All our offices in South Africa will be closed from 27- 30 May 2016

All our offices in South Africa will be closed from 27- 30 May 2016. These include The British High Commission office in Pretoria, Visa office in Pretoria, Cape Town office, UKTI office in Johannesburg and all our Consular offices will be closed from 27- 30 May 2016.

To report an emergency involving a British National or if you are a British National in need of immediate assistance please contact the Global Response Centre in London on 0044 20 7008 1500. British Nationals can also email southafrica.consulate@fco.gov.uk.

All offices will reopen on Tuesday 31 May 2016.

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

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UN Secretary-General’s message on Africa Day

Africa Day 2016 is being celebrated in furtherance of the African Union’s theme for this year: “Human Rights with a Particular Focus on the Rights of Women”. This demonstrates the commitment of Africa’s leaders to place women – as key drivers and enablers – at the front and centre of all efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Both frameworks share similar strategic principles, with a focus on people, prosperity, environmental sustainability, justice, human rights and mutually accountable partnerships. The alignment between the global and the continental agendas calls for a harmonized approach in planning, implementation and monitoring.

Under Agenda 2063, Africa’s priorities include investing in its people, with an emphasis on women and youth; developing manufacturing and agro-processing; building transport, water, sanitation, energy and ICT infrastructure; domestic resource mobilization and stemming illicit financial flows; ending conflict; promoting human rights; and expanding democratic governance. Africa also has the opportunity to pursue industrialization in a more environmentally sustainable manner, including through climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy and arresting deforestation. I encourage African nations and their partners to spare no effort in advancing these priorities. The United Nations is committed in its support.

Africa’s economic prospects are good, despite the uncertain global economic landscape. Growth is projected to increase to 4.4 per cent in 2016, from 3.7 percent in 2015. I urge Africa’s leaders to use these gains to address rising social and economic inequalities, and ensure that no African is left behind. This is crucial for tackling root causes of conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism, and fostering peace and stability. I also commend Africa’s bold initiative on “Silencing the Guns by 2020”, which is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063’s First Ten-Year Implementation Plan.

The successful implementation of these new agendas will require a renewed partnership for development cooperation among African governments, UN entities, the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency, the Regional Economic Communities and the development partners. The private sector also has a key role to play in creating jobs, promoting innovation in technologies and services, and supporting the massive infrastructure transition needed to fulfil Africa’s sustainable development objectives.

On this Africa Day, I urge all stakeholders to rally behind the transformative vision set out in the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063. What is good for Africa is good for the world.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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U.S. Mission in South Africa Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s Historic Visit to South Africa

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – June 1966, Robert Kennedy

The U.S. Mission to South Africa will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the visit of Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) to South Africa through a series of events May 30-June 4, 2016. RFK’s daughter, Kerry Kennedy, along with several members of the Kennedy family, will be joined by representatives from the Faith & Politics Institute and RFK Human Rights to attend commemorative events in Gauteng, Durban, and Cape Town.

On May 30, the Wits School of Governance will host the first event, a panel discussion as a part of its Dialogue on Development and Rights series. The event is titled “Ripples of Hope: Robert F. Kennedy’s Historic 1966 Visit to South Africa – Its Significance Then and Now.” It will include dramatic readings of monologue excerpts from Kerry Kennedy’s book Speak Truth to Power, read by students in Wits’ Drama for Life program, and a panel discussion in which Kerry Kennedy, Ambassador Gaspard, former president Kgalema Motlanthe, Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Tawana Kupe, and Wits Theater Director Gita Pather will participate.

Media are invited to a press briefing on May 30 at 4:00 p.m. at Wits University, immediately prior the start of the Dialogue on Development and Rights. All interested media should RSVP to harveycr@state.gov, at which time further details will be provided.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa.

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High Commissioner to South Africa Dame Judith Macgregor’s speech at Africa Renaissance

My thanks to Proffesser Sihawu Ngubane and the African Renaissance Organising Committee for welcoming me here today. I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak to such a distinguished audience of ministers, international education leaders and experts as well as diplomatic colleagues. And I am gratified to be asked to speak on such an important theme, which is very close to my heart.

I am a firm believer that education is an essential component of the open, empowered world that we all aspire to. The global connections that exist around education are a major force for good, for innovation, for knowledge and for partnership.

Earlier this month, in Cape Town, 800 leaders from around the world attended Going Global – the world’s largest highest education conference. In his opening remarks, Sir Ciarán Devane, the Chief Executive of the British Council who organised the event, said “I believe this century will be an African century. That’s because Africa has one very big thing on her side: potential. No one nation, or even one continent, can hope to adequately address all the big issues facing people. And because challenges are connected, solutions must be connected’.

The United Kingdom wants to contribute to that enhancement of learning across Africa. We take great pleasure – and pride – in welcoming students from all over Africa to our country to study. Our scholarships have provided life-changing chances for thousands across the globe and here in South Africa. And we work hard to make sure they enjoy their time in the UK as well as learn from it, both in academic terms and in their personal growth. Chevening, our flagship scholarship scheme offers opportunities for fully-funded postgraduate study in UK universities. It was established in 1983, so is now in its 33rd year, and has developed into a prestigious international scholarship and fellowship scheme with an influential global alumni network, including Presidents, business leaders and academic pioneers. It provides a unique opportunity for future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.

Scholarship places tripled in the 2015/2016 academic year to more than 1,500 opportunities globally. In South Africa that number grew to over 40 places. To date almost 700 South Africans have been through our Chevening programme and are now contributing to South Africa’s development in different spheres, including Lesetja Kganyago, the South Africa Reserve Bank Governor.

We have welcomed South African scholars from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. Common subject areas for study include: economics and finance, human rights, law, management, international relations, good governance, media studies and journalism, development studies, public administration, environmental studies, computer and information technology, engineering, energy related fields, and political science. Chevening Scholars have to commit to return to South Africa after completing their studies in the UK. To date more than 680 individuals have been through the Chevening programme. And continue to contribute to South Africa’s development in different spheres.

But we are always keen to expand our range of applicants across all fields – so if you want to apply, or know someone who might want to, then I urge you to look us up at chevening.org. The new round of applications for the academic year 2016/2017 will be opening soon, so get in there early – especially as there are likely to be up to 50 places for South Africa up for grabs this time round.

We are also want to expand the number of scholarships we are able to offer, so that we can support even more talented young people in South Africa in the future. Our principle means of achieving this is through working collaboratively with business, and we actively seek out organisations to partner with us in this endeavour. If this might apply to your business, please do get in touch with the High Commission and help us promote this useful opportunity amongst your constituencies.

Chevening is not the only Scholarship Programme we support. The UK is also part of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries. The Plan was established in 1959, and over 30,000 individuals have benefited – 25,000 of whom were directly funded by the UK government. Today the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission supports around 700 awards annually – with a focus on developing leadership potential and delivering a development impact in scholars’ home countries – where they return and put their new skills and experience into practice once their studies are complete.

Awards to study in the UK are jointly funded by the UK Government and UK universities and in 2015 alone, 34 awards and 1 fellowship were awarded to South Africans. And just as we look forward to seeing more South African Commonwealth Scholars coming to the UK, we’re delighted that (nine) Scholars from across the Commonwealth can likewise now come here to study at South Africa’s finest universities.Applications for Commonwealth Scholarships 2016 are now open and will be so until 18th of November. More information can be found on the British Council website.

And there are also a range of smaller, but none the less prestigious UK funded scholarships, such as the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, which was launched as part of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in 2013. The Queen’s Young Leaders Award recognizes and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking a lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. Winners of this prestigious Award receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK, during which they collect their Award from Her Majesty the Queen. With the support they receive, Award winners are expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities.

To date there have been five South African Queen’s Young Leaders, all of whom have been women! This year, the two South African awardees are especially exceptional, working to train young people to start community-based projects, offering services including skills courses to help vulnerable young people find employment, supporting children with no access to extra-curricular activities including dance, football and drama and helping young people who are using drugs or alcohol turn their lives around. These are just a few examples of scholarships that the UK makes available every year – spend 20 minutes on the internet and you are sure to find many, many more!

And of course scholarship programmes are not the only way in which the UK helps support young, talented South Africans in their thirst for learning. The British Council is active in many areas of Higher Education co-operation, in particular here in KwaZuluNatal, where their International Skills Partnership is supporting a skills training programme for Engineering students – where they work hand in hand with industry to prepare students for their entry into the workplace – the development of maritime skills training, and the establishment of vocational training for students that want to excel in welding. These are a a few examples only of the excellent work the British Council undertakes with a range of partners across South Africa.

Over the years they, alongside other UK ministries and partners have supported a range of innovative projects and programmes to support education here in South Africa. From courses to provide digital marketing skills, to mobile internet solutions to help those in rural communities access learning opportunities.

And we have established partnerships and exchanges to ensure enduring collaboration between our countries so that we can continue to learn from one another. The Newton Fund is making waves on the science and innovation landscape, creating new and exciting research collaboration opportunities.

The relationships that this has forged between the UK and South Africa is a great example of success, with joint research to address issues in health, agritech and energy. Within its short two-year life span, the UK-SA Newton Fund has already fostered links between 44 UK and 28 South African institutions. 163 awards have been made under the Fund, including 3 bilateral research chairs, 23 fellowships and11 PhD partnerships – involving 288 UK and SA students. We’ve launched 14 new joint research partnerships and 3 new programmes. Which I am sure you will agree is an impressive amount of co-operation in such a short time.

And we are committed to expanding the programme even further, both in terms of budget – which has already been increased to £5 million next year – and in reach, with aspirations to further increase Newton’s regional footprint across Africa . Several Newton Fund activities build capacity and skills across African networks, and trilateral links have been established with Egypt and Kenya helping ensuring that other countries across the region benefit for the UK and South Africa’s endeavours.

And this is not the end of the story. As technology marches on we are keen to make use of new developments, like joint overseas campuses, joint degrees and the myriad new innovative means of joining up digitally that are launching daily, to see even more collaboration in an even wider range of fields. Helping us to bridge learning gaps and work together even more closely.

I can commit that we in the UK will continue to play our part in these exciting developments. As Matt Hancock, the Minister representing the UK at Going Global said, “The UK believes that high quality education is a fundamental right for everyone. We will push the boundaries of education, enhancing its reach and quality across the globe, by looking for opportunities to collaborate and innovate in international education. By investing together we will deliver smarter young people to generate the very best future leaders, teachers, engineers and employers for all of our countries.”

Madiba said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. I couldn’t agree with him enough. By working together and continuing to promote education exchanges with friends and partners like South Africa, we can not only change the education sector, but use that as a catalyst to change the world in a positive way that benefits the next generation in all of our countries.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Japan-Ghana Summit Meeting

On May 18, starting at around 6:40pm, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a summit meeting for approximately 40 minutes with H.E. Mr. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, who was paying an Official Working Visit to Japan. Key points from the meeting are as follows.

After the summit meeting, exchange of notes for two grant assistance projects (Project for the Construction of Advanced Research Center for Infectious Diseases at Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship) were signed in the presence of the two leaders. The two leaders subsequently held a joint press conference and announced a joint statement (English (PDF) [Open a New Window] / Japanese (PDF) [Open a New Window] ). Prime Minister Abe and Mrs. Abe then hosted a dinner, where participants touched on a broad range of topics related to the bilateral relations.

1. Opening remarks

(1) Prime Minister Abe welcomed the visit by President Mahama, who has a special connection to Japan, for the first time since the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) held in 2013, and told that Japan hopes that this visit helps to significantly advance relations between the two countries.

(2) President Mahama expressed gratitude for the invitation to Japan and also offered words of condolence on the earthquakes centered in Kumamoto. He also reflected on Japan-Ghana relations since the time when Professor Hideyo Noguchi conducted his research in Ghana and thanked Japan for its assistance to Ghana in areas such as agriculture, healthcare, education, and infrastructure.

2. Bilateral relations

(1) Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan hopes to further strengthen its relationship with Ghana, especially by promoting economic ties and strengthening cooperation in the field of health. He expressed his intention to work together towards the conclusion of the ongoing negotiation of an investment treaty between Japan and Ghana at the earliest possible timing and to start consultations for an avoidance of double taxation convention between Japan and Ghana among relevant authorities. He also explained Japan’s intention to provide yen loan of approximately 100 million USD for the Construction of a New Bridge across the Volta River on the Eastern Corridor Project. Furthermore, he mentioned that Japan’s various initiatives with Ghana in the field of health would provide a model for the reinforcement of the healthcare system.

(2) President Mahama commented that the new bridge over the Volta River is important for movement of people and goods between the south and north and that the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research is a leading research organization in sub-Saharan Africa, expressing appreciation for Japan’s assistance. He also expressed interest in concluding a bilateral investment treaty and an avoidance of double taxation convention between Ghana and Japan at the earliest possible timing.

(3) President Mahama assured his participation in TICAD VI to be held in Kenya in August 2016 and voiced support for Japan’s Legislation for Peace and Security.

3. Cooperation in International Affairs

Both sides shared the intention to cooperate in international arena, including on topics such as United Nations Security Council reforms.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

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Uber Kenya and Sidian Bank launch an innovative Vehicle Solutions Programme valued at Ksh 10 billion for driver-partners and investors in Kenya

Uber (www.Uber.com) and Sidian Bank (www.SidianBank.co.ke) announced today that they have partnered to launch an innovative Uber Vehicle Solutions Programme that will give driver-partners and business investors convenient and affordable access to the quality vehicles they need to start or grow their Uber-based businesses. This comes shortly after Uber celebrated 1 million rides taken in Kenya since its launch just 15 months ago.

The ground breaking vehicle access initiative includes a vehicle finance component delivered through Sidian Bank and a vehicle leasing solution made available through Zohari Leasing. The initiative is valued at a total of approximately Ksh 10 billion (USD 100 million).

According to Nate Anderson, Acting General Manager for Uber in Kenya, the Vehicle Solutions Programme follows similar offerings that have recently been launched by Uber in partnership with WesBank, with great success in South Africa as well as in a number of international locations where Uber has a presence.

“By enabling qualifying driver-partners and investors to afford reliable, high-quality vehicles, Uber is not only helping them to establish and grow their businesses,” Anderson points out, “we are also building an even more sustainable ride-sharing network in Kenya which moves us forward towards achieving our vision of being a first-choice transport solution for everyone in the country.”

Anderson explains that, the key to the Vehicle Solutions Programme’s ability to realise this vision is its highly inclusive design that makes it a viable and accessible proposition for the widest possible cross section of existing and prospective Uber driver-partners.

Speaking in Nairobi, Sidian Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Titus Karanja noted that this partnership is well aligned to the lender’s mandate to support enterprises to thrive.

“We are glad to be part of this deal, which is enabling enterprises to grow. In addition to financing, we will also provide technical assistance to the beneficiaries of this arrangement. This deal is part of our efforts to consolidate our new positioning that is focused on enabling individuals to own their tomorrow,” he added.

The vehicle finance component of the programme offers qualifying driver-partners and investors up to 100% finance deals on vehicles priced between Ksh 1 million and Ksh 1.5 million, with a generous 36-month repayment period at a low 10,5% interest rate.

“To make this unique opportunity as widely available as possible, the qualifying criteria for both the finance and leasing options are focused more on the applicant’s proven Uber experience than on his or her credit history,” Karanja explains, “and the primary qualifying requirement is more than 500 trips and an Uber rating of higher than 4.6. We expect speedy uptake of this financing package, with the entrenchment of Uber’s services in Kenya”

And even drivers with no experience or track record on the Uber platform have the opportunity to benefit from the Vehicle Solutions Programme because, provided their credit record is in good standing, they can apply for classic financing from Sidian Bank for up to 90% of the purchase price of vehicles that are of sufficient quality and reliability to give them entry into the Uber driver-partner network.

Anderson also points to the launch of the UberFinder platform in Kenya as a way to help those drivers and fleet partners not operating on the platform gain access to vehicles that they can use to build up their Uber track record in order to eventually qualify for the Sidian finance or leasing solutions.

“Through the UberFinder system, fleet partners are able to rent their vehicles to drivers on the platform rather than employ full-time drivers,” he explains, “while drivers have a unique opportunity to rent the vehicle they need to gain the required Uber experience needed to eventually qualify to finance their own.”

“The Vehicle Solutions Programme is an excellent example of the power of collaboration and partnership across industries as a means of driving economic opportunity in Kenya,” Anderson concludes, “and it is another way in which Uber and Sidian are demonstrating their commitment to being proactive in developing business people and consumers in the country by making accessible and affordable transport a reality for all.”

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

For more information:
Samantha Allenberg – Uber Communications Africa
Tel: +27 82 453 7495
Email: samantha.allenberg@uber.com

Jessica Gois – Jenni Newman Public Relations (Uber Sub-Saharan PR Agency)
Tel: + 27 (0) 82 777 5427
Email: Jessica@jnpr.co.za

Suzanne Odera – Media Edge PR on behalf of Sidian Bank
Cell: 0736292014
Email: Suzanne.odera@mediaedgeke.com

Social Media:
Uber:
• Facebook: /Uber_Kenya
• Twitter: @Uber_Kenya
• Instagram: @Uber_Kenya

About Uber
Uber (www.Uber.com) is evolving the way the world moves, seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through smartphone technology. Uber’s mission is nothing less than a revolution in the way citizens of the world move, work and live. It aspires to transform the way people connect with their communities and to bring reliability, convenience and opportunity to transport systems.

The Uber network is now available in 400 cities across 70 countries and 6 continents.

To request a ride, users must download the free application for Android, iPhone, Blackberry 7, Windows Phone or register for Uber at www.Uber.com/go.

For questions visit www.Uber.com/capetown | www.Uber.com/johannesburg | www.Uber.com/durban

About Sidian Bank
Sidian Bank (www.SidianBank.co.ke) is a full-service commercial bank providing an array of financial services to individuals and enterprises. The bank, formerly known as K-rep Bank has been a leading player in Kenya’s enterprise banking sector. Sidian Bank’s goal is to create wealth through provision of transformational financial solutions that meet entrepreneurs’ needs and facilitate growth through convenience and choice. The bank has a network of 37 branches.

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Backed by Stars, Unprecedented UN Campaign Seeks to Mobilize Millions to End Illegal Trade in Wildlife

The United Nations, backed by A-list celebrities from across the globe, today launched an unprecedented campaign against the illegal trade in wildlife, which is pushing species to the brink of extinction, robbing countries of their natural heritage and profiting international criminal networks.

“Each year, thousands of wild animals are illegally killed, often by organized criminal networks motivated by profit and greed,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “I call on all Governments and people everywhere to support the new United Nations campaign, Wild for Life, which aims to mobilize the world to end this destructive trade. Preserving wildlife is crucial for the well-being of people and planet alike.”

#WildforLife, launched today at the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in Nairobi in front of environment ministers from every corner of the planet, aims to mobilize millions of people to make commitments and take action to end the illegal trade.

The campaign is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors are lending their weight to the cause. These include Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen, who is fighting for sea turtles; four-time African Footballer of the Year Yaya Touré (Manchester City, Ivory Coast), who is backing elephants; and actor Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries, Lost), who is rooting for pangolins.

They are being joined by major celebrities from China, India, Indonesia, Lebanon and Viet Nam battling to conserve species such as orangutans, tigers, rhinos and helmeted hornbills and calling for citizen support to end the demand that is driving the illegal trade.

“It saddens me that in the 21st century, with all our knowledge and power, we are still hearing stories of wildlife facing the possibility of extinction at the hands of man,” said Gisele Bündchen. “It is clear to me that a radical global shift needs to occur and it will take everyone accepting the challenge to support the UNEP Wild for Life campaign.

“Knowledge is power and now is the time to set our minds to ending all illegal wildlife trade before the choice is no longer in our hands. Today, I am giving my name to change the game for sea turtles.”

Between 2010 and 2012, 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa. Three rhinos are killed every day, and the Western Black Rhino has already gone extinct. Pangolins – scaly anteaters – are the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world. Great apes are already locally extinct in several African nations.

The campaign asks participants to find their kindred species and use their own spheres of influence to end the illegal trade, however it touches or impacts them.

Profits from the illegal wildlife trade sometimes go into the pockets of international criminal networks, threatening peace and security, and damaging the livelihoods of local communities who depend on tourism.

Stopping this trade is also crucial to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as it threatens countries’ biodiversity and people’s livelihoods, and disturbs peace. SDG 15 in particular calls for the protection of wild fauna and flora as well as the ecosystems that they depend on – including targets on combatting and addressing the supply and demand of illegal wildlife products.

Politicians, celebrities and business leaders will be making pledges during UNEA-2 and in the run-up to World Environment Day (WED), which is themed “Go Wild For Life” to tie in with the campaign. Angola, the global host of WED, will be making significant pledges to tackle the illegal ivory trade at the event.

Steppenwolf’s lead singer, John Kay, donated the use of Born to Be Wild – one of the top three international music licenses of all time for Universal Music – to the campaign.

Join the campaign by visiting www.wildfor.life and using the #Wildforlife hashtag on Twitter to share your kindred animal and pledge.

***

NOTES TO EDITORS

Download additional quotes from celebrities and the heads of the UN agencies involved.

Download a zip file of pictures of celebrities morphed with their kindred animals.

Download a fact sheet on the illegal trade in wildlife.

The full list of celebrities taking part in the campaign (in alphabetical order) is as follows:

· Lebanese singer and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Ragheb Alama (Helmeted Hornbill)

· Chinese actress and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Li Bingbing (Elephant)

· Brazilian model and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bündchen (Sea Turtle)

· Bahraini-Sri Lankan actress Jacqueline Fernandez (Tiger)

· Indonesian-Australian model, Great Apes Survival Partnership Ambassador, Nadya Hutagalung (Orangutan)

· Vietnamese pop singer Thu Minh (Rhino)

· US actress Nikki Reed (Rosewood)

· US actor and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Ian Somerhalder (Pangolin)

· Ivorian footballer and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Yaya Touré (Elephant)

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of United Nations Information Service Vienna (UNIS).

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IOM Calls for Integration of Migration in Environment Policies

Environmental degradation and climate change are already moving millions of people from their homes every year and this trend will intensify without a collective response from the international community.

At the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in Nairobi, Kenya, later today (25/05), IOM Director General William Lacy Swing will urge leaders to integrate environmental and migration policies to minimize forced migration and build up the resilience of affected communities.

UNEA is a result of the call made by world leaders at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Brazil in June 2012, to strengthen and upgrade the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) as the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda.

At UNEA-2’s high-level symposium on: Environment and Displacement: Root Causes & Implications, Ambassador Swing will underline the need for better understanding of the complex linkages between migration, displacement, the environment and climate change, and highlight the increasing recognition of this nexus, reflected in the UNFCCC COP21 Paris Agreement signed last December.

“We need to address the root causes of displacement due to environmental factors, and to minimize the negative impacts on affected communities and the environment, through increased collaboration between environmental and humanitarian policy makers,” said Swing.

“Migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable, if well-governed. It is therefore imperative that we respond in a coherent and comprehensive way to meet the challenges posed by current crises in order to make human mobility a positive, informed and safe option for resilience and adaptation that benefits all,” he added.

This evening, Ambassador Swing will participate in UNEA-2 UNPLUGGED – an event on the theme of: Everything’s Connected: How the Environment Can Transform Lives and Economies. The meeting will be chaired by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and other panelists will include former President of Kiribati Anote Tong, whose Pacific island nation is under threat from rising sea levels.

The event will explore how to best address climate change challenges and how to manage the environment for the benefit of all humanity. Planned and dignified migration can be part of the solution and there is a growing body of evidence that migrants and diasporas can contribute to climate change adaptation and poverty reduction.

IOM migration, environment and climate change specialists are playing an active role in in UNEA-2, which runs from 23-27 May. They spoke on migration, displacement and environment at a related Science-Policy Forum on May 20 and a Media Roundtable on the environment and humanitarian issues on May 25th.

IOM offers a capacity building programme for policy makers and practitioners in countries most vulnerable to climate change, to address the challenges and opportunities posed by environmental degradation, natural disasters and climate change in terms of human mobility.

You can also find more information on UNEA-2 at:

http://web.unep.org/unea
http://web.unep.org/unea/unplugged
https://twitter.com/IOM_MECC

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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IOM Calls for Integration of Migration in Environment Policies

Environmental degradation and climate change are already moving millions of people from their homes every year and this trend will intensify without a collective response from the international community.

At the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in Nairobi, Kenya, later today (25/05), IOM Director General William Lacy Swing will urge leaders to integrate environmental and migration policies to minimize forced migration and build up the resilience of affected communities.

UNEA is a result of the call made by world leaders at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Brazil in June 2012, to strengthen and upgrade the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) as the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda.

At UNEA-2’s high-level symposium on: Environment and Displacement: Root Causes & Implications, Ambassador Swing will underline the need for better understanding of the complex linkages between migration, displacement, the environment and climate change, and highlight the increasing recognition of this nexus, reflected in the UNFCCC COP21 Paris Agreement signed last December.

“We need to address the root causes of displacement due to environmental factors, and to minimize the negative impacts on affected communities and the environment, through increased collaboration between environmental and humanitarian policy makers,” said Swing.

“Migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable, if well-governed. It is therefore imperative that we respond in a coherent and comprehensive way to meet the challenges posed by current crises in order to make human mobility a positive, informed and safe option for resilience and adaptation that benefits all,” he added.

This evening, Ambassador Swing will participate in UNEA-2 UNPLUGGED – an event on the theme of: Everything’s Connected: How the Environment Can Transform Lives and Economies. The meeting will be chaired by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and other panelists will include former President of Kiribati Anote Tong, whose Pacific island nation is under threat from rising sea levels.

The event will explore how to best address climate change challenges and how to manage the environment for the benefit of all humanity. Planned and dignified migration can be part of the solution and there is a growing body of evidence that migrants and diasporas can contribute to climate change adaptation and poverty reduction.

IOM migration, environment and climate change specialists are playing an active role in in UNEA-2, which runs from 23-27 May. They spoke on migration, displacement and environment at a related Science-Policy Forum on May 20 and a Media Roundtable on the environment and humanitarian issues on May 25th.

IOM offers a capacity building programme for policy makers and practitioners in countries most vulnerable to climate change, to address the challenges and opportunities posed by environmental degradation, natural disasters and climate change in terms of human mobility.

You can also find more information on UNEA-2 at:

http://web.unep.org/unea
http://web.unep.org/unea/unplugged
https://twitter.com/IOM_MECC

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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African Union Peace and Security Council co-chair’s briefing on the informal meeting between the AUPSC and the United Nations Security Council to the media/press –

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AUPSC) and the Members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held an Informal Meeting, today in the morning, 23 May 2016, in New York, United States of America, ahead of their formal 10th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting. Ambassador Mmamosadinyana Punkie Josephine Molefe, Chairperson of the AUPSC for May 2016, and Ambassador Amr Abdelllatif Aboulatta, President of the UNSC for May 2016, co-chaired the Informal Meeting. The objective of the Informal Meeting, which marked the 10th anniversary of the annual AUPSC/UNSC consultations, was for the two sides to exchange views on crucial matters concerning their partnership and how to further improve it, including bringing innovations, in the process.

This interactive session took place against the background of an informal dialogue of the two Councils held in in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 23 January 2016, to exchange views on Burundi and Somalia, following the visit by the Security Council to Burundi.

The Informal Meeting provided an opportunity for the two Councils to look back to 2007, the year of the launching of their partnership, and to take stock of what they have been able to achieve to date, lessons learned and the challenges at hand. More specifically, the discussions during the Informal Meeting focused on the current state of the partnership and the way forward, as well as on reviews undertaken by the UN on its peace building architecture, the UN peace operations and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. In this respect, the two Councils underscored the need for effective implementation of the outcomes of these reviews.

The two Councils acknowledged that, whilst their partnership has generated some notable achievements, thereby contributing to preventing and resolving conflicts in Africa, there are still major challenges to be addressed in order to ensure the effectiveness of the partnership in the area of promoting peace, security and stability in Africa. Notably, key issues such as negotiation and setting of the agenda for the annual joint consultative meetings, and negotiation over the content of joint communiqués, continue to be thorny issues between

the two Councils. Accordingly, the two sides expressed their willingness to listen to each other and to jointly continue to innovate and make improvements on these and other vital aspects of the Partnership.

They also expressed their willingness to convene more informal meetings with a view to both, strengthening the Partnership and to find solutions to some of those issues, including those that are seemingly perceived to be taboos within the context of the annual joint consultative meetings. In this context, the AUPSC underscored the imperative of the two Councils to opening joint discussion on issues that have remained taboo, including the situation in Western Sahara, which for Africa, is fundamentally an issue of decolonization; illicit financial flows, illegal exploitation of natural resources, illegal and clandestine supply of arms to belligerents and money laundering, which are issues that continue to contribute in fomenting violent conflicts and instability in Africa.

Finally, the two Councils emphasized the need to ensure follow-ups on the implementation of commitments that they have entered into in previous annual joint consultative meetings, and to continue doing so for commitments that may be made in future annual joint consultative meetings.

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

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Source:: African Union Peace and Security Council co-chair’s briefing on the informal meeting between the AUPSC and the United Nations Security Council to the media/press –

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New Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation

The South Africa Department of Science and Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Global Development Lab, the newest bureau within USAID, to support the growing partnership between South Africa and the United States in using science, technology and innovation as important tools for advancing development. The signing ceremony was held during the USAID Global Science, Technology, Innovation and Partnership Summit at the USAID/Southern Africa headquarters in Pretoria.

Signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding were: Dr. Phil Mjwara, Director-General, South Africa Department of Science and Technology; Cheryl L. Anderson, Mission Director, USAID/Southern Africa; and Ann Mei Chang, USAID Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab.

Dr. Mjwara explained the significance of the signing.

“I’m delighted that our partnership with USAID has reached this critical milestone of formalizing our relationship, which signals not only an intention to cement current gains around scientific research collaboration spanning the southern Africa region, social innovation, technical cooperation, and Human Capital Development, but also to grow the partnership in years to come,” Dr. Mjwara said.

“As DST, we value that our engagements are truly underpinned by a spirit of partnership and wish to see this continue as we deploy STI initiatives, under this MOU, to address our most pressing development challenges and fight poverty,” he added.

Ms. Chang described South Africa as “a leader in advancing the application of science, technology, and innovation.”

“Together with South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology, our unique partnership is enabling collaboration and leveraging investments to source and accelerate solutions to the most pressing development challenges in South Africa,” she said.

The U.S. Global Development Lab focuses its assistance on five regions, including Southern Africa, that work in partnership to use science, technology and innovation to address development challenges.

The Memorandum of Understanding recognizes the cooperation between DST and USAID under existing programs and facilitates new partnerships. Ongoing partnerships include Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development, through which South Africa works with USAID, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to support water smart agriculture, and the Partnership for Enhanced Engagement in Research, which supports South African researchers who are partnered with U.S. researchers in various fields of study.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa.

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Source:: New Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation

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New Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation

The South Africa Department of Science and Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Global Development Lab, the newest bureau within USAID, to support the growing partnership between South Africa and the United States in using science, technology and innovation as important tools for advancing development. The signing ceremony was held during the USAID Global Science, Technology, Innovation and Partnership Summit at the USAID/Southern Africa headquarters in Pretoria.

Signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding were: Dr. Phil Mjwara, Director-General, South Africa Department of Science and Technology; Cheryl L. Anderson, Mission Director, USAID/Southern Africa; and Ann Mei Chang, USAID Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab.

Dr. Mjwara explained the significance of the signing.

“I’m delighted that our partnership with USAID has reached this critical milestone of formalizing our relationship, which signals not only an intention to cement current gains around scientific research collaboration spanning the southern Africa region, social innovation, technical cooperation, and Human Capital Development, but also to grow the partnership in years to come,” Dr. Mjwara said.

“As DST, we value that our engagements are truly underpinned by a spirit of partnership and wish to see this continue as we deploy STI initiatives, under this MOU, to address our most pressing development challenges and fight poverty,” he added.

Ms. Chang described South Africa as “a leader in advancing the application of science, technology, and innovation.”

“Together with South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology, our unique partnership is enabling collaboration and leveraging investments to source and accelerate solutions to the most pressing development challenges in South Africa,” she said.

The U.S. Global Development Lab focuses its assistance on five regions, including Southern Africa, that work in partnership to use science, technology and innovation to address development challenges.

The Memorandum of Understanding recognizes the cooperation between DST and USAID under existing programs and facilitates new partnerships. Ongoing partnerships include Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development, through which South Africa works with USAID, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to support water smart agriculture, and the Partnership for Enhanced Engagement in Research, which supports South African researchers who are partnered with U.S. researchers in various fields of study.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa.

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Source:: New Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation

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