Tag Archives: Rwanda

Zambia Hosts SDGs Sub-Regional Centre for Southern Africa

By Charles Nonde, Public Information Assistant, UNIC Lusaka

In September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by all United

H.E. President Paul Kagame cuts the ribbon after being presented with keys to the SDGs Sub Regional Center as H.E. President E. Lungu of Zambia looks on. Photo:Nonde/UNICLusaka/2019

Nations Member States. The agenda is anchored on five pillars of People, Planet, Peace, Prosperity and Partnership aimed at guaranteeing growth, social inclusion while protecting the environment. The SDGs comprise an ambitious and interrelated set of 17 goals and 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. Following the adoption of the SDGs in September 2015, Africa has made commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals Universal Agenda (SDG 2030) and the African Union Agenda 2063.

At the adoption of the SDGs Africa’s starting point was lower than all the other regions. Additionally, 37 African countries were classified as low human development indicators within the Human Development Index (HDI) of less than 0.55.

The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) is an international not-for-profit institution that was launched in September 2015 by African Leaders, in order to provide support technical support, neutral advice and expertise as input to national governments, private sector, civil society, academic institutions to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs agenda across Africa.   In July 2016, the SDGC/A signed a host country agreement with the Government of the Republic of Rwanda as an international, non-profit continental institution, and officially launched its headquarters a few months later, in January 2017. Its main engagement and invention areas are; planning, costing, tracking and reporting, financing and governance, setting agenda for policy dialogue, Center engagement on global forums and espousing synergies and partnerships of key stakeholders.

The launch of the SDGCA Sub-Regional Center for southern Africa follows the Host Country Agreement signed in September 2018 between the Government of Zambia and the SDGC/A as a continuation of the Centers commitment to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development throughout the five regions of Africa.

On 7 August, 2019 during a one day event at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre, Lusaka saw the official launch of the Sub-Regional Center where over 200 government officials, international development partners, development finance institutions, Statistics Institutions and

Ceremonial key presentation for the SDG Sub Regional Center. Left to Right Dr. Belay E. Begashaw, Director General, SDGC/A, H.E. President Paul Kagame, Rwanda and H.E. President E. Lungu, Zambia. Photo:Nonde/UNIC Lusaka/2019

experts from the Southern Africa and aboard, joining high level dignitaries to discuss the major themes relevant to the implementation in Africa with focus on the southern Region.

The United Nations in Zambia was represented by the Resident Coordinator a.i. Dr George Okech with some members of the United Nations Country Team in attendance. Dr. Okech participated in the first panel discussion on the key findings of the SDGs 3 years report and the 2019 SDGs Africa that was presented by Dr. Enock Twinoburyo, Senior Economist from the SDGC/A.

His Excellency, Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia where present for the launch. During the keynote address given by President Kagame who is also the Chair of the SDGCA Board, thanked the people of Zambia for accepting to hosting the first Center in Southern Africa. He also expressed his gratitude at the commitment to leadership demonstrated by his counterpart in making this a reality.

In his acceptance speech the Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu said the city of Lusaka was synonymous with the struggle for freedom and self-determination in the region. It was a struggle that was successfully waged from here by the liberation movements.

“Today, we meet to rekindle that hope among our people through yet another wave of self-determination from the sustainable Development Front” Lungu said.  He reiterated that the launch of the Centre renewed the hope, and win the war against poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and the negative effects of climate change and other challenges.

The Republican President said the centre would bring everyone together and together make the Centre a critical asset in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.

At the close of the ceremony President Kagame presented a symbolic key to President Lungu officially launching the SDGC/A for Southern Africa with Dr Belay E. Begashaw also on hand to receive the key.

Mulungushi University Joins the Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda

By Racheal Nambeya, Team Assistant, UNIC Lusaka

As part of the commemoration of the 25thAnniversary of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in

UN Resident Coordinator a.i and Food and Agriculture Organization Country Representative, Dr. George Okech, responds to a question by a student during the event. Photo: UNIC/Lusaka/2019/Mukonka

UN Resident Coordinator a.i and Food and Agriculture Organization Country Representative, Dr. George Okech. Photo: UNIC/Lsk/2019/Mukonka

Rwanda, UNIC Lusaka organized an educational outreach activity on 17 April 2019 at which the UN Zambia Resident Coordinator, a.i. George Okech made a presentation to over 160 students at Mulungushi University in Kabwe district. The event was organised by UNIC in partnership with a student group, the International Relations Association of Mulungushi University Students (IRAMUS).

The presentation focused on events that led to the genocide in which more than 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis but also moderate Hutus, Twa and others who were opposed to the genocide were systematically killed in 100 days, effects of the genocide, how genocide can be avoided, lessons learnt and the role of the United Nations in preventing such mass killings of people.

Speaking during the event, Mulungushi University Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr. Judith Lungu called for a need by humanity to learn from past mistakes in order to build a better future.

Mulungushi University students follow the presentation on the Rwanda Genocide. Photo: UNIC/Lusaka/2019/Mukonka

Mulungushi University students follow the presentation on the Rwanda Genocide. Photo: UNIC/Lsk/2019/Mukonka

“As Mulungushi University, we pay homage to the people who endured that abominable cruelty during the genocide. Only by looking at the past can we strive to avoid the mistakes made. “Students should always strive to encourage the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ among each other and set high ethical standards for themselves for now and the future generations to come,” she said.

And Dr. Okech who is also Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Country Representative emphasized on the vital role that youths play in fostering peace and respect for diversity.

“As we commemorate, let us all pledge to work together to build a harmonious future for all people, everywhere and further preserve peace through co-existence among tribal groupings, tolerance, respect for human rights,” he said.

During the event, students also watched a short film documentary titled ‘Kwibuka’ after which they interacted with Dr Okech in a very participatory and though-provoking question and answer session through which issues around the genocide in Rwanda and UN  role were clarified.

Moving a vote of thanks, Natasha Mapulanga a 4thyear student of International Relations, thanked the UN for engaging with students on issues of peace and noted the critical role that

Dignitaries pose for a group photo with students after the event. Photo: UNIC/Lusaka/2019/Nonde

Dignitaries pose for a group photo with students after the event. Photo: UNIC/Lsk/2019/Nonde

the UN has played in ensuring international peace and security since its founding in 1945.

Every year, the United Nations organizes, through its Outreach programme on the Rwanda Genocide, outreach activities to honour those who were murdered and reflect on the suffering of those who survived. The Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations is an information and educational outreach programme run by the UN Department of Global Communications.

The Secretary-General -Remarks on the 25th Anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

12 April 2019
[as delivered]

I am honoured to be with you on this solemn and moving occasion.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

In one of the darkest chapters in recent human history, more than one million people – overwhelmingly Tutsi, but also moderate Hutu and others who opposed the genocide – were systematically killed in less than three months.

On this Day, we honour those who were murdered and reflect on the suffering and resilience of those who survived.

I would particularly like to acknowledge the presence of our dear guests from Rwanda – Mrs. Esther Mujawayo and Father Marcel Uwineza – who survived the genocide and who will be sharing their stories with us.

Today we stand in solidarity with the people of Rwanda.

But, our reflection on the Rwandan genocide also must should beyond one country and one moment in history.

We must take a hard look at the present.

As we renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again, we are seeing dangerous trends of rising xenophobia, racism and intolerance in many parts of the world.

Particularly troubling is the current widespread proliferation of hate speech and incitement to violence. Things that were very clearly present in Rwanda immediately before the genocide.

They are an affront to our values, and threaten human rights, social stability and peace.

The massacre at two mosques in New Zealand a few weeks ago is just the latest tragedy rooted in such poison.

Today’s commemoration gives us an opportunity to once again raise our voices against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, including social and ethnic discrimination, anti-Muslim hatred and anti-Semitism.

Wherever they occur, these evils should be identified, confronted and stopped to prevent them leading, as they have in the past, to hate crimes and genocide.

I call on all political, religious and civil society leaders to reject hate speech and discrimination, and to work vigorously to address and mitigate the root causes that undermine social cohesion and create conditions for hatred and intolerance.

The capacity for evil resides in all societies.

But, so too, do the qualities of understanding, kindness, justice and reconciliation.

That is one of the profound lessons of the Rwandan experience.

The country’s recovery is a rightful source of pride and comfort for the people and Government of Rwanda.

I would also like to commend Rwanda for its exemplary role in the international community.

Rwanda is today the fourth largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations.

It is notable that a nation that has endured the worst atrocities should risk its soldiers to ensure those atrocities cannot happen elsewhere.

After having suffered unspeakable gender-based violence, women now hold 60 per cent of parliamentary seats – another example that Rwanda can share with the world.

Rwanda has also embraced environmental sustainability.

As a pioneer in banning single-use plastic bags, it is now one of the cleanest nations on earth.

In all, Rwanda’s experience holds so many lessons for humanity.

From the darkest depths, the country has risen in a quarter century as a pioneer for the sustainable future we all strive for.

On this day of commemoration, let us all pledge to work together to build a harmonious future for all people, everywhere.

This is the best way to honour those who lost their lives so tragically in Rwanda 25 years ago.

Thank you.

The Commemoration of The International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda

On April 6 and April 7 2018 UNIC Lusaka successfully organized two school outreach activities at Ndola Girls Technical Secondary School and St Paul’s Boys Secondary School in the Copperbelt and Central provinces

Pupils at Ndola Girls Technical Secondary School viewing the poster exhibition.

Pupils at Ndola Girls Technical Secondary School viewing the poster exhibition.

respectively, in commemoration of The International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda. 2018 makes it exactly Twenty-four years ago, when more than 800,000 people were systematically killed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

More than 550 students from Ndola Girls Technical Secondary School and St Paul’s Boys Secondary School participated in the activities which were held from 6 – 7 April 2018. At both schools, apart from offering a brief history on the genocide, UNIC Lusaka staff also showed two videos, a short film documentary titled ‘Kwibuka’ and another video of testimonies by survivors of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The videos later moderated a heated and enlightening discussion with the participants who passionately talked about the effects of genocide on society and the need to preserve peace

Martin Siame a pupil from St Paul’s Secondary School asking a question on what the United Nations was doing when people were being killed in Rwanda and what role they played in ending the civil war during the question and answer session.

Martin Siame a pupil from St Paul’s Secondary School asking a question on what the United Nations was doing when people were being killed in Rwanda and what role they played in ending the civil war during the question and answer session.

through co-existence among tribal groupings, tolerance, respect for human rights and continued awareness creation among the public.

The programme also had a question and answer session through which UNIC Lusaka clarified a lot of issues on the role of the United Nations in peace and security and advised everyone to learn from the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda tragedy.

Participants also further urged UNIC Lusaka to continue sensitizing children and the youths as they were the future and are in need of such information so that such atrocities and crimes against humanity never occur again.

20th Anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide

It’s been 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda happened and yet the memories are still fresh in the memories of many. It was a time of confusion, betrayal, a time of people who once lived in harmony as brothers and sisters, turned against each other in senseless killings that lasted 100 days and saw entire families wiped out and whole communities disappearing off the face of the earth.  Those who survived had to endure many hardships physically and emotionally as they tried to rebuild their lives. 20 years later, Rwanda is a different country, peace and harmony has returned the spirit of oneness, and the country is moving forward.

Students viewing the exhibition. Photo credit UNIC Lusaka

Students viewing the exhibition. Photo credit UNIC Lusaka

To commemorate the Genocide, the United Nations in Zambia embarked on an educational outreach tour in Kitwe at the Copperbelt University (CBU), Dag Hammarskjöld Institution for Peace Studies (DHIPS) and Ndola National Technical High School for Girls from 7-9 April, under the theme “Kwibuka 20-Remember, Unite-Renew”. The participation at the outreach programs was very lively and the response to the topic under discussion generated a lot of debate with a few controversial points of view especially on the failure of the international community in responding to what was happening in Rwanda.

During the tour, there was a video screening of a short documentary called “Kwibuka 20”, whose purpose was to highlight the theme for 2014 and show the audience what steps the people of Rwanda have taken towards Remembering, uniting and renewing as a country.

A presentation by UNIC Lusaka focused on the lessons learnt from the Genocide and the success stories that Rwanda has achieved post 1994. Other activities included a question and answer session and the screening of the video “Kwibuka 20”, which set the stage for the discussion. Other activities included the sending of a bulk Short Message Service (SMS) to 4000 mobile numbers with links to various resources that people could refer to regarding the Rwanda Genocide.