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Despite ‘considerable progress,’ Somalia needs help tackling political, economic and rights challenges, says UN expert

 

Despite ‘considerable progress,’ Somalia needs help tackling political, economic and rights challenges, says UN expert

Source: UN, 25 July 2019

UNICEF/UN0260172/Karel Prinsloo
Seventeen-year-old Ideeya Jimcaale at her home in a camp for internally displaced persons on the beach in Bossaso, Puntland, Somalia (2018).

25 July 2019

Although Somalia has made “considerable progress” in its political, economic, social and human rights situation over the past six years, “there is much more to do,” a United Nations expert said on Thursday, urging the international community to assist.

“I urge the international community and Federal Government of Somalia to address the negative effects of climate change on the population and ensure access to basic human rights such as water supply, health services, and education for all children, in particular girls”, said Independent Expert Bahame Tom Nyanduga at the end of a 12-day visit to the country.

According to Mr. Nyanduga, Somalia also faces “many other challenges”, including continuing conflict, discrimination and youth unemployment, as well as “delivering economic, social and cultural rights”.

The Independent Expert commended the Somali people for their resilience in the face of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, grave human rights violations and other challenges, such as poverty and lack of basic necessities for their livelihoods.

He also expressed concern over the delay in establishing the National Human Rights Commission and in progress on a Sexual Offences Bill.

“I urge the Federal Government and Federal Parliament to address these challenges as a matter of priority to enhance protection of human rights in the country,” he said.

Turning to progress, he cited territory recovered by Somalia’s security institutions, African Union mission (ANISOM) troops and bilateral forces; praised the increased number of women in Parliament and cabinet; and welcomed Somalia’s accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Rights at the fore

Mr. Nyanduga urged Parliament to include specific mechanism within the proposed electoral law to ensure that women, minority clans and other vulnerable groups were represented in Parliament – or risks losing its 2016 gains.

Against the backdrop of reports of continuing intimidation, arbitrary arrests and harassment, he stressed the importance of respecting the right to freedom of expression and opinion of journalists.

The expert also called for action to end the endemic problem of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly allegations of gang rapes across the country.

A strong judiciary and police force will greatly contribute to the elimination of conflict-related sexual violence – UN expert

“A strong judiciary and police force will greatly contribute to the elimination of conflict-related sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence,” he underscored.

Mr. Nyanduga also urged the international community to pay special attention to the country’s water crisis, which has been the source of regular lethal conflict between clans, and to help the Government to find long term, durable solutions.

“Access to water is a basic necessity of life and a fundamental human right, and will contribute significantly to peace and reconciliation among clans,” maintained Mr. Nyanduga.

The Independent Expert’s findings from his visit to Mogadishu, Hargeisa and Nairobi, as well as his talks with the Federal Government and Somaliland officials, and UN, AMISOM, donors and civil society representatives will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

Any point in Dialogue with Al-Shabab and Boko Haram?

Any point in Dialogue with Al-Shabab and Boko Haram?

Source: The Institute for Security Studies published on 24 July 2019
The Institute for Security Studies published on 24 July 2019 a policy brief titled “How Viable Is Dialogue with Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram?” by Akinola Olojo.

The author notes that the campaign against terror groups in the Lake Chad Basin and Horn of Africa relies heavily on the use of force as a strategy. However, this approach is not providing a sustainable solution. Although dialogue with terror groups is a sensitive and complex undertaking, he argues it needs to be explored as a policy option that can complement existing counter-terrorism approaches.

UN Special Representative James Swan visits Somaliland

UN Special Representative James Swan visits Somaliland


Source: UNSOM, Sunday July 28, 2019

On his first visit to Somaliland since taking office, the United Nations Secretary-General’s new Special Representative underlined the importance of dialogue in addressing the region’s challenges.

“I want to take this occasion to emphasize the importance of building and maintaining open channels of communication to resolve differences peacefully and constructively,” the UN envoy, James Swan, said

He also urged further efforts by political leaders on Somaliland to organize parliamentary and local elections.

During his two-day visit to the Somaliland capital of Hargeisa, the UN official met with Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi Abdi and senior members of his cabinet, as well as women leaders and beneficiaries of UN programmes.

In his meetings, the Special Representative reiterated the world body’s commitment to supporting Somaliland.

“Part of the reason I’m here is to help strengthen our collaboration regarding humanitarian activities, economic development and capacity-building for local governance and service delivery,” Mr. Swan said.

“I’ve been pleased to see some of the projects helping refugees and community members alike acquire skills to support themselves and their families,” he added. “The communities hosting refugees and asylum-seekers are already making a big contribution to these groups, and these programmes not only equip the refugees with critical skills, but also benefit the wider community.”

Earlier, the UN official visited Somaliland’s Civil Service Institute, which is supported by the Ministry of Interior and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and is putting in place the skills to manage basic local services benefitting the people of Somaliland.

Mr. Swan was on his first visit to Somaliland since taking up his post in late June. He was accompanied by a senior official from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNDP – Takeshi Moriyama, Serge Tissot and Jocelyn Mason, respectively.

Female bomber in Mogadishu mayor’s office targeted UN envoy

Female bomber in Mogadishu mayor’s office targeted UN envoy


Source: AP, Thursday July 25, 2019

A rare female suicide bomber used in the deadly al-Shabab attack in the office of Mogadishu’s mayor was aiming for the American who is the new United Nations envoy to Somalia and had left the office just minutes earlier, the extremist group and officials said.

The death toll in Wednesday’s attack rose to seven and the seriously wounded Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman was in a coma on Thursday. He and other officials were expected to be airlifted to Qatar for treatment, said Mohamed Ahmed, a government official at the Mogadishu hospital treating the mayor.

The new U.N. envoy, James Swan, was the bomber’s intended target, Abdiaziz Abu Musab, al-Shabab’s military spokesman, told local media

Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior police officer, said the female bomber walked into a security meeting and blew herself up a few yards away from the mayor. It was just the fourth time the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab had been known to use a female bomber in a suicide attack.

Swan had paid the Somali capital’s mayor a brief visit and left the compound less than an hour before the bombing, an official at the mayor’s office told The Associated Press.

In a statement, Swan condemned “this heinous attack which not only demonstrates a violent disregard for the sanctity of human life, but also targets Somalis working to improve the lives of their fellow Somalis.” The U.S. ambassador to Somalia, Donald Yamamoto, and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the attack.

It was not clear how the bomber managed to enter the mayor’s office as visitors are required to pass through at least four metal detectors. Some security officials said the attacker might have coordinated with corrupt officials, offering them bribes for access.

Al-Shabab often targets government buildings such as the presidential palace and other high-profile parts of Mogadishu with bombings. The Somalia-based group was chased out of Mogadishu years ago but still controls parts of the Horn of Africa nation’s south and central regions and is a frequent target of U.S. airstrikes.

The security officials said Wednesday’s attack appeared to be a shift in tactics, as the extremists in the past had rarely managed to infiltrate heavily fortified government buildings without first detonating one or more vehicle bombs

Mayor of Mogadishu, others hurt in Somalia suicide blast: relative

Mayor of Mogadishu, others hurt in Somalia suicide blast: relative


Source: Reuters, Wednesday July 24, 2019

A suicide bomb attack on the local government headquarters injured the mayor of Mogadishu and several other Somali officials on Wednesday, a relative of one of the victims told Reuters.

No one immediately claimed responsibility but Al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al Shabaab, which wants to topple the U.N.-backed government, regularly carries out such attacks.

“A suicide bomber walked into the meeting hall and blew up himself,” said Mohamed Abdullahi, adding that his cousin and the mayor were among the officials injured.
The area was filled with ambulances after the blast, shopkeeper Mohamed Osman said.

There were no immediate details about casualty numbers, after the government authorities told medical personnel not to disclose figures as they have done in the past.

Journalists are forbidden from going to attack sites.

Somalia has been riven by conflict since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew a dictator, then turned on each other.

Outcome in Sudan May Determine Future of Horn of Africa

Outcome in Sudan May Determine Future of Horn of Africa

Source: Foreign Affairs published on 19 July 2019
Foreign Affairs published on 19 July 2019 a commentary titled “What Happens in Sudan Doesn’t Stay in Sudan” by Michael Woldemariam, Boston University, and Alden Young, UCLA.

The authors argue that the historic transition underway in Sudan will likely determine the future of the Horn of Africa for the next decade or more.

Somalia secures 29 mln USD to improve infrastructure projects

Somalia secures 29 mln USD to improve infrastructure projects


Source: XINHUANET, Tuesday July 23, 2019

Image result for AfDB and Somalia

Somalia has secured about 29 million U.S. dollars from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for water and sanitation and roads projects designed to improve livelihoods and boost the country’s resilience

AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina said the grants would help improve quality of life, inclusiveness and engender resilience in the communities, especially in Kismayo and Baidoa, where an estimated 65 percent of the population live below the poverty line and 70 percent is younger than 30 years and unemployed.

“We should look at the whole issue of fragility and transition states in a more comprehensive way. We need to do a lot more engagement; we need to work aggressively to help these countries,” Adesina said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“The Kismayo-Baidoa water supply and sanitation project will boost access to potable water, improved sanitation and strengthen capacity for related delivery services in Jubbaland and South West states of Somalia,” AfDB said.

It said the road infrastructure project is expected to enhance connectivity through rehabilitation of some 247 km of roads, in addition to the construction of a new 100 km feeder road.

Nnenna Nwabufo, AfDB deputy regional director-general for East Africa, said the water and sanitation project will propel Somalia towards Sustainable Development Goals on universal access to water and sanitation.

Nwabufo said the project will benefit around 200,000 urban and peri-urban people living in Kismayo and Baidoa, which are experiencing a high influx of internally displaced persons, resulting in high youth unemployment, leading to increased fragility.

“Somalia is showing promising signs of increased stabilization through formation of recognized state institutions, fostering a country-owned and led approach to transition from fragility,” she said.

Ethiopia referendum: Dozens killed in Sidama clashes

Ethiopia referendum: Dozens killed in Sidama clashes


Source: BBC, Monday July 22, 2019

At least 25 people have died in clashes between Ethiopian security forces and activists in southern Ethiopia, hospital officials have told the BBC.

The officials said security forces fired bullets during the protests across the Sidama region.

Activists from the Sidama ethnic group were set to declare their own federal state on Thursday.

They accused the government of failing to hold a promised referendum on the issue.

The Sidama are Ethiopia’s fifth biggest ethnic group, making up 4% of the population and are mainly based in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regional state.

The four bigger communities all have their own regions within Ethiopia’s ethnically based federal system.

Reports from activists and opposition groups cite a higher death toll with fatalities as high as 60, but the local acting security head, Andinet Ashenafi, warns against what he called exaggerated numbers, reports the BBC’s Kalkidan Yibeltal from Addis Ababa.Mr Andinet confirmed to the BBC that four people had been killed in the city of Awassa and 26 others sustained wounds.

Members of other ethnic groups were also killed after being attacked by angry mobs.

Local media reported that protesters had attacked a tourist lodge, leading to 12 tourists being escorted out by troops.

The internet has been blocked in parts of the south of the country since Thursday, including the main city of Awassa.

What started the protests?

Shortly after Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came into power last year, promising sweeping democratic reforms, Sidama activists submitted their request for a referendum on having their own officially recognised region.

As part of the constitution, the Ethiopian government must hold a referendum within a year of a request from any ethnic group which wishes to form a separate entity.

The deadline for the Sidama referendum was Thursday 18 July, but after a complex period of transition following Mr Abiy’s first year of leadership, as well as a wave of ethnic tensions and an alleged regional coup, the government did not organise the vote in time.

The Sidama announced they would declare their own federal state on the deadline for the referendum: Thursday 18 July.

Large-scale violence was avoided as Sidama opposition groups agreed with the government to delay the declaration and hold a referendum in five months.

But for some Sidama people, this compromise was not enough, resulting in the protests and violence.

Why do the Sidama ethnic group want their own region?

As the fifth largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, the Sidama want the same level of autonomy as the four larger communities.

Most Sidama people are farmers and coffee is a particularly prominent source of income.

If the Sidama get their own region, it would mean the regional government could pass policies to suit their economic and cultural needs.

Mogadishu car bomb explosion kills 17

Mogadishu car bomb explosion kills 17


Source: Aljazeera, Monday July 22, 2019

At least 17 people have been killed and dozens wounded when a bomb went off outside a hotel near the international airport in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, according to security officials.

The al-Shabab armed group claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack near a busy security checkpoint outside the Afrik Hotel.

“A suicide bomber drove the rigged car into a security checkpoint … at the highway road leading to the airport,” Ahmed Bashane, police officer,  told DPA news agency.

“We have collected and confirmed the bodies of 17, including the suicide bomber,” he added.

Nura Hassan, a nurse at Mogadishu’s Madina hospital, said the health facility received 27 people with injuries. About 17 of them suffered critical wounds, she told Reuters news agency.

The blast caused massive damage to places of business next to the highway and thick black smoke engulfed the area, a DPA reporter at the scene said.

Ambulance sirens echoed across the blast scene as soldiers at a nearby checkpoint fired in the air to disperse onlookers who gathered nearby and to stop motorists trying to speed through the site amid the chaos.Other witnesses describe being knocked to the ground by the force of the blast, which damaged nearby buildings.

“I was not very far away from where the blast occurred, and I could see several people lying [on the ground], some of them dead with a pool of blood,” said one, Abdikarim Mohamed.

“The blast was huge. It did damage to several nearby buildings.”

Suado Ali was walking out of a travel agency when the shockwave knocked her flat.

“I was forced to the ground by the shockwave. I saw nearly ten people lying on the ground, some motionless and others screaming for help,” he told AFP.

The attack comes just over a week after 26 people were killed and 56 wounded in a 12-hour attack by al-Shabab fighters on a popular hotel in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo.

A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into the Medina hotel on Friday before several heavily armed gunmen forced their way inside, shooting as they went.

The armed group has been fighting since 2007 to topple Somalia’s fragile government, which is backed by a 20,000-strong African Union force, AMISOM

Sudan’s military and protesters sign power-sharing deal, first step toward civilian rule

Sudan’s military and protesters sign power-sharing deal, first step toward civilian rule


Source: AP, Thursday July 18, 2019

Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, right, and Sudan’s pro-democracy movement leader Ahmad al-Rabiah shake hands after signing a power sharing document in Khartoum, Sudan, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. The two sides are still at work on a more contentious constitutional agreement that would specify the division of powers.


Sudan’s pro-democracy movement and the ruling military council signed a document early Wednesday that outlines a power-sharing deal, but the two sides are still at work on a more contentious constitutional agreement that would specify the division of powers.The signing ceremony held in the capital, Khartoum, after marathon overnight talks, marks an important step in the transition to civilian rule following the military overthrow of long-ruling autocrat Omar al-Bashir amid mass protests in April.

But the military appears to have the upper hand, following weeks of negotiations and a deadly crackdown last month in which security forces violently dispersed the protesters’ main sit-in.

The document signed Wednesday would establish a joint civilian-military sovereign council that would rule Sudan for a little over three years while elections are organized. A military leader will head the 11-member council for the first 21 months, followed by a civilian leader for the next 18.

It marks a significant concession by the protesters, who had demanded an immediate transition to civilian rule. The pro-democracy movement would appoint a Cabinet, and the two sides would agree on a legislative body within three months of the start of the transition.

But negotiators have yet to agree on a division of powers between the sovereign council, the Cabinet

and the legislative body, which would be enshrined in the constitutional document. That document, which they hope to adopt in talks scheduled for Friday, would also set the terms of military leaders’ potential immunity from prosecution.The military has said the sovereign council should be able to veto appointments to the Cabinet and Cabinet decisions, something the protesters fear would deprive it of any real power. The protesters have also said that members of the council should be stripped of immunity if they are implicated in last month’s crackdown.

The Communist Party said it and some other factions rejected the deal signed Wednesday because it did include the immediate handover of power to civilians and did not provide for an international investigation of the violence.

Protest organizers say security forces killed at least 128 people during last month’s crackdown. Authorities put the death toll at 61, including three members of the security forces. The two sides have agreed on a Sudanese investigation into the violence, but have yet to outline its scope.

The agreement signed Wednesday at a ceremony broadcast by state TV stems from a meeting last month brokered by the U.S. and Britain, which support the protesters, and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which back the military . The diplomatic push ended weeks of stalemate that had raised fears of further violence or even civil war.

“We are ushering in a new era,” said Ibrahim al-Amin, a negotiator for the Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and change, a broad-based coalition including independent professional unions, traditional political parties and other groups.

“The upcoming government will be a government of all Sudanese, for all citizens … we have suffered enough from the totalitarian dictatorial regime.”

The military was represented by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, who has consolidated power since al-Bashir’s overthrow and whose paramilitary Rapid Support Forces are accused of leading last month’s crackdown. He hailed the agreement as a “historic moment in Sudan.”

Envoys from Ethiopia and the African Union, who had spearheaded mediation efforts, also praised the agreement at Wednesday’s ceremony. The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum welcomed the deal and encouraged both sides to “continue the same spirit of co-operation to conclude a constitutional decree.”

Al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan for 30 years, has been jailed in Khartoum since his ouster. In May, al-Bashir was charged with involvement in killing protesters and incitement to kill protesters during the popular uprising that started in December, initially over price increases.

He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and genocide linked to the Darfur conflict in the 2000s, but Sudan’s military has said it will not extradite him to the Hague. He was the only sitting head of state subject to an international arrest warrant.

Ethiopia in turmoil as ethnic group seeks breakaway region

Ethiopia in turmoil as ethnic group seeks breakaway region


Source: AFP, Friday July 19, 2019


ADDIS ABABA: Protes­ters set tyres alight and lobbed stones at security forces on Thursday in the Ethiopian city of Hawassa, where residents are demanding the creation of their own federal state.The Sidama ethnic group, the largest in the southern region, has been agitating for their own semi-autonomous state, and expectations were high they would declare their own region unilaterally on Thursday.

While one prominent party earlier said it had agreed to delay the formation of the state, not everyone appeared happy with this decision.

An activist for the cause, Mate Mengesha, said security forces had blocked a planned meeting of Sidama elders and youth activists in the morning, where it was hoped officials would declare the formation of the new region.

However the officials never showed up, and the activists threw stones at security forces blocking them from the site. “The expectation was today is July 18 and on July 18 they want to have a declaration,” he said. “The meeting didn’t happen.”

Elsewhere protesters set tyres on fire, and blocked off roads, while several residents reported that mobile internet was down in the city.

“There are some fires around the outskirts of the city. Tyre fires in the road and so on. Most of them are on the outskirts,” said Dr Abel Gedefaw, director of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at Hawassa University. “Everybody is not allowed to go out. There are a lot of security forces and nobody is allowed to move.”

He said the university’s medical facilities had not received reports of casualties as of early afternoon.

Latest headache for PM

The Sidama issue is the latest headache for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is determined to reform the nation after decades of iron-fisted rule, but is facing ethnic violence in the diverse country that has displaced more than two million people.

Analysts warn the issue could inflame Ethiopia’s political crisis and lead to bloodshed.

At present, Ethiopia is partitioned into nine semi-autonomous regions. The constitution requires the government to organise a referendum for any ethnic group that wants to form a new entity within a year of them requesting it.

The Sidama have agitated for years to leave the diverse Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region of which they are a part, and create their own state.

The group said the deadline for the referendum was Thursday.However Ethiopia’s election board said this week it would hold a referendum before the end of the year. It said it had not received the referendum request until November 2018, meaning it still had several months to hold the vote.

Though the Sidama Liberation Movement political party earlier said a referendum held after July would be unacceptable, spokesman Desalegne Mesa said on Thursday that the party would accept the new timeline in the interest of peace.

“We agree to that point because even if the electoral board and the [ruling coalition] are ignoring the people and the constitution we are working to minimise the loss of life,” he said.

However many young people who had agitated for the creation of a new state are “not happy” with plans for a November referendum and people are wary of how they might react, one Hawassa resident said.

Resumption of Talks between Somalia and Somaliland?

Resumption of Talks between Somalia and Somaliland?

Source: The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 12 July 2019
The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 12 July 2019 a report titled “Somalia-Somaliland: The Perils of Delaying New Talks.”

The ICG urges Somalia and Somaliland to meet for technical talks, focusing on security and economic matters of mutual concern, and avoiding for now the polarizing issue of Somaliland’s political status.

Africa and the world Happiness Report 2019

Africa and the world Happiness Report 2019

Source: The Sustainable Development Solutions Network published in March 2019 the 2019
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network published in March 2019 the 2019 edition of the “World Happiness Report” edited by John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey D. Sachs. Factors considered in the rankings are GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perception of corruption.

The 2019 report ranked 156 countries, 45 in Africa. The best ranked African countries were Mauritius (57), Libya (72), Nigeria (85), Algeria (88), and Morocco (89). The poorest ranked African countries were South Sudan (156), Central African Republic (155), Tanzania (153), Rwanda (152), and Malawi (150). Some of the rankings are counter intuitive. Who would have thought Libya is the second best rated African country or that Tanzania and Rwanda are near the bottom. It is important, however, to consider the factors used to construct the index.

Global Corruption Barometer Africa 2019

Global Corruption Barometer Africa 2019

Source: Transparency International
The Global Corruption Barometer Africa is published by Transparency International in partnership with Afrobarometer. It provides public opinion data on citizen’s views on corruption and direct experience of bribery in Africa based on fieldwork in 34 countries between 2016 and 2018.

The report concludes that corruption is on the rise, many governments are failing to do enough, concerns about the integrity of public officials remain high, bribery demands are a regular occurrence for many, people’s experience with bribery varies, and despite fears of retaliation, citizens can make a difference. The percentage of Africans who thought corruption increased the most in the past 12 months live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Gabon, Namibia and Madagascar. The countries where citizens thought it had increased the least in the last 12 months were Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana and Benin.

China’s Impact on Facial Recognition Programs in Africa

5.0-magnitude quake hits 171 km NNW of Bereeda, Somalia: USGS

5.0-magnitude quake hits 171 km NNW of Bereeda, Somalia: USGS
 


Source: XINHUANET,unday July 14, 2019

NEW YORK, July 14 (Xinhua) — An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.0 jolted 171 km north-northwest of Bereeda, Somalia at 19:12:24 GMT Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10 km, was initially determined to be at 13.3039 degrees north latitude and 50.449 degrees east longitude.

Report Calls on International Community to Meet Education Goals

Report Calls on International Community to Meet Education Goals


Source: VOA, Sunday July 14, 2019

Based on current trends, just 79% of children will complete primary school in low-income countries by 2030. (UNESCO)


Children entering school now should finish secondary school by 2030. But if current trends continue one in six will not be in school in 2030 and only sixty percent will be finishing their secondary education.Leaders are meeting from July 9 through July 18 at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) – the United Nations’ official platform for examining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They will be measuring progress on education for the first time since 2015.

Silvia Montoya is Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and Manos Antoninis is Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report. They say the world does not seem close to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal for education (“SDG 4”) – which aims for all girls and boys completing free, fair and high-quality primary and secondary education – by 2030. So, the two experts say, “business as usual for education must come to an end.”

If the goal is not met the world will have failed a generation of children, they add.

A new report from their groups tells about progress toward each SDG 4 education target, from early childhood education to adult literacy. Montoya and Antoninis say that the world’s countries need to make some changes to meet education goals.

Get children into school

Starting children’s education with preschool is best, the report says. This helps older children attend school. In many countries, more children are in early childhood programs. But in poor countries, the number of children aged six -17 who are not in school has gone down. In 2030, 16.7 percent, or 225 million young people, will not be in school.

Help children complete secondary school

The experts say children also must be supported in completing secondary school. The goal of all children completing primary school was set for 2015, but it will not be met by 2030. The percentage of children completing secondary education in low-income countries is less than half of the world-wide rate.

Deal with earnings inequality

Differences in earnings lead to big differences in education. Four percent of children from the poorest families complete upper-secondary school in low-income countries. Just two percent of the poorest girls — compared to 36 percent of those from the richest families — complete upper-secondary school. The UNESCO officials say earnings inequality must be dealt with.

Push for reading and raise learning ability

Montoya and Anoninis note a strong connection between reading ability and learning rates. Around 20 percent of youth and 30 percent of adults will still be unable to read in low-income countries by 2030. Learning rates will not increase in middle-income countries if reading ability rates remain the same. In French-speaking African countries, rates will drop by almost one-third in 2030.Increase spending

One in four countries does not meet two of the SDG 4 goals. One is to provide at least 4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education. The other is to use 15 percent of their total government spending on education. Financial support for education has not grown since 2010, the report says. Contract employees are replacing trained teachers in sub-Saharan Africa, hurting the quality of education. Countries need to find and train more teachers.

Collect and examine more information on education

More data is needed to supervise progress in education. Montoya and Antoninis say that “data are a necessity – not a luxury – for every country, which is why partners are making the call to #FundData.”

The UNESCO report authors ask the international community meeting in New York this week to compare their plans for the next ten years with their earlier promises.

Montoya and Antoninis said they hope that the world leaders will “hear this warning” and act to meet the still possible development goal.

I’m John Russell. And I’m Jill Robbins.

Jill Robbins adapted this story for Learning English based on UNESCO report for the World Economic Forum. Caty Weaver was the editor.

UNICEF, partners launch education access program for Somaliland

UNICEF, partners launch education access program for Somaliland


Source: XINHUANET, Sunday July 14, 2019

The United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) and its partners have launched a 64-million-U.S.-dollar program to help children in Somaliland in the north of Somalia have better access to education, the UN News said Saturday.

Access to education in Somaliland is extremely limited, with more than 50 percent of children out of school, according to a report of the UN News.

Particularly, the education prospects for children in rural areas and school-age Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are even poorer — only 26 percent of children in rural communities and 16 percent of IDP children are enrolled in primary schools, said the report.

Drought, food insecurity, poverty and inequality are some of the challenges that hinder efforts to get more Somaliland children and youth in schools.

To address the issue, UNICEF partnered with the local authority and the global fund Education Cannot Wait to launch the program.

The program, which will run for three years, has a budget of 64 million U.S. dollars, with initial seed money of 6.7 million dollars provided by Education Cannot Wait. The remaining 57.3 million dollars is being sought from additional donors.

The program is expected to provide more than 54,000 children with an education.

A UNICEF statement released on Saturday said the aim of the program is to “achieve improved learning outcomes for school-aged children who are affected by emergencies” by increasing access to quality, inclusive, gender-sensitive, child-friendly and sustainable education.

EU is committed to prosperous future for Somalia

EU is committed to prosperous future for Somalia


Source: EU, Sunday July 14, 2019

The European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Somalia as well as the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa and the EU Common Security and Defense Missions (EUNAVFOR, EUTM, EUCAP) to condemn the terrorist attack that took place on 12 July in the city of Kismayo.

The EU Delegation is committed to a stable, democratic and prosperous future for Somalia, for the benefit of its people, in a society where pluralism, justice and human dignity prevail. The EU Delegation stays firm against those that target citizens and institutions to undermine stability and progress in Somalia.

We express our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the attack and our solidarity for a prompt recovery of injuries.

UN chief welcomes power-sharing deal between Sudanese military and opposition

UN chief welcomes power-sharing deal between Sudanese military and opposition

Peace and Security

Masarib/Ahmed Bahhar

UN Secretary-General António Guterressaid on Friday he was “encouraged” by reports of a newly-inked power-sharing deal between the Forces for Freedom and Change – a coalition of opposition and protest groups – and Sudan’s ruling military council.

UAE Behind Removal of Former Sudanese President?

UAE Behind Removal of Former Sudanese President?

Source: Reuters published an in-depth account on 3 July 2019
Reuters published an in-depth account on 3 July 2019 titled “Abandoned by the UAE, Sudan’s Bashir Was Destined To Fall” by Khalid Abdelaziz, Michael Georgy, and Maha El Dahan.

The authors argue that former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir mishandled a critical relationship with the United Arab Emirates and at the end of 2018, as Sudan’s economy imploded and protesters took to the streets, Bashir found himself without this powerful and wealthy friend.