Sunday, December 20, 2015

Human Solidarity Day Dec 20th 2015 - #makepeaceasprofitableaswar

United Nations Secretary-General's Message for 2015
 #makepeaceasprofitableaswar is our hashtag

By adopting the historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, world leaders expressed their resolve to seek shared progress and prosperity based on a spirit of global solidarity. The Paris Agreement on climate change marks another important milestone for our planet and all people.

These achievements were driven by two complementary goals:  to leave no one behind, and to build a life of dignity for all.  This spirit of global solidarity t must now inspire our collective response to other major challenges facing humankind.
This is especially true in addressing plight of the record number of people around the world forced from their homes and communities.  Far too many have fled violent extremists only to be victimized again by xenophobia, discrimination and abuse.  We must collectively challenge all those who stoke unfounded fears.  Helping the vulnerable elevates us all.
With diversity under verbal and violent attack in so many parts of the world, let us make the most of International Human Solidarity Day by reaffirming our common humanity, defending our shared values and creating a better future for all.
UN Sec Gen Ban Ki-moon
This year's celebration of Human Solidarity Day comes after leaders of the world adopted theSustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is a new, inclusive development agenda — succeeding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure dignity for all.  The new SDGs agenda is centred on people & planet, underpinned by human rights and supported by a global partnership determined to lift people out of poverty, hunger and disease. It will be thus be built on a foundation of global cooperation and solidarity.

Greater inclusion of women and youth in work will spur human development in Sub-Saharan Africa Reducing inequalities and the creation of work are critical for human development in the region, says the 2015 Human Development Report. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 14 December 2015 — 

Significant gains have been made in human development in Sub-Saharan Africa, to strengthen progress there is an urgent need to address wide inequalities and gaps in opportunities, including in work. This is a critical message in the 2015 Human Development Report launched today 14 December 2015 in Ethiopia by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Helen Clark, and UNDP’s Director of the Human Development Report Office, Selim Jahan. 

The report, ‘Work for Human Development’, promotes sustainability and equitable and decent work for all, through encouraging governments to consider work beyond jobs—such as unpaid care, voluntary, creative work and more. Only by taking a broader view can the benefits of work be truly harnessed for human development, the report says. Since 2000, Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced the fastest annual growth rates in the Human Development Index (HDI) among all regions - growing at an annual rate of 1.7 percent between 2000 and 2010 and 0.9 percent between 2010 and 2014. 

Twelve countries in the region, including Botswana, Cabo Verde, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Mauritius, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, and Zambia have levels that put them in the high or medium human development group, individually. 

However Sub-Saharan Africa, on average, remains in the low human development category and HDI levels are still low: a shortage of good work opportunities is preventing many from reaching their full potential and making decent livelihoods. The region’s overall official employment rate is 66 percent but 74 percent of working women and 61 percent of working men in Sub-Saharan Africa are in informal employment and nearly 25 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 work as child labour. Those in vulnerable work and the informal economy often lack decent work conditions and have lower earnings than other workers, the report highlights. 

Africa is experiencing higher levels of wellbeing and economic growth. Now governments must focus on better working conditions to improve lives and livelihoods, supporting the creation of jobs to sustain people and communities, and providing preconditions for greater labour participation by women and young people” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa.” 

Widening inequality in work threatens human development progress The creation of work and the expansion of choices in the region are crucial for tackling inequality, according to the 2015 report. Sub-Saharan Africa has 500 million of people living in multidimensional poverty – that is three of every five in the region. In addition, gains in human development, especially in health and education, are more unevenly distributed in Sub-Saharan Africa than in any other region in the world, as recorded by the Inequality-adjusted HDI. The region is facing a high cohort of young people in Africa due to population growth, addressing low literacy rates and building skills can help young people secure work opportunities. “Fast technological progress and deepening globalization are changing what work means today and how it is done.” said Selim Jahan, lead author of the report. “In a changing world, enhancing human development through work requires policy interventions. Unless action is taken, many people, particularly those already marginalized, might be left behind.” Sub-Saharan Africa has been particularly innovative in harnessing modern technology for financial activities. Mobile phone and internet–based economic activities are likely to continue expanding, according to the report. But the region is far from achieving equitable access to these technologies: today, only one fifth of the population in Sub-Saharan has access to internet. Greater access could help provide new opportunities to youth in the region. 

Services and agriculture are where many jobs in the region will be in the near future, according to the report. Expanding social safety nets, investing in teachers and health professionals, preparing youth for a high-skill job market, and supporting opportunities for collective bargaining, unemployment insurance and minimum wages are critical for protecting workers and expanding their opportunities. 

Addressing gender imbalances in paid and unpaid work According to the Gender Inequality Index, women in Sub-Saharan Africa are severely disadvantaged. There has been progress in women’s political representation in the region - they hold more than 22 percent of seats in national parliaments, the second highest among developing regions. However, women still face glaring inequalities in healthcare access and in educational attainment. Women also have fewer opportunities for paid work - their labour force participation rate is lower than for men (65.4 percent versus 76.6 percent) - and on average they earn 21 percent less than men. Conversely, women in the region shoulder the burden of unpaid work - typically responsible for more than threequarters of the time their households dedicate to unpaid care. 

The report urges efforts to improve women’s lives by ensuring equal pay, tackling the harassment and the social norms that exclude so many women from paid work. Only then can the burden of unpaid care work be shared to help women to enter the labour force, the report suggests. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a greater provision of care and basic services like improved water supply would reduce domestic time commitments. Investments in women’s reproductive health services are critical for informed choices, the report states. 

Setting the new agenda for work While policy responses to the new world of work will differ across countries, three main clusters of policies will be critical if governments and societies are to maximize the benefits and minimize the hardships in the evolving new world of work. Strategies are needed for creating work opportunities and ensuring workers’ well-being. The report therefore proposes a three-pronged action agenda:  A New Social Contract between governments, society, and the private sector, to ensure that all members of society, especially those working outside the formal sector, have their needs taken into account in policy formulation.  A Global Deal among governments to guarantee workers’ rights and benefits around the world.  A Decent Work Agenda, encompassing all workers, that will help promote freedom of association, equity, security, and human dignity in work life. 


NOTES TO EDITORS ABOUT THIS REPORT: The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2015 Human Development Report, plus additional reference materials on its indices and specific regional implications, please visit: 2015 Human Development Report 

Full press package in all UN official languages 

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

Our tool for this is the African Union 
- a short organizational look at it.

The advent of the  African Union (AU) can be described as an event of great magnitude in the institutional evolution of the continent. On 9.9.1999, the Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity issued a Declaration (the Sirte Declaration) calling for the establishment of an African Union, with a    view, inter alia, to accelerating the process of integration in the continent to enable it play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems compounded as they are by certain negative aspects of globalisation.
The main objectives of the OAU were, inter alia, to rid  the continent of the remaining vestiges of colonization and apartheid; to  promote unity and solidarity among African States; to coordinate and intensify  cooperation for development; to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial  integrity of Member States and to promote international cooperation within the  framework of the United Nations.
Indeed, as a  continental organization the OAU provided an effective forum that enabled all  Member States to adopt coordinated positions on matters of common concern to  the continent in international fora and defend the interests of Africa  effectively.

Through the  OAU Coordinating Committee for the Liberation of Africa, the Continent worked  and spoke as one with undivided determination in forging an international  consensus in support of the liberation struggle and the fight against  apartheid.
Quest for Unity
African countries, in  their quest for unity, economic and social development under the banner of the  OAU, have taken various initiatives and made substantial progress in many areas  which paved the way for the establishment of the AU. Noteworthy among these  are: 
  • Lagos Plan of Action (LPA) and the Final Act of Lagos (1980); incorporating programmes and strategies for self reliant development and cooperation among African countries. 
  • The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Nairobi 1981) and the Grand Bay Declaration and Plan of Action on Human rights: two instruments adopted by the OAU to promote Human and People’s Rights in the Continent. The Human Rights Charter led to the establishment of the African Human Rights Commission located in Banjul, The Gambia. 
  • Africa’s Priority Programme for Economic recovery (APPER) – 1985: an emergency programme designed to address the development crisis of the 1980s, in the wake of protracted drought and famine that had engulfed the continent and the crippling effect of Africa’s external indebtedness. 
  • OAU Declaration on the Political and Socio-Economic Situation in Africa and the Fundamental Changes taking place in the World (1990): which underscored Africa’s resolve to seize the imitative, to determine its destiny and to address the challenges to peace, democracy and security. 
  • The Charter on Popular Participation adopted in 1990: a testimony to the renewed determination of the OAU to endeavour to place the African citizen at the center of development and decision-making. 
  • The Treaty establishing the African Economic Community (AEC) - 1991: commonly known as the Abuja Treaty, it seeks to create the AEC through six stages culminating in an African Common Market using the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as building blocks. The Treaty has been in operation since 1994. 
  • The Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (1993): a practical expression of the determination of the African leadership to find solutions to conflicts, promote peace, security and stability in Africa. 
  • Cairo Agenda for Action (1995): a programme for relaunching Africa’s political, economic and social development. 
  • African Common Position on Africa’s External Debt  Crisis (1997): a strategy for addressing the Continent’s External Debt Crisis. 
  • The Algiers decision on Unconstitutional Changes of Government (1999) and the Lome Declaration on the framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes (2000). 
  • The 2000 Solemn Declaration on the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation: establishes the fundamental principles for the promotion of Democracy and Good Governance in the Continent. 
  • Responses to other challenges: Africa has initiated collective action through the OAU in the protection of environment, in  fighting international terrorism, in combating the scourge of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, malaria and tuberculosis or dealing with humanitarian issues such as refugees and displaced persons, landmines, small and light weapons among others. 
  • The Constitutive Act of the African Union: adopted in  2000 at the Lome Summit (Togo), entered into force in 2001. 
  • The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) : adopted as a Programme of the AU at the Lusaka Summit (2001).
Advent  of the AU
The OAU  initiatives paved the way for the birth of AU. In July 1999, the Assembly  decided to convene an extraordinary session to expedite the process of economic  and political integration in the continent. Since then, four Summits have been  held leading to the official launching of the African Union:
  • The Sirte Extraordinary Session (1999) decided to establish an African Union 
  • The Lome Summit (2000) adopted the Constitutive Act of  the Union. 
  • The Lusaka Summit (2001) drew the road map for the  implementation of the AU 
  • The Durban Summit (2002) launched the AU and convened the 1st Assembly of the Heads of States of the African Union.
Vision of the African UnionThe vision of the African  Union is that of: “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa,  driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in  global arena.”

This vision of a new,  forwardlooking, dynamic and integrated Africa will be fully realized through  relentless struggle on several fronts and as a long-term endeavour. The African  Union has shifted focus from supporting  liberation movements in the erstwhile African territories under colonialism and  apartheid, as envisaged by the OAU since 1963 and the Constitutive Act, to an organization spear-heading Africa’s development and integration.
The Objectives of the AU 
  • To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa; 
  • To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States; 
  • To accelerate the political and socio-economic  integration of the continent; 
  • To promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples; 
  • To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 
  • To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent; 
  • To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance; 
  • To promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant human rights instruments; 
  • To establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations; 
  • To promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies; 
  • To promote co-operation in all fields of human activity  to raise the living standards of African peoples; 
  • To coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union; 
  • To advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology; 
  • To work with relevant international partners in the       eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on  the continent.
The Organs of the AU

The Assembly

Composed of Heads of  State and Government or their duly accredited representatives. The Assembly of  Heads of State and Government is the supreme organ of the Union.

The Executive Council

Composed of Ministers or  Authorities designated by the Governments of Members States. The Executive  Council is responsible to the Assembly. 

The Commission
Composed of the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson, eight Commissioners and  Staff members; Each Commissioner shall be responsible for a portfolio.
The Permanent Representatives' Committee

Composed of Permanent Representatives of Member States accredited to the Union.  The Permanent Representatives Committee is charged with the responsibility of  preparing the work of the Executive Council.
Peace and Security Council (PSC)

By decision AHG/Dec 160 (xxxvii) of the Summit of Lusaka, July 2001, a decision  was made for the creation within the African Union of the Peace and Security  Council. The Protocol establishing the PSC is in the process of ratification.
Pan-African  Parliament
A Pan-African Parliament, and organ to ensure the full participation of African  peoples in governance, development and economic integration of the Continent.  The protocol relating to the composition, powers, functions and organization of  the Pan-African Parliament has been signed by Member States and is in the  process of ratification.
The Economic, Social and Cultural Council, an advisory organ composed of  different social and professional groups of the Member States of the Union. The  statutes determining the functions, powers, composition and organization of the  Economic, Social and Cultural Council have been prepared.
The  Court of Justice
A Court of Justice of the Union shall be established. The statutes defining the  composition and functions of the Court of Justice have been prepared and will  be submitted to the Assembly in Maputo.
The  Specialized Technical Committees
 The following Specialized Technical Committees are meant to address sectoral  issues and are at Ministerial Level: 
  • The Committee on Rural Economy and Agricultural Matters; 
  • The Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs; 
  • The Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters; 
  • The Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment; 
  • The Committee on Transport, Communications and Tourism; 
  • The Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs; and 
  • The Committee on Education, Culture and Human Resources.
The Financial Institutions  
  • The African Central bank 
  • The African Monetary Fund 
  • The African Investment Bank
The AU Commission

The Commission is the  key organ playing a central role in the day-to-day management of the African  Union. Among others, it represents the Union and defends its interests;  elaborates draft common positions of the Union; prepares strategic plans and  studies for the consideration of the Executive Council; elaborates, promotes,  coordinates and harmonizes the programmes and policies of the Union with those  of the RECs; ensures the mainstreaming of gender in all programmes and  activities of the Union. 

Members of the Commission
  • Chairperson; 
  • Deputy Chairperson; 
  • Eight (8) Commissioners. 
  • Staff members
Portfolios of the Commission
1. PEACE AND SECURITY  (Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, and Combating Terrorism...)
2. POLITICAL AFFAIRS (Human Rights, Democracy, Good Governance, Electoral  Institutions, Civil Society Organizations, Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees,  Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons)
3. INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENERGY (Energy, Transport, Communications, Infrastructure  and Tourism…)
4. SOCIAL AFFAIRS (Health, Children, Drug Control, Population, Migration,  Labour and Employment, Sports and Culture…)
5. HUMAN RESOURCES, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (Education, Information Technology  Communication, Youth, Human Resources, Science and Technology…)
6. TRADE AND INDUSTRY  (Trade, Industry, Customs and Immigration Matters…)
7. RURAL ECONOMY AND    AGRICULTURE (Rural Economy, Agriculture and Food Security, Livestock,    Environment, Water and Natural Resources and Desertification…)
8. ECONOMIC AFFAIRS (Economic Integration, Monetary Affairs, Private Sector    Development, Investment and Resource Mobilization…).
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