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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-12-28

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, December 28, 2001

Instead of Noon Briefings this week, highlights of daily developments in the UN system will be provided on this page; Briefings resume on

Wednesday, January 2, 2002

ANNAN REGRETS DEPARTURE OF UN KOSOVO ADMINISTRATOR

Mr. Hans Haekkerup, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo and head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), has decided, for personal reasons, to leave Kosovo when his current contract expires at the end of the year.

The Secretary-General, in a statement released today, said he greatly regrets Mr. Haekkerup's departure, although he respects his decision. Until a replacement is appointed, Mr. Charles Brayshaw, Principal Deputy Special Representative, will be in charge of the mission.

Mr. Haekkerup served as Special Representative since 13 January 2001. Under his leadership, significant progress was made in implementing Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), and Kosovo is now on the verge of establishing Provisional Institutions of Self-Government to which substantial powers will be transferred from UNMIK.

The fulfillment of this key provision of Security Council resolution 1244 was made possible by Mr. Haekkerup's skilful management of the process that led to the adoption of a constitutional framework and the successful elections held last month.

He also succeeded in reaching an understanding with the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) that places the relations between UNMIK and the FRY on a sound footing. Mr. Haekkerup did much to strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo and hands over a fully-funded budget to the incoming Kosovo administration.

The Secretary-General has expressed his deep appreciation to Mr. Haekkerup for his accomplishments in the service of the United Nations and wishes him every success for the future.

In an interview given today to Radio TV Kosovo, the out-going UN administrator said: " It has been a very good year and a very intensive year and Ill now take a break and be with my family for some time, but I will of course also look for new challenges in the future."

Asked if he thought his departure would complicate the on-going political developments in the province, Mr. Haekkerup said he did not think so and added: "I think we are on track. We have had democratic elections with participation of all communities. I think its very important to understand that democracy is not chaos, that there has to be rules in democracy, these rules have to be respected."

RECORD AMOUNT OF FOOD MOVED INTO AFGHANISTAN

During the regular UN briefing in Islamabad, the World Food Food Programme (WFP) reported that shipments of food continue to arrive in Afghanistan at record rates from WFP sites in Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Iran with more than 4,000 tons being railed, trucked, barged and flown into Afghanistan.

During that same briefing, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports that Afghans continue to return home from southern Pakistan, over 15,000 since the installation of the interim government.

Among those returning via the Chaman border in the south, an increasing number are women who are mostly heading for Kabul where female employment prospects are perceived to be good since the installation of a new government in the capital.

Officials from the UN Mine Action Service for Afghanistan have surveyed 24 kilometers of the New Road to Bagram. Rockets, bomblets, artillery shells and rocket-propelled grenades are some of the items which have been destroyed in the process.

A team from World Health Organization (WHO) was in Kabul yesterday to meet with the newly appointed Afghan Public Health Minister, Dr Sohila Sediq, a WHO representative said in Islamabad today. Dr. Sediq told WHO officials that there is an urgent need for rehabilitating the health infrastructure, which has suffered from years of destruction and lack of maintenance. She also appealed to WHO to ensure a regular supply of medicines and vaccines.

A representative of the UN Education, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) was in Kabul yesterday, where he found Afghanistan's cultural heritage to be under extreme threat. Following a visit to the Kabul museum and other sites, the UNESCO representative, Raheen Makhdoom, said he "was amazed by the appalling loss of cultural history in a land once being a Silk Road crossing point. What has happened is a loss of cultural heritage for the world, a heritage which belongs to all humanity."

UN ENVOY IN KABUL MEETS WITH WOMEN'S AFFAIRS MINISTER

The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Aghanistan, Lakdhar Brahimi, met today in Kabul with Dr. Sima Samar, head of Afghanistan's new Ministry for Women's Affairs. During the meeting, Dr. Samar called for the UN's continuing support of her ministry's work and specifically for logistical help in setting up her office.

HALF A MILLION RISK FOOD SHORTAGES IN SOMALIA, WARNS WFP

The World Food Programme says the food situation in southern Somalia is acute and warns that 500,000 people are suffering from serious food shortages. WFP country director for Somalia, Kevin Farrell, said that unless the level of humanitarian assistance increased substantially, the situation would deteriorate further. In August, the World Food Programme appealed for 20,000 tons of food for the most vulnerable part of southern Somalia, and so far, only 5,000 has been donated, enough to last until March.

LATIN AMERICA ECONOMIC GROWTH PROSPECTS NOT VERY ENCOURAGING, UN REPORT SAYS

The regional economic output in Latin America and the Caribbean grew barely 0.5% in 2001 and the prospects for growth next year are not very encouraging: 1.1%. These and other data and analyses are included in the Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2001.

The document was released today by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Jose Antonio Ocampo, ECLACs Executive Secretary, notes that in 2001-2002, Latin America experienced its third sharp slowdown in productive activity in less than a decade. This time it is a worldwide crisis the worst in 20 years which has its epicentre in the US economy.

Except for Argentina, in crisis for the last three years, the regions economies have absorbed the destabilizing effects of these shocks and avoided falling into domestic and external crises.

Inflation continued to fall and the rise in external deficits has been modest. The sharp drop in growth negatively affected the workforce: regional employment remained at 8.4% of the working population while wages stagnated or fell in real terms. Foreign investment fell for the second year running, but remained high compared to past averages.

2002 ASSESSMENT FOR THE REGULAR BUDGET RELEASED TODAY

The document "Assessment of Member States' advances to the Working Capital Fund for the biennium 2002-2003 and contributions to the United Nations regular budget for 2002" was issued today. It contains a table of contributions of Member States to the regular budget for 2002 according to the scale of assessments.

Today, nine Member States made full advance payment of their contributions to the 2002 regular budget. Payments were made by the Republic of the Congo and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, with more than $11,000 each; Swaziland, more than $22,000; Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Honduras, with more than $44,000 each; Cameroon, more than $99,000; Bangladesh with more than $111,000; and Ukraine with more than $588,000.

WHO UPDATES EBOLA OUTBREAK

The World Health Organization has issued another update on the outbreak of Ebola in Gabon and the Republic of the Congo. 29 cases have been confirmed, including 20 deaths. 17 of the cases were in Gabon and 12 in the Republic of the Congo and another 8 suspected cases are being investigated in Gabon.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General United Nations, S-378 New York, NY 10017 Tel. 212-963-7162 Fax. 212-963-7055


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