Arrest of anti-Balaka leader Jean-Francis Diandi by Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)

Arrest of anti-Balaka leader Jean-Francis Diandi by Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 23, 2018/ — The United States commends the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) for its recent arrest of anti-Balaka leader Jean-Francis Diandi. We applaud MINUSCA for taking strong, decisive action to end the threat of armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) and will continue to support MINUSCA and its leadership in their efforts to advance peace and stability in CAR.

The United States is disturbed by the anti-Balaka’s call to attack MINUSCA. We condemn all forms of violence and urge the anti-Balaka to cease these calls immediately.

We commend President Touadera for his efforts to advance justice and accountability, in order to attain a sustainable peace and national reconciliation in CAR. We reiterate our commitment to working closely with President Touadera and the international community to ensure that the future of CAR is bright.

U.S. Adds South Sudanese Oil Entities to Department of Commerce Entity List

U.S. Adds South Sudanese Oil Entities to Department of Commerce Entity List

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 23, 2018/ — Today (March 21 2018), the United States is taking action against fifteen South Sudanese oil-related entities whose revenues have contributed to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan. This action reflects the U.S. commitment to doing all it can to protect the innocent people of South Sudan.

By placing these entities on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Entity List, the United States will impose a license requirement on all exports, re-exports, and transfers of any U.S.-origin items to those entities. The names of these specific entities will be published in the Federal Register on March 22. Technical questions regarding the details of today’s action should be addressed to the Department of Commerce.

The listed entities are a source of substantial revenue for the Government of South Sudan. Unfortunately, the South Sudanese Government, and corrupt official actors, use this revenue to purchase weapons and fund irregular militias that undermine the peace, security, and stability of South Sudan rather than support the welfare and current emergency food needs of the South Sudanese people. We call on the region and broader international community to join us in limiting the financial flows that fuel the continuing violence in the country.

The Government of South Sudan can do better. The United States expects it, as well as the armed opposition, to fulfill their commitments to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and to their own people to cease hostilities, allow unimpeded humanitarian access, and pursue a negotiated peace in good faith. As the largest donor of aid to South Sudan, the United States is proud to uphold humanitarian values and deliver vital assistance. The Government of South Sudan must not squander that generosity and should take concrete steps to provide for the vast needs of the South Sudanese people.

Today’s actions are part of our ongoing effort to hold to account those who foment violence, commit human rights violations, obstruct the peace process, or engage in illicit financial activities against the interest of the South Sudanese people. We remain prepared to take additional actions, including sanctioning those who threaten the peace and security of South Sudan.

World Water Day: Greenpeace demands more commitment to defend South African people’s right to water

World Water Day: Greenpeace demands more commitment to defend South African people’s right to water

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 22, 2018/ — This year, South Africa will observe World Water Week under the ominous cloud of the Cape Town water crisis, and the stark reality of long-term water scarcity in South Africa and beyond our borders. The spotlight on water is at the heart of all conversations in South Africa with questions mainly being raised around sustainable water management, government’s role in the securing access of clean water for all citizens, and the future we face with alarming rates of drought and other weather extremes around the world.

On the occasion of World Water Day, Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager, Melita Steele has said,

“Day Zero is a sign of the times. Millions of South Africans live with Day Zero every day, because they don’t have access to water. Water scarcity is a massive problem, and it is not going to go away. Greenpeace believes that the 2002 UNESCO General Comment [3]that ‘ the human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realisation of other rights’ goes to the heart of the matter.

“The days of mega water users like Eskom and coal mines having unlimited access to water at the expense of the people of South Africa must be over. We must change the narrative around water, and we must defend our right to water at all costs.

“The fact of the matter is that the water story in South Africa is not a good one. Our Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation has for all intents and purposes collapsed. Demand is going to exceed supply in the long term, and it will be difficult to close the gap. All government departments, including but not limited to the Department of Water and Sanitation, must put water at the centre of decision making, and must firmly prioritise water for people over business and profits”.

According to the South African Human Rights Commission there has been an increase in complaints relating to the right to water between 2012 and 2016, which is tied to insufficient or lack of basic service delivery. This is likely to worsen unless people’s right to water is protected and put first. Water is a basic human right.

In the recent report A delicate balance: Water scarcity in South Africa[1], it is indicated that as the forces of climate change, urbanisation, population growth and industrialisation collide in SA there needs to be a comprehensive and aggressive push from the South African government to restore balance to the water sector. With this responsibility comes an important opportunity. This makes it clear that a fundamental shift related to water is required to avoid devastating consequences in the future.​

Why Johannesburg conference will help shape Africa’s tourist experience for years to come

Why Johannesburg conference will help shape Africa’s tourist experience for years to come

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 16, 2018/ — Across Africa, hotel investment is soaring with international brands making the continent their key focus for growth. But what does this mean for the industry? The Hospitality Leadership Forum brings together top international speakers and experts to consider the future.

With hotel investment volumes across sub-Saharan Africa forecast to grow year on year between 10 and 20 percent in 2018 to about $500million (R6.07billion), the sector is undergoing a boom.

In June this year, The Hospitality Leadership Forum brings together key personnel from across the world for a unique three-day conference focused on the future of the sector across Africa. Each session carries a panel of up to ten industry experts giving a varied view on each topic.

“This year is set to see a transformation in the way the hospitality industry operates across Africa and everyone wants to understand the new developments and what they mean on the ground” said Christine Davidson, Vice President of dmg events in Africa.

“There have been announcements almost weekly from international hotel brands looking to expand on the continent, who are investing millions of dollars, and governments are recognising the vital role tourism plays in their future economy.”

“The Hospitality Leadership Forum, offers the opportunity to discover what’s new and hear from some of the people driving the change.”

This year’s conference is part of The Hotel Show Africa from June 24 to 26 at The Gallagher Conference Centre, Johannesburg.

The programme offers essential information and insight for all verticals in hospitality, from the changing role of the hotel general manager to empowering women in leadership, which opens the first day.

There are sessions on new data protection regulations and why investing in high tech security is the future, to discussions on why your marketing needs to be agile to adapt to a fast moving tourism landscape.

With technology spending in the hotel sector forecast to grow 7 per cent this year, the first session on Day 3 of the conference considers what the future will look like. Panelists include Adam Burt, Area IT director Africa & Indian Ocean for the Radisson Hotel Group and Gillian Saunders, Deputy CEO of Grant Thornton.

The conference will also look at ‘superbuilds’ and brands that are new to Africa. These large, mixed-use multiple-accommodation complexes – seen only in Dubai and the USA – are being constructed across the African continent and the conference offers the chance to hear first- hand from the people investing, planning and managing them.

Day 2 has a keynote session looking at why new hotels will look very different and how operators are more involved in the construction phase than ever before. You’ll also see why hotel lobbies are set to become the heart of the hotel. Panelists include Adriaan Davidson, Director, Savile Row; Graeme Erens, CEO & Executive Creative Director, Genius Loci Worldwide, Dubai; and Zinon Marinakos, MD Africa, DSA Architects International.

One of the highlights of Day 2 is a panel discussion that targets the most important role in a hotel: the changing role of the hotel general manager. No one has to understand the future of the industry so thoroughly.

This session – for GMs only – will examine the challenges today…and tomorrow. Panelists include Patrick Serakwane, GM, Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge; Luigi Rosi, GM, Happy Valley Hotel, Swaziland; Dale Simpson, Curator, Radisson Red Hotel, Cape Town; Brett Hoppe, GM, Sun Time Square, Sun International and Joep Schoof, GM of Spier Hotel & Leisure.

A major concern in the industry is security & compliance and the conference will look at mitigating the risks and explore the opportunities offered by the new digital economy. This session will give insights into the GDPR legislation, PCI compliance, security platforms and why investing in high-tech security is the future of smart hotels, speakers include Busisiwe Mathe, Director of Cyber Security & Privacy at PwC.

“We sincerely believe this is the main conference event for the hospitality industry and we are so pleased that so many senior people have agreed to be part of it,” said Davidson.

“This is not only about understanding the way hotels will operate in the future, it’s also about understanding the changing expectations of guests. We all know that free high-speed Wi-Fi is no longer the benefit it was five years ago, all guests expect it. We know that check-in times have to be fast and painless. But how is your hotel viewed from a sustainability perspective? Are you offering a unique experience? What do you offer that others don’t? Delegates will have the opportunity to consider all this and more at the Hospitality Leadership Forum.”

Why Johannesburg conference will help shape Africa’s tourist experience for years to come

Hotel Show Conference 2017. (Source: dmg events)

Why Johannesburg conference will help shape Africa’s tourist experience for years to come

Joep Schoof, GM of Spier Hotel & Leisure. (Source: dmg events)

Why Johannesburg conference will help shape Africa’s tourist experience for years to come

Busisiwe Mathe, Director of Cyber Security & Privacy at PwC. (Source: dmg events)

Why Johannesburg conference will help shape Africa’s tourist experience for years to come

Martin Kubler, CEO of sps:affinity. (Source: dmg events).

Why Johannesburg conference will help shape Africa’s tourist experience for years to come

Dale Simpson, Curator, Radisson Red Hotel, Cape Town. (Source: dmg events).

 

U.S. Department of State Hosts World Wildlife Day Event to Highlight Threats to Big Cats

U.S. Department of State Hosts World Wildlife Day Event to Highlight Threats to Big Cats

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 2, 2018/ — In honor of World Wildlife Day, the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) hosted a “Big Cats and their Habitats” roundtable discussion on March 1 at the U.S. Department of State. Participants included diplomats from nations where big cats are found in the Americas, Africa, and Asia; U.S. government officials; international organizations; and representatives from NGOs and scientific institutions.

Discussions focused on how global conservation efforts and innovative solutions can better protect big cat populations in the future. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Walsh, Secretary-General for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) John Scanlon, and OES Director of the Office of Conservation and Water Christine Dawson delivered remarks.

Big cats, such as lions, tigers, jaguars, and mountain lions, are magnificent animals and jewels of the world’s natural heritage. As dominant predators located at the top of the food chain, they also keep ecosystems in balance. Without big cats, natural systems weaken and ultimately people suffer.

World Wildlife Day, marked annually on March 3, is an opportunity to take stock of the important work being done internationally to protect endangered species against threats such as wildlife trafficking, human-wildlife conflict, and habitat loss.

This year’s theme, “Big Cats: Predators under Threat,” provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the plight of big cats and to galvanize support for the many global and national actions that are underway to save these iconic species.

The United States has identified countering wildlife trafficking – the illegal poaching, transit, trade, and sale of wildlife – as a priority area for strengthened enforcement. This was highlighted in Executive Order 13773 on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking signed by President Trump in February 2017.

To protect big cats, the United States is working with other countries, NGOs, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Currently, all eight species of big cats are listed on Appendix I or II to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The statuses of these species are also found on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List and range from “Threatened” to “Vulnerable” to “Endangered.”

Public awareness is critical to protecting big cats.

To bring the stories of these animals to people all over the world and to mark World Wildlife Day, the Department of State will partner with the International Big Cats Film Festival. This film festival is organized as part of the global World Wildlife Day celebration by the CITES Secretariat and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, an NGO dedicated to promoting public awareness and stewardship of wildlife and wildlife habitat. Five of the winning films are available for special showcase screenings at U.S. embassies, American Centers, and American Spaces.