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Archive for September 18th, 2013

Good news: Syria has announced that it will join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2013

Welcome agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons

“I welcome the agreement reached by Russia and the US on the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons. This is a breakthrough for diplomacy in what has been a deadlocked conflict. Russia and the US must be commended for their efforts to achieve this agreement. I hope this will be the first step in a new diplomatic initiative to bring the civil war in Syria to an end,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

The US and Russia announced on Saturday that they had reached agreement on how the Syrian regime’s stockpile of chemical weapons is to be destroyed. Under the deal, Syria has to provide details of its chemical weapons, including where they are located, within a week. Failure on the part of the Assad regime to comply could lead to a UN Security Council resolution that opens up for the use of force.

Norway, together with the rest of the world, has condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria. At the same time, we have emphasised that it is the Security Council’s responsibility to respond to serious violations of international law. This agreement makes it very clear that the use of chemical weapons will not be accepted by the international community. And the fact that the US and Russia have agreed that further steps must be endorsed by the Security Council is important in itself,” said Mr Eide.

Syria announced Friday (13th of september) that it will join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

“Syria already had extensive obligations under international law. All the same, it is a positive sign that Syria has now announced that it wants to join the Convention, and it is one of the last countries to do so. It is crucial that the Syrian authorities now cooperate fully with the international community to reach a rapid solution to the present situation. This also applies to other issues in addition to the obligations Syria is taking on under the Chemical Weapons Convention,” commented Mr Eide.

 

As a member of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Norway will continue its efforts to persuade the small number of states that still have not joined the convention to do so as soon as possible.

 

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Useful review of the EEA and Norway Grants

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2013

“It is encouraging that the Office of the Auditor General is of the view that the EEA and Norway Grants help to strengthen contact and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries. I am pleased that the Office of the Auditor General notes that our approach has become more focused and targeted,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

The Office of the Auditor General today presented its performance audit of the EEA and Norway Grants. The overall objectives of the EEA and Norway Grants are to contribute to reducing social and economic disparities in the EEA, and to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries.

“The report provides a useful review of our work on the EEA and Norway Grants, and it endorses the changes the Ministry has initiated,” said Mr Eide.

The EEA and Norway Grants have become an instrument of Norwegian foreign policy, and they help to promote social and democratic development in Europe.

“The contribution we make through the Grants acts as a door opener and it creates forums and cooperation on a scale that would otherwise have been impossible,” said Mr Eide.

The Office of the Auditor General’s report supports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ introduction of a new administrative model for the Grants. The report concludes that this has helped to promote a more focused approach, and that performance management has improved and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries has been strengthened.

At the same time, the Office of the Auditor General recommends that the ongoing work on performance management should be further strengthened, that administration and the provision of technical assistance should be followed up, and that the administrative model should be assessed in terms of its ability to meet the need for controls and ensure good performance.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will make active use of the investigation in its ongoing work to further develop the administration of the Grants. Quality assurance and performance management will continue to have high priority.

“It is important for Norway to be able to carry out controls and influence how the EEA and Norway Grants are used. We have therefore increased our capacity to carry out controls and engage in risk management. In order to achieve this, we had to use some of the funds to cover the costs of administration and technical assistance,” Mr Eide said.

The Office of the Auditor General’s report and recommendations will be followed up in various forums, including at a risk management seminar in Oslo next week that will gather representatives from all the beneficiary countries and Transparency International.

 

 

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Kenya: Latest groundbreaking research on preventing, controlling and eliminating malaria , a killer disease

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2013

Leading research scientists all over the World are set  to present the latest groundbreaking research on preventing, controlling and eliminating malaria , a killer disease and how they have been working to combat  the emerging resistance to drugs, insecticides, among others.

This even as the malaria community celebrates 10 years of progress in driving down the unacceptable number of what happened 50 years ago when donor fatigue and a lack of new tools resulted in a resurgence of malaria incidences  that took roughly a million lives a year in 2000.

The malaria community is responding by racing to hold on to the gains of the last ten years, while at the same time continuing to develop the tools that could help to eliminate and eventually eradicate malaria.

The Sixth Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Conference, the world’s largest gathering of malaria expert, will be held in Durban, South Africa, from 6-11 October 2013.

Leading scientists from across Africa and around the world who are pushing this groundbreaking research forward, will gather to present their latest findings in the areas of malaria diagnostics, control (including insecticides and mosquito behavior), treatment (drugs),and prevention (including long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying and vaccines).

At the conference, subtitled “Moving Towards Malaria Elimination: Investing in Research and Control,” they will be joined by thousands of other experts, national malaria control programme managers, policymakers, health care workers and community members who will highlight new developments and remaining challenges in the fight to defeat malaria once and for all.

Despite unprecedented advances, malaria continues to infect approximately 219 million people around the world each year.

In 2010, it took the lives of an estimated 660,000 people, the vast majority young children in Africa.

History has shown that decrease in support for fighting malaria in areas where significant progress has been made lead to a resurgence of the disease, potentially undoing years of effort and investment and putting millions of lives at risk.

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Kenya: Call for redoubled efforts to end cycle of violence in Moyale and neighbouring areas

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2013

A non governmental organization has asked the government to move fast and end the bloodletting in northern Kenya.
International Center for POlicy and Conflict (ICPC) said the ongoing  violence and security crisis in Moyale and neighboring Counties is a significant test for Kenya government.
The violence  has so far claimed more than 10 lives and displaced many others.
The organization is now calling on Kenyan authorities to firmly tackle the underlying causes leading to repeated outbreaks of deadly violence in Moyale and neighboring areas.
In a press statement signed by Ndungu Wainaina, the NGO said the government of Kenya has not only failed to protect vulnerable groups, but has created a dangerous culture of impunity that fuels endemic human rights violations.
”All concerned should redouble their efforts to put an immediate end to the cycle of violence, which is putting thousands of lives at risk and threatening the social stability of the whole area”, read the press statement.
It further suggested that ethnic hatred must not be allowed to keep fomenting in Kenya. ”We urged the Government of Kenya to take all the legal appropriate measures to immediately stop the ethnic violence, to protect the victims, and to avoid the repetition of such killings in the future”. it asserted.
ICPC pointed out that in the absence of a principled, determined and robust response from the government of Kenya, manifested in strong enforcement of law, communities will feel that they can vent their frustrations and inter-communal hostilities with impunity.
Equally, those who incite such violence will feel empowered to continue doing so, in the knowledge that they will face no consequences from the state.
The security forces also must act within the law, and they must be even-handed in their treatment when responding to outbreaks of violence in the affected area, the statement read.
 ICPC also in its statement  called on the Government to bring the full force of the law to bear against those responsible for inciting violence.
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