Ban outlines steps to boost strategic UNAfrican Union peacekeeping partnership

“I am fully committed to supporting the African Union as it fulfils its potential as a partner of the United Nations in pursuit of peace in Africa,” he wrote in a new report to the Security Council, affirming his intent to strengthen the “strategic” partnership between the two bodies in the area of peace and security. The report includes a detailed assessment of the recommendations of the AU-UN panel set up to consider support to AU peacekeeping operations which issued its own report last December.The panel recommended, among others, that the UN and the AU take concrete steps to strengthen their mutual relationship and develop a more effective partnership when addressing issues on the joint agenda.It also suggested the use of UN-assessed funding for AU-led and UN-authorized peacekeeping operations on a case-by-case basis, for up to six months, to be provided mainly in kind and only when there is an intention to transition the mission to a UN peacekeeping operation.Mr. Ban noted in his report that the AU and its subregional organizations have been able to “deploy quickly, with limited resources and as a first response, when challenging circumstances have required a robust intervention.”In addition to obtaining predictable and sustained financial resources for its operations, the major challenge for the AU, said the Secretary-General, is the lack of sufficient institutional capacity in key management, support and strategic planning functions. He added that the UN is currently working with the AU Commission on a number of initiatives to build the necessary capacity.The UN will also undertake a number of initiatives to help the AU address some of its deficiencies in the areas of finance, logistics, human resources and procurement. These include embedding several AU human resources personnel at UN Headquarters to observe the UN system at work, as well as creating senior capacity within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to act as a conduit between the Department of Field Support and the AU to share best practices. The UN could also provide a ‘standby arrangement’ to assist the AU to deploy a mission consisting of a small team of experienced UN personnel in critical ‘start-up’ functions, such as planning, financial management and procurement, Mr. Ban said. He also underlined that many of the challenges that apply to the immediate peacekeeping demands of the AU will remain relevant in operationalizing the African Standby Force. “While the African Standby Force has the potential to make a major contribution to peace and security in Africa, it will require long-term financial, material and logistics commitment from partners and increasingly from the member States of the African Union,” stated Mr. Ban.He emphasized the requirement for the provision of sustainable and predictable resources to ensure success of AU peacekeeping operations authorized by the UN, while adding that, ultimately, it will be the responsibility of AU member States to provide the necessary resources.He added that when peacekeeping is determined the best course of action to address a conflict in Africa, it is essential that the two bodies work together to build consensus and support for the operation and to align mandates with objectives and available resources. 28 September 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has outlined steps to boost the African Union’s capacity to successfully carry out United Nations-authorized peacekeeping operations, including helping the regional body in the areas of finance, logistics and human resources. read more

South Sudan will face escalating food crisis in 2017 UN agriculture agency

This time of year in South Sudan, people generally are more secure due to higher food stocks and lower market prices, but the FAO warned that the risk of famine is looming, especially for the most vulnerable communities.“The renewed violence has had severe repercussions on agricultural production and stability needs to be restored to enable farmers to return to their fields,” said Serge Tissot, FAO representative.“We are seeing an unprecedented number of food insecure people at harvest time and many more people at risk of starvation in the months to come as stocks run out. There is a need to act now to prevent a catastrophe,” he urged.Part of the reason for the growing insecurity is due to the violence that has impacted the Equatoria region, which is responsible for over half of South Sudan’s net cereal production. About 50 per cent of all harvests have been lost in areas affected by the violence. Many farmers have been unable to plant seeds for the second season due to not only armed conflict, but also displaced persons.Northern Bahr el Ghazal is one of the most fragile areas of the country. It has seen a protracted economic crisis, market failure, and the loss or depletion of livelihood assets. FAO found that farmers in the region have produced less than they did last year; some areas were hard-hit by flooding and dry spells, and reports found that in Aweil East, sorghum production was reduced by nearly 50 per cent.Since the start of the fighting in Juba (the capital) and elsewhere in the country, cereal prices have increased by more than 500 per cent in only a year. Rampant insecurity along main roads has crippled trade and trader’s abilities to access hard currency for imports. Many have been forced to shut down their businesses. “With the market collapsing and many families having little to no safety nets to cope, we must empower them with the means to produce their own food. With this we want to structurally strengthen their livelihoods and boost their resilience,” explained Mr. Tissot. In the coming dry season campaign, FAO intends to distribute vegetable and fishing kits as well as training to farmers on modern farming techniques for 1.2 million people. Meanwhile, the organization is gearing up to respond to the country’s most dire needs for the main planting season, including providing needed agricultural inputs in order to enable the most vulnerable citizens to continue to produce their own food. FAO will require an additional $28 million by the end of 2016 to accomplish these goals. South Sudan has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his Vice-President Riek Machar erupted into full blown conflict in December 2013. The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.Despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the war, conflict and instability have also spread to previously unaffected areas in the Greater Equatoria and Greater Bahr-El-Ghazal regions of South Sudan. read more

Ituni residents lament little to no access to landline internet services

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedKuru-Kururu residents without internet, landline servicesSeptember 8, 2018In “Business”President says access to justice will improve significantly in the Upper Demerara RegionAugust 4, 2017In “Court”Barnwell North residents to receive water for first time in over 15 yearsDecember 15, 2015In “Business” In an era where technology is rapidly expanding and various means of communication are constantly being developed, residents of the Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) community of Ituni say they feel as though they are being left behind.Several residents who spoke to this publication have expressed their frustration, noting that after years of living in the community, they are yet to receive landline services and/or internet access despite having applied a number of years ago. Many other residents related that while they did have access to landline service in their homes, they did not receive any internet access.Following residents’ complaints, comments were solicited from Community Development Officer Keisha Griffith, who noted that she has also received numerous complaints from residents, more so recently, regarding the issue.  Ituni residents noted that they were seeking answers from GTT and remained hopeful that systems could soon be put in place to allow access to landline and Internet services.“It’s like we have been forgotten. We are way behind with everything. Since they launch the cell site, we haven’t heard or seen any representative in our area. Landline is a problem. They have applications for persons years now and nothing…We don’t have any access to WiFi”, Griffith explained. She also noted that the cell site was set up in the community since 2008.An affected resident, Yetunde Pluck said her home was equipped with a landline telephone, but no Internet access. She said it was frustrating because her school aged children required the service to do research for School-Based Assignments.“My concern is mainly the Internet system. I have a landline and a few other people have landlines in Ituni, but I don’t know why they’re not sharing so that other people could get. I don’t know why we’re not entitled to get Internet access. They’re saying that it’s something with the tower…We have children attending secondary school. They come home every weekend. They have assignments to do and we don’t have Internet access to get the information for our children,” she lamented.Additionally, resident Johnquin Nurse said he had applied for landline service for a number of years, but had only received a letter stating that there was no available facility.“For the past years I’ve applied for a landline telephone with GTT and this is 2017, and I’m still waiting although I’ve applied since 2002. All I got was that there’s no facility and as soon as they have facilities, they’re going to come and hook us up. On to this day, we’re still waiting,” he noted.Similar sentiments were also expressed by other affected residents who noted that it was their hope that the relevant authorities would look into the situation so that improvements can be seen. (Utamu Belle) read more

The HSE is in danger of regressing to a previous era

first_imgUpdated 6.35pmTHE HEALTH SERVICE Executive is struggling to recruit consultant staff for crucial posts ‘for the first time in the history of the state’, a confidential report has revealed.The report, seen by RTÉ’s Prime Time, detailed many posts advertised by the HSE that have not been filled in recent years.This evening, the HSE said it is “urgently progressing” work being done on how to retain medical graduates in Ireland’s public health system.The HSE posts mentioned in the report include vacancies at Waterford Regional Hospital for a Consultant Neurologist, an Emergency Medicine Consultant, and  two Consultant Radiologists, to which nobody applied.The report also listed, among others, the Coombe, Beaumont, St James, Tallaght and the Mater Hospital as locations where advertised vacancies received few or no applications.The report was presented to HSE CEO Tony O’Brien late last year.Minister for Health James Reilly is warned in the report that the HSE is in danger of ‘regressing’.“It is clear that we are facing a recruitment crisis for consultant posts as well as great challenges in retaining or attracting home our graduates,” the report read.We face a real danger of regression to a previous era when healthcare standards were highly variable. A number of cases where consultants left the HSE for private positions are also highlighted in the report.HSE responseThe HSE noted that Minister Reilly has expressed concerns recently that the 30 per cent reduction in consultant pay is currently being applied in all instances.The HSE said that Reilly said it “was never his intention that this would include consultants who move post and to consultants coming from abroad”.Reilly said that this needs to be addressed, said the HSE, as it is “constraining experienced consultants from applying”. He has sought proposals for him to consider on this.The HSE suggested “some recognition of experience and additional specialist training” when it submitted its views to the Department of Health for consideration on 23 January.The Minister set up the Strategic Review of Medical Training and Career structure for  improving the retention of medical graduates in the public health system, planning for future service needs and realising maximum benefit from investment in medical education and training.The group sent an interim report to the Minister in December 2013, and its recommendations “were largely in the area of the quality of the training experience”.The working group is now examining career structures and pathways following training. The HSE said that this work “will be progressed as a matter of urgency”, with a view to preparing a report on medical career structures and pathways following training by the end of March 2014.Prime Time also revealed by way of a Freedom of Information request that €344,000 was spent on filling a consultancy position in Letterkenny General Hospital with temporary agency staff.- First published 10.30am. Additional reporting Aoife BarryConsultants’ association: HSE being driven by Troika demands, not patient welfare >last_img read more