The UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Natalia Kanem, and the Vice President of Costa Rica, Mrs Epsy Campbell Barr, yesterday arrived in Ghana to participate in activities lined up to mark this year’s ‘Return Mission’.
The two were met at the Kotoka International Airport by a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Thomas Mbomba, Resident Representative of the UNFPA, Niyi Ojuolape, heads of other UN agencies and selected staff.
The visit is a follow-up to the celebration of the International Day for People of African Descent observed in Costa Rica in August 2021, an event at which Ghana represented the African region.
The UN as part of measures to advance the equity for people of African descent launched the decade of African Descent (2015 to 2024) and adopted a resolution to establish August 31 as the International Day of People of African Descent.
The day seeks to promote greater recognition and respect for the diverse heritage, culture, and contribution of people of African descent to the development of societies, and promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent.
As part of the five-day visit, the team will today visit the Assin Manso slave market and the Elmina Castle in the Central Region.
They will tomorrow Thursday, April 21, 2022, call on the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, at the Jubilee House in Accra and then pay homage to the Akwamuhene, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, at his palace, Akwamufie, in the Eastern Region.
The visit will be climaxed on Friday with a high-level Diaspora Forum with advocacy and thematic conversations towards advancing equity for People of African Descent.
Briefing the media ahead of their arrival in Accra, Dr Doris Aglobitse, Programme Lead, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and Gender Team Lead, explained that though the initiative falls under the purview of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the UNFPA was at the forefront of it.
This is because the UNFPA Head, Dr Kanem is the champion of issues relating to people of African Descent within the UN system hence assigned that role.
Dr Kanem, on arrival told journalists that she was excited to be back to her roots, adding that the forum would call attention to the pressing issues of people of African descent in this era.
Ghana, she said, is a beacon of light and acknowledged her towering role in the emancipation of the black race and equal rights for women which makes the country the toast of others.
Mrs Barr said her heart was “full of love and joy because I have come back to my motherland.”