Sensegen unveils natural fragrance survey results for 2022 World Perfumery Congress

Fragrances made by biology are 100% true-to-nature.

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., June 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Southern California’s taste, smell, and beauty innovator, Sensegen, announced its natural fragrance survey results, gearing up for exhibiting its “New Naturals” initiative at the World Perfumery Congress (WPC), Booth #523, June 29 – July 1, 2022, in Miami, Florida. Sensegen is a division of Blue California ingredients.

“We’re very excited to share our results of the natural fragrance survey, revealing consumer knowledge of natural fragrances and what is appealing, trend-setting in personal care and beauty products,” said Angelique Burke, senior perfumer at Sensegen. “The era of truly natural perfumery is here; we are bringing nature back into perfumery by harnessing classic fragrance molecules from biology rather than deriving them from petroleum.”

Sensegen’s New Naturals are bio-designed fragrances that are natural (plant-based), safe, and sustainable. They perform and are as pleasant as synthetics, yet more complex than blends of essential oils, which thus far have been the only option for natural fragrance seekers. No such fragrance initiative exists on the market today.

An ideal example of a New Natural is Sensegen’s entire class of plant-based musks that gives perfumers the best natural alternative to synthetics. Once coveted and exclusive, the musk fragrance became banned for the inhumane treatment of the Musk Deer — the only source at the time. After that, the highly sought-after musky olfactive character was solely a synthetic option for perfumers.

“The lack of availability of natural musks, combined with the ubiquity, performance, and wide acceptability of this olfactive character, has created a huge challenge for natural fragrances to compete in the marketplace,” said Burke. “Today, Sensegen can offer a far-reaching range of natural and sustainable creations, which proudly stand their ground in the market.”

Sensegen asked 1,000 consumers about their personal care routines and beauty regimens in an online survey. Survey respondents were also asked about their attitudes and understanding of personal care/beauty care products as it relates to scented, as opposed to unscented products, label reading, purchase decision influencers, and familiarity and understanding of natural fragrances.

While 66% of consumers said natural fragrances were naturally derived fragrances, approximately 14% thought it meant no added fragrance, and 5% said it was the same as unscented.

Later, survey participants were shown an explanation of New Natural Fragrances and a product concept containing the new natural fragrance. The data shows that 74% of those respondents would choose the New Natural fragrance concept versus the synthetic. This was a 5% increase over consumers’ choice before being presented with information on the new natural fragrance.

“From this natural fragrance survey, we concluded that there’s a gap in understanding and awareness regarding such terms used in labeling fragrance and fragrance-related statements,” said Natasha D’Souza, senior director, global sensory and consumer insights at Blue California. “There hasn’t been a better time for brands to make exceptional, sustainable products and educate consumers on how they are adopting a more natural position for the benefit of the planet and humankind.”

Interested parties and media members inquiring about the natural fragrance survey can stop by Sensegen’s booth #523 at the WPC or contact Sensegen. The Sensegen booth will have smelling products from sustainable, 100% bio-based materials. Fragrances include samples of fine fragrance, personal care, and home care.

The World Perfumery Congress is hosted by Perfumer & Flavorist.

About Sensegen

Sensegen™, is the science of good sense. We’ve got nature down to a science and create the perfect sense.

As a division of Blue California Ingredients, our innovative taste, smell, and creative beauty center is dedicated solely to delivering plant-based, natural, and sustainable solutions. Our diverse team of experts collaborate with advanced bio-techniques and collaborate as a team to provide unique consumer-validated ingredients.

At Sensegen™, we’ve pioneered a way of formulating nature without compromise or harm, providing one-of-a-kind solutions for Taste, Smell, and Beauty.

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Ana Arakelian, Head of Public Relations and Communications
Sensegen
+1.949.635.1991
ana.arakelian@sensegen.com

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) among the best 150 universities in the world, according to QS World University 2023 rankings

UTS continues to hold its place among the world’s top universities, placing 137th globally and ninth in Australia.

SYDNEY, June 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Leading higher education network QS has named the University of Technology Sydney as one of the top 150 universities in the world, for the fourth year in a row.

Strong performance in international outlook and research has kept UTS competitive in global rankings. Image: Andy Roberts

Despite strict lockdown measures in Australia, UTS has retained a strong cohort of international students and faculty, which has contributed to a strong position among the world’s best universities. UTS rose 17 places in the area of international student ratio, with international students making up 41% of the student body.

The university also scored above the global median in the areas of international faculty ratio and international research networks. The results reflect UTS’s continuing commitment to being a leading research university with global impact.

This year, UTS also saw a significant improvement in the areas of citations per faculty, rising to 63rd in the world.

Says Professor Kate McGrath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research):

“Research is fundamental to our purpose, and our academic community should be commended for the delivery of excellent research with strong economic, environmental, cultural and social impact.”

“These rankings results are just one indicator of how much research has come to the fore at UTS in recent years, as we’re delivering increasing impact on the global stage.”

UTS has continued to develop its research through agile, collaborative and transdisciplinary approaches, attracting the attention of domestic and international partners from a wide variety of sectors.

Since 2014, UTS has moved up 135 places in the world rankings. According to QS and Times Higher Education, UTS continues to be the top young university in Australia.

Discover more about the University of Technology Sydney at uts.edu.au.

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is a leading university of technology and among the top 150 universities in the world. UTS prepares students for the challenges of today and tomorrow through its future-focused approach to learning and research. Located in Sydney’s technology precinct, UTS is minutes away from the city’s business district and some of Australia’s most innovative companies and startups.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1844991/1.jpg

Educate resident on tax requirements-Ningo-Prampram DCE

Prampram, June 23, GNA – Mr AL-Latif Tetteh Amanor, the District Chief Executive for Ningo-Prampram District Assembly, has charged leaders to use education as a major tool to make tax payments more acceptable and attractive to residents.

He said the Assembly relied on tax revenue to fund operations and finance developmental projects hence the need for residents to endeavour to honour their tax obligations towards the development of the area.

Mr Amanor said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a community engagement forum organised to explain the operations of the assembly to residents and stakeholders.

The Ningo-Pramram DCE described tax paying as the lifeblood of the district, adding that tax revenues formed the critical component of the Assembly’s economic and fiscal policy at large.

“The people will have to be educated on the need to pay their taxes and also help to mobilize and generate resources to enable the assembly to initiate more projects.

“When they saw me in the rain at Mataheko and Mobole where I spoke with them on why they should pay their taxes and avoid building on waterways, they were very happy and some changed their minds on the sport, so education is key,” he added.

The DCE revealed that if all income earners would pay the right amount of tax, the assembly could gain weight in its revenue generation to support its objectives such as building roads, schools, better salaries for workers and improving the assembly’s non-physical projects and services.

Mr Amanor, therefore, appealed to all leaders in the district, especially the Assembly Members and Unit Committee Members in the various Electoral Areas, across the district, to educate their subjects on the need for them to pay their taxes.

He noted that the assembly had rolled out a series of policies for its revenue drive but the residents were reluctant, therefore, vigorous education would solve the challenge.

Mr Amanor said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was focused on delivering the good governance environment required to improve the well-being of Ghanaians.

He, therefore, emphasized the need to contribute through taxes and levies, adding that the number of schools under the school feeding programme and others in the district had increased substantially, and it could only be better through revenue collection and collaboration.

Mrs Ayorkor Ayayee, the District Budget Analyst, also indicated that the Assembly failed to achieve its financial target for the first quarter of the year.

She said the Assembly’s monitoring task force would vigorously be on-site from July to enforce the payment of all taxes and all defaulters would be prosecuted accordingly.

Source: Ghana News Agency

No mining at Muni-Pomaze, it is our identity-Effutu State

Accra, June 23, GNA-The Efutu Traditional Council has asked the Minerals Commission not to issue mineral right license to any company to mine lithium at Muni-Pomaze Ramsar Site.

The Council says the area which hosts special plants and animal species, represents the identity of the Effutu state and has socio-cultural heritage significance to the chiefs and people of the area.

?The site absorbs the shock of storm surges, provides water, soaks up rain, reduces flooding and delays the onset of droughts. It plays a critical role in climate adaptation and resilience.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview, Neenyi Ghartey VII, the?Paramount Chief of Efutu Traditional Area said all processes regarding the proposed mining project must be discontinued.

He cautioned that the Effutu Traditional Council would seek redress at the appropriate forum should the application be processed and a license granted for mining at the Ramser site.

The Council has petitioned the District Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission to register its displeasure against granting mineral application right by the Minerals Commission.?

?Neenyi Ghartey VII was reacting to a gazette published by the Minerals Commission in accordance with regulations 10(3), 94(3), 177(3), 207(3) of the Minerals and Mining (Licensing) Regulations, 2012 (LI 2176).

The gazette dated May 19, 2022 request a land owner or lawful occupier who is likely to be affected by the grant of the mineral right to submit a written statement of that land owner’s or occupier’s interest to the Minerals Commission through the respective Assembly within 21 days from the date of publication of the Gazette.

The Paramount Chief said the proposed area played a crucial role in the long-held famous traditional Aboakyeri, a significant festival on the African continent and the world.

“If this application should succeed, it will deprive the indigenous people of Effutu and its environs their livelihood since it will have a negative impact on the Muni Lagoon and the Ramsar Site at large,” he noted.

Neenyi Ghartey VII said the lower portions of the proposed site also extends into El 63; an area purposefully set aside by the government for the development of a tourism resort.

?“The Effutu State is aware of the long-standing idea of an interest in the minerals in the hills forming the boundary with the Gomoa areas… It is uneconomical because of the trace quantities of the minerals in there.??The benefits and costs to the environment and society are unproportionally against the proposal,” he said.

Information gathered by the GNA indicates that the Green Resources Ltd, the company applying for the license to mine is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlantic Lithium Ltd, formally IronRidge Resources Ltd, but changed name in 2021.?

It is headquartered in Australia.?

An Environmental Scientist told GNA the livelihood of about 10 communities whose main occupation was fishing and farming depended on the Muni-Pomaze Ramsar Site.

He said oral tradition indicates that the people of Effutu first settled around the Muni-Pomaze before dispersing to the current township.

The area, originally called ‘Kweku Boni’, but later westernized to Muni-Pomaze, also helped the Effutu people during the civil war to conquer their attackers by drowning them.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Amid Plummeting Humanitarian Conditions in Afghanistan, Women, Girls ‘Are Being Written Out of Society’ by De Facto Authorities, Briefers Warn Security Council

Speakers Argue over Best Way to Stabilize Country, including Establishing Inclusive Government, Releasing Frozen Assets

Amid the plummeting humanitarian and economic conditions, women and girls in Afghanistan are being deprived of their most basic human rights — employment and education, speakers told the Security Council today, as they examined the restrictive policies of the Taliban, who took control of that country in August last year.

“Women are collectively being written out of society in a way that is unique in the world,” said Ramiz Alakbarov, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and officer-in-charge for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), briefing the Council via video-teleconference. The Taliban — the de facto authorities — have increasingly restricted the exercise of basic human rights, including freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of opinion and expression, quelling dissent and restricting civic space in the country.

These restrictions, he underscored, aim at the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls, limiting their involvement in social, political and economic life, including the ban on secondary schooling for girls and the decision to impose face coverings on women. He also stressed that UNAMA will remain a vocal and visible voice to safeguarding the rights of people of Afghanistan, especially women and girls.

Yalda Hakim, international correspondent and news presenter for BBC News, said she was speaking to the Council as someone who has been reporting from Afghanistan for the past 15 years, as well as “a daughter of Afghanistan” with personal and deep connection with the nation.

Today marks 279 days since the Taliban banned teenage girls from school, she noted, pointing out that “Afghanistan is now the only country in the world where girls are prevented from getting an education, locked out of their classrooms, simply because of their gender”. Education is not a privilege, but a basic human right, she emphasized.

Yalda Royan, Consultant for VOICE Amplified, said the Taliban have announced more than 30 policies that are systematically eliminating women from all aspects of society and imposing them through violence. In April, the Taliban tortured and killed a midwife in Mazar-e-Sharif, amputating her legs, stabbing her and shooting her 12 times — simply because she was a woman and a Hazara.

Tajiks in Panjshir, Baghlan and Takhar Provinces are arbitrarily arrested, killed, tortured and forcibly displaced, she continued. Recounting the 10 June arrest of Zamanuddin, a Tajik student in Panjshir, who had his ear cut off and eye shot before he was thrown off a mountain for not knowing the location of the National Resistance Front’s bases, she said: “This is the true face of the Taliban who seek your recognition and legitimacy.”

Also briefing the Council, via video teleconference, was Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, who said dramatic shifts in Afghanistan’s political and economic landscape last August have brought unrelenting human suffering. A massive 25 million people in Afghanistan are now living in poverty — more than double from 2011. “Today, the average household spends three quarters of its income on food,” he said, stressing that 19 million people — nearly half the population — are food insecure, including 6.6 million at emergency levels, the highest number of any country in the world.

Currently, more than 190 partners deliver aid to millions of people every day, with a scale-up that has reached 20 million people across all 401 districts in 2022, he said. However, his office simply does not have enough funding. Only one third of the resources needed for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan has been received, he said, calling for more support.

In the ensuing discussion, delegates expressed their condolences to the victims of yesterday’s earthquake in Afghanistan, which is estimated to have killed at least 800 people. Several members echoed the calls of the United Nations senior officials for greater global support for the 2022 Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan. Among other topics, they also exchanged views on the situation of women and girls, the political situation and the threat posed by terrorism in Afghanistan.

The representative of the United States said that, if the Taliban wants to normalize its relations with the international community, it needs to immediately reverse the steps it has taken to exclude women from social, political and economic life. Ruling by decree in an exclusionary fashion is “a recipe for instability”. The United States remains the world’s leading humanitarian donor in Afghanistan, she emphasized, adding that Washington, D.C., has clarified that financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and private-sector companies can engage in wide-ranging financial transactions and economic activities while still complying with its sanctions.

The Russian Federation’s delegate said if the Council invites civil society representatives to brief, they should be from Afghanistan who are enduring the struggles alongside the Afghan people. He denounced hypocrisy by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) colleagues for shifting responsibility to the international community for today’s crisis and recovery from it, forcing destitute Afghans to pay for the 11 September 2001 attacks for which they had no responsibility. He said that some countries misinterpret the content of resolution 2615 (2021) to justify unilateral restrictions, urging Western States to unfreeze assets and bear responsibility for the outcomes of their 20-year presence in Afghanistan.

Albania’s delegate, describing the Taliban’s course of action as “a road map to the dark ages of obscurantism, bigotry, misogyny, a departure from civilization”, said the interim authorities must gain the trust of the international community before seeking formal recognition, establishment of diplomatic relations, development assistance, trade and investments must come. Respect is not a given but is “earned by respecting commitments”, he stressed.

India’s representative said his country has a direct stake in ensuring the return of peace to Afghanistan and noted that it dispatched several shipments of assistance, including 30,000 metric tons of wheat, 13 tons of medicine and 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and winter clothing. Strongly condemning the 18 June terrorist attack on Gurudwara Dashmesh Pita Sahib Ji in Kabul, he urged the de facto authorities to take “much stronger” action to fulfil their antiterrorism commitments and called for progress to ensure that terrorists, entities or their aliases do not receive support from Afghan soil or from regional sanctuaries.

Ghana’s delegate, deploring the Taliban’s imposition of draconian restrictions on sections of the population, particularly the suppression of the rights of women and girls, said this is not the case that the Taliban are being called upon to do the extraordinary. To the contrary, the group is simply being asked to commit to upholding the fundamental freedoms and liberties of every Afghan citizen without discrimination.

Pakistan’s delegate said his country, as Chair of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Foreign Ministers, has circulated a document to the Security Council outlining the pathway to peace and stability in Afghanistan. It reiterated that Afghanistan’s access to its financial resources will be pivotal in preventing a collapse and called for exploring realistic pathways towards unfreezing Afghanistan’s financial assets and legitimate banking services. It urged the Council to ensure that existing targeted sanctions do not impede the provision of humanitarian aid or economic resources to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s representative, on behalf of the authorities before the Taliban takeover, said that, in the last 10 months, Afghans were hoping to see changes in the policies of the de facto authorities. “This has been far from realization,” he said, citing the Taliban’s inflexible attitude towards creating an accountable national Government staffed by professional women and minorities. To prevent Afghanistan from becoming a pariah State, he called for a national dialogue among all Afghans, organized and facilitated by the United Nations, and including representatives of the Taliban and opposition groups. To the Taliban, he said earning legitimacy requires winning the minds and hearts of all Afghans.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Norway, Ireland, Gabon, Mexico, France, United Kingdom, China, Brazil, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Iran and Uzbekistan.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 12:59 p.m.

Briefings

RAMIZ ALAKBAROV, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, speaking via video-teleconference from Kabul, said that the human rights situation in Afghanistan remains precarious. Despite the adoption of a general amnesty and repeated assurances by the Taliban — the de facto authorities — the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) continues to receive credible allegations of killings, ill-treatment and other violations targeting individuals associated with the former Government and of violations committed by the de facto authorities against individuals accused of affiliation with the National Resistance Front and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant–Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP). More needs to be done by the de facto authorities to prevent such violations and demonstrate that when they are perpetrated, violators are held accountable.

The de facto authorities have increasingly restricted the exercise of basic human rights, he continued, including freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of opinion and expression, quelling dissent and restricting civic space in the country. These restrictions continue to be aimed particularly at the rights and freedoms of Afghan women and girls, limiting their involvement in social, political and economic life. These include most prominently the ban on secondary schooling for girls and the decision to impose face coverings on women. The costs to the economy of these policies are immense. The psychosocial costs of being denied education are incalculable. “Women are collectively being written out of society in a way that is unique in the world,” he said, stressing that UNAMA will remain a vocal and visible voice to safeguarding the rights of people of Afghanistan, especially women and girls.

He also noted that the ongoing economic crisis is the single most important issue as a potential driver of conflict, as well as a driver of misery. The Afghan economy has contracted an estimated 30 to 40 per cent since August 2021; output and incomes have reduced by 20 to 30 per cent, while there has been a 50 per cent decline in the number of households receiving remittances. Some projections indicate that poverty rates may climb as high as 97 per cent by the end of 2022. Even more alarming, 82 per cent of households are now in debt. Coping resources that helped many families get through last winter’s humanitarian emergency are now being depleted. The Afghan people would face repeated humanitarian crises; potentially spurring mass migration and making conditions ripe for radicalization and renewed armed conflict. The humanitarian community has coordinated a response of unprecedented proportions, but the crisis persists and will require sustained support over the course of 2022 and 2023.

He said that a strategy of continued engagement and dialogue remains the only way forward for the sake of the Afghan people, as well as for regional and international security. The Taliban continue to hold power almost exclusively. The emergence and persistence of an armed opposition is in large part due to political exclusion. The overall security environment is becoming increasingly unpredictable, with armed opposition attacks against the de facto authorities doubling in May from April. The number of ISIL-KP attacks has generally decreased, but their geographic scope has widened to 11 provinces from 6. Even as the international community and the Taliban remain far apart on the question of human, women’s and political rights, there are areas where they can better cooperate to improve the lives of Afghans, as well as advance on issues of common concern, such as counternarcotics and mine action. Establishing an agenda of common interests will help build confidence and reduce misunderstandings. This includes types of assistance that directly support basic human needs, while moving where possible beyond pure humanitarian delivery into sustaining livelihoods for ordinary Afghans according to basic human needs as described above, he said.

MARTIN GRIFFITHS, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said dramatic shifts in Afghanistan’s political and economic landscape last August have brought unrelenting human suffering. He recounted his visits to engage with de facto authorities, most recently in March, when he witnessed malnourished babies in downtown Kabul “on a scale never seen there before”. Humanitarian colleagues are now responding to yet another tragedy — an earthquake one day ago that struck Paktika and Khost Provinces, which killed nearly 800 people — while Afghanistan’s worst drought in almost 30 years has affected three quarters of its provinces, affecting crop production.

He said a massive 25 million people are now living in poverty — more than double from 2011. “Today, the average household spends three quarters of its income on food,” he said, stressing that 19 million people — nearly half the population — are food insecure, including 6.6 million at emergency levels, the highest number of any country in the world. The humanitarian exception approved by resolution 2615 (2021) has been critical in ensuring humanitarian partners continue to receive funds and implement programmes.

Currently, more than 190 partners deliver aid to millions of people every day, with a scale-up that has reached 20 million people across all 401 districts in 2022, he said. This operation, in addition to being the largest food assistance response globally, spans all sectors of need: shelter, health, nutrition and more. A key component of the humanitarian exception was enabling the transfer and payment of funds necessary for humanitarian programming to public entities, such as line ministries, health facilities or the State-owned electrical company.

Most importantly, he said, humanitarian organizations have doubled up on their own systems to minimize the risk of funds and economic resources being misappropriated or diverted. These measures include spot checks, data reconciliation, photo verification, project completion certificates and complaints mechanisms. Prior to transactions, agencies ensure that partners and suppliers are checked against the Security Council Consolidated Sanctions List. During distributions, they work to ensure community representatives and department officials are present, while operations at the final stage involve post-distribution monitoring, he explained.

Describing impediments to the humanitarian response, he said the formal banking system blocks transfers, due to excessive de-risking, impacting payment channels and causing breakdowns in supply chains. “We have seen limited progress because of resistance by the de facto authorities,” he said, stressing that this issue “is not going to fix itself”. In addition, national and local authorities seek to play a role in the selection of beneficiaries and channel assistance to people on their own priority lists. There are demands by the de facto authorities for data on budget and staffing contracts, making it hard for non-Governmental groups to hire national women in certain functions. “There is now a much more palpable frustration by aid organizations, communities and local authorities,” he said.

Turning to the situation of women and girls, he said the March announcement that secondary schools for girls above sixth grade would not reopen is affecting over 1 million secondary schoolgirls — “a big mistake” at the time that has not been rescinded. “In no other country in the world is a government banning girls from secondary school,” he said, adding that the requirement that women travel beyond certain distances with a mahram — or chaperone — constrains women’s ability to access life-saving services.

In addition, his office simply does not have enough funding. Only one third of the resources needed for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan has been received. “Now is not the time for hesitancy,” he insisted. Without intervention, hunger and malnutrition will intensify, drought will persist, wreaking havoc on crop yields and triggering population movements across the country. He called for addressing the economic and banking paralysis, expanding and improving the quality of the United Nations reach in underserved areas, and resisting the establishment of parallel service delivery systems to national institutions. He commended, in particular, the many thousands of Afghans who work courageously in both national and international organizations across the country.

YALDA HAKIM, introducing herself as an international correspondent and news presenter for BBC News, said she was here as someone who has been reporting from Afghanistan for the past 15 years, as well as a daughter of Afghanistan with personal and deep connection with the nation. Today marks 279 days since the Taliban banned teenage girls from school. “Afghanistan is now the only country in the world where girls are prevented from getting an education, locked out of their classrooms, simply because of their gender,” she pointed out, adding that education is not a privilege, but a basic human right. Before the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, Sheila, a mother, was a teacher at a secondary school. But, like millions of other female government workers, Sheila was ordered to stop going to work. She now sits at home, alongside her 12-year-old daughter, Mursal, who has been banned from attending school. Sheila was 10 when the Taliban first came to power in the 1990s and does not want her daughter to be deprived of an education like she was.

Some of the female protesters say they have had Taliban gunmen point weapons at them, pepper spray them and shout insults, Ms. Hakim continued. One activist, Marzia, continues to receive threatening phone calls and now has no choice but to move from safe house to safe house. Just last month on 9 May, the Taliban ordered women and older girls to cover their faces when in public and avoid being outside at all, if possible. Punishments for violating the decree would be inflicted on their male family members. On 21 May, the Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue ordered all women television presenters to cover their faces, stating “the decision was final and that there was no room for discussion”. In response, male presenters at several major news channels in Afghanistan wore masks on air in solidarity. “To the best of my knowledge,” she said, “it is the most sudden and significant change in the position of women to take place anywhere in the world, in modern history.”

In 2018, the Yalda Hakim Foundation was created, and for three years, it sponsored scholarships for female students from the American University of Afghanistan and supported them into higher education placements at Georgetown University in Qatar, and at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, she said. The questions she hears the most often from young Afghans are about the possibility for the international community to provide more scholarships and how technology can be leveraged to help Afghans who cannot leave Afghanistan continue to learn. However, the question she was repeatedly asked by Afghan women and girls is if they are forgotten — whether the outside world cares and if so, what it is prepared to do. Appealing to Council members, she asked what answer she should give to the women and girls of Afghanistan when they ask her this question.

YALDA ROYAN, Consultant for VOICE Amplified, said Afghan women warned that the Taliban’s promises to respect women’s rights were false. “You ignored us and now we are paying the price for the negligence of the international community, including all those sitting at this table,” she stressed. The Taliban have announced more than 30 policies that are systematically eliminating women from all aspects of society, imposing them through violence. In April, the Taliban tortured and killed a midwife in Mazar-e-Sharif, amputating her legs, stabbing her and shooting her 12 times — simply because she was a woman and a Hazara.

She said Tajiks in Panjshir, Baghlan and Takhar Provinces are arbitrarily arrested, killed, tortured and forcibly displaced. She recounted the 10 June arrest of Zamanuddin, a Tajik student in Panjshir, who had his ear cut off and eye shot before he was thrown off a mountain for not knowing the location of the National Resistance Front’s bases. His brother was also killed. “This is the true face of the Taliban who seek your recognition and legitimacy,” she said. Since March, the Kuchis have attacked Hazaras in Behsud, Malistan, Jaghori and Shaikh Ali districts, killing and injuring 31 people, burning houses and taking 21 people hostage. While Hazaras were targeted in eight explosions in April alone, UNAMA’s condemnation did not even mention the victims’ ethnicities.

In fact, she said UNAMA has not publicly reported on these atrocities until now, nor published its protection of civilians reports since July 2021. She urged UNAMA to immediately resume its regular public reporting, using accurate and unvarnished data. It must prioritize the participation of Afghan women’s organizations and politicians in exile, not only engage with Taliban leaders, in any future political process. While it is required to coordinate aid delivery to all Afghans, without discrimination, the Taliban manipulate distribution to ensure their followers benefit, while women-headed households and marginalized ethnic groups do not.

“If UNAMA fails to ensure accountability for aid diversion, the Taliban will continue their terrorist activities using your aid,” she warned. She called on the Council to end all exemptions for sanctioned Taliban leaders if there is no progress on women’s rights in 60 days. UNAMA must prioritize facilitating an inclusive, intra-Afghan dialogue as soon as the new Special Representative has been appointed. More broadly, she urged the Council to support efforts to hold the Taliban accountable for its past and ongoing abuses, fully resource the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan and support the creation of a fact-finding mission that regularly reports on human rights violations.

If the Council wants the Taliban to take it seriously, it must follow through on its words of support for women’s rights, hold UNAMA accountable for implementing its mandate and impose costs on the Taliban for its horrendous treatment of women, she said. “Stop patronizing Afghan women with awards and empty words of praise,” she demanded. “Together, and individually, the members of this Council have incredible power and resources — I urge you to use them to take real action and restore the dignity and rights of all Afghans.”

Statements

TRINE HEIMERBACK (Norway) said the Council must urge the Taliban to do more to respond to the humanitarian crisis and do less to create a human rights crisis. Echoing concern over reported attacks, killings and disappearances of former Government officials, security force members, prosecutors and judges, journalists and media workers and all those who speak up against a society ruled by fear instead of law, she underscored the responsibility of the de facto authorities to end arbitrary detentions, torture and extrajudicial killings. An investigation into the disappearance of Alia Azizi, Head of the Herat Women’s Prison, must be launched. She expressed alarm at terrorist attacks against civilians, often in ethnic- or religious-minority communities and called on all parties to end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. For its part, UNAMA must monitor, report and engage with parties to undertake commitments to end such violations. Without engaging with the de facto authorities, the global community will lose its most important avenues for influencing the worrying trajectory of Afghanistan’s future.

T.S. TIRUMURTI (India), noting that his country has a direct stake in ensuring the return of peace to Afghanistan, said it supported the adoption of resolution 2615 (2021) and expressed hope that its humanitarian carve outs are fully used by United Nations agencies and their aid partners. Recalling the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence, he said aid disbursement should be non-discriminatory and accessible to all. He noted that India dispatched several shipments of assistance, notably 30,000 metric tons of wheat, 13 tons of medicine and 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and winter clothing. To oversee the use of his country’s assistance, a team from India met representatives of international organizations in Kabul on 2 and 3 June. India is also monitoring security conditions, he said, strongly condemning the 18 June terrorist attack on Gurudwara Dashmesh Pita Sahib Ji in Kabul, and noting that the report of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011) indicates that authorities must take “much stronger” action to fulfil their anti-terrorism commitments. He called for progress to ensure that terrorists, entities or their aliases do not receive support — tacit or direct — from Afghan soil or from regional sanctuaries. He also joined calls for ensuring the protection of women and girls.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) said Afghanistan is not a more stable and secure country under the Taliban, citing attacks against a Sikh temple in Kabul, a crowded market in Nangahar and a mosque in Kunduz Province. “There is no security for the millions who are members of minority communities,” she said, nor for women and girls who are “under siege”, targeted, intimidated, abused, policed and effectively eliminated from public life. The country’s immense challenges cannot be solved without Afghan women fully participating in public life. She also expressed deep concern over food insecurity across the country, and condemned reports of aid interference by the Taliban. “Taking food from the mouths of those most in need is reprehensible,” she said. The Council has a responsibility to respond, based on respect for human rights, humanitarian principles and inclusive participation with women at the table.

HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) said the latest calamity will compound the situation of millions of Afghan citizens, who are confronted by acute food shortages, are internally displaced and lack basic services including drinking water, health care and education, urging the humanitarian agencies to scale up their interventions to bring the much-needed relief to the population. Deploring the unwarranted actions of the de facto authorities, he said the imposition of draconian restrictions on sections of the population, particularly the suppression of the rights of women and girls, including attempts to exclude them from participating fully and meaningfully in the governance process, is unacceptable. This is not the case that the de facto authorities are being called upon to do the extraordinary, he emphasized. To the contrary, he said that the Taliban are simply being asked to commit to upholding the fundamental freedoms and liberties of every Afghan citizen without discrimination and provide them with equal access to the basic of human services as well as access to a fair judicial system, employment, freedom of expression and movement and guaranteeing girls full access to education.

TRINA SAHA (United States) welcomed the Taliban’s ban on narcotics as a positive first step towards the establishment of a lawful agricultural sector. However, she emphasized that the Security Council has been clear and unanimous: If the Taliban wants to normalize its relations with the international community, it needs to immediately reverse the steps it has taken to exclude women from social, political and economic life. Allowing Afghans to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms a prerequisite for a stable, prosperous Afghanistan. Ruling by decree in an exclusionary fashion is a recipe for instability. It is no wonder, then, that Afghans’ humanitarian needs remain severe, she said. The United States remains the world’s leading humanitarian donor in Afghanistan and a source of funds for United Nations operations in that country, she noted, adding that her delegation is proud to have championed resolution 2615 (2021), which established a humanitarian carveout to facilitate the critical delivery of aid to support the basic needs of the Afghan people. As well, Washington, D.C., has clarified that financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and private sector companies can engage in wide-ranging financial transactions and economic activities to benefit the people of Afghanistan, while still complying with its sanctions.

ALLEGRA PAMELA R. BONGO (Gabon) noted several measures undertaken by the Taliban, including a series of announcements to dissolve several entities, such as the Independent Human Rights Commission and the High Council for National Reconciliation, as well as the abolition of some policies. Despite repeated calls from the international community, including from the Security Council, she said the Taliban continue to restrict freedoms and violate the rights of women and girls. Human rights are universal and cannot be waived under any circumstance. Turning to the tensions along the Afghan borders with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as Iran and Pakistan, she expressed concern that this could lead to clashes resulting in civilian casualties and weaken the region. Echoing the Secretary-General’s call for the launch of dialogue between the de facto authorities and other stakeholders, she called for the achievement of peace and sustainable development in Afghanistan and the whole region.

ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (Mexico) said the “frail optimism” of some about possibility of trust has been eroded, as measures have been taken to wipe women off the map, exclude minorities and mount a weak fight against terrorism. Noting that the international community’s ability to support Afghanistan hinges on who is in power, she said the dismantling of institutions, dysfunction in the justice system, restrictions on women and lack of representation of ethnic communities are not in sync with Afghan aspirations. Dialogue is the best way to support the Afghan people. At the minimum, there should be a substantial change to an inclusive governance system, along with a transparent legal framework to regulate daily life, featuring access to justice mechanisms that reflect international obligations. Humanitarian assistance, meanwhile, cannot be made contingent on political considerations, she insisted, calling for unrestricted aid access. She also asked how the economy would ever recover if half of the workforce is unable to work, underscoring the need for UNAMA to have access to those in power, most importantly, to address measures that restrict girls from attending school.

NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France) recalled her country’s immediate response to the humanitarian crisis, noting as well that the European Union contributed €335 million since 2021. All efforts must be undertaken to strengthen risk management to prevent the Taliban’s misappropriation of resources. Five conditions must be met for the travel ban against 13 Taliban officials to be lifted, notably: the constitution of a representative Government, safe departure for those wishing to leave the country, free humanitarian access throughout the country and a cut-off of ties with terrorists. “Not one of these conditions have been met,” she said, stressing that trust has been broken because the Taliban’s promises have rung hollow. She also pointed to the proliferation of serious violations, including limits on women’s daily freedom which has made them “prisoners in their own country, stressing that respect for human rights is a key principle outlined in the Charter of the United Nations and “we must all uphold and promote it”. She outlined France’s expectation that the Mission fulfil this task.

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom), noting that his country is among the largest aid donors to Afghanistan, said 24 million Afghans need humanitarian support. Urgent action is needed to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and economic collapse. He described strong United Nations leadership as essential for negotiating effectively with the Taliban to ensure humanitarian access across the country. Noting that the United Kingdom allocated $380 million to support basic human needs, he expressed support for the 1988 sanctions regime to support Afghanistan’s security, adding that the humanitarian exception ensures that the regime poses no obstacle to the provision of humanitarian assistance. He urged the Taliban to stand by their commitments to the Afghan people and the international community. He also expressed deep concern over extrajudicial detentions and disappearance of Afghans, as well as reports of increased terrorist attacks. The international community must speak with one voice to urge the Taliban to focus on counter-terrorism and creating a more inclusive Government, among several other issues.

ZHANG JUN (China) that Afghanistan is at a critical stage of transition from chaos to governance. The security situation has remained stable since last August, with a marked decline in violent conflict while the country faces the most daunting challenges in the humanitarian and economic spheres. Afghanistan has a long way to go in peace and development. Its people should be not forgotten, he stressed, calling on the international community to step up support and UNAMA to act quickly in support of the country’s earthquake relief effort. Calling for autonomous governance in the country, he said that lessons learned over the past 20 years showed that military interventions and foreign models do not work. All parties should implement Afghan-owned and -led principles. The international community should strengthen its engagement with the interim Government in a pragmatic manner and patiently guide the country in national reconciliation and unity. The humanitarian response plan for Afghanistan is only 30 per

cent funded, representing a $3 billion shortfall, as other geopolitical conflicts have reduced the focus of donors on the country. That, in turn, could plunge the current crisis into a greater catastrophe. He then called on the United States to unconditionally unfreeze Afghanistan overseas assets.

RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil) said that humanitarian exemptions for any sanctions must be strictly observed in order to ensure that they do not undermine access to food, shelter and essential health supplies for those most in need. This understanding is applicable to the situation in Afghanistan, like any other humanitarian crisis. Life-saving aid must continue to flow to alleviate suffering of all the vulnerable in the country. However, only long-term development measures will pave the way for a more prosperous and peaceful future. In this regard, he echoed the appeals for the international community to consider unfreezing the assets of Afghan institutions. Women’s and girls’ rights must be respected not only due to Afghanistan’s obligations under international human rights law, but because women’s participation in the economy is paramount for the country’s economy, for recovery and future sustainable development.

JAYNE JEPKORIR TOROITICH (Kenya) pointed to a rise in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, calling on the Taliban to renew their commitment to fighting terrorism and ensuring that the country does not become a haven for terrorist groups. Highlighting the important contribution of women to economic development, she stressed that their underutilization and exclusion in the labour force will continue to restrict economic growth in the country. She also pointed out the need to consider how Afghan frozen assets can serve as part of efforts to revamp the ailing economy. Commending efforts by neighbouring countries to open their borders during such a difficult period, she urged the international community to support such efforts through predictable funding.

AMEIRAH OBAID MOHAMED OBAID ALHEFEITI (United Arab Emirates) said that, while Afghanistan may have managed to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe this past winter, poverty and hunger continue to rise and she urged continued attention to the worsening humanitarian situation. The access of women and girls to education and all aspects of public life is not optional. Afghanistan’s chances of recovery are doomed if half of its population continues to be marginalized, she said, urging the Council to continue to demand that the Taliban’s decision that excludes girls from secondary education be reversed and that women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in society is reinstated. UNAMA must also continue to implement its comprehensive mandate to engage with the Taliban through structured dialogue, including its active engagement with the Taliban vis-à-vis women’s empowerment and girls’ education. The Taliban must engage in a serious and meaningful counter-terrorism dialogue with the international community. T

his Council must also send a unified message to the Taliban that Afghanistan cannot be a safe haven for terrorists.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said that, if the Council invites civil society representatives to the Chamber, they should be from Afghanistan, enduring the struggles alongside the Afghan people. In six months, humanitarian conditions have deteriorated, with manufacturing on the decline and drought creating seed, food and fertilizer shortages. He denounced hypocrisy by the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) colleagues for shifting responsibility to the international community for today’s crisis and recovery from it, forcing destitute Afghans to pay for the 11 September 2001 attacks for which they had no responsibility. He also expressed confidence that the dialogue between humanitarian agencies and the de facto authorities will allow for significant progress. However, assistance from abroad has a limited effect in mitigating social tensions.

He said that, while resolution 2615 (2021) was meant to be an opportunity to step up assistance, some countries misinterpret its content to justify unilateral restrictions. He urged Western States to return monetary resources and to provide assistance in order to normalize the situation, as they bear responsibility for the outcomes of their 20-year presence in Afghanistan. He cited the risks associated with plans by ISIL/Da’esh to expand to Central Asia and eventually, the Russian Federation, noting that his country has provided humanitarian assistance through United Nations agencies, as well as bilaterally. However, he expressed regret that sanctions against the Russian Federation have affected its cooperation with humanitarian organizations. If necessary, it will provide grain supplies to Afghanistan. It will also maintain cooperation with the de facto authorities who have focused on the terrorist and narcotic threat, as well as on human rights, including those of women and girls.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania), Council President for June, speaking in his national capacity, expressed deep condolences to the families of the victims of the earthquake. He went on to say that, since the Taliban takeover, the country’s economy has been in free fall. The economy contracted by more than a third compared with the same period a year earlier. While education has moved humanity forward, the Taliban have chosen ignorance. No free women in public life means half of the society left out of the country’s future, he said, describing this course of action as “a road map to the dark ages of obscurantism, bigotry, misogyny, a departure from civilization”. Last month, the Taliban leader, called on countries to engage with Afghanistan based on “mutual respect”. That means formal recognition, establishment of diplomatic relations, development assistance, trade and investments. Respect is not a given but is earned by respecting commitments. Unfortunately, the actions of the Taliban go on the opposite direction, to the detriment of the people and to the detriment of the country. It is high time that a meaningful and inclusive political process is initiated, in good faith and with goodwill.

NASEER AHMED FAIQ (Afghanistan) said today’s civil society briefers exemplify “the might and capability of Afghan women”. Afghans today are confronted with multifaceted challenges. Political instability, economic downturn and protracted conflict have ravaged the country since the Taliban’s forceful takeover in 2021. Despite the delivery of humanitarian assistance, Afghanistan is now no closer to stability security or self-sufficiency. In the last 10 months, Afghans were hoping to see changes in the policies of the de facto Taliban authorities to address the crises, as well as efforts to safeguard the rule of law, justice, safety and the protection of social, political and economic rights for all. “This has been far from realization,” he said. The Taliban have not been flexible on the creation of an accountable national Government which is staffed by professional women and minorities, and enjoys national and international legitimacy.

Instead, he pointed to the closure of girls’ secondary schools, enforced wearing of the hijab, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances, among the many credible reports that run counter to the amnesty announcement, as well as to Islamic guidance and principles. Security concerns are mounting, due to the presence of Al-Qaida, Da’esh and foreign terrorist fighters, and terrorist attacks against religious and education centres, with Afghan minorities — including Hazaras — targeted. “Imagine what it is like having your God-given freedoms…taken away from you all of a sudden,” he said, including being banned from education or the enjoyment of a decent life. This is a reality for girls and women, as well as all young people forced to pursue degrees outside the country. The only daily struggle is to find food, shelter and clothing without ambition for the future. “This is the typical life of all Afghans today,” he said.

To prevent Afghanistan from becoming a pariah State, he called for a national dialogue among all Afghans, organized and facilitated by the United Nations, and including representatives of the Taliban and opposition groups. A mechanism must be created through which agreement can be reached on political, economic and social rights, type of Government and efforts to amend the Constitution. This requires full support by the Taliban, and both regional and international partners. “If Afghanistan is abandoned, we risk squandering the progress made,” he said. To the Taliban, he said earning legitimacy requires winning the minds and hearts of all Afghans. They must honour their commitment of amnesty for former Government officials and soldiers, regardless of their ethnicity or gender, work for the formation of an accountable Government, open girls’ schools, allow women take part in the development of the country, honour international commitments to human rights laws and norms, and strengthen coexistence. Consens

us will require real compromise by all parties, he said. It is the only way to free Afghanistan from a cycle of dependency.

MAJID TAKHT RAVANCI (Iran) said his country has hosted millions of refugees who have received “minimal” international assistance for the last 40 years. “Neighbours of Afghanistan, including Iran, should not feel all the burdens associated with receiving Afghan refugees,” he said. He stressed the importance of support for humanitarian development needs, noting that Iran has provided more than 30 consignments of humanitarian assistance to Afghans. Afghanistan’s frozen assets belong to the Afghan people and their release is crucial for saving lives.

Noting that attacks claimed by or attributed to Da’esh or its affiliates have spread in Afghanistan, he expressed deep concern about that trend, citing the international demand that the Taliban commit to fighting terrorism. Equally critical are efforts to combat drug trafficking. The Taliban have failed to make significant efforts to ensure the Government’s ethnic and political inclusiveness, he added, underscoring Iran’s support for UNAMA’s efforts to promote stability.

MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said the Council heard today from three Afghans who “represent themselves”. The Council has not invited those who actually control the country, calling into question its credibility. “We are at another inflection point in Afghanistan’s recent turbulent history,” he said. “We must be clear about our objectives,” the primary of which is to achieve peace and stability. As chair of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers, Pakistan circulated to the Council a document outlining a pathway to peace, as envisaged by OIC countries at the last two ministerial conferences. OIC members call for sustained engagement, including in recovery, reconstruction, education, financial and material assistance, he said, reiterating that Afghanistan’s access to its financial resources will be pivotal to preventing economic collapse and urging the Council to ensure that targeted sanctions do not impede the provision of humanitarian aid or economic resources.

In addition, he said, they reaffirmed that Afghanistan’s territory must not be used as a safe haven for terrorist groups, recalled their previous statement on Afghan girls’ right to education, and reiterated the central role of OIC member States, Islamic scholars and others in exchanging best practices with Afghan authorities on women’s rights. OIC called on the Council to support all such efforts and trusted that both it and UNAMA would consider those elements for normalizing the situation in Afghanistan. He also noted he looked forward to working with UNAMA, which must address the impact of bilateral sanctions and help to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets. Further, he expressed his concern about terrorist attacks emanating from Afghanistan, sponsored and financed by its adversary, and will “find ways” to end them, along with the disinformation campaign which one Council member — a State sponsor of terrorism — has launched against it.

He said the expanded United States, China, Russian Federation and Pakistan “troika” can advance peace in Afghanistan, including in addressing terrorism. Despite frustration over the lack of progress on several issues, the international community’s engagement with the authorities has produced progress. There are no longer thousands of civilian casualties, the political and security situation has remained “relatively stable”, while the threat of reprisal killings and mass exodus of refugees has thus far been avoided. He expressed hope that “we will make the right choices” to steer Afghanistan towards peace and stability.

BAKHTIYOR IBRAGIMOV (Uzbekistan) said that, for centuries the Uzbek and Afghan peoples have lived side by side in a single cultural and civilizational space, adding his support for Afghanistan a peaceful, independent and prosperous State. “Herein the Afghan soil should never again pose a threat to the countries of the region and international community as a whole,” he emphasized. Afghanistan’s interim Government needs some time for practical implementation of its promises. Exerting pressure or enforcing bans would only exacerbate the already dire situation. The further worsening of the social-economic situation could lead to radicalization of society, confrontations between various groups and strengthening positions of extremist forces, as well.

However, he went on to say that the international community should continue to demand from the Taliban not to renege on its promises to form an inclusive government, ensure human rights and provide girls access to school education. He welcomed the opium poppy ban announced by the interim Government, as the decision could deprive various terrorist groups, operating in the country, of an income source, he continued. In the border city of Termez, Uzbekistan established a multifunctional transport-logistics hub being used by the United Nations delivering aid to Afghanistan and has started two major joint projects — construction of a power transmission and a railroad — that will help transform Afghanistan into a bridge between Central and South Asia, further advancing regional connectivity. Further, Uzbekistan has tabled a General Assembly draft resolution titled “Strengthening connectivity between Central and South Asia”, he said.

Source: United Nations

Youth demand inclusion in development decision-making

Bolgatanga, June 23, GNA – Some youth in the Upper East region have called on the government and stakeholders to include young people in decision-making at all levels to help address challenges confronting their growth and development.

They expressed worry at the many challenges preventing their development and the neglect by major stakeholders to seek their views in the formulation and implementation of interventions to address the challenges.

The youth expressed these concerns at Bolgatanga after a stakeholder engagement organised by Norsaac, an advocacy organisation, as part of the implementation of the Power to Youth project funded by Rutgers with support from the Netherlands.

The five-year project, being implemented in consortium with Youth Advocates Ghana, GH Alliance and Songtaba, seeks to empower young people to help address challenges such as unintended teenage pregnancies, harmful practices and sexual and gender-based violence.

A communiqué issued at the end of the engagement and read by Ms Dorcas Zoogah, the Spokesperson for the youth, noted that young people, particularly those in the rural communities, continued to face challenges, including dehumanising cultural practices such as widowhood rites, street hawking, rape, defilement and forced marriages, among others leading to unintended pregnancies and school dropouts.

“On SGBV, it is sad to note that many young people are being raped, defiled and domestically abused in various forms. More disturbing is the perpetration of these acts by older people some of whom are taking advantage of the vulnerability of young people.

“These youngsters should be in school but because of these acts, they are forced to drop out, made to live with life-threatening complications and become mothers too early,” it said.

The communique demanded that the youth, apart from being included in family and community decision-making, should have representation at the Assembly and regional levels.

“Cases of defilement and rape should be handled with the outmost rights and interest of the victims in mind. All opinion leaders and other relevant parties concerned must collaborate to solve these issues amicably,”

Apart from urging the Government to pay the caterers of the school feeding programme to ensure that they returned to their duties to ensure effective academic work, the communique called on the District Assemblies to take urgent steps to clear all beggars on the streets and provide protection for children.

Naba Roland Akwara Atogumdeya III, the Paramount Chief of the Sirigu Traditional Area, said teenage pregnancy was one of the major causes of low girl education in the area and called on stakeholders to address the issue.

He called on the District Assemblies to help the traditional authorities to enact, gazette and enforce by-laws in their communities to ensure that perpetrators of violence against youth, particularly teenage pregnancy, and child marriage were severely punished to serve as a deterrent to others

Ms Yeri Nancy, the Girls and Female Empowerment Manager, Norsaac, said the project was being implemented in 40 communities in 10 districts in the northern part of Ghana to build synergies among all stakeholders towards ending unintended pregnancies, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices.

Source: Ghana News Agency

West Africa Seasonal Monitor 2022 Season – June Update

Highlights

May marks the beginning of the season in most countries in West Africa. Over the course of the month, the seasonal rains progressed northwards from Central Africa and coastal areas of West Africa towards the Sahel region.

Most of the region was characterised by below average and erratic rainfall during this period. Particularly the western parts (Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, western Mali and northern Guinea) and most of the eastern parts of the region (northern Nigeria, southern Chad and Cameroon) experienced below average rainfall. These drier than normal conditions are confirmed by the Standard Precipitation Index (SPI). Some coastal areas (Liberia, Sierra Leone, southern Côte d’Ivoire, southern Ghana and Togo), as well as some central parts of the region (central Burkina Faso) experienced average to above average rains in May.

Vegetation conditions are below average across most of the southern parts of the Sahel, from southern Senegal across Burkina Faso, northern Ghana and northern Nigeria (particularly over the country’s Central Belt). These below normal vegetation conditions can be linked to a later than normal start of the 2022 rainy season, as well as the remnants of a difficult season in 2021, which ended early in some areas. Water resources are at very low levels across most of the Sahel.

The short-term forecasts indicate that by mid-June (20 June 2022), rainfall improvement will likely be observed across West Africa Region, in particular over the Sahel with widespread wetter conditions. This may alleviate the impacts of the early season dryness and lead to more favourable conditions for the start of the growing season.

According to the 2022 PRESASS seasonal forecast, average to above average seasonal rainfall is expected in most of the Sahelian Belt (from Senegal through to Chad), including Cabo Verde. Average to below average rainfall is expected in south-eastern Nigeria and south-western Cameroon. The seasonal forecast also suggests that the start of the season will be early to normal, with shorter than normal dry spells during the first half of the rainy season across the Sahelo-Sudanian zone.

Source: World Food Programme

GJA Elections: Who becomes next GJA President?

Accra, June 23, GNA— Barring any last-minute hitches, members of the Ghana Journalists Association will go to the polls on Friday, June 24, 2022, to elect new executives to steer the affairs of the association for the next four years.

The elections, originally scheduled to take place in 2020, following the expiration of the term of the old administration, have been characterised by controversies, petitions, and counter-petitions, compelling the Elections Committee to reschedule it.

On Friday, a total of 11 aspirants will contest national positions – President, General Secretary, Public Affairs and Organising Secretary.

Two persons are contesting for the Vice-President and Treasurer positions unopposed.

Three persons are vying to be president for the Association, namely— Mr Dave Agbenu, Mr Gayheart Mensah and Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour.

Dave Agbenu

Mr David Agbenu is a practicing journalist who works with the New Times Corporation (NTC).

He is an Executive Management Member of NTC and currently the Editor of the Ghanaian Times.

He has worked for 30 years as a journalist.

Mr Agbenu has served in various capacities of the GJA, including being a former General Secretary for three years, Organising Secretary for six years and the GJA NTC Chapter Secretary for six years.

He holds Masters in Communication (Media Management) from the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Degree in Communication Studies, Professional Masters in ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) and Certificate in Online Journalism (Germany).

Gayheart Mensah

Mr Gayheart Mensah is the Chief Executive Officer of KomsKraft Consult.

He has experience in Journalism, Public Affairs, Corporate Communication, Media Relations, Reputation Management, Stakeholder Management, Personal Branding, Content Development, Advocacy, CSR, Project Communication, Risk Mitigation, Crisis Communications and Regulatory Management.

Mr Mensah has been in communications and Public Affairs for the past 34 years.

He started journalism with the Ghanaian Times Newspaper and worked variously as Presidential, Parliamentary, Court Correspondent, among others.

He joined Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) as News Editor of the “Graphic Showbiz” and moved on to become Assistant Features Editor of the “Daily Graphic.”

Albert Kwabena Dwumfour

Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, a journalist with many years of experince, is the current Organising Secretary of the GJA.

He is also the CEO and Managing Director of De Westend Communications and Media Consultancy, publishers of the Daily Analyst and Business Analyst Newspapers.

Mr Dwumfour is the Head of Corporate Affairs of Tobinco Group of Companies and a former Managing Director of Atinka Media Village.

He is also a business tycoon.

For the office of the General Secretary, Mr Akwasi Agyeman will be contesting the current General Secretary, Mr Kofi Yeboah.

Akwasi Agyeman

Mr Akwasi Agyeman is a trained journalist with many years of experience and works with the Multimedia Group.

Kofi Yeboah

Mr Kofi Yeboah is a trained journalist with more than 25 years of experience.

He has worked at the Ghana News Agency, GBC radio and the Graphic Communications Group Limited.

He served as the General Secretary of the GJA for three years.

He is an author and currently a lecturer at Wisconsin International University College.

The Organising Secretary position is also being contested by two persons:

Dominic Hlordze

Mr Dominic Hlordze is a practicing journalist who currently works with the State Broadcaster, GBC.

Mr Hlordze has been the Secretary, Vice Chairman and Chairman for GJA, Tema region.

Mary Mensah

Ms Mary Mensah is also a practicing journalist who works with the Graphic Communications Group Limited.

She is the Foreign Page Editor at Daily Graphic.

Ms Mensah is currently the Head of Corporate Affairs at the GJA.

The candidates, some 24 hours to the elections, are crisscrossing one another storming the various media houses with campaign messages, some engaged in interpersonal and ‘house to house’ engagements.

The campaign appears to have reached a crescendo with some subtle personal attacks, but everything points to a peaceful, free, and fair poll tomorrow, Friday, June 24.

Source: Ghana News Agency