Joseph Chiedu Ugbo Reappointed as MD of Niger Delta Power Holding
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday approved the renewal of the appointment of Mr. Joseph Chiedu Ugbo as the Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company.
In a statement released through the Presidency office, Messrs Babayo Shehu and Ifeoluwa Oyedele reappointments as the Executive Directors were also approved.
The Presidency office, through the official Twitter handle, said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the renewal of the appointment of Mr. Joseph Chiedu Ugbo as Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company and Messrs Babayo Shehu & Ifeoluwa Oyedele as Executive Directors respectively, with effect from Aug 25, 2020 for a period of 4 years.”
Nigerian Physician Dr. Tunji Funsho Named one of TIME’s Most Influential People in the World
TIME named Nigerian physician Dr. Tunji Funsho to the 2020 TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The full list and related tributes are available now at time.com/time100.
The list, now in its seventeenth year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
Dr. Funsho, a cardiologist based in Lagos, Nigeria, is the first Rotary member to receive this honor for the organization’s work to eradicate polio, having played an essential role in ensuring Africa’s certification as wild polio-free in August of 2020.
“I’m honored to be recognized by TIME for my part in ensuring that no child in Africa will ever again be paralyzed by wild polio, a disease that once disabled 75,000 African children every single year,” said Dr. Funsho. “Eradicating the wild poliovirus in Africa was a team effort that required the cooperation and dedication of governments, partners, Rotary members, hundreds of thousands of health workers, and countless parents who chose to have their children vaccinated against polio.”
As the leader of Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee, Funsho has worked alongside Rotary members throughout the country to raise awareness about the importance of polio immunization, encouraged governments and public figures to support polio eradication, and served as a vocal leader and advocate for Rotary’s fight to end polio in Africa.
Dr. Funsho works closely with Rotary’s partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI): the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. As a member of Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force on Polio, he has coordinated immunization and advocacy campaigns with the Minister of State for Health and the Inter-Agency Coordination Committee for Polio Eradication. He has also worked closely with the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, the Dangote Foundation, the Traditional Leaders Council and the Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria.
In August 2019, Nigeria reached three years without a case of wild poliovirus. Nigeria’s progress, led by Rotary, its GPEI partners and local and national governments, was the result of decades of sustained efforts, including domestic and international financing, the commitment of hundreds of thousands of health workers, and innovative strategies to immunize children who previously couldn’t be reached due to insecurity in the country’s northern states.
On 25 August, the African region was certified wild polio-free. This historic announcement means that five of the WHO’s six regions, representing more than 90 percent of the world’s population, are now free of the wild poliovirus. The virus is now endemic in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rotary’s nearly 32,000 members in Africa have played a critical role in helping the region achieve its wild polio-free status by holding events to raise funds and awareness for polio, and working with world governments and national and local leaders to secure funding and support for polio eradication.
Rimba Raya Becomes First Forest Conservation Project in the World to Achieve 3rd Party-Verification of Contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Rimba Raya is the world’s first forest conservation project to independently verify its contributions to environment, biodiversity and social SDGs under the newly created Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta).
Borneo, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, September 21 2020 – Everland llc, the agency exclusively representing InfiniteEARTH’s Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in Borneo, is pleased to announce that Rimba Raya is the world’s first forest conservation project to independently verify its contributions to environment, biodiversity and social SDGs under the newly created Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta).
SD VISta was developed by Verra, a leading standards organization created to help countries, the private sector, and civil society to achieve ambitious sustainable development and climate action goals.
SD Vista enables projects to assess the sustainable development benefits they generate directly against the SDGs. Under SD VISta, projects must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a third-party assessor that they advance the SDGs. By successfully completing the SD Vista audit, Rimba Raya now brings a new level of quality assurance and transparency to the reporting of its project outcomes and impact claims.
Since 2009, the Rimba Raya project has successfully defended 64,500 hectares of carbon- and biodiversity-rich lowland peat forest from conversion to oil palm plantations, which surround the project area and the adjacent Tanjung Puting National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Rimba Raya protects over 120 threatened and endangered species in the project area and supports over 10,000 forest-dependent community members living in and along the boundaries of the project, who have traditionally held no formal land tenure. The project has been developed and managed since inception by InfiniteEARTH, a pioneering conservation project developer.
Oil palm concessions, which completely surround Rimba Raya and Tanjung Putting and which have destroyed 2.4 million hectares of Borneo’s forests since 2000, had been granted for the entire project area before the project successfully halted them. In recognition of the project’s success in halting deforestation, it achieved verification as a REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) project, under which it has generated over 33 million tonnes of verified CO2 emissions reductions since the start of the project. These verified emissions reductions are sold to corporations which voluntarily offset their unavoidable emissions as well as support meaningful social and biodiversity co-benefits.
Among these co-benefits, SD VISta auditors have verified Rimba Raya’s numerous contributions to the SDGs, including:
- Mangrove restoration and peat swamp reforestation: Rimba Raya has carried out significant restoration activities, providing educational opportunities, strengthening community resilience and capacity to respond to climate change, contributing to gainful employment throughout the project zone, increasing habitat for endangered species, and improving the integrity of water-related ecosystems. SD Vista auditors verified that that these activities will directly contribute to net positive impacts for SDGs 4, 13, 14, 15 and, indirectly, 6, 8 and 11.
- Orangutan Care Facility: A portion of the revenues from the sale of the project’s carbon credits are used to fund project partner Orangutan Foundation International’s ongoing activities, including new programs for reforestation of critical orangutan habitats and acquisition of viable habitat. In addition, the project will build three new orangutan release centers and six feeding platforms at strategic locations inside the Project Area. The auditors verified that this activity will generate net positive impacts for SDGs 11 and 15.
- Scholarships: A portion of the revenue from the sale of the project’s carbon credits goes toward educational scholarships, to create opportunities for students from less fortunate families to continue their education to senior high school level or equivalent for a period of 3 years. Auditors verified that these activities generate net positive impacts for SDG 4 through the increase in availability of higher education opportunities for children throughout the project zone.
- Floating Clinic: With a total absence of health care available in the project’s remote villages, the project constructed and operates a floating clinic, giving it the ability to deliver medical services up and down the Seruyan River, effectively servicing all the communities in the Project Zone. Auditors confirmed that this activity will directly contribute to net positive impacts for SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being.
“Buyers, now more than ever, seek projects that satisfy both environmental and social development goals. The SD VISta standard provides buyers of credits with a new standard to discern the specific impacts of a project.” said InfiniteEARTH Co-Founder Jim Procanik
“This is a crucial milestone. By completing the registration and successful verification of monitored results under SD VISta, Rimba Raya has demonstrated how projects can track progress against the SDGs in a rigorous and workable manner”, states David Antonioli, CEO of Verra. “Many corporations who rely on carbon credits to meet ambitious climate goals value knowing that the carbon credits they purchase and retire have additional benefits beyond reducing emissions – and Rimba Raya’s SD VISta certification demonstrates that this project has accomplished that.”
Expert Panel Endorses Protocol for COVID-19 Herbal Medicine Clinical Trials in Africa
The Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 formed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs has endorsed a protocol for phase III clinical trials of herbal medicine for COVID-19 as well as a charter and terms of reference for the establishment of a data and safety monitoring board for herbal medicine clinical trials.
“Just like other areas of medicine, sound science is the sole basis for safe and effective traditional medicine therapies,” said Dr Prosper Tumusiime, Director of Universal Health Coverage and Life Course Cluster at WHO Regional Office for Africa.
“The onset of COVID-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has highlighted the need for strengthened health systems and accelerated research and development programmes, including on traditional medicines,” said Dr Tumusiime.
The endorsed technical documents are aimed at empowering and developing a critical mass of technical capacity of scientists in Africa to conduct proper clinical trials to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of traditional medicines in line with international standards. Phase III clinical trials are pivotal in fully assessing the safety and efficacy of a new medical product. The data safety and monitoring board will ensure that the accumulated studies data are reviewed periodically against participants’ safety. It will also make recommendations on the continuation, modification or termination of a trial based on evaluation of data at predetermined periods during the study.
If a traditional medicine product is found to be safe, efficacious and quality-assured, WHO will recommend for a fast-tracked, large-scale local manufacturing, Dr Tumusiime explained, noting that through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum, there is now a benchmark upon which clinical trials of medicines and vaccines in the region can be assessed and approved in fewer than 60 days.
“The adoption of the technical documents will ensure that universally acceptable clinical evidence of the efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 are generated without compromising the safety of participants,” said Professor Motlalepula Gilbert Matsabisa, the Expert Committee Chairman. He voiced hope that that the generic clinical trial protocol will be immediately used by scientists in the region to ensure that people can benefit from the potential of traditional medicine in dealing with the ongoing pandemic.
The 25-members of the Regional Expert Advisory Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 are tasked with supporting countries to enhance research and development of traditional medicine-based therapies against the virus and provide guidance on the implementation of the approved protocols to generate scientific evidence on the quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines for COVID-19.
The Committee members are from research institutions, national regulatory authorities, traditional medicine programmes, public health departments, academia, medical and pharmacy professions and civil society organizations of Member States.
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