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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-12-03
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, December 3, 2007
BAN KI-MOON RALLIES POLITICAL SUPPORT FOR U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE IN BALI, INDONESIA
The 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) got underway today in Bali, Indonesia. More than 10,000 participants from 187 countries are taking part in the two-week session, which is aimed at negotiating a possible successor to the Treaty and its Kyoto Protocol.
Addressing the meeting today, Framework Convention Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer told those gathered that it is essential that they reach agreement on a number of climate change-related issues.
These include: managing the Kyoto Protocols Adaptation Fund so that it can begin financing real adaptation projects; extending the mandate of the UNFCCCs Expert Group on Technology Transfer, which facilitates access by developing countries to clean technologies; and reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries.
Ahead of the conference to engage political support from world leaders, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon -- who is attending next weeks high-level segment spoke over the weekend by telephone with the leaders of India and China. Last week, he also spoke with the Presidents of Russia, the United States and Brazil.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals views on proposals to move forward on climate change, the Spokeswoman referred to the Secretary-General's most recently stated opinion in which he called on those gathered in Bali to agree on an agenda for reaching a new climate change agreement by 2009. He also made it clear that the science on global warming is out, and it is time for political leaders to act.
BAN KI-MOON HAILS INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
AS CENTERPIECE OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE
In his address early today to the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Secretary-General noted that, in the relatively short period since it was created in 2002, the ICC has established itself as the centerpiece of our system of international criminal justice.
He also pledged the United Nations continuing cooperation for the Court and its Prosecutor and urged all Member States to do everything within their powers to help enforce ICC warrants. Regarding Darfur, the Secretary-General said unspeakable crimes on a massive scale are still being committed.
ITALY ASSUMES SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY
With the start of a new month, Italy has assumed the rotating Presidency of the Security Council, and Italian Ambassador Marcello Spatafora is holding bilateral consultations with other Council members today about its work in the month ahead.
The Security Council expects to hold consultations on its programme of work for December tomorrow morning.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF VISITS SOMALIA
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes today made a brief visit to Somalia.
He spent time in a group of settlements about 50 kilometers outside of Mogadishu, where some of the countrys more than one million internally displaced persons have recently taken refuge.
Later in the day, he met with the President and Deputy Prime Minister in Baidoa before returning to Nairobi.
His visit comes as the World Food Programme has begun providing daily meals as opposed to dry rations in Mogadishu for the first time since 1993. WFP is currently feeding more than 20,000 people a day, and hopes to eventually provide daily meals for up to 50,000 people.
UNITED NATIONS RECEIVES ASSURANCES FROM SUDANESE GOVERNMENT
ON HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS IN DARFUR
Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, speaking to reporters at the end of his visit to Sudan over the weekend,
said he was given assurances by the Sudanese government that there would be no problem with the extension of an agreement enabling NGOs to continue to operate as smoothly as possible in
He said, This is vital considering that on December 11, the Sudan Workplan 2008 requesting $2.2 billion to address humanitarian, early recovery and recovery and development needs, will be launched, including $825 million for Darfur.
Meanwhile, the African Union and United Nations Special Envoys for Darfur, Salim Ahmed Salim and Jan Eliasson, are scheduled tomorrow to meet with regional partners of the Darfur peace process (Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, and Libya) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The purpose of that meeting is to brief the Partners on the latest developments, to undertake a joint appraisal of the second phase of the Sirte Peace Process, and to agree on a common approach on the way forward.
In Khartoum, Rodolphe Adada, the AU-UN Joint Special Representative and AMIS Head of Mission, met with Mutrif Siddiq, Chairman of the Governments technical committee for the implementation of the UN-AU Hybrid Operation, over the weekend at the Foreign Ministry to review outstanding issues related to the deployment of UNAMID, the UN-AU Mission in Darfur.
Discussions focused particularly on land allocated to UNAMID in Darfur, use of El Fasher airport, speeding up the process regarding the release of communication equipment, as well the Status of Force Agreement.
U.N. ENVOY STRESSES NEED FOR POSITIVE ENGAGEMENT
BETWEEN IRAN AND IRAQ
Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, met yesterday with the Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad, and discussed the need for continued and positive engagement between Iran and Iraq, as with all other neighbors of Iraq. They also discussed the possibility of increased Iranian support to Iraqs reconstruction.
In related news, the World Food Programme today announced that it will scale up efforts to provide basic food assistance to the most vulnerable Iraqi refugees in Syria and called on the international community to support its growing operation there.
U.N. MEETING ADDRESSES PLIGHT OF PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
Filippo Grandi, the Deputy Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), addressed a briefing on the plight of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.
He said chronic funding shortfalls had become a matter of serious concern to his agency. This lack of resources meant that UNRWA was unable to employ enough teachers and health care and social workers to keep pace with a refugee population that was growing in both size and needs.
He acknowledged that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was an international challenge that needed to be addressed by political actors. But he also stressed that it could only be solved if human rights and international humanitarian law were given a prominent place in the political discourse.
AGENCIES SEEK TO TRANSFER DISPLACED CONGOLESE TO SAFER SITES
Today in Geneva, UNICEF reported that the number of civilians displaced by violence this year alone in the DR Congo is close to 400,000. UNICEF says that the majority of the displaced are children. The Agency also said that although it recently rescued some 200 child soldiers from rebel custody, an estimated 1,000 children remain active in warfare across the country.
Meanwhile, fighting has resumed between government forces and rebels led by dissident General Laurent Nkunda. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) says reports from the field indicate that the Congolese Army has been forced into retreat from some of its some positions, including those near Katsiru and Kikuku.
UN humanitarian agencies are working to transfer 10,000 displaced persons from the town of Rutshuru to safer sites, where OCHA estimates that as many as 1,750 newly displaced families arrived in the course of last week.
Asked about involvement by the U.N. Mission in the DRC (MONUC) in the offensive in eastern Congo, the Spokeswoman said that MONUC is not participating in offensive actions but may provide close air support where civilians are in imminent danger, if appropriate.
Okabe noted that MONUCs mandate allows UN peacekeepers to act in support of the Government and promote the protection of civilians.
UNITED NATIONS HELPS LAUNCH ANTI-RAPE INITIATIVE IN LIBERIA
The U.N. Mission in Liberia and the Government of that country have together launched a joint anti-rape initiative. The six-month campaign is called Stop rape it could be your mother, your daughter, your sister, your niece.
As part of the campaign, women and childrens protection units are being established around the country with specially trained officers to help track down perpetrators.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. MISSION TO REACH OUT TO EX-INSURGENTS
The UN Mission in Afghanistan says it intends to continue reaching out to some groups previously involved in the insurgency that are now seeking ways to end the violence. That is one of the Missions priorities over the coming year, says Deputy Special Representative Chris Alexander.
Alexander noted that, in spite of a serious insurgency, Afghanistan has experienced more disarmament in 2007 than there had been last year. He noted improvements over the past year in the strategy for countering the insurgency.
UNESCO CONDEMNS AIR STRIKE ON RADIO STATION IN SRI LANKA
Koïchiro Matsuura, the head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) condemned last weeks air strike on the Voice of Tigers radio station, which killed five of the stations staff.
He said that, regardless of the content of the Voice of Tigers broadcasts, there can be no excuse for military strikes on civilian media. He added that killing media personnel is not going to help reconciliation, and he urged the authorities to ensure respect for freedom of expression.
U.N. ENVOY IN SKOPJE FOR TALKS ON THE F.Y.R.O.M. NAME ISSUE
The Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Matthew Nimetz, is in Skopje today. He met with a number of officials from The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, including the countrys President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, as well as its envoy dealing with the name issue.
Nimetz reports that he had a constructive session with the leaders, in which they presented their views in some depth. Nimetz said he hoped the pace of the talks could be accelerated and added that he found a positive attitude in Skopje towards exploring ways to reach a solution.
Nimetz will hold talks on this topic in Athens with Greek leaders on Wednesday.
RWANDAN TRIBUNAL SENTENCES FORMER WITNESS FOR FALSE TESTIMONY
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today sentenced a former witness to nine months in prison for contempt of the Tribunal and false testimony under oath. At a hearing this morning, the witness, code-named GAA, pleaded guilty to one count of contempt of the Tribunal.
He was arrested in Kigali in July and transferred to the Tribunal in August where he promptly pleaded guilty to giving false testimony under oath. This is the Tribunals first prosecution for contempt of court and for giving false testimony.
SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED FOR EMPLOYMENT
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOSE WITH DISABILITIES
Today is the International Day of Disabled Persons, and this years theme is decent work opportunities for persons with disabilities. In a message to mark the day, the Secretary-General says persons with disabilities are deprived of adequate employment opportunities in nearly every society. This situation is deplorable, he says.
For its part, the International Labor Organization today
released a report saying that new efforts are needed to break down the barriers that still prevent millions of people with disabilities from working and contributing to the economic growth of their societies.
Such significant and sustained efforts are vital, not only to promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in employment, rural development and poverty reduction programs, but also in moving toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals for halving poverty by 2015.
Meanwhile, in Geneva, High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today made a series of commitments to improve the working conditions of her staff with disabilities.
SECRETARY-GENERAL EXTENDS U.N. ETHICS POLICIES
TO COVER FUNDS AND PROGRAMMES
Today the Secretary-General is releasing a new bulletin on Ethics.
From the day he took office, the Secretary-General pledged to staff and management that the United Nations would commit itself to the highest standards of ethics, integrity, accountability and transparency.
With this new bulletin, employees in the Funds and Programmes will be extended the same ethics-related programmes and protections as are already afforded to their colleagues in the Secretariat.
The Secretary-General will continue to work with the leadership of the specialized agencies to further harmonize and establish common ethics standards throughout the UN system. As we strive for One United Nations, the United Nations must be governed by a single code of ethical standards.
SECRETARY-GENERAL MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF THE OTTAWA CONVENTION: This evening, the Secretary-General has a message prepared for delivery on the anniversary of the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction .
SECRETARY-GENERAL AWAITS REPORT ON KOSOVO: Asked about comments in the media about the views of the troika dealing with Kosovo, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations was aware of the comments but was awaiting the report from the troika.
SPECIAL ADVISER AT HEADQUARTERS TO DISCUSS U.N. MEDIATION SUPPORT CAPACITY: Asked about the visit by Special Adviser Jan Egeland to UN Headquarters, the Spokeswoman later said that his meetings are to continue to discuss his work with the Department of Political Affairs in having a mediation support capacity at the United Nations.
NO U.N. ROLE IN RUSSIAN, VENEZUELAN ELECTIONS: The Spokeswoman, in response to a question on the weekend elections in Russia and referendum in Venezuela, noted that the United Nations had not played a role in those two votes.
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