UN Chief Warns Of Long Road Ahead After Vaccines

In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday that the world could be fighting the aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic for decades to come even if vaccines are quickly approved.

Opening a special UN summit on the virus, being held virtually as a safety precaution, Guterres hailed the quick scientific progress but cautioned that vaccination was not a panacea for the ills affecting the planet.

“Let’s not fool ourselves. A vaccine cannot undo damage that will stretch across years, even decades to come,” Guterres said.

“Extreme poverty is rising; the threat of famine looms. We face the biggest global recession in eight decades.”

He said Covid-19 — which has killed nearly 1.5 million people globally — had exacerbated other long-term challenges including inequality and climate change.

Leaders or senior officials from more than 100 countries will take part in the summit through short, pre-recorded speeches, but diplomats do not expect the virtual two-day gathering to lead immediately to major decisions.

Guterres reiterated his call that vaccines be considered a “global public good” that are shared around the world.

He appealed for contributions to fill a $4.3 billion shortfall in financing over the next two months.

READ ALSO: Former US Presidents Ready To Publicly Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

More than 180 countries have joined Covax, a global collaboration working with manufacturers to distribute vaccines equitably.

The major exceptions are the United States, which has been at the forefront of research and where outgoing President Donald Trump wants to vaccinate Americans first, and Russia, which has unveiled its own vaccine but met skepticism.

Casting blame for Covid’s heavy death toll in the United States, Trump has moved to withdraw from the World Health Organization, saying it was beholden to China in the early stages of the crisis.

Guterres strongly defended the UN body’s performance and said that its recommendations “should have been the basis for a coordinated global response.”

“In some situations, there was a rejection of facts and an ignorance of the guidance. And when countries go in their own direction, the virus goes in every direction,” the UN chief said.

AFP

UN Chief Warns Against ‘New Cold War’

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged the world to prevent a Cold War between the United States and China and halt conflicts so it can focus on the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We must do everything to avoid a new Cold War,” Guterres said in an address as he opened an almost entirely virtual UN General Assembly.

“We are moving in a very dangerous direction. Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a Great Fracture — each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities,” he said, without saying the United States and China by name.

Tensions have soared between the United States and China in recent months, with President Donald Trump blaming Beijing for the Covid-19 pandemic that has claimed some 950,000 lives around the world and cast a shadow over his reelection bid.

Guterres has campaigned for an end to all violent conflicts as the world instead focuses on stopping the disease.

He pointed to some partial successes including ceasefires declared in Cameroon, Colombia and Cameroon.

He pressed for a universal ceasefire by the end of the year.

“I appeal for a stepped-up international effort — led by the Security Council — to achieve a global ceasefire by the end of this year,” Guterres said.

“We have 100 days. The clock is ticking.”

Guterres also offered open criticism of right-wing movements in the face of the coronavirus.

“Populism and nationalism have failed. Those approaches to contain the virus have often made things manifestly worse. ”

AFP

UN Calls For ‘Quantum Leap’ In Funding For COVID-19 Fight

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May 6, 2020 called on governments around the world to specifically take into account the billions of people with disabilities in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

The United Nations on Thursday called for an immediate “quantum leap” in funding for global programmes to combat the coronavirus and restore prosperity.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged countries to find $15 billion over the next three months to fund the ACT-Accelerator programme, a global collaboration to hunt for a vaccine and treatments led by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO).

“Either we stand together or we will be doomed,” Guterres told a virtual meeting of the ACT-Accelerator, calling the virus the “number one global security threat”.

“We need a quantum leap in funding to increase the chances of a global solution to get the world moving, working and prospering again,” he said.

He said the near $3 billion contributed so far had been critical for the initial phase since the accelerator’s launch four months ago, but $35 billion more was needed to shift from start-up to scale-up — beginning with $15 billion in the next three months.

Without it “we will lose the window of opportunity”, Guterres said.

He said typical aid budgets would not cover the costs, urging donors to “go deep” into money set aside for combating coronavirus.

– ‘Start saving lives’ –

The virus has killed more than 900,000 people and infected at least 27.9 million since the outbreak emerged in China last December.

According to the WHO’s latest overview, 35 candidate vaccines for the virus are being tested on humans, of which nine have reached Phase III trials where they are tested on tens of thousands of people.

A further 145 candidate vaccines are in earlier testing phases.

Typically only about 10 percent of candidate vaccines succeed.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed the speed at which vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for Covid-19 were being developed was “astonishing” but said more needed to be done.

“We need to rapidly scale up our clinical trials, manufacturing, licensing and regulation capacity so that these products can get to people and start saving lives,” he said.

South Africa and Norway are co-chairing the ACT-Accelerator facilitation council.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chairs the African Union, told the meeting that the continent should “not be left behind” once a viable vaccine is produced.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame called the ACT-Accelerator “one of the most important international initiatives under way in the world today, and perhaps ever”.

AFP

UN Chief Demands Probe Of Strike On Libya Migrant Center

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 26, 2018 in Geneva. Jean-Guy PYTHON / AFP

 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday voiced outrage after a detention centre for migrants was hit by an air strike in Libya and called for an independent investigation.

Guterres recalled that the United Nations had shared the coordinates of the Tajoura detention centre east of Tripoli with the warring sides to ensure that civilians sheltering there were safe.

The UN chief “condemns this horrendous incident in the strongest terms,” said a statement from his spokesman.

He “calls for an independent investigation of the circumstances of this incident, to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice, noting that the United Nations had provided exact coordinates of the detention centre to the parties.”

At least 44 people were killed when the strike hit the centre late Tuesday and more than 130 were severely wounded, the UN said.

The UN Security Council is due to meet behind closed doors later Wednesday to discuss Libya, a divisive issue among world powers that have backed rival sides in the conflict.

Tensions have soared since forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar, who holds sway in the east of the country, launched an offensive in April to seize Tripoli, held by a UN-recognized government and various militias.

The Tripoli government has blamed Haftar for the attack on the detention centre.

Guterres renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire and a return to dialogue.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame separately also called for an independent investigation and warned that the attack may constitute a war crime.

AFP

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Dies At 80

Kofi Annan (File)

 

Former United Nations Secretary-General, Koffi Annan, has died at the age of 80.

His foundation made the announcement in a statement on Saturday morning.

Mr Annan who was also a Nobel Peace Prize winner died in Switzerland after a brief illness.

“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness,” the statement read in part.

The United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres has expressed sadness over the passing away of his predecessor, calling him “a guiding force for good”.

Mr Guterres in a statement said, “Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good.

“In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination,” he added.

Mr Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms as the UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006.

 

9 Things You Should Know About New SGF, Boss Mustapha

Boss Gida Mustapha is the newly appointed Secretary General of the Federation (SGF). Apart from serving as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National inland waterways Authority (NIWA), here are nine other things you need to know about him:

 

  1. He is a lawyer and was called to bar in 1980. He is also a management consultant and politician who earned his Bachelor of Law (LL.B) from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979.

 

  1. One of his career highlights was his appointment as a member of Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the defunct Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF), serving from 2000 to 2007.

 

  1. He played key leadership roles at the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) serving as Social Secretary and Chairman at the Yola branch.

 

  1. He was a member, Federal Republic of Nigeria Constituent Assembly (1988-1989), Chairman People’s Solidarity Party-Gongola State (1989-1990), state chairman, Social Democratic Party-Gongola State (1990-1991); he was a gubernatorial candidate for SDP in Adamawa state in 1991.

 

  1. He was the Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) from 2010 to 2013. In 2007, he served as the Deputy Director General of the party’s Presidential Campaign Organization.

 

  1. He was a member of NCC and Secretary APC Presidential Campaign Organization Mobilization (2015) and member, APC Transition Committee (2015). He is also a member, APC Board of Trustees.

 

  1. He is a member of various professional bodies including African Bar Association (ABA), Commonwealth Lawyers Association, International Bar Association (IBA) and Human Rights Institute (HRI).

 

  1. Mustapha enjoys golf, lawn tennis, traveling, documentary films, charity work and meeting people.

 

  1. On October 30, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mr Mustapha as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation. This was after the President accepted the recommendation of the panel to terminate the appointment of the suspended Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal.

 

El-Rufai Lauds Amina Mohammed’s UN Appointment

El-Rufai Lauds Amina Mohammed’s UN AppointmentKaduna state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has commended the appointment of Amina Mohammed as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Governor, in a congratulatory message he issued on Sunday through his Spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, described Mrs Mohammed’s appointment as an excellent choice.

The Governor said that the appointment of the Minister of Environment as UN Deputy Secretary General,  is due to  “her honourable service to Nigeria and her substantial contribution to efforts to empower people and safeguard the planet.

“Just one year as Environment Minister, she has put environmental issues on the front burner of Nigeria’s political discourse.

“She has undoubtedly earned the trust and respect of not just Nigerians but environmentalists the world over.

“At the core of Amina’s work and passion is the welfare and right of citizens to peace and security wherever they may be.

“She addressed those challenges while serving in the government of President Obasanjo, then as Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General, Ban ki Moon and recently as Minister under President Buhari.

“As a global ambassador, she now gets to display her phenomenal skills on a world stage. Nigeria’s temporary loss is the world’s gain.

“President Buhari has made a great sacrifice in releasing Amina from the federal cabinet for service at the global level.

“Her appointment is a tribute to the President’s judgment in recruiting such a globally-respected personality.”

Governor El-Rufai urged Mrs. Mohammed to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in her new role, stating that he had no doubt that Amina Mohammed would continue to make Nigeria proud at the global level.

“Her tenacity and the passion she applied to secure global agreement on the SDGs will be required to get them implemented,” he added.

President Buhari Receives FIFA President, Infantino

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, Muhammadu BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will pay keen interest to accountability and transparency in order to fast-track football development in the country.

The President said this at a meeting with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, and the Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, at the State House.

For about an hour, both men rubbed minds on how to develop the game of football in the country.

Mr Infantino also met with the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and members of the National Assembly and also highlighted the need for football development on the continent.

The Senate President assured the FIFA delegation of the support of the National Assembly. He, however, appealed to the Nigerian Football Federation to put its house in order.

 

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, Muhammadu Buhari
L-R: President of Nigeria Football Federation Mr Amaju Pinnick, FIFA President Mr Gianni Infantino, Secretary General of FIFA Ms. Fatima Samoura and Minister of Sports and Youth development Solomon Dalung at the State House

Gianni Infantino was led to the Presidential Villa by the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr Amaju Pinnick as part of Infantino’s two-day official visit to Nigeria.

He was in company of FIFA Secretary-General, Fatma Samoura, the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung and executive board members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

In a press conference afterwards, the FIFA President said that Nigeria should be a model for the rest of the world in football development.

He said that the football federation needs to work with relevant authorities in order to achieve its goals.

The FIFA President said that his visit to Nigeria has given him a chance to meet with 18 presidents of African football associations who converged on Abuja to meet with him on how to develop football in Africa.

The 40-year-old assured Nigerians of his support for the growth and development of the round leather game in Nigeria.

The NFF Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, has described the visit of the FIFA President, which is also his first in Africa as an epoch event.

He says it also shows the hard work the NFF has put in place in developing football especially at grassroots level.

Football Administrators Should Learn To Accept Defeat – Saraki

Football administratorsPresident of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Monday admonished football administrators to learn to accept defeat in the interest of the immediate environment and larger society, and not engage in ‘pull-the-house-down’ syndrome when things do not go their way.

Nigeria’s number three man spoke at the Senate President’s Conference Room at the National Assembly when he received visiting FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Secretary General, Ms Fatma Samoura, alongside NFF President Amaju Pinnick, FA presidents from other African countries and members of the NFF Executive Committee and Management.

“The kind of global recognition we have today, as a result of this historic visit, challenges us to learn to allow peace and stability in Nigeria football. If people lose election, they should learn to accept defeat.

“People used to blame politicians for do-or-die attitude; politicians have moved; it is now football administrators who have this attitude! When you lose an election, you should be prepared to wait for the next poll.

“I call on those who are fomenting trouble or trying to divide the house to stop their act. The National Assembly is united in moving to restore peace in Nigeria football, and creating an enabling environment for the game.”

Saraki, who owns a football club (ABS FC, in the Nigeria National League), acknowledged the passion and love of Nigerians for football as incredible. “Football is a big unifying factor in our country. As governor of a state, I set up a football academy because there are so many talents out there waiting to be nurtured.”

Earlier, the FIFA boss called Nigeria ‘a great country in a great continent,’ adding: “I was impressed coming from the airport on Sunday and seeing so many kids playing football on both sides of the road. That shows Nigerians not only love football, they live football.

“There is great passion and great tradition, but there is need for unity and stability. I was elected on pledges of reforms, transparency and to develop the game. I am happy that Ms Samoura accepted to be Secretary General and the Executive Council endorsed her, because her choice said something for inclusion, gender equality, diversity and the future that we promise.”

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, reiterated that the visit, the first time that both the FIFA President and Secretary General would travel together on a non–football competition assignment, confirmed that Nigerian football commands respect globally.

He acknowledged the role of the National Assembly in re-defining Nigeria football development, saying that peace is key to true growth.

He also recalled that months ago, the first football match was played in Maiduguri after a long time, with a huge crowd at the stadium boldly proclaiming the power of football to enable ceasefire even in war situations.

In attendance were Senators Obinna Ogba, Philip Aduda, Shuaib Abdullahi, Barau Jibrin, Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai, Monsurat Sunmonu, David Umaru, Mao Ohuabunwa, Tijjani Kaura, Albert Bassey and Mohammed Hassan, and Honourables Goni Bukar Lawan and Danburam Abubakar.

Also on the visit were the FA presidents of Ghana, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Tanzania, Djibouti, Somalia, The Gambia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and South Sudan.

NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi; NFF vice presidents, Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko; NFF Board members: Ibrahim Gusau, Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, Babagana Kalli, Sunday Dele-Ajayi, Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, Sharif Inuwa and Chris Green.

Other are former NFF vice president, Amanze Uchegbulam, former NFF Board member Ahmadu Kawu and Deputy General Secretary Emmanuel Ikpeme.

Earlier in the day, the FIFA President and Secretary General inspected the new NFF headquarters (Sunday Dankaro House) located at the Package B of the National Stadium.

Infantino‎ To Support Nigeria On Football Development

FIFA President, Gianni InfantinoFIFA President, Gianni Infantino, has given the assurance that he will work with Nigeria to achieve football development.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, Infantino said that Nigeria already has a framework that can be worked upon for long term success.

The FIFA President affirmed that he will use his visit to establish a productive working relationship with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that will be geared towards sustainable development.

Infantino also believes it is about time African football leaders get fully involved in international football politics.

Mr Gianni Infantino and the Secretary General, Ms Fatma Samba Samoura, arrived in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja on Sunday on a two–day working visit.

The FIFA officials were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, members of the NFF Board and some football club owners in the country.

The objective of the visit is to renew FIFA’s commitment towards developing football in Africa and promote corporate support for the sport in Nigeria.

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino Arrives Nigeria

FIFA President, Gianni InfantinoPresident of football’s world governing body, FIFA, Mr Gianni Infantino and the Secretary General, Ms Fatma Samba Samoura, have arrived in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja on a two–day working visit.

The FIFA officials were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, members of the NFF Board and some football club owners in the country.

The objective of the visit is to renew FIFA’s commitment towards developing football in Africa and promote corporate support for the sport in Nigeria.

About 20 football federation presidents from Africa are in Nigeria for this event and will be meeting with the FIFA President and Secretary General later on Sunday.

On Monday, Mr. Infantino and Ms Samoura, led by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung and NFF President Pinnick will pay a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

He will leave Nigeria on Monday after meeting with personalities of corporate Nigeria and potential sponsors of football.

Climate Change: ECOWAS To Adapt Paris Agreement   

ecowas, Climate Change, Paris AgreementRepresentatives of civil society organisations and the private sector in the ECOWAS sub-region are discussing ways to adapt the Paris agreement on climate change to realities in Africa.

This comes with a plan to give special attention to specific sectors including agriculture.

ECOWAS Director of Environment, Dr Johnson Boanuh, said that the African continent in 2015 got its fair share of extreme weather conditions, necessitating the adaptation of agreements reached by African leaders last April in New York.

The project coordinator of climate change agreement in the sub region, Tahu Kwame, also said that the input of the private sector is crucial, especially considering the sectors most affected in the sub region such as energy, forestry, transportation, industry and agriculture.

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, at the World Economic Forum in January 2016, asked countries of the world to quickly ratify the historical agreement reached at the last climate change deal in Paris, in December.

He pointed out that natural disasters have undermined the gains made in climate efforts.

“First, national climate plans must urgently be converted into bankable investment strategies and projects.

“Second, we must generate sufficient financing for developing countries to bypass fossil fuels and meet high energy demands with low carbon sources.

“Third, we need greater attention and resources for climate resilience.

“That is why I launched a new Climate Resilience Initiative in Paris called A2R – to anticipate risks, absorb shocks and adapt development approaches.

“Fourth, we need to rapidly increase climate actions at every level. I will work to help strengthen the action agenda and public-private partnerships.

“Fifth, governments must quickly ratify the Paris Agreement,” he said.