Today, Oct. 11, is International Day of the Girl, a time to talk about issues concerning gender equality facing young women. This year’s theme is Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030, promoting initiatives for young women to take on their unique challenges and harness their potential. “It is everyone’s responsibility to encourage young women to aspire to become leaders in their communities,” said Kelly Regan, Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act. “International Day of the Girl is an opportunity to speak out for equality, empower girls to reach their dreams and help build a better future for all women and girls.” A group of young women from East Preston started the Young Women of Excellence Initiative to discuss issues that are important to them and their community. The initiative is part of the East Preston Empowerment Academy, which seeks to empower members of the community with the skills, tools and confidence to fulfill their lifelong dreams. The group is fundraising for a trip to Ottawa in November to share their stories on the national stage. “Today is the International Day of the Girl, a day to celebrate and encourage all our girls and pray together for them to realize and embrace the greatness that is within them,” said Rev. LeQuita Porter, pastor, East Preston Baptist Church. “I pray for confidence, boldness, fierceness of purpose, awareness of greatness and contagious enthusiasm to fully realize and operate in their God-given purpose, and that all girls may activate their full potential and realize their dreams in this world.” The Young Women of Excellence Initiative are hosting an event today to share their stories about the challenges they face in their community. Several events are happening across the province to celebrate International Day of the Girl, including the Pictou County Women’s Centre girls’ leadership camp at Sumac Farms on Oct. 11 and the YWCA Halifax girls’ leadership gathering on Oct. 14. For information on International Day of the Girl events, follow Status of Women on Twitter and Facebook @StatusofWomenNS. For information on events during Women’s History Month visit women.gov.ns.ca/events-calendar .
The Joint Action Plan of Action between the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Japan was signed at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), which concluded earlier today in Yokohama, Japan.“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Government of Japan have a long and fruitful history of cooperation across the globe, in areas ranging from countering illicit narcotic drugs, combating terrorism and strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice. I welcome this new Joint Plan of Action, which will serve to strengthen our efforts still further,” said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov.“We know that insecurity and conflict fuel crime while drugs and crime fuel conflict and undermine security. Addressing these threats can contribute to building peace and promoting human security within and across regions,” he added.While in Japan, Mr. Fedotov met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, together with other heads of international organizations, to discuss Japan’s support for UNODC’s work. He also addressed participants at TICAD V, including during a session on peacebuilding efforts and a symposium on human security in which he emphasized the agency’s integrated approach working with regional partners in West Africa and the Sahel.The Sahel region – which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea – suffers from extreme poverty, with human development levels among the lowest in the world, porous borders that present security challenges, as well as significant human rights problems.As part of its efforts to assist development, humanitarian and security assistance in the Sahel region and to help tends of thousands of African find jobs, Japan today announced a $1 billion fund. The fund is part of a $32 billion contribution to scale up TICAD’s agenda in Africa over the next five years, focusing on peace and stability, building robust and sustainable economies, and promoting inclusive and resilient societies. Participants at TICAD V today issued the Yokohama Declaration, which calls on African countries to unleash the continent’s business and trade potential while improving well-being through agricultural development, job creation and promotion of food security.As part of the overall Action Plan, Africa will aim for six percent growth in the agriculture sector and a doubling of rice production by 2018 from its 2008 level.“The challenge for Africa now is to transform economies so that agriculture becomes more productive, manufacturing flourishes, and high value service industries emerge,” said UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark.UNDP co-organized TICAD V, along with the Government of Japan, the World Bank, the African Union (AU) and the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA).