Plenary Sessions – The UN and Africa: Progress Towards Achieving the SDGs

Plenary I – The UN and Africa: Progress towards the SDGs

> Nabeel Goheer, Assistant Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat

Nabeel is with the Commonwealth Secretariat in London since 2010, and presently working as Assistant Secretary-General. He specialises in the relevance and reform of international organisations and complex systems. In the last eight years, he has worked closely with Commonwealth member states, coordinated its networks, and supported eminent person groups to rejuvenate the system. Earlier, he worked with other international agencies such as the World Bank, United Nations, and USAID. He studied for PhD at Cambridge Judge Business School, has affiliation with the Hull University Business School as a Distinguished Fellow, and also lectures at Oxford and Middlesex Universities.

> Carlos Lopes, Professor at the Mandela School of Public Governance, UCT

Carlos Lopes is a Professor at the Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town and Visiting Professor at Sciences Po, Paris. He has led several UN institutions such as UN System Staff College, UNITAR and the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Lopes has also been UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe and Brazil and Political Director for UN SG Kofi Annan. He left the UN with the rank of Under-Secretary General in 2016 to resume his academic career. He is also a member of the African Union Reform Team, led by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, and doubles as the AU’s High Representative for Partnerships with Europe. Widely published his latest book is “Africa in Transformation. Economic Development in the age of doubt” (Palgrave McMillan, 2019).

> Morné Mostert, Director of the Institute for Futures Research, Stellenbosch University

Dr Morné Mostert is the Director of the Institute for Futures Research at Stellenbosch University. He advises globally on Futures-based executive decision-making and cognitive development for senior leaders and has worked i.a. in London, Paris, Madrid, Dijon, Abu Dhabi, Azerbaijan, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and several African countries (Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Lesotho, Nigeria, Botswana, Swaziland, Tunisia and Mauritius). Subsequent to his PhD in the Management of Technology and Innovation, his areas of specialisation include Futures Thinking, Strategic Thinking, Systems Thinking and Creative Innovation. He is the Chairman of media tech start-up Africa Business Radio. Dr Mostert is a regular keynote speaker and frequent guest on radio and television in the business media. He is the author of the influential book Systemic Leadership Learning – Leadership Development in the Era of Complexity, which has been the prescribed text for several international programmes on strategic leadership. He is a member of the ILO international panel of experts on the Future of Work.

> Esther Amankwah, Head of Communications, Youth Advocates Ghana

Esther Amankwah is an independent media practitioner, and the Chief Executive Officer of Arrows Communications and Media Consult, a multi-media communications and marketing company which focuses on corporate communications, capacity building training workshops and the production of rural documentaries. Ms. Amankwah, also serves as an Advisory Board Member and a lead trainer for Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG), a Non-Governmental organization based in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Having served in that capacity for over 4 years, her services, advice and direction has helped to shape and change the lives of many youth in the community. Ms. Amankwah, was very instrumental in the organization of the first and the second African Youth Sustainable Development Goals Summit, which attracted the participation of over 420 youth from across 25 countries and 1,400 youth from 48 countries across the African and European countries respectively. Ms. Amankwah holds a Master of Arts Degree in Public Relations from the School of Graduate Studies and Research at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Information Studies from the University of Ghana, a Diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies from the African University College of Communications and a Certificate in “leading in Public life’ Emerging African Leaders Programme from the University of Cape Town–South Africa.


Plenary II – Crime, Conflict and Development

> Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director Division for Policy Analysis and Public Information, UNODC

Mr. Lemahieu was appointed Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs (DPA) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in December 2013. Before taking up this position in Vienna, he gained 20 years of field experience, serving in various countries challenged by political economies heavily dependent on drug cultivation, including Afghanistan and Myanmar, and in transit regions such as Central Asia and the Caribbean. His first appointment with the United Nations dates back to 1990, as a Junior Professional Officer with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) assigned to the Republic of Korea.

> Ai Kihara-Hunt, Associate Professor at the Graduate Program on Human Security

Dr. Ai Kihara-Hunt is Associate Professor at the Graduate Program on Human Security and Deputy Director of the Research Center for Sustainable Peace at the University of Tokyo. She also serves as a member of ACUNS Board of Directors. Her main area of research is UN Peace Operations, in particular the UN Police, accountability and human rights. Previously she worked for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-OHCHR), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Peace Operations in Timor-Leste/East Timor among others. Her publications include: Holding UNPOL to Account: Individual Criminal Accountability of United Nations Police Personnel (Brill, 2017).

> Kwesi Aning, Director of Research, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre 

Dr. Kwesi Aning is the Director, Faculty of Academic Affairs & Research, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana and Clinical Professor of Peacekeeping Practice at Kennesaw State University, Atlanta. He holds a doctorate in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 1998 and a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Ghana in 1986. He has served with the African Union from 2005 to 2007 as the first continental Expert on the Common African Defence and Security Policy (CADSP) and Counter-terrorism located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with responsibility for the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT). Subsequently, he served as a senior consultant to the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) of the UN in New York and wrote a Secretary-General’s Report for the Security Council on ‘The relationship between the UN and regional Organisations especially the African Union’ in 2008. Dr. Aning has over 150 publications to his credit including books, book chapters, journal articles and policy briefs.


Plenary III – Human Rights and Democracy: Where does Development fit in?

> Changrok Soh, Member of the UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory panel

Dr. Changrok Soh is currently a professor of the Graduate School of International Studies and the Director of Human Rights Center in Korea University. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of UN Human Rights Council and the President of Human Asia (a Human Rights NGO). Dr. Soh has thrived to reflect his research on human rights into the practice through his role as an independent UN and NGO expert. After graduating from the Department of International Relations at Seoul National University, he received his Ph.D. as well as MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

> Sandra Liebenberg, H.F. Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law and Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University; Vice-President, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Prof Sandra Liebenberg (BA LLB (UCT); LLM (Essex); LLD (Witwatersrand)) is HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law and Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Stellenbosch. She previously served as Chair of the Technical Committee advising the Constitutional Assembly on the drafting of the Bill of Rights in the 1996 Constitution of South Africa. She has published widely in the field of socio-economic rights, and has been active in a number of non-governmental organisations working to promote the realisation of these fundamental rights both within South Africa and internationally. She is the author of the monograph, Socio-Economic Rights: Adjudication under a Transformative Constitution (2010, Juta & Co) and co-editor of Law and Poverty: Perspectives from South Africa and Beyond (Juta & Co, 2011). In 2016 she was elected as a member of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the body that supervises compliance by States Parties with their obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966). She is currently Vice-President of this Committee.

> Julie Ojiambo, Human Rights Practitioner, Policy and Governance Analyst 

Julie Ojiambo is a Human Rights Practitioner, Policy and Governance Analyst from Kenya.She is interested in the issues of Global Governance, Diplomacy and Human Rights; particularly the rights of women and girls in the region of Africa. Julie’s interest in advocating for the rights of women and girls has been sparked by the professional, scholarly and lived experiences she has been exposed to; having observed the inequalities these vulnerable groups face in their lives. Julie is currently working at the Women’s and Governance Team of the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya. She previously worked as a Governance, Human Rights and Democracy expert, during her time serving as an African Union Youth Volunteer, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her other professional experiences include her time interning and volunteering at, Human Rights Watch: Africa Division and the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project”. She has recently completed pursuing a Masters degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. She holds an Honor’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a minor in Human Rights and African Studies from the City University of New York, Hunter College. She looks forward to interacting and charting ways forward to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, in the course of the ACUNS conference on the UN and Africa: Progress Towards Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

> Deprose Muchena, Regional Director for Amnesty International’s Southern Africa Regional Office 

Deprose Muchena is the Regional Director for Amnesty International’s Southern Africa Regional Office (SARO) based in Johannesburg. He leads a team of campaigners, researchers and communication experts, working to end grave human rights abuses across the Southern Africa region. Over this period, Amnesty has strengthened its focus on root causes of rights abuses in themes affecting the region, including socio-economic rights, business and human rights, justice and accountability, while retaining a sharp focus on human rights defenders, freedom of expression and assembly agenda in the context of a shrinking space for civil society. Prior to joining Amnesty, Deprose served as Deputy Executive Director and Head of Programmes, at Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), a grant making foundation promoting open society ideals. A native of Zimbabwe, Deprose brings experience in civil society leadership, human rights advocacy, governance and economic justice. He is Board Chair of the Southern Africa Resources Watch (SARW)