Four energetic evenings of live music performances on three stages in the historical Ngome Kongwe (Old Fort) in Zanzibar, have been completed. Featuring a wide selection of performances by artist from different parts of the African continent, the 17th edition of the Sauti za Busara festival has yet again showed the world how musical expressions can unite people.
2020 also marks 10 years of Norwegian support to the organization behind the festival, Busara Promotions. The Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania, H.E. Ms Elisabeth Jacobsen, attended the festival for the second time. At the press conference before the festival, she emphasized that Sauti za Busara is an important platform for freedom of expression and promotion of cultural diversity, whilst nourishing expertise, quality and professionalism in Tanzanian’s cultural sector. Moreover, through her speech the Ambassador accentuated that this year’s festival theme was of very high importance:
“…Sauti za Busara is of importance for the women in music. Every year you are making sure that women lead bands are given a platform. You are also facilitating fruitful discussions among women music sector professionals, and you use the power of the festival to speak out about important issues. In 2020 you are saying, “Paza Sauti! Kataa Unyanyasaji” (Speak Out! Say NO to Sexual Harassment). We are very proud of you for putting such an important theme on the agenda. The SDGs put gender equality at the heart of the international agenda, and Norway is a pioneer for gender equality. Discrimination and harassment prevents girls and women from practicing their cultural rights, freedom of expression, and it hampers economic development. Busara Promotions, we speak out together with you!....”
The following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Norway.
The Troika congratulates the people of South Sudan and the parties to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) on the announcement of the formation of an inclusive transitional government on February 22. We welcome the fact that the government and opposition parties have made the necessary compromises to allow this important step. For the transitional period to be a success, a spirit of continuous collaboration, supported by the active, engaged, and free voices of citizens and civil society, must continue. Nearly nine years since South Sudan’s independence, this is an opportunity for the political leadership to take their country forward towards prosperity and peace by making meaningful progress on security sector arrangements, the reform agenda, transitional justice and accountability, and preparations for credible and safe elections.
The Troika commends the work of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as a guarantor of the R-ARCSS. We are committed to working with the new transitional government, IGAD, and other regional and international partners to support the people of South Sudan in their pursuit of peace and stability.
No single country in the world is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and futures, says a report released by a Commission of over 40 Child and Adolescent Health Experts from around the world.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) made this known on its website on Wednesday.
The commission was convened by WHO, UNICEF and The Lancet.
The report is entitled: “A Future for the World’s Children.”
It said that the health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide was under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices.
The report said that the threat had pushed heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children.
Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Co-Chair of the Commission, said that in spite of improvements in child and adolescent health over the past 20 years, progress had stalled, and set to reverse.
“It has been estimated that around 250 million children under five years old in low- and middle-income countries are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential, based on proxy measures of stunting and poverty.
“But of even greater concern, every child worldwide now faces existential threats from climate change and commercial pressures.
“Countries need to overhaul their approach to child and adolescent health, to ensure that we not only look after our children today, but protect the world they will inherit in the future,” she said.
The report includes a new global index of 180 countries, comparing performance on child flourishing, including measures of child survival and wellbeing, such as health, education, and nutrition.
Others are sustainability, with a proxy for greenhouse gas emissions, and equity, or income gaps.
According to the report, while the poorest countries need to do more to support their children’s ability to live healthy lives, excessive carbon emissions disproportionately from wealthier countries threaten the future of all children.
It noted that if global warming exceeds 4°C by the year 2100 in line with current projections, this would lead to devastating health consequences for children.
The report said that this was due to rising ocean levels, heatwaves, proliferation of diseases like malaria, dengue and malnutrition.
The index shows that children in Norway, Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands have the best chance at survival and wellbeing, while children in Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger and Mali face the worst odds.
However, it said that when authors took per capita CO2 emissions into account, the top countries trail behind: Norway ranked 156, Republic of Korea 166, and the Netherlands 160.
It noted that each of the three countries emits 210 per cent more CO2 per capita than their 2030 target.
The report disclosed that the United States of America (USA), Australia, and Saudi Arabia were among the 10 worst emitters.
Awa Coll-Seck, a Minister from Senegal, also Co-Chair of the commission, said, “More than two billion people live in countries where development is hampered by humanitarian crises, conflicts, natural disasters and problems increasingly linked with climate change.
“While some of the poorest countries have among the lowest CO2 emissions, many are exposed to the harshest impacts of a rapidly changing climate.
“Promoting better conditions today for children to survive and thrive nationally does not have to come at the cost of eroding children’s futures globally,” Coll-Seck said in the report.
The report revealed that only countries on track to beat CO2 emission per capita targets by 2030, while also performing fairly (within the top 70) on child flourishing measures are: Albania, Armenia, Grenada, Jordan, Moldova, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uruguay and Viet Nam.
It also highlights the distinct threat posed to children from harmful marketing, saying that evidence suggests that children in some countries see as many as 30,000 advertisements on television alone in a single year.
The report added that youths exposure to vaping (e-cigarettes) advertisements increased by more than 250 per cent in the USA over two years, reaching more than 24 million young people.
Also, Prof. Anthony Costello, one of the commission’s authors, said: “Industry Self-regulation has failed.
“Studies in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA – among many others – have shown that self-regulation has not hampered commercial ability to advertise to children.
“For example, despite industry signing up to self-regulation in Australia, children and adolescent viewers were still exposed to 51 million alcohol advertisements during just one year of televised football, cricket and rugby.
“And the reality could be much worse still: we have few facts and figures about the huge expansion of social media advertising and algorithms aimed at our children.”
The report noted that children’s exposure to commercial marketing of junk food and sugary beverages was associated with purchase of unhealthy foods, linking predatory marketing to the alarming rise in childhood obesity.
“The number of obese children and adolescents increased from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016, an 11-fold increase, with dire individual and societal costs,” it said.
To protect children, the independent commission authors called for a new global movement driven by and for children.
It recommended an halt to CO2 emissions with the utmost urgency, to ensure children have a future on the planet.
The report added that children and adolescents be placed at the centre of efforts to achieve sustainable development.
It called for new policies and investment in all sectors to work toward child health and rights; incorporate children’s voices into policy decisions and tighten national regulation of harmful commercial marketing.
Also, Dr Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet family of journals, said that the opportunity was great, evidence available and tools were at hand.
“From heads-of-state to local government, from UN leaders to children themselves, this commission calls for the birth of a new era for child and adolescent health.
“It will take courage and commitment to deliver. It is the supreme test of our generation,” Horton said.
The UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, said that from the climate crisis to obesity and harmful commercial marketing, children around the world were contending with threats that were unimaginable just a few generations ago.
“It is time for a rethink on child health, one which places children at the top of every government’s development agenda and puts their wellbeing above all considerations.
“This report shows that the world’s decision makers are, too often, failing today’s children and youths: failing to protect their health, failing to protect their rights, and failing to protect their planet,” Fore said.
Also, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said the report was a wakeup call for countries to invest in child health and development.
said it also called fortheir voices to be heard, protect their rights, and build a future that was fit for children.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye
Tunde Disu, a former Technical Director of the defunct Nigeria Football Association (NFA), on Monday said Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo would surely have a successful spell at Manchester United in England.
Disu told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that Ighalo would be successful in view of his high level of performance at the various clubs he earlier played for.
NAN reports that Ighalo recently joined the English Premier League side on loan from Shanghai Shenhua in China for six months, with the former English champions having an option to buy.
Disu said Manchester United could not have made a mistake in acquiring Ighalo, adding that his successful spell at various clubs was a testimony of his impressive career.
“Ighalo should have meant something to a great club like Manchester United before they can move for him. He is a good (penalty) box player with a lot of energy.
“He is a type of player that does not miss a scoring opportunity, a penalty box player with proficiency like the late Rashidi Yekini and he is not an injury-prone player.
“Having played top-flight football before now, I think he should also be successful playing with Manchester United, I have no doubt about that because he is also athletic.
“Although Ighalo now have a tougher assignment because of expectations from a top club like Manchester United, I am hopeful that he will do well,’’ he said.
The 30-year old Ighalo had previously played for Julius Berger of Lagos in 2006, where he started his professional career.
He then proceeded to play at Lyn Oslo in Norway and Udinese in Italy from 2008 to 2014.
The versatile striker moved to Spain where he played for Granada and Cesena on loan, before moving to Watford where he was also on loan before being acquired by the club.
He later moved to China where he played for Changchun Yatai and then Shanghai Shenhua.
Disu however said the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) highest goalscorer needed to understudy other established Manchester United players such as Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford to succeed.
“Ighalo is also a tough striker, but he needs to understudy those before him, players such as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial who are a bit fast.
“I know that he shoots well and he is strong for opponents, but he needed to also help in the defence as well or sometimes come to the midfield to take the ball for attack.’’
Disu who coached the Flying Eagles to a second place finish at the 1989 World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia however said he was hopeful Ighalo would return to the Super Eagles.
“I really didn’t like it when he retired from the national team and I hope he will rescind his decision if he gets a call for the coach, Gernot Rohr.
“For Manchester United, he is the type of striker they need and I hope that he will justify the faith they have in him. Also, for Nigeria, he is our type of player,’’ he said.
Edited By: Joseph Edeh and Olawale Alabi)
Approximately 1,600 service members from the armies of 34 African and partner nations will participate in Flintlock 2020 at multiple locations in Mauritania (Atar, Nouakchott, and Kaedi) and Senegal (Thiès), from February 17 to 28, 2020.
Flintlock is the U.S. Africa Command’s premier and largest annual Special Operations Forces exercise since 2005.
It is designed to strengthen the ability of key partner nations in the region to counter violent extremist organizations, protect their borders, and provide security for their people.
Participating African nations include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. International partners include Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Flintlock 2020 opening ceremony will take place on February 17th in Atar. The closing ceremony will take place on February 28th in Nouakchott.
The following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Norway.
On February 8, Intergovernmental Authority on Development leaders met during the African Union summit to discuss the peace process in South Sudan. The Troika recognizes the serious efforts that the region has taken to unblock the current impasse and shares its frustration at the lack of progress.
With few days remaining until a power-sharing government is due to form, time has almost run out. We encourage all parties to exercise the spirit of political compromise at the heart of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in these final days.
We urge the government of South Sudan and all opposition parties to work together to resolve issues blocking the formation of an inclusive national unity government by the February 22 deadline. A credible unity government needs to be inclusive as specified in the R-ARCSS and cannot be formed on the basis of unilateral action. Specifically, we encourage all sides, including the government, to reach consensus on a way forward on the number of states. Refusing to compromise and move forward undermines the agreement, risks the ceasefire, and erodes the trust of the public and the confidence of partners.
During this critical time, we urge all parties to continue to uphold and publicly commit to the permanent ceasefire, to instruct their forces to exercise restraint, and to avoid inflammatory statements. It is of fundamental importance to avoid a return to armed conflict with devastating consequences for the people of South Sudan and for the region as a whole.
The coronavirus outbreak in China may be over by April, the country’s foremost medical adviser on the outbreak, Zhong Nanshan, said on Tuesday,
The World Health Organisation (WHO) however, feared a “very grave” global threat as deaths passed 1000
As the epidemic squeezed the world’s second-biggest economy, Chinese firms struggled to get back to work after the extended Lunar New Year holiday, hundreds of them saying they would need loans running into billions of dollars to stay afloat.
Company layoffs were beginning in spite of assurances by President Xi Jinping that widespread sackings would be avoided, as supply chains for global firms from car manufacturers to smartphone makers ruptured.
Nanshan said numbers of new cases were falling in parts and forecast the epidemic would peak this month.
“I hope this outbreak or this event may be over in something like April,” added Nanshan, 83, an epidemiologist who won fame for his role in combating an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2003.
The WHO said on Tuesday 1,017 people had died in China where there were 42,708 cases.
Only 319 cases have been confirmed in 24 other countries and territories outside mainland China, with two deaths: one in Hong Kong and the other in the Philippines.
World stocks, which had seen rounds of selloffs due to the coronarivus’ impact on China’s economy and ripple effects round the world, kept rising towards record highs on his comments.
WHO Chief Tedros Ghebreyesus was less sanguine, however, appealing for the sharing of virus samples and speeding up of research into drugs and vaccines.
“With 99 per cent of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world,” he told researchers in Geneva.
With travel curbs, lockdowns and production suspensions all affecting China’s economy, many were trying to calculate and predict the probable impact.
JP Morgan analysts downgraded forecasts for Chinese growth this quarter, saying the outbreak had “completely changed the dynamics” of its economy.
Investment bank Nomura’s analysts said the virus seemed to have had “a devastating impact” on China’s economy in January and February and markets “appear to be significantly underestimating the extent of disruption”.
Norway’s biggest independent energy consultancy Rystad Energy predicted the outbreak will cut growth in global oil demand by a quarter this year.
However, two EU officials said the impact on the bloc from damage to China’s economy would only be “marginal”.
Inside China, more than 300 companies are seeking bank loans totalling 57.4 billion yuan (8.2 billion dollars) to help cope with the disruption, banking sources said.
Authorities said they would roll out measures to stabilise jobs, in addition to previously announced cuts to interest rates and fiscal stimulus designed to minimise any downturn.
Hubei, where the flu-like virus emerged from a wildlife market in the provincial capital of Wuhan in December, remains in virtual lockdown, its train stations and airports shut and roads blocked.
Nevertheless, its health authority reported 2,097 new cases and 103 new deaths on Feb. 10.
With public anger rising, Hubei’s government dismissed the provincial health commission’s Communist Party boss Zhang Jin and Director Liu Yingzi, state media said.
The virus has caused chaos around Asia and beyond, with many flights suspended and entry restrictions imposed.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Isaac Aregbesola
The UN has announced an increase in humanitarian needs in 2020 due to protracted armed conflicts and more frequent extreme weather events. This year, Norway is providing NOK 420 million to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and NOK 90 million to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
‘The funding we are providing ensures predictability for our partners and helps to promote a more effective humanitarian response, in line with the priorities set out in our humanitarian strategy,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
According to UN estimates, 167.6 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance and protection in 2020. The UN’s global humanitarian appeal for 2020 is for USD 28.8 billion.
Norway is one of the largest contributors to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). CERF ensures that assistance reaches people affected by humanitarian crises quickly. It also provides much-needed funding for underfunded emergencies. Norway’s contribution is provided under an agreement between Norway and CERF on the provision of funding totalling nearly NOK 1.7 billion over a four-year period.
Every year, some 20 million people receive urgent medical assistance through CERF, and 10 million people receive food aid. In 2019, CERF provided funding to alleviate humanitarian crises in 47 countries, including Somalia, Djibouti, Yemen and Venezuela. This year, CERF has already provided funding to help tackle the desert locust outbreak in East Africa, and to provide shelter for those most in need in conflict-ridden Niger.
The UN plays a key role in ensuring effective coordination, planning and implementation of humanitarian responses.
‘A well-functioning UN is vital for ensuring that humanitarian action is effective and that it meets the needs of those who are most severely affected by crises. The UN resident coordinators and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) play a key role in this regard,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.
In 2020, Norway is providing NOK 90 million in funding for OCHA’s efforts to promote coordinated humanitarian action. In addition, Norway will provide support for OCHA’s country offices and country-based pooled funds in particularly vulnerable countries.
One of the biggest challenges in humanitarian work is to ensure protection for and provide assistance to internally displaced people. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), over 41 million people worldwide were internally displaced at the end of 2018. This number is increasing, and there is a need to step up the response in this area.
On 3 December last year, the UN Secretary-General established a High‑level Panel on Internal Displacement, which is tasked with proposing recommendations for how countries can provide better protection for internally displaced people and with finding long-term solutions to internal displacement. Norway has actively supported this initiative and will provide NOK 6.55 million in funding from this year’s humanitarian budget to the secretariat that has been established to support the work of the Panel.
President Muhammadu Buhari has reassured Nigerians and the international community of the steadfast commitment of his government to secure the freedom of all children and other victims of abduction by terrorists in the country.
The president renewed the pledge in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Monday.
Shehu stated that the Nigerian leader spoke at a High Level Breakfast Dialogue on ‘‘Stop the War on Children Affected by Armed Conflicts, Dividend of Silencing the Guns’’, a side event during the 33rd AU Summit.
The programme was co-sponsored by the Governments of Nigeria, Uganda and Norway, the AU Commission and Save the Children.
Speaking at the occasion, Buhari said: ”A number of school girls from Chibok and Dapchi earlier abducted by Boko Haram have regained their freedom.
”We commend the gallant efforts of the MultiNational Joint Task Force and the partners in supporting the reintegration of the girls.
”Let me categorically reassure you of the steadfast commitment of the Government of Nigeria to ensure the freedom of all kidnapped children from the shackles of Boko Haram.
”We will not relent until every child, boy or girl, every Nigerian adult in custody of Boko Haram, is freed,” Buhati declared.
The president urged African countries and stakeholders on the continent to work fervently towards strengthening the protection of children from the six grave violations during armed conflict.
According to him, the six grave violations are killing and maiming of children, recruitment or use of children as soldiers, sexual violence against children, abduction of children, attacks against schools or hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access for children.
Buhari expressed concern that these grave violations against children have continued unabated.
”It is for this reason that the Nigerian government has severally condemned, and is combating frontally the dreadful activities of terrorist groups like Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State.
”Of course, the severity of these grave violations varies from country to country.
”The incidence of a single violation of children rights in any country is an indelible dent on the African consciousness and is to be deplored and condemned,” he said.
While reminding AU Member States of their commitments to protecting children affected by armed conflicts in Africa, Buhari reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to the protection of children in armed conflict zones.
He also outlined some concrete measures taken by Nigeria towards tackling the root causes of child soldiers and the misfortune of out-of-school children.
”To stem the tide of out-of-school children Nigeria embarked on an all-inclusive reconstruction of schools vandalised by the ravaging terrorist activities of Boko Haram, while returning children are rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.
”Our Nomadic Education policy is also being implemented to reduce the number of out-of-school children.
”We have also prioritised de-radicalisation and demobilisation of ex-combatant children of Boko Haram insurgents,” he said.
The Nigerian leader also called on the AU Peace and Security Council to energetically champion the strategy to stop the war on children and adopt the Child Protection Architecture within the African Peace and Security Architecture and the Roadmap on Silencing the Guns.
”The call to action is now for accountability by all African States to the rights of the children caught up in wars.
”Let us stop the war on children. This is a wake-up call for us all to create the enabling environment for rooting out the impact of armed conflicts against our children across the continent,” he said.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola