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Archive for October 8th, 2012

Norway: Strengthening security in the Foreign Service

Posted by African Press International on October 8, 2012

The Government has proposed allocating NOK 140 million to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to strengthen security at the diplomatic and consular missions as well as at the Ministry in Oslo.

“In today’s world, diplomatic missions are more vulnerable than they were before. To ensure the safety of our employees and to be able to maintain the smooth running of our activities in difficult periods, we propose an allocation of NOK 35 million for the implementation of physical security measures at our missions,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

In the light of the important focus on security and emergency preparedness with regard to public institutions in Norway there is also a need to upgrade the basic security of Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ buildings in Oslo. It is proposed that NOK 65 million be allocated for this purpose.

In addition, the Government has proposed an allocation of NOK 40 million for upgrading and securing the Ministry’s ICT infrastructure. This will ensure a robust communications network, both for internal communication and for communication with other actors.

 “It is crucial that we have reliable systems for communicating with our diplomatic and consular missions, not least in crisis situations. We are also seeing an increase in threats of cyber attacks, which means that there is a need to further protect the Ministry’s ICT infrastructure,” said Mr Eide.



source mfa-norway

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Norway: Increased funding for Norwegian research on European issues

Posted by African Press International on October 8, 2012

Under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs‘ budget, the Government has proposed an increase in funding for Norwegian research on European issues from NOK 4.5 to 5.7 million. This represents an increase of 20 percent.

“Developments in the EU and European integration are highly significant for Norway and Norwegian society in a wide range of areas.  The Government will therefore continue to promote the development of a strong research community on European issues in Norway,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Since the 1990s Norwegian researchers have gained international recognition for their in-depth research on European integration and its consequences. Norwegian research on European issues has helped to promote public debate in Norway, enhance education at various levels and strengthen the knowledge base for Norway’s European policy.



source mfa-norway


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Norway: Intensified efforts to promote maternal and child health

Posted by African Press International on October 8, 2012

Every year, almost 300 000 women die in connection with pregnancy and childbirth, and 6.9 million children die from preventable diseases. Many of these women and children could be saved if they had access to simple and affordable medicines. The Government proposes an additional allocation of NOK 650 million to significantly step up Norway’s efforts in the area of maternal and child health.

“In many parts of the world, the day of birth is one of the most dangerous times in the life of a woman and her child. Far too many mothers and newborns die due to a lack of health services and simple, affordable medicines. This is a tragedy for the families concerned, but also for the international community. Over six million women and children will die over the next five years if they do not gain access to cheap and simple life-saving commodities. Together with our international partners, we are therefore significantly stepping up our efforts in this area next year,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

In the poorest countries, only 50 % of women give birth in a maternity clinic or hospital. Only 50 % of these maternity clinics and hospitals have reliable access to medicines that prevent women from bleeding to death during childbirth. Norway will focus its efforts on this issue.

Given the consent of the Storting, the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children will be allocated an additional NOK 300 million, while Norway’s cooperation with the US on the maternal health initiative Saving Mothers, Giving Life will be allocated NOK 100 million. NOK 150 million will be allocated to intensified efforts to promote family planning services. The GAVI Alliance, which seeks to increase access to immunisation in poor countries, will receive an additional allocation of NOK 100 million.

When the additional allocation of NOK 650 million is included, Norway’s total contribution to global health in 2013 will be NOK 2.4 billion.

Currently, over 200 million women and girls do not have access to the family planning services they themselves would like to have. Among the measures that can be used to address this are improving purchasing routines and using communications technology such as mobile phones, both within the health service and as a means of providing the women concerned with information.

“Access to contraception is essential if women are to have control over their own bodies and be able to decide when they want to have children. Norway is also at the forefront internationally when it comes to supporting education for girls. Contraception and education empower girls and give them opportunities,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås.

The proposed increase in Norway’s allocation to maternal and child health will be part of our follow-up of the UN Secretary-General‘s global strategy for women’s and children’s health and the Government’s white paper on global health.


source mfa.norway


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Nurturing start up technological innovations in Africa

Posted by African Press International on October 8, 2012

By Thomas Ochieng API, reporting from Kenya Ochieng Thomas reporting from Kenya Ochieng Thomas reporting from Kenya

For a long time many multinationals had innovations being introduced to the African market with no much success in terms of providing the much-needed workforce and at times not conforming to the needs and dimensions of the African continent.

Most of the technological innovations that were introduced to African people in the long run never attained the intended goals, often the technology firms wound up for the lack of immediate consumers.

The multinationals that pioneered in the area of complimentary of innovations with the locals such as the M-Pesa money transfer have thrived to date. It’s on this backdrop  that the U.S Department of State in collaboration with Microsoft, DEMO, USAID and start-up weekend is set to launch a landmark platform known as the Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LION)@AFRICA. The main aim of the project is the creation a public-private partnership alliance to deepen homegrown IT start-ups.

The LION@AFRICA project is geared in developing local content for the IT application based economic development, with the emphasis on the small innovations and linking them to the global economic scene through providing both technical support and seed capital. The partnership between DEMO and the LION@AFRICA will be a gathering of entrepreneurs, investors, media and
buyers to Nairobi for a two-day conference where startup technology firms from across the continent will showcase their innovations to the top technology firms Chief Executives from across the globe.

During the two-day event new game changing technology products from across Africa will be showcased with each innovation being allocated six minutes to demonstrate their respective products to the world technology leaders.

The conference will also have a full package Africa scholarship program targeting 20 bootstrapped start-up companies with a minimum of 4 scholarships reserved for female entrants.



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The need for peace implementation in North Kivu in the DRC

Posted by African Press International on October 8, 2012

Experts say an upsurge in the number of Congolese military personnel inside Goma could be exacerbating insecurity there

NAIROBI,  – Experts have called on donors and the international community to exert pressure on governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda to stop the escalation of violence in the DRC’s North Kivu region by demonstrating the political will to implement peace agreements with rebel groups and each other.

“What is needed in North Kivu is not a new political agreement that none of the parties will respect and will only address the crisis management but a real engagement from all the parties to resolve the conflict. Donors have to put pressure on both Rwanda and DRC to resolve this conflict and respect their engagement, non-interference and security sector reform,” Marc-André Lagrange, Central Africa senior analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG), told IRIN.

In a briefing released Thursday, the Brussels-based ICG called for, among other things, a UN-negotiated settlement between the Congolese authorities and rebel group M23.

“If international donors and African mediators persist in managing the crisis rather than solving it, it will be impossible to avoid the repetitive cycle of rebellions in the Kivus and the risk of large-scale violence will remain,” the ICG briefing said.

Blame game

The M23, comprised of former DRC national army (FARDC) soldiers who mutinied in April, are fighting government troops in North and South Kivu. A report by UN experts accused Rwanda of supporting the rebel group, accusations Rwandese authorities have denied.

“The M23 is the result of the failure to implement the previous peace agreements by all parties, and failure from both Rwanda and DRC to respect the engagement taken in the International Conference on Great Lakes Region peace and security pact and the 2009 peace agreement. MONUSCO [the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC] and international donors, by their passivity, also bear a responsibility in the actual crisis,” said ICG’s Lagrange.

Failure to implement a March 2009 peace agreement between Congolese authorities and the rebel group National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) has helped perpetuate violence in the area, the ICG says.

Meanwhile, there are concerns that the killing of at least 10 people by unknown assailants this week in Goma, the capital of North Kivu Province, could lead to more violence.

“People are living in tension, and they don’t know what will happen. The M23 are now saying they want to get into Goma to rescue people from the military. There might be more violence,” Aloys Tegera, a researcher at the Pole Institute, told IRIN.

In a September statement, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused M23 rebels of committing war crimes in eastern DRC.

“The M23 rebels are committing a horrific trail of new atrocities in eastern Congo,” Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior Africa researcher at HRW, said in the statement. “M23 commanders should be held accountable for these crimes, and the Rwandan officials supporting these abusive commanders could face justice for aiding and abetting the crimes.”

But Tegera said that, while it is not clear who is responsible for the killings, a military personnel had disclosed that the Congolese army could have been responsible, and that some 5,000 armed military personnel have deserted duty and disappeared into the civilian population.

Worsening security

Aid workers told IRIN that the current security situation, while troubling, hasn’t yet impacted their work.

“The security situation has become a concern in Goma recently, but not to the extent that it is actually affecting humanitarian work in the region. Currently, the main impact of the increase in security incidents in Goma has been that humanitarians are exercising more caution when they move around at night,” Ann-France White, from the response and coordination unit of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)in DRC, told IRIN by email.

The Congolese government has sent a large contingent of troops to the area to quell the threat posed by M23. Tegera told IRIN the increase in troop numbers could be worsening the situation.

“The presence of the military is not helping much, and it is only adding to insecurity because they are harassing people,” Tegera added.

In one of the attacks, a grenade was thrown at the residence of the vice governor of North Kivu Province, but no casualties were reported. A week earlier, grenades were hurled into a restaurant, wounding several people.

A woman and two men were shot dead near the University of Goma; another man was killed in Ndosho, also in Goma, while three more people were killed in North Mabanga, Karishimbi and Keshero neighborhoods.

“If they are attacking even government officials, how can ordinary citizens be safe?” Tegera asked.



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ICC: 9-10 October 2012: Hearings on Libya’s challenge to the admissibility of the case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi

Posted by African Press International on October 8, 2012

On 9 and 10 October 2012, from 9:30 to 16:00 (The Hague local time), Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will hold hearings on Libya’s challenge to the admissibility of the case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi.

The hearings will be held in open court in the presence of representatives of Libya, the ICC Prosecutor, the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence and the Office of Public Counsel for Victims. Topics to be discussed are indicated in the order below:

Libyan case



The Prosecutor v. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi


Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi

Honorary chairman of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation and acting as the Libyan de facto Prime Minister
Warrants of Arrest: issued on 27 June 2011


Abdullah Al-Senussi

Colonel in the Libyan Armed Forces and current head of the Military Intelligence
Warrants of Arrest: issued on 27 June 2011



Mr Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi is allegedly criminally responsible as indirect co-perpetrator and Mr Abdullah Al-Senussi is allegedly criminally responsible as indirect perpetrator, for two counts of crimes against humanity:

  • Murder, within the meaning of article 7(1)(a) of the Statute; and
  • Persecution, within the meaning of article 7(1)(h) of the Statute


Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi (Muammar Gaddafi)

Commander of the Armed Forces of Libya and holding the title of Leader of the Revolution, and as such, acting as the Libyan Head of State
Warrants of Arrest: issued on 27 June 2011
Termination of the case against him: 22 November 2011, following his death



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