Ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20th, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released its 2009 Global Trends report, which reviews statistics concerning "persons of concern" to the UNHCR: refugees, Internally Displaced People (IDPs), returnees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons.
As Women Deliver wrapped up its third and final day, a tangible sense of excitement and accomplishment was running through the conference center's halls. The day began with actress and advocate Ashley Judd moderating a panel of courageous young people who were making a difference in their countries. From the young Afghan woman, Maihan Wali, captain of her country's national basketball team, to the 20 year-old Ugandan activist Esther Namataka, each panelist shared their journey as change makers during what was arguably one of the most emotion-ridden Women Deliver plenaries.
Walking through the halls of the imposing Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C., you can feel that the Women Deliver conference is the largest gathering on women’s issues in more than a decade. There is a palpable excitement and enthusiasm among the thousands of attendees milling around between sessions, connecting and sharing experiences, which is only matched by the intense engagement and intellectual energy felt during the panels, plenaries and discussions.
During an official Women Deliver press conference on Monday, former Presidents Michelle Bachelet and Mary Robinson, actress and activisit Ashley Judd, executive director of the UNFPA Thoraya Obaid and World Bank managing director Oby Ezekwesili offered their views on why it is so critical to increase and improve investments in women and girls.
The 2nd Women Deliver Global Conference began this morning in Washington D.C. Delegates hailing from 146 countries and representing hundreds of NGOs, firms, civil society groups, governments and international organizations convened this morning for the event's first plenary.
Mining giants haven't failed to take note of opportunities in West Africa. The Financial Times reports that six major mining groups are planning on spending billions of dollars in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in a bid to profit from the region's rich resources, particularly iron ore.
A political milestone has just been marked in Guinea: the campaign for the first round of the presidential election was launched yesterday, the first free and open competition for the country’s top leadership post since independence in 1958. The first round of the election is scheduled for June 27, with a potential second round slated to occur 2 weeks later, should no absolute majority emerge from the first round of voting.
Yesterday, U.S. lawmakers passed the "Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009", a bill that will require the United States to design and implement a comprehensive strategy with multilateral and regional partners to address the violence perpetrated by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The bill, which was co-sponsored by a coalition of Republican and Democrat representatives, is the most widely cosponsored legislation focused on sub-Saharan Africa in modern American history.