United Nations staff members in Ethiopia today gathered at the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to celebrate UN Staff Day with a lot of activities, including live performances, music, games, a talent show and international food tasting.
Speaking at the event, Staff Union president, Joseph Baricako, said he was elated that UN Staff Day, which has not been celebrated in recent years, was back on the calendar allowing staff to take stock as they reflect on their work as international civil servants seeking to contribute towards a better world.
“This day is important because we get the opportunity to celebrate the courage, commitment and sacrifice of UN staff all over the world and their potential too. We are delivering on our mandate as the United Nations because of the high level of professionalism, dedication and skills we have here through the UN staff so it is only fair that we get to celebrate ourselves today,” said Baricako.
He said UN Staff Day celebrations were taking place at a time the institution is going through reforms so it can deliver in a better and more efficient way.
“So this is a special time. We also have challenges as resources continue to dwindle but we have more to celebrate and we stand ready as always to deliver our mandate to the world so every UN staff member should feel proud of the great work they are doing all over the world, sometimes in very difficult conditions,” said Baricako.
Speaking on behalf of ECA deputy executive secretary, Giovanie Biha, administration director, Carlos Haddad, praised UN staff in Ethiopia for their commitment and dedication to duty.
He thanked the staff for continuing to deliver on the UN mandate even as they work in an ever-changing world under difficult conditions.
Echoing the Secretary General’s 2017 UN Staff Day message, Mr. Haddad said; “Today we celebrate our ideals; peace, sustainable development, human rights, solidarity and compassion. It is also a day to celebrate the skills, commitments and talent that UN staff demonstrate in so many ways, and on so many challenges.”
In her remarks, Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UN Resident Coordinator, who’s also the UNDP Resident Representative and UN Humanitarian Coordinator, praised the high standard of work exhibited by UN staff in Ethiopia.
“When you have that kind of connection you can’t help but be proud of this organisation. The totality of the UN in this country—the footprint—is incredible. There’s nothing that is left untouched by the United Nations; that’s what we are here for, that’s what we do,” she said, adding the diversity of the UN “is what makes it all happen. The UN is better because of you”.
A representative from the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry celebrated the diversity of the UN saying this was its strength. He thanked the UN for the great work it is doing in his country. He said Ethiopia will continue to do all it can to ensure UN staff and their families enjoy their stay during their tour of duty in the country.
At least 16 countries provided food, allowing staff and their families, friends, partners and invited guests to feast on different types of food and drink.—Uneca Communication Unit