Oct 1, 2015, 10:07 AM
2016 United Nations Day was celebrated on Monday by the UN System in The
Gambia, in partnership with the Gambia government, civil society, school children,
local community and district authority, among others.
This year’s UN Day was celebrated at the St. Peters Senior Secondary School in Lamin, Kombo North, with the theme: “Engaging Youth in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs,) promotion and implementation”.
UN Day is an opportunity to highlight where the UN, in collaboration with national and international partners, needs to redouble its efforts under Agenda 2030 to meet the current and future challenges across the three pillars of its work - peace and security, development, and human rights.
The celebration was characterised by a series of activities, including a highlight event in which the first-ever SDG club in schools was launched, and prizes were also awarded to winners of an essay competition for students on the SDG.
The competition, which took place from 3 to 9 October across all schools in Region 1 and 2, targeted children in the Lower Basic School, Upper and Senior Secondary and the higher education level.
In delivering a statement at the celebration, the UNDP Resident Coordinator, Ms Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, said it was 71 years since the United Nations was formed and it has continued to promote peace and security, sustainable development and human rights across the world.
In The Gambia, she added, the UN is supporting government’s development agenda as outlined in The Gambia’s long-term development Vision 2020 and the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE).
The theme highlights their commitment to focus on the role of Gambian youths in the implementation of the SDGs, and to successfully implement the 17 SDGs in the next 15 years, and they have to engage everyone, particularly the youths.
“We have to empower them with knowledge of the goals and ensure they actively work towards their realisation. As the emerging leaders and force for change for a better, more developed and peaceful world, the youths must own the SDGs,” she said.
The UN System is partnering with the government and schools to pilot the setting up of SDG clubs in schools across the country, she added.
The SDG clubs in schools would empower students to participate and take up meaningful SDGs activities and projects.
The clubs will create the platform for students to reach out and engage their parents, peers, neighbourhood and communities to promote the SDGs.
Also speaking at the celebration was the permanent secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Ousman Sowe, who said the participation of The Gambia in this important international day and event, provides an important window of opportunity for them to join other countries in the community of nations to observe, celebrate and reflect on the global body, the UN, after 71 years of existence.
The day marked another historic moment in the UN selfless services which the entire world continues to benefit from, after 71 years of challenges and progression.
The UN and its specialized agencies such as the UNDP, FAO, WHO and WFP are engaged and partnering in enhancing all aspects of human life, including education, health, poverty reduction, food security, resilience building , the rights of women and children and climate change.
PS Sowe thanked the UN System in The Gambia for their efforts in all facets of development in the country, among which is the youth project “Gambia Shangai Initiative” in the North Bank Region, which is aimed at empowering the youths in the country by providing life-long skills.