of her visit, and held extensive consultations with relevant Ministers as well as the Army and Police. She also met with the Chairman of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, women’s groups, community leaders, service providers, journalists and UN staff.

The Special Representative travelled to Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, to engage with the local commander of the Sudan People´s Liberation Army (SPLA), government authorities, UN staff, humanitarian workers and survivors of sexual violence.

“What I witnessed in Bentiu is the worst I have seen in my almost 30 years in dealing w ith this issue. This is because of the combination of chronic insecuri! ty, unimaginable living conditions, acute day-to-day protection concerns and rampant sexual violence,” said SRSG Bangura. “The bodies of women and children are the battleground of this conflict. In the words of a woman activist I met: “It is not just about rape, it is to inflict unimaginable pain and destruction,” SRSG Bangura continued.

Sexual violence is a problem that pre-dates the December 2013 crisis and has been greatly exacerbated by the escalation of the conflict. Following the December crisis there has been an additional dimension of sexual violence attacks and reprisals on an alarming scale. There are also grave concerns of sexual violence perpetrated along ethnic lines with attacks fuelling reprisals and a cycle of recrimination and revenge.

The Special Representative condemns these atrocities and appeals to the parties to stop the violence immediately. She reminds parties to the conflict, including government forces and opposition, that they cannot declare war on their own people and ultimately there must be accountability for these crimes.

She also stressed that the humanitarian cost of the conflict will continue to rise until there is a viable peace agreement between the parties. “The message from the women of South Sudan to their political leaders is very clear: end this war!” the SRSG Bangura said.

The Special Representative also remains concerned about the lack of services for victims of sexual violence and the lack of reporting of this crime to security, judicial, and social welfare actors due to the closure of government offices, malfunctioning police services and because of the social stigma associated with sexual violence. All these factors contribute to a climate of impunity. UN staff stressed that critical shortfalls in funding have significantly hampered service delivery.

“The international community cannot leave survivors to fend for themselves. Now is the time to step up and help South Sudan put an end to these atrocities,” the Special Representative urged.

The newly signed agreement outlines critical priority areas for action including ensuring medical, psychosocial and legal assistance to victims; addressing impunity, security and justice sector reform, and ensuring that sexual violence crimes are explicitly addressed in the peace process and as an aspect of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.

“My Office and the UN system are committed to helping the government and people of South Sudan put an end to sexual violence in conflict in the country, and we stand ready to support them in any way necessary to end the horrible devastation of this crime,” noted SR SG Bangura.

The Special Representative also met with Riek Machar leader of the Sudan People´s Liberation Movement (Opposition) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to begin discussions on concrete measures that the opposition must take to prevent sexual violence by their forces and in areas under their control.

Oct 132014
 

ROME, Italy, October 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Committee on World Food Security, the world’s foremost inclusive intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder platform for food security and nutrition, today opened its 41st session (CFS 41). The Committee is expected to adopt a set of principles for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems that have been in development for the past two years.

“Progress against hunger continues,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva in his address to the CFS. He cited FAO figures showing that about 805 million people are chronically undernourished in the world today, some 209 million less than in 1990-92.

“Food security is everyone’s business. It is a society – not a government – that decides to eradicate hunger and achieve food security. Political commitment and leadership from governments is the first step. However, civil society, private sector and other non-state actors also need to embrace this goal. At the global level the CFS promotes an enabling environment for this to happen,” the FAO chief said.

Reading out an address to the CFS by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Thomas Gass, said the CFS’ “focus on knowledge and expertise, on rights and effective multi-stakeholder dialogues and partnership is advancing our shared work to realize my vision of a world with zero hunger.”

Since its establishment the CFS has envisaged a future without hunger and I share that vision. A focus on rights, on sustainable waste-free food systems and on responsible, accountable collaboration between stakeholders will, help us tackle root causes of food and nutrition insecurity,” the UN Secretary-General said.

CFS Chair Gerda Verburg said that reports on food insecurity and malnutrition all emphasize the key role played by responsible and sustainable investments in agriculture and the food system.

“This is why we have negotiated principles for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems, which are on the agenda for endorsement at this session,” of CFS, Verburg said. These would foster “not only more but especially better investment in agriculture and food systems to meet the challenge of sustainable global food and nutrition security for all.”

In her address, Ertharin Cousin, Executive-Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) said that the CFS session is taking place at a time “when our … is increasingly fragile.”

“An unprecedented number of shocks, stresses and-ever-more complex-crises now threaten food and nutrition security, repeatedly proving that without stability-the fourth dimension of food security-food systems can quickly collapse, sometimes in matter of weeks, to humanitarian crisis, setting back years of progress in hunger reduction,” Cousin said.

In his statement to the opening of the CFS, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Vice President, Michel Mordasini, noted how “investing into rural transformation and smallholder farming is pivotal for achieving national and global food and nutrition security, as well as for ending poverty.”

Policy roundtables

During CFS 41, the first of two policy roundtables will focus on the issue of food losses and waste, which currently amount to one-third of food produced worldwide.

Topics include the need to identify the causes of food losses and waste through an integrated perspective along the food chain and to consider any interventions as part of the whole, not in isolation.

Participants were expected to debate the findings of a scientific report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE). CFS participants were also to discuss the technical, economic and cultural dimensions of such waste and losses as well as ways to curb the negative impact on food security and nutrition.

Improved labelling and other forms of information for producers and consumers are among the measures to curb losses and waste identified by the HLPE.

The second roundtable, deals with the increasingly critical – but often not duly recognized – contribution made by fish to food security and to healthy diets, as specified in an HLPE report.

Farmed fish production has increased 12-fold over the last three decades and is the fastest growing food production sector, both in small and large scale systems. Most of the fishers or fish farmers, fish processing and/or trading people live in developing countries, earn low income, often depend on informal work. They need decent work and social protection and gender sensitive approaches. A very high number of female workers are engaged in fish processing and in informal small-scale fish trading operations. Governance is particularly important to determine access to fisheries resources, integrity of fisheries resources and distribution of fish benefits.

The HLPE report stressed the importance of international partnerships and initiatives on oceans and fish to better link fish production growth, sustainability and food security and nutrition

CFS participants highlighted the importance of the Voluntary Guidelines on Small-Scale Fisheries adopted earlier this year by the FAO Committee on Fisheries.

Ahead of the CFS, countries agreed on a series of policies aimed at ensuring that people around the world have access to healthier diets. The agreement, consisting of a Declaration and a Framework for Action will be adopted at the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) to be held in Rome from 19-21 November 2014. This high-level intergovernmental meeting is jointly organized by FAO and WHO.

Oct 132014
 

YAOUNDE, Cameroon, October 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 1. The Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission established pursuant to the Joint Communiqué adopted at the Summit Meeting which took place in Geneva on 15 November 2002 between His Excellency Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon and His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in the presence of His Excellency Kofi Annan, then Secretary General of the United Nations, held an extraordinary meeting of the Heads of its three delegations in Yaounde on 11th October 2014. Mr. Saïd Djinnit, Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, chaired the deliberations. Vice-Prime Minister Amadou Ali and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minster of Justice Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, CFR led the Delegations of Cameroon and Nigeria, respectively.

2. The Heads of delegations of the Mixed Commission strongly condemned the terrorist activities that directly destroy the livelihood of the people living in the northern part of the land boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria and adversely impact the demarcation exercise.

3. Consequently, the Heads of delegations adopted the report of the SCD including the measures recommended towards completing the implementation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice of 10th October 2002, by adopting the desktop approach to assess the remaining areas.

4. The Heads of delegations congratulated the teams that took part in recent pillar emplacement works along the boundary and who successfully carried out pillar construction works related to Lots 1 and 2 that ended on 6th June 2014 that led to the building of a total of 289 new boundary pillars. Noting the depletion of the resources in the Trust Fund, the Heads of delegations called for the assistance of the international community for the completion of the exercise.

5. As the mission of Ambassador Saïd Djinnit, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization and Chairman of the Mixed Commission, who has been called to other duties, is coming to an end, the Heads of the delegations of Cameroon and Nigeria expressed their satisfaction with the excellent collaboration throughout his mandate. They thanked him for his outstanding contribution to the successful implementation of the Greentree Agreement, milestone achievements in the demarcation of the land boundary and strengthening confidence between the Republics of Cameroon and Nigeria.

Oct 132014
 

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, October 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Ebola virus disease outbreak in Sierra Leone is continuing to accelerate with a total of 2950 cases reported by October 8, and hundreds of new infections identified each week. With so many critically ill people to care for, treatment centres are currently overwhelmed and struggling to meet demand.

The goal shared by the Government of Sierra Leone and partners working to overcome Ebola is to increase the number of beds in Ebola treatment units as rapidly but also as safely as possible. This takes time as facilities must be constructed or redesigned to reduce the risk of health care worker infection and increase patient safety. Already 123 health care workers have developed Ebola virus disease and, tragically, 97 of them have died.

To shorten waiting times and provide care closer to home, community Ebola care units are now being put in place in the communities most heavily affected. These have an average of eight beds per centre and are staffed by health care workers and members of the community trained in infection control. They give Ebola care such as oral rehydration salts and medicines to relieve symptoms and treat other common causes of fever such as malaria. Current plans for building Ebola care units will add an extra 1000 beds for people ill with Ebola virus disease.

Anyone with Ebola virus disease needs access to good care as quickly as possible. However, while waiting for the ambulance or for a bed to be free in the nearest treatment unit, it is essential that family members and others caring for the sick person understand how to protect themselves from infection.

To enable household members to stay safe while waiting, “interim recommendations for protection of households” have been developed and approved by the Sierra Leone Emergency Operations Committee (EOC)

In summary these state that:

• Taking care of the patient suspected to have EVD at home is NOT recommended; all efforts should be made to safely transport patients to an appropriate Ebola care facility.

• To reduce risk of infection of other family members, the following general recommendations should be followed:

1. The patient should be asked to restrict movement to one room or area in the house and should avoid leaving it, if possible.

2. Where possible, the patient should be asked to use one toilet that other household members do not use. If a separate toilet is not available, the patient can use a separate waste bucket, followed by proper decontamination with strong chlorine solution. Avoid direct contact with other family members.

3. If care must be given to the patient, only one family member should be designated to provide the care.

4. Caregivers should wear gloves or use towels soaked in weak chlorine solution whenever they touch the patient, personal items belonging to the patient (e.g., clothing, bedding, eating and drinking utensils, mobile phones, etc.) or their body fluids (e.g., vomit, stool, urine, etc.).

5. Caregivers should avoid contact with the patient’s body fluids by staying behind or beside the patient while giving care, and never facing the patient.

6. Hands should be washed very well with soap and water or weak chlorine solution before and after entering the patient’s room/area and after removing gloves.

7. A mask or a dry towel wrapped around the face can be used to protect the nose and mouth when entering the patient’s room/area.

Oct 132014
 

LONDON, United-Kingdom, October 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Increasing access to modern forms of energy is crucial to unlocking faster economic and social development in sub Saharan Africa, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Africa Energy Outlook (http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/africa), a Special Report in the 2014 World Energy Outlook series. More than 620 million people in the region (two-thirds of the population) live without electricity, and nearly 730 million people rely on dangerous, inefficient forms of cooking. The use of solid biomass (mainly fuelwood and charcoal) outweighs that of all other fuels combined, and average electricity consumption per capita is not enough to power a single 50-watt light bulb continuously.

Download the Africa Energy Outlook: http://goo.gl/n2okl6

Download the cover: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/141013.png

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“A better functioning energy sector is vital to ensuring that the citizens of sub-Saharan Africa can fulfil their aspirations,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “The energy sector is acting as a brake on development, but this can be overcome and the benefits of success are huge.”

In the IEA’s first comprehensive analysis of sub-Saharan Africa, it finds that the region’s energy resources are more than sufficient to meet the needs of its population, but that they are largely under-developed. The region accounted for almost 30% of global oil and gas discoveries made over the last five years, and it is already home to several major energy producers, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola. It is also endowed with huge renewable energy resources, including excellent and widespread solar and hydro potential, as well as wind and geothermal.

The report finds that investment in sub-Saharan energy supply has been growing, but that two-thirds of the total since 2000 has been aimed at developing resources for export. Grid-based power generation capacity continues to fall very far short of what is needed, and half of it is located in just one country (South Africa). Insufficient and unreliable supply has resulted in large-scale ownership of costly back up generators. In the report’s central scenario, the sub-Saharan economy quadruples in size by 2040, the population nearly doubles (to over 1.75 billion) and energy demand grows by around 80%. Power generation capacity also quadruples: renewables grow strongly to account for nearly 45% of total sub-Saharan capacity, varying in scale from large hydropower dams to smaller mini- and off-grid solutions, while there is a greater use of natural gas in gas-producing countries.

Natural gas production reaches 230 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2040, led by Nigeria (which continues to be the largest producer), and increasing output from Mozambique, Tanzania and Angola. LNG exports onto the global market triple to around 95 bcm. Oil production exceeds 6 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2020 before falling back to 5.3 mb/d in 2040. Nigeria and Angola continue to be the largest oil producers by far, but with a host of other producers supplying smaller volumes. Sub-Saharan demand for oil products doubles to 4 mb/d in 2040, squeezing the region’s net contribution to the global oil balance. Coal supply grows by 50%, and continues to be focused on South Africa, but it is joined increasingly by Mozambique and others.

The capacity and efficiency of the sub-Saharan energy system increases, but so do the demands placed upon it, and many of the existing energy challenges are only partly overcome. In 2040, energy consumption per capita remains very low, and the widespread use of fuelwood and charcoal persists. The outlook for providing access to electricity is bittersweet: nearly one billion people gain access to electricity by 2040 but, because of rapid population growth, more than half a billion people remain without it. Sub-Saharan Africa also stands on the front line when it comes to the impacts of climate change, even though it continues to make only a small contribution to global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

“Economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa hinges critically on fixing the energy sector,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol. “The payoff can be huge; with each additional dollar invested in the power sector boosting the overall economy by $15.”

In an “African Century Case”, the IEA report shows that three actions could boost the sub-Saharan economy by a further 30% in 2040, and deliver an extra decade’s worth of growth in per-capita incomes by 2040. These actions are:

• An additional $450 billion in power sector investment, reducing power outages by half and achieving universal electricity access in urban areas.

• Deeper regional co-operation and integration, facilitating new large-scale generation and transmission projects and enabling a further expansion in cross-border trade.

• Better management of energy resources and revenues, adopting robust and transparent processes that allow for more effective use of oil and gas revenues.

As well as boosting economic growth, these actions bring electricity to an additional 230 million people by 2040. They result in more oil and gas projects going ahead and a higher share of the resulting government revenues being reinvested in key infrastructure. More regional electricity supply and transmission projects also advance, helping to keep down the average cost of supply. But the report warns that these actions must be accompanied by broad governance reforms if they are to put sub Saharan Africa on a more rapid path to a modern, integrated energy system for all.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Media contact:

ieapressoffice@iea.org

Download the World Energy Outlook special report Africa Energy Outlook here (http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/africa).

The following factsheets are available for download:

• Energy in sub-Saharan Africa today (http://www.iea.org/media/news/2014/press/141013_WEO_Africa_Energy_OutlookFactsheet1.pdf)

• Sub-Saharan Africa – key projections to 2040 (http://www.iea.org/media/news/2014/press/141013_WEO_Africa_Energy_OutlookFactsheet2.pdf)

• Sub-Saharan Africa – main areas for policy action (http://www.iea.org/media/news/2014/press/141013_WEO_Africa_Energy_OutlookFactsheet3.pdf)

About the IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) (http://www.iea.org) is an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries and beyond. Founded in response to the 1973/4 oil crisis, the IEA’s initial role was to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets. While this continues to be a key aspect of its work, the IEA has evolved and expanded. It is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing reliable and unbiased research, statistics, analysis and recommendations.

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