CAIRO: On Oct. 24, the International United Nations Day, UN members all over the world were assessing their achievements so far and looking to the future. In a speech issued to member states, the Secretary General stressed the need for multilateralism as the only viable way for success in an ever increasing globalized world.
He also placed emphasis on the issues of the Millennium Development Goals as well as the need to focus on climate change.
Within Egypt, both these issues remain high on the agenda. Today sees the Launch of the Global Environment Outlook 2007, prepared by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The program is considered the most comprehensive report on the environment. Meanwhile the Sail the Nile campaign to raise awareness for the Millennium Development Goals set off on Oct. 23 from Aswan, stopping in eight cities in Egypt.
In a recent report issued by the UN, one can review the achievements of different sections of the UN and the impact they have on individual lives. The UN World Food Program is just one of the UN departments. It allows families to take possession of barren desert landscape and transform it into a thriving community.
Abdul Latif, 45, left his village six years ago for Wadi Al-Sa’ida, a newly reclaimed area in Edfu, Aswan. In an ambitious project, he transformed six acres of desert landscape into an area lush with corn and vegetables. “I wanted to leave a big plot of land to my kids. Now I have something to leave to my children.
The United High Commission for Refugees has also seen success this year with the expansion of its education grant program. The program provides grants for more than 6,000 refugee children who have been unable to go to school because of conflict or due to the prohibitive costs. The grant covers the costs of tuition, transportation and uniforms, working with partners and community based organizations to distribute the education cash grants.
Ahmed, whose father was kidnapped last year in Iraq, missed out on a year of education. He recently enrolled at a school in Sixth of October City.
Education is also a priority for the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). One of its aims is to improve the conditions of child laborers in the cities. The Unicef supported Red Crescent center of West Helwan, is one of four centers which opens it doors for working girls every Friday. Red Crescent Program Director Nadia Kamel says, “We try and instill the feeling in parents that they should not impose on their daughters what they would not have wanted for themselves. To date, we have had a 50 percent success rate with this.