Morocco in Top 10 Countries in ‘2015 Islamic Growth Markets Investment…

Rabat – Morocco has been ranked among the top ten countries in the 2015 Islamic Growth Markets Investment Index, which ranks the investment potential of countries within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).The index is conducted by Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, in partnership with Dinar Standard, an Islamic markets research and advisory firm. The index is based on a set of nine metrics covering the categories of a country’s growth fundamentals, growth momentum, investment momentum and relative country risk.The report, presented during the Global Islamic Gateway conference in Bahrain last week, has revealed that Indonesia showed the strongest growth fundamentals among the top three having the highest population (249 million, 2013) and GDP ($870 billion, 2013), while Malaysia the strongest growth and investment momentum (217 per cent FDI inflows growth 2009-13). UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are the three countries from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which have made it to the top ten list. Other markets on the top 10 include Kazakhstan, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, and Mozambique.According to the report, the investment potential across the 57 OIC countries is “well above world average.” It added that member countries represent a combined GDP of $6.7 trillion in 2013 and are projected to grow at a higher rate of 5.4 per cent in 2015-19 than rest of the world (3.6 per cent) or BRICS nations (3.9 per cent).“The purpose of the Islamic Growth Markets Investment Report 2015 is to present a new view of looking at investment opportunities across the OIC member countries,” Dr. Sayd Farook, global head of Islamic capital market at Thomson Reuters, said in a statement.“Focused on fast-growing consumer-driven sector clusters of food, retail, tourism, health and others, as well as government spending driven infrastructure and construction, the report addresses a gap of looking at investment opportunities across the full geographic spectrum of these growth markets and their global value chain.”The report identified the top OIC sector clusters that “provide best opportunities for sector based investment strategy.” They are: Energy, food and agriculture, electronics, travel and transportation, metals, chemical and allied, plastics/rubber, textiles and related, infrastructure and construction, and health products and services.“The top 10 clusters were identified based on the analysis of manufacturing and services sectors that are collectively the strongest across these markets. This prioritization provides investors a first look at key sectors of activity and growth potential,” said the authors of the report.Energy, says the report, is the largest OIC sector cluster by virtue of aggregate score derived from exports volume, imports and domestic consumption across OIC markets. Energy sector cluster exports were the highest within OIC worth $1.3 trillion in 2013 representing 43 per cent of global exports.The OIC’s sector of food and agriculture is the second-largest and its exports were $118 billion in 2013, representing eight per cent of global exports. Domestic demand value from food sector across OIC is the highest among all sector clusters and estimated at $974 billion, representing 16 per cent of global food consumption, the report added.Travel and transportation is the third-largest OIC sector cluster, and its exports were $192 billion in 2013, representing six per cent of global exports.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission. read more

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Landline Phone Usage Experiencing a Steady Decline in Morocco

Casablanca — ANRT’s latest annual report has stated that, for the fifth consecutive year, landline phone usage had experienced a steady decline.According to the ANRT, Morocco’s National Telecommunications Agency, sales of landline phones had peaked in 2010, when an estimated 3.74 million people had landlines in their homes. Since then, this statistic has been on a significant decline.ANRT’s annual report states that in 2014, 2.49 million people had landline phones and in 2015, that number went down to 2.22 million. “This shows a change in consumer habits, with a progressive shift from landline to mobile usage due to the many advantages of total mobility,” said the ANRT.Just this last June, the number of landline users had dropped down to 2.13 million, with Maroc Telecom dominating 71.24% of the market (Wana controls 26.73% while Medi Telecom controls a mere 2.03%).The number of mobile phone subscribers reached 43.08 million, a high number in comparison to the landline’s 2.13 million.It is also important to note the role of the Internet in this equation. With an annual growth of 45% since 2015, the Internet boasts 14.5 millions of users in Morocco. Since many online services allow users to replicate the experience of a phone call, this also contributes to the decline of landline phone usage.This decline is expected to continue, given the increasing mobile/wireless nature of technology. read more

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Temperature to Reach -5 Degrees in Some Moroccan Regions

Casablanca – Saturday, December 31 is proving to be one of the coldest Moroccan days this year has seen.A warning released by the National Office of Meteorology forecasts temperatures ranging from -5 to 2 degrees celsius in the southeast and eastern highlands, 3 to 9 degrees on the Mediterranean shore, the Saiss, Gharb, Cahokia, Ouelmes, the Tadla plains, Tensest and Rhamna.Temperatures will also range from 9 to 14 degrees in the Souss, the north of the southern provinces and near the Atlantic coasts. The rest of the southern provinces will experience temperatures ranging from 15 to 18 degrees.

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Report on Delayed Al Hoceima Projects to be Submitted to the…

Rabat – The commission in charge of investigating the delays involved in implementing Al Hoceima’s development program will submit its detailed report to King Mohammad VI ahead of the Throne Celebration on July 30, according to Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Alyaoum.The sources of the daily said that the members of the commission, headed by the newly appointed general inspector of the Ministry of the Interior, Zineb El Adaoui, have embarked on a race against time to inspect the files related to the management of the projects. Of particular interest is the “Al Hoceima Manarat Al Motawaist” project in Al-Houceima and a determination of the stakeholders responsible for the delay of the implementation of this and other projects.The same source added that investigators have already begun the hearing of the secretaries-general of the ministerial departments concerned for the development program of the city of Al Hoceima. Alongside these hearings, Akhbar al-Yaoum added that another commission is currently interviewing ministry department heads, while another is conducting visits to sites in Al Hoceima where projects should be being implemented. As the crisis in the Rif continues, the government has been hoping that news of speeding up the realization of development projects in the region, especially the “Al Hoceima Manarat Al Motawaist” mega project, launched by King Mohammed VI in 2015, will help alleviate the tension.In a live television appearance on Saturday night, head of government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, said “I want to say to the inhabitants of Al Hoceima that the government is dealing with your demands with serious. The projects which were launched are taken care of. Every week there is going to be a meeting between the ministers in charge of the departments supervising the projects of ‘Al Hoceima Manarat Al Motawasit.’ Also, the investigation that King Mohammed VI ordered to determine the causes of the delay of projects will be carried out all the way to the end. People will be held accountable.” read more

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El Othmani Discusses Migration with Flemish Speaker of Parliament

Rabat – Head of government Saad Eddine El Othmani received the speaker of the Flemish Parliament, Jan Peumans, in Rabat on Thursday.The officials’ meeting focused on boosting bilateral ties between Morocco and Belgium and finding solutions to migration problems, according to a statement by El Othmani’s department.The two officials highlighted the long-standing friendly relations between Morocco and Belgium, but stressed the need to boost cooperation in the various fields of socio-economic development. El Othmani outlined Morocco’s policy to strengthen the competitiveness of the national economy, improve the business climate and increase the share of industry in GDP. He also highlighted efforts to promote education and training, develop health services, and create jobs.The officials also discussed the prospects for consolidating tripartite cooperation for the benefit of African countries. Under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, Morocco is pursuing an African policy to consolidate social and economic development on the continent and guarantee conditions of stability in the region.Jan Peumans pointed out the importance of Morocco as a transit country for migrants and said it should receive strong support from Europe.Morocco deserves more solidarity from all the European continental countries to handle the problems related to migration, Peumans told the press after his talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita. read more

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Morocco’s Education: Private Schools Receive Only 14% of Students

Rabat – Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, and Scientific Research Said Amzazi has presented figures of the 2017-2018 school year at the 14th session of the Higher Council of Education.Of Morocco’s 7,031,355 students, 1 out of 7 are enrolled in private schools. Although many Moroccan parents enroll their children in private schools, there are still more students in public schools. While over 6 million students go to public schools, just under 1 million go to private schools. According to Amzazi at the July 16-17 session, 52 percent of students are boys and 48 percent are girls. The total number of students has increased by 15 percent since the 2008-2009 school year. The statistics were published in the news outlet Lakome. While the number of students enrolled in primary schools is high, comparatively few reach the high school level in Morocco. According to Amzazi, nearly 62 percent of students in Morocco are enrolled in primary school, 24 percent in secondary school, and only 14 percent in high school.Chart by MWN“In the past, a student could pass with an average of less than 5 out of 10 in primary school and less than 10 out of 20 in secondary school. Now this will end. Starting from the next school year, a student who do not get 5 in primary school and 10 in secondary and high school will not pass,” Amzazi explained.Figures on schools and teachersAmzazi’s statistics showed that there were 219,672 teachers in the previous school year.He also noted Morocco has 16,285 schools, 10,905 (67 percent) of which are public and 5,380 (33 percent) of which are private. Fifty-four percent of public schools are in urban areas, while 46 percent are in rural areas.Private schools, which represent 1/3 of the total number of schools in Morocco, receive only 14 percent of the students. The figure reveals that there are more students per school in public schools.On July 12, Amzazi said that the ministry will launch a education in Morocco of generalization and reform of the pre-primary education in Morocco. The program, including the 2018-2019 academic year, will start on July 18 and run to 2028. read more

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Amzazi Proposes a Full Menu of Programs to Support Education

Rabat – The Ministry of Education is shifting its focus from the controversy over Darija (Moroccan Arabic) to combating drop-out rates.Said Amzazi, the minister of national education, vocational training, higher education and scientific research presented his strategy to King Mohammed VI on Monday, September 17.The focus of his address was based on the recent speeches of the King, which were delivered for Throne Day and the Day of the Revolution of the King and the People in the last two months. In his speeches, the King recommended that the government increase efforts to combat the causes of children dropping out of school.Amzazi emphasized that the new programs to promote education in Morocco take into account the recommendations of Morocco’s “Strategic Vision of the 2015-2030 Reform: for a School of Equity, Quality and Promotion.”The program will cover several axes that aim to ensure access to education for all youth.The program also wants to consolidate the “Tayssir Program” (Facilitation program) that seeks to provide financial support to increase student enrollment in primary school.Tayssir is set up to give parents cash payments to formally enroll children aged 6 to 15 in school.Amzazi also discussed the implementation of a program to generalize and develop preschools.Like Tayssir, the preschool program aims to increase school enrollment and reduce dropout rates to improve the education system.In July, Amzazi said that the development of preschool education requires an annual budget of MAD 3 billion.Through the generalization program, Amzazi says he wants to reach a school enrollment of 100 percent in preschool by 2027-2028.In his address before the King, Amzazi said that he wants to reduce the rate of school drop-outs from 5.7 percent in rural areas primary schools to 1 percent by 2024-2025.He added that he wants to also shift the number of drop out which is 12 percent in secondary schools in both rural and urban areas to 3 percent for the 20244-2025 school year.Amzazi also promised reforms in terms of training and youth employment in the education field. He proposed the creation of a new generation of vocational training centers. The centers, according to Amzazi, should meet the needs of economic actors while complying with regional development plans.Amzazi also urged all stakeholders and concerned parties to contribute to the projects as part of a collective and national effort to promote education and curb the ongoing crisis in the field.Monday’s education ceremony marked the participation of Morocco’s Princess Lalla Khadija in an official ceremony.The ceremony also marked the signing of three agreements with other government institutions, including the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Office of Vocational Training and Labor Promotion (OFPPT), and the Ministry of Sports and Youth. read more

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U.S.-based Devon Energy says it intends to exit Canadian oilsands sector

The Canadian Press Companies mentioned in this article: (TSX:CVE, TSX:MEG) CALGARY — Another foreign oil company says it’s getting out of the Canadian oilsands.Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp. says it will pursue the “separation” of its Canadian assets from its core business, a move that could include an outright sale or creation of a new company to own and operate them.Devon owns the Jackfish steam-driven oilsands complex, with a capacity of 105,000 barrels per day of bitumen, as well as conventional heavy oil wells near Lloydminster, Alta., that produce about 15,000 bpd.Other foreign companies that have reduced their exposure to the oilsands in recent years include Norway’s Statoil, Arkansas-based Murphy Oil, France’s Total SA and Houston-based ConocoPhillips.In research notes, CIBC analyst Jon Morrison says the Canadian assets would likely fetch between $3.5 billion and $5 billion if sold, while Eight Capital analyst Phil Skolnick estimates they could sell for between $7 billion and $9 billion.Jackfish is south of Fort McMurray near similar operations owned by Calgary-based rivals Cenovus Energy Inc. and MEG Energy Corp.Devon says it is making the move to exit Canada (as well as from the Barnett Shale area in Texas) so that it can complete its “transformation to a high-return U.S. oil growth business.” read more

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Spanish Court Sentences Farmer for Exploiting Moroccan Farmhand

Rabat – Spanish news outlet La Voz de Galicia reported that the employer, who owns a farm in northeast Spain near A Pastoriza also paid a fine of €1,500 for exploiting his workers.The employer has been convicted of exploiting the Moroccan national between 2015 and 2016, paying the farmhand less than the agreed upon salary.The court convicted the farmer of not respecting the contract he agreed on with the Moroccan worker. The news outlet added that the Moroccan worker had an “oral work contract.” Read Also: Long-Stranded Moroccan Fishermen Call for Help in Algerian WatersMoroccan seasonal workers in Spain, especially women, complained of bad working conditions on Spanish farms throughout the 2018 summer.Several Moroccan seasonal workers said that they were sexually harassed and assaulted by Spanish managers in the strawberry producing region of Huelva.Despite the allegations, Morocco and Spain are working to recruit more Moroccans for next year’s harvest season in Huelva. read more

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China investigates FedEx for Huawei cargo error

BEIJING — China’s state media says the country is investigating FedEx after it diverted packages sent by Chinese tech giant Huawei.The official Xinhua news agency reported Saturday that China has opened an investigation into FedEx’s actions.Xinhua says FedEx “severely harmed clients’ legitimate rights and interests and violated China’s delivery industry regulations.”Four packages containing paperwork sent out by Huawei were found to have been diverted to FedEx headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, instead of being delivered to Huawei offices in Asia.FedEx apologized and said the packages were misrouted accidentally. It added the company wasn’t told by anyone to divert the packages.The missed deliveries drew unusual attention because of speculation that they’re related to rising U.S.-China trade tensions and U.S. sanctions on Huawei.The Associated Press read more

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Bird flu can infect cats but no evidence of sustained transmission –

As a precaution, FAO recommended that in areas where H5N1 has been found in poultry or wild birds, cats should be separated from infected birds until the danger has passed. On commercial poultry premises cats should even be kept indoors. But it advised against killing cats because there is nothing to suggest they are transmitting the virus in a sustained way. Moreover, removing them could lead to a surge in rodents such as rats, which are an agricultural pest and often transmit diseases to humans. Ever since the first human case of H5N1, linked to widespread poultry outbreaks in Viet Nam and Thailand, was reported in January 2004, UN health officials have warned that the virus could evolve into a human pandemic if it mutates into a form which could transmit easily between people. Unconfirmed reports that H5N1 has been detected in a high prevalence in cats in Indonesia have caused some alarm. The scavenging cats were sampled in the vicinity of poultry markets in Java and Sumatra where outbreaks of bird flu had recently occurred. This is not the first time that cats have been infected as previous incidents in Thailand, Iraq, Russia, the European Union and Turkey show. Cats can become infected by feeding on sick domestic or wild birds; they can develop severe to fatal disease and excrete the virus from the respiratory and digestive tracts. “This raises some concern not only because cats could act as intermediary hosts in the spread of the H5N1 virus between species but also because growth in cats might help the H5N1 virus to adapt into a more highly infectious strain that could spark an influenza pandemic,” FAO Assistant Director-General Alexander Müller said. But findings reported from Indonesia in January suggested that about 80 per cent of cats in outbreak areas have not been infected. “This is rather encouraging because it indicates that cats are unlikely to constitute a reservoir of virus infection. Cats are more likely to be a dead-end host for the H5N1 virus,” FAO Animal Health Officer Peter Roeder said. But they should be closely monitored. “Any unusual mortality in cats should spark a suspicion of H5N1. Infection in cats could be an early warning signal for the virus. The observation of cats should therefore become part of surveillance systems in affected areas,” Mr. Roeder added. FAO will start field studies in areas in Java where the H5N1 virus is prevalent and where cats have died to investigate their role in disease transmission. This research will be extended to other parts of Indonesia and elsewhere. “We also need experimental studies to better understand the biology of H5N1 infection in cats, including most importantly the duration of virus shedding by infected animals,” Mr. Roeder said. There have so far been 272 confirmed human cases worldwide, 166 of them fatal, the vast majority in South-East Asia. Indonesia has recorded the highest death toll – 63 out of 81 cases. UN health officials have been on constant alert to detect any mutation that could make the disease more easily transmissible in humans. The so-called Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1920 is estimated to have killed from 20 million to 40 million people worldwide. More than 200 million birds have died worldwide from either the virus or preventive culling in the current outbreak. 8 February 2007Cats can become infected with the highly lethal H5N1 bird flu virus but there is no scientific evidence at present to suggest that there has been sustained transmission in cats or from cats to humans, and they should not be killed as a control option, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today. read more

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Tennis ace Sharapova named Goodwill Ambassador for UN development arm

14 February 2007The world’s top female tennis player, Maria Sharapova of Russia, today became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with a special focus on helping with the recovery efforts after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The world’s top female tennis player, Maria Sharapova of Russia, today became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with a special focus on helping with the recovery efforts after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.“One of my proudest contracts ever,” said Ms. Sharapova after signing on for a symbolic $1 salary as an ambassador during a ceremony with UNDP Associate Administrator Ad Melkert at UN Headquarters in New York.Ms. Sharapova announced that she and her newly created private foundation would donate $100,000 to eight UNDP projects in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine that try to assist those areas still blighted by the Chernobyl accident.Those projects aim to restore hospitals and sports facilities, improve access to computers, and promote ecological awareness across the three countries.“I was just briefed on Chernobyl effects and how I will be involved with it, and I’m just so excited to be a part of this process – I can’t wait. I can’t wait to help with everything I can,” she told reporters.The 19-year-old, winner of two Grand Slam titles and currently ranked number 1 in the world, has a personal connection to Chernobyl. In the year before she was born, Ms. Sharapova’s family fled the Belarusian city of Gomel for Siberia because of concerns about radiation in the wake of the accident.“That’s why it means so much to me to be a part of this project because I was sort of part of it as well. I hope that I can go there and make field trips… I still have family in Gomel, Belarus – my grandmother lives there.”The new goodwill ambassador voiced hope that she would be able to raise the awareness of the problems caused by Chernobyl while at the same time calling attention to the fact that help is available. “There are a lot of solutions, and I want to make sure they know that,” she said.Mr. Melkert said Ms. Sharapova’s appointment would bring benefits beyond the Chernobyl recovery and re-development efforts.“Her special interest in young people, responsible choices and healthy lifestyles make Maria the ideal role model, not only for people in the region, but really for young people everywhere,” he said.Ms. Sharapova becomes the sixth UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, joining the soccer stars Ronaldo of Brazil, Zinedine Zidane of France and Côte d’Ivoire’s Didier Drogba, the Japanese actress Misako Konno and Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon Magnus. read more

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Rising organized crime in GuineaBissau alarms Security Council

10 July 2007Voicing concern about the “alarming increase in organized crime, drug trafficking and the proliferation of illicit small arms in Guinea-Bissau,” the Security Council today called on the international community to step up its efforts to bolster the security institutions of the small African country. In a statement read to reporters by Ambassador Wang Guangya of China, which this month holds the Council’s revolving presidency, the 15-member body said it was disturbed by the continuing deterioration of Guinea-Bissau’s socio-economic and financial situation.The press statement comes as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his most recent report on the activities of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS), described organized crime, particularly drug trafficking, as presenting “a new and growing” problem in the country.“The use of Guinea-Bissau as a transit point for illegal drugs from Latin America bound for Europe remains an issue of major concern to the authorities and international partners,” Mr. Ban wrote.His report, made public yesterday, cites the interception in April, of 635 kg of cocaine in a vehicle carrying two military personnel and one civilian. The military personnel were handed over to the military authorities, and an investigation was initiated. However, the two officers were later released.The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will post a senior law enforcement specialist to the capital, Bissau, to assist in the development of a country strategy to combat drug trafficking. The specialist, whose assignment will be funded by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), will operate under the overall supervision of UNOGBIS.But today’s Council statement – which followed a briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Shola Omoregie – also welcomed the creation of a new Government, which it hoped would spur a “genuinely inclusive reconciliation process, thereby strengthening political, parliamentary and government stability.”Additionally, the Council “encouraged the Government to implement its commitments to ensure discipline and transparency in fiscal management and pursue a permanent and constructive dialogue with all sectors of society, in order to create a politically conducive climate for free, fair and transparent legislative elections next year.”The upcoming elections follow the conclusion of a national political stability pact this March by the three main political parties in Guinea-Bissau – the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde and Guinea, the Social Renewal Party and the United Social Democratic Party. The agreement led to the swearing-in on 17 April of the Government of Prime Minister Martinho Dafa Cabi.UNOGBIS was established in 1999 to help Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest nations in the world, emerge from the devastation of a civil war and various coups in which thousands of people were killed, wounded or forced from their homes. read more

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Migiro urges greater support for GuineaBissau and other postconflict nations

11 July 2007Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today called for greater international support to Guinea-Bissau and other African nations emerging from conflict, following a visit to the small West African nation last week. “The fact remains that Guinea-Bissau as well as other countries in the region that are coming out of conflict need more and sustained support from the international community if they are to consolidate peace and address the socio-economic and other root causes of conflict,” Ms. Migiro said at a press conference in New York. Briefing reporters on her recent trip, which also took her to Austria, Ghana and Kenya, she said Guinea-Bissau remains in a “fragile, post-conflict period,” noting that the country is now facing a growing problem of drug trafficking and organized crime, in addition to its long-standing development challenges.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report on the activities of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS), also described organized crime, particularly drug trafficking, as presenting “a new and growing” problem in the country, while the Security Council raised similar concerns in a press statement yesterday.Ms. Migiro said that although the UN is supporting the Government in addressing the country’s “daunting challenges,” long-term international assistance to the country – which has witnessed rising political and social tensions and a deteriorating economic situation – remains crucial. Ms. Migiro’s visit – intended to reaffirm UN support for Guinea-Bissau’s ongoing efforts to consolidate peace, national reconciliation and constitutional governance – was the first-ever official visit of a Secretary-General or Deputy Secretary-General since that nation joined the Organization in 1974. She added that she was particularly struck by a visit to an HIV and AIDS counselling and treatment centre in the country, noting that “like in many other countries in Africa, AIDS is having a devastating impact on the lives and economies of communities in Guinea-Bissau.”Therefore, fighting the spread of HIV cannot be achieved without the sustained involvement of all sections of society, including civil society organizations, the Government, media and the health-care community, she stated.In Nairobi, where she attended a conference with women leaders, the Deputy Secretary-General also highlighted the UN’s role in fighting the alarming spread of HIV, especially among women and girls. She stressed the need to tackle the “drivers of the spread of the disease,” particularly the issue of gender inequality, and emphasized that “we must all work together to promote women’s empowerment as a way to fight HIV and AIDS.”Ms. Migiro stopped off in Guinea-Bissau following an official visit to Austria, where she addressed the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government hosted by the UN in Vienna, and just prior to attending the annual summit of the African Union in Accra, Ghana, which she addressed on behalf of Mr. Ban. read more

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Côte dIvoire UN Moroccan officials meet to address allegations of sexual abuse

United Nations and Moroccan officials are meeting on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) that prompted the suspension of the Moroccan contingent serving in Bouaké. The suspension “complies with the United Nations zero tolerance policy with regard to sexual exploitation and abuse,” UNOCI said in a press release. The UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) is finalizing its investigation, announced by the world body last week, as well as a report on the allegations against the Moroccan peacekeepers. Meanwhile in New York, representatives from the UN Department of Field Support and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations met with Moroccan officials last week and again today to discuss the situation, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe said today. Both Departments emphasize that they are determined to take necessary action to ensure that all UN personnel are held accountable to the highest standards of behavior, she stressed. 23 July 2007United Nations and Moroccan officials are meeting on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) that prompted the suspension of the Moroccan contingent serving in Bouaké. read more

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Migiro urges better coordination of efforts to advance global public health

Despite the unprecedented involvement of health agencies and partnerships, the global health sphere is increasingly complex and fragmented, with no systemic approach, Ms. Migiro said yesterday at a meeting on global health with international leaders and top-level experts from academia, philanthropy, civil society, the private sector and United Nations entities.“We need to work in a more coordinated manner, each according to our comparative advantage, to strengthen health systems,” she said in a message, delivered on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We must move from building silos to building systems. And systems that work for the poorest and most vulnerable.”The Deputy Secretary-General called global public health “one of the greatest challenges of our time, but with an enormous scope for solutions.”“We know what works. We know how to help women deliver babies safely; we can help children live well beyond their fifth birthday; we can prevent the spread of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis,” she stated. Ms. Migiro welcomed the “unprecedented attention” global public health was currently receiving from an array of actors. National governments are working to direct health assistance more effectively to some of the world’s poorest countries and most vulnerable populations. At the same time, donors and philanthropists are working with experts on targeted diseases and thematic areas.All of this heightened activity carries some risks, she pointed out, emphasizing the need to better coordinate efforts among all those involved. She also highlighted the need to address a number of issues, such as how countries can work together better on diseases that cross borders and threaten everyone, as well as how to ensure that the many initiatives and foundations supporting global health are accountable to not only those who finance them but also to those who are meant to benefit from their efforts. 26 October 2007Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro has called for all those working to make inroads in global public health to pool their efforts, stating that the world already has the resources and the know-how to enable people to lead long, healthy lives. read more

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Ban Kimoon encourages Ivorians to continue making headway in peace process

Earlier today, Mr. Ban held meetings with the Ivorian Foreign Minister, political party leaders, civil society representatives and the President of the Independent Electoral Commission. He later observed the work being done by the UN peacekeeping mission, known as UNOCI.In comments to the press made today at the mission’s Abidjan headquarters, Mr. Ban said that “it is the shared resolve to move forward, of Ivorian stakeholders, notably President [Laurent] Gbagbo, Prime Minister [Guillaume] Soro, political parties and Ivorians countrywide, that has made it possible to reach this point.”Calling it a “point of no return,” he urged all political leaders and followers to honour the Code of Good Conduct for the upcoming elections which was signed in his presence yesterday.After being delayed several times, the presidential polls – which were to be held as far back as 2005 – are now slated for 30 November.The holding of free and fair elections is one of the provisions of last year’s Ouagadougou Peace Agreement, which paved the way for an end to the conflict between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north.Earlier this month, almost half a million Ivorians received new birth certificates, the first step in a process to enable them to vote in the elections.“We all know however that considerable challenges remain to be addressed,” the Secretary-General said. “The road to the elections, to sustainable peace and reconciliation, may be treacherous and we should be vigilant.”Yesterday, Mr. Ban met separately with Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and President Laurent Gbagbo. He told reporters he had encouraged the Prime Minister to continue with his efforts to maintain the peace process in collaboration with the President and the other political actors.Following his meeting with President Gbagbo, the Secretary-General said that he was encouraged that the Côte d’Ivoire Government has cleared all arrears with the World Bank and regained the trust and confidence of international financial institutions.In addition, Mr. Ban signed an agreement with the Prime Minister and the donor community, in which donors pledged 27 million Euros towards the next phase of the peace process. The Secretary-General now heads to Vienna, the first stop on a weeklong European visit during which he will also travel to Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 24 April 2008Saying that they have reached a “point of no return,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today encouraged all the main political actors in Côte d’Ivoire to continue making progress in the West African nation’s peace process, as he wrapped up a regional tour that also took him to Burkina Faso, Liberia and Ghana. read more

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Rising extremism warrants global response says SecretaryGeneral

24 September 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed the need for forging common solutions to shared problems, in particular the growing threat of extremism, which like many of today’s challenges affects all countries, large and small. In today’s world, “extremist violence in one place can have a ripple effect across many others,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to a high-level gathering of representatives comprising the “Group of Friends” of the global campaign known as the Alliance of Civilizations.“Friction between communities spreads, causing mistrust, resentment and hatred to spill across borders. Old myths about cultures and religions get new life on the Internet, driving an even bigger wedge between diverse groups,” he stated.“Rising extremism, like everything else in our interdependent world, demands a global response,” he added. The Group of Friends can contribute to this effort by supporting the Alliance of Civilizations, a campaign created in 2005 at the initiative of Spain and Turkey and under UN auspices, aiming to help overcome prejudices between nations and cultures and to promote interfaith dialogue. Through political, financial and strategic support for the Alliance, the Group can help overcome divisions and build trust, provide a platform to discuss sensitive issues creatively and constructively, and cut through polarized positions.“You can tackle difficult questions from new angles, and encourage new ideas. You can support concrete initiatives that build understanding,” Mr. Ban said.The “Group of Friends” network – a growing community of over 80 States and international organizations that support the objectives of the Alliance – was set up to foster partnerships and deepen cooperation on a range of initiatives across different regions. read more

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Senior UN official on twoday visit to reinforce peacebuilding in Sierra Leone

22 October 2009A senior United Nations official is on a two-day visit to Sierra Leone for wide-ranging talks on the situation in a country that was the first to be put on the agenda of the new UN Peacebuilding Commission, set up three years ago to prevent conflict-plagued States from relapsing into bloodshed. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Judy Cheng-Hopkins’ visit comes a little over a month after the top UN official in the West African nation warned that the journey towards a stable, peaceful and democratic country would will be bumpy, long, and even dangerous despite remarkable progress made since the end of a civil war earlier this decade. She will meet with Government and UN officials as well as other stakeholders including civil society groups in a country that provides a good case study for examining the work of the UN in peacebuilding.In September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Executive Representative for Sierra Leone Michael Schulenberg told the Security Council the country needs time, patience, determined national leadership and continued international support.“We must anticipate accidents, derailments and mistakes along this road… there are no easy benchmarks that will tell us that Sierra Leone is out of the woods,” he said, noting that the country is one of the poorest in the world, does not have a large educated middle class, and over 70 per cent of the population remains illiterate.State institutions, moreover, remain weak and the nation’s journey towards prosperity is taking place in a “difficult” regional environment, with the political and security situation in West Africa remaining “highly precarious” amid worrying signs of military coups, ethnic and inter-religious conflicts, and threats from illicit drug trafficking and international crime, he added.In October 2006, at its first ever country-specific meeting, the Peacebuilding Commission recommended Sierra Leone for support from the newly established Peacebuilding Fund, set up a week earlier to assist countries emerging from conflict to rebuild and prevent them falling back into bloodshed.Last month the Security Council extended for another year the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) after Mr. Ban stressed in his latest report that greater efforts are needed by all Sierra Leoneans to build on momentum from a key peace pact signed in April between the governing All People’s Congress (APC) and the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) to end political violence. read more

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Ethiopian and UN officials devise plan to boost maternal and newborn health

United Nations agencies and Ethiopian health officials have developed a comprehensive two-year work plan to boost maternal and newborn health and survival in the Horn of Africa nation, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced.The work plan focuses on both immediate and long-term interventions and involves increasing demand, access and utilization of quality maternal and newborn health services, as well as improving the quality of these services.In addition, it focuses on strengthening monitoring and evaluation of these services, and improving managerial and institutional capacity, advocacy and partnerships to encourage increased political and financial commitment. The plan was developed during last month’s visit to Ethiopia of UN Health 4 (H4), a joint effort by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank to support countries in improving maternal and newborn health and saving the lives of mothers and babies. “There is a demonstrated link between a mother’s health and the health and welfare of her children, particularly newborns,” UNICEF stated in a news release. “Lowering a mother’s risk of mortality directly improves her baby’s prospects for survival.” Recent estimates indicate that that Ethiopia has a lifetime maternal mortality risk of 1 in 27 and an under-5 mortality risk of more than 1 in 10.UNICEF also noted that about half of all global maternal deaths annually occur in sub-Saharan Africa, as do deaths among children under five. Since 1990, the number of estimated annual global maternal deaths has remained around 500,000, while the absolute number of child deaths in 2008 declined to an estimated 8.8 million from 12.5 million in 1990, the base line year for the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDG 5 target is to reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio, while the MDG 4 target is to reduce by two thirds the under-five mortality rate. 6 January 2010United Nations agencies and Ethiopian health officials have developed a comprehensive two-year work plan to boost maternal and newborn health and survival in the Horn of Africa nation, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced. read more

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