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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-09-12

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON

FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, September 12, 2008

BAN KI-MOON CONCERNED BY VIOLENT CLASHES IN BOLIVIA

The Secretary-General is deeply

concerned about the violent clashes and the resulting loss of life in Bolivia, as well as the attempts to disrupt the nations economic infrastructure. He urges all concerned to act with restraint and to prevent any further confrontation.

The Secretary-General rejects the use of violence as a means to advance political ends and joins others including the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, José Miguel Insulza, and Bolivias Conference of Catholic Bishops in calling for dialogue, urgently, to seek consensus on the pressing issues affecting the Bolivian people.

The United Nations stands ready to provide any assistance Bolivians may require in engaging in such a dialogue.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ZIMBABWE AGREEMENT

The following

statement was issued yesterday:

The Secretary-General welcomes the agreement reached in Harare between the Government and the opposition on a government of national unity.

He hopes that this agreement will pave the way for a durable peace and recovery in the country and contribute to rapid improvement in the welfare and human rights of the people of Zimbabwe, who have suffered for long.

He congratulates the parties for reaching agreement and commends the mediator, President Thabo Mbeki, for his tireless efforts to help them reach it.

The United Nations has been supporting the mediation process through the role of the Secretary-General's envoy, Haile Menkerios, in the Reference Group.

BAN KI-MOON & SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMN LEBANON ATTACK

Yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General and the Security Council both issued statements strongly condemning the terrorist attack in Lebanon on Wednesday that killed Saleh Aridi, a member of the Lebanese Democratic Party.

The Secretary-General, in his

statement, hoped that the perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice promptly and called on all parties to exercise restraint.

In its

press statement, the Security Council emphasized the importance of the unity of all the Lebanese people and reiterated their full support for ongoing efforts in Lebanon to combat terrorism, solidify democratic institutions, engage in political dialogue and pursue national reconciliation.

SECRETARY-GENERAL MAKES STATEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE BY RIDING SOLAR-POWERED CAR TO WORK

This morning, the Secretary-General arrived at the Secretariat Building in a Solartaxi, a fully solar-powered car that is making its way around the world before concluding its journey at this years Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland.

Upon his arrival, the Secretary-General said that he hopes that the Solartaxi can provide a positive message to the people around the world that we need to be creative and practical in addressing climate change issues. He added of his trip, Personally this is a fantastic experience. I hope I can enjoy another ride.

Following his arrival at work, the Secretary-General conducted a video conference with the President of Indonesia and the Prime Ministers of Poland and Denmark, the hosts of recent and future climate change conferences.

In that discussion, the leaders took stock of the status of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations after Bangkok, Bonn and Accra meetings, recognizing the progress made but also acknowledging the need to pick up the pace of the negotiations.

They affirmed their strong commitment to work together to provide political leadership and actively engage other Leaders at the highest political level to increase political momentum in support of the UNFCCC negotiations. To this end, they agreed on modalities for their future activities and exchanged ideas on how to support the negotiations during the next 15 months.

They concluded the meeting with great enthusiasm for the work ahead and were optimistic about the chances of making very good progress in Poznan in December 2008 and reaching a successful agreement in Copenhagen in 2009. The Secretary-General and the Leaders will hold a joint press conference on 24 September on the occasion of the 63rd session of the General Assembly to communicate their efforts more widely.

SECURITY COUNCIL WORRIED BY CLASHES IN D.R. CONGO

The Security Council this morning received two briefings by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet, on the security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and on the effect on security of the recent hurricanes in Haiti.

Afterwards, the Council President, Ambassador Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso, said of the DRC briefing that Council members expressed their serious concern over the recent fighting between the Congolese Armed Forces and the armed elements of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP). They stressed that the clashes are a violation of the Actes dEngagement de Goma, and they regretted the failure by the signatories to respect and implement their commitments effectively and in good faith.

Council members urged the CNDP to immediately cease its offensive operations and took note of a letter from that group today that announces the immediate and unilateral withdrawal of its troops.

Meanwhile, as part of their campaign against rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNICEF and the organization V-Day today convened a historic public event in Goma called Women Breaking the Silence

For the first time, women survivors publicly spoke out on sexual violence and told their stories. They called on the world to act now to stop the raping of Congolese women and girls. A similar event is scheduled to take place next week in Bukavu.

EX-PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY TO CHAIR AFRICA PEACEKEEPING PANEL

The African Union-United Nations Panel to consider how the international community can support African Union peacekeeping operations established under a United Nations mandate was established, pursuant to Security Council resolution 1809 (2008) and following consultations with the African Union Commission

Mr. Romano Prodi (Italy) was appointed to chair the Panel of distinguished persons, which will include Mr. James Dobbins (United States); Mr. Jean-Pierre Halbwachs (Mauritius); Ms. Monica Juma (Kenya); Mr. Toshi Niwa (Japan) and Mr. Behrooz Sadry (Iran).

The Panel will consider lessons from past and current African Union peacekeeping efforts and explore possible options to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of resources for African Union peacekeeping operations mandated by the Security Council.

Members of the Panel will travel to New York on 15 September to meet with the Secretary-General and begin their deliberations. The Panels report is scheduled to be submitted to the Security Council by the end of the year.

DARFUR MEDIATOR CONCERNED BY ONGOING FIGHTING

The UN-African Union Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Djibrill Bassolé, is concerned by reports of ongoing fighting in Darfur.

He calls on all parties to exercise restraint and cease all military activities in order to protect civilians and create conditions for political dialogue.

192,000 FORCED TO FLEE THEIR HOMES DURING S. OSSETIA CONFLICT

The Georgian authorities, together with the UN refugee agency, have

released revised statistics on the displacement caused by last months conflict over South Ossetia. They show that a total of 192,000 people were forced to flee their homes within Georgia proper, within South Ossetia, and from the conflict zone to North Ossetia, in the Russian Federation.

Noting that 54,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) still remain in Georgia proper, UNHCR estimates that 23,000 of them will need to be provided with alternative shelter through the winter months.

Meanwhile, UNHCR, together with the Georgian Government, is working to stop the spontaneous relocations of IDPs from Tbilisi to the overcrowded tent camp in Gori.

In related news, the first UN humanitarian convoy was

allowed to enter the Russian-controlled area north of Gori yesterday. It delivered four tons of aid to families hit by the recent hostilities. The UN convoy crossed the Karaleti checkpoint after previous attempts to deliver humanitarian assistance had failed.

SRI LANKA: U.N. REMAINS FULLY COMMITTED TO ADDRESSING HUMANITARIAN NEEDS OF CIVILIANS

Asked about the withdrawal of UN humanitarian personnel from northern Sri Lanka, the Spokeswoman said that it is a sad fact that the actions of all parties to all conflicts, globally, result in increased suffering, displacement, wounding and deaths of civilians.

It is incumbent on all parties, in all conflicts, globally, to take active steps to ensure the safety of civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law, she stressed.

Meanwhile, Montas added, the United Nations remains fully committed to addressing the humanitarian needs of the civilian population in the affected areas of Sri Lanka with the Government of Sri Lanka, and will continuously monitor the situation to assess how this can be done under the circumstances.

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF APPEALS FOR GENDER EQUALITY

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay today

addressed the Human Rights Councils annual gender discussion. She said no effort should be spared to persuade countries to repeal laws and discourage customs that undermine the achievement of equality between women and men.

Pillay said that, since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, remarkable progress in the development and implementation of national laws, policies and programmes directed to womens equality with men have been seen. But much more needs to be done, she added.

Pillay noted that women throughout the world are amongst the poorest and most marginalized people, with limited access to rights, resources and opportunities.

MORTALITY RATE DROPS FOR CHILDREN UNDER FIVE

In new figures released today, UNICEF

says that the mortality rate for children under five continues to decline. More than 9 million children under the age of five died last year. That represents a drop of nearly 27 per cent since 1990.

UNICEF notes especially strong progress in Laos, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Bolivia and Nepal, which saw declines of more than 50 percent.

But the highest child mortality rates still persist in Africa, with Sierra Leone having the worst under-five mortality rate in the world more than one out of four children there die before their fifth birthday.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. VIDEOS NOW AVAILABLE ON INTERNET: The Department of Public Informations News and Media Division is now offering broadcast quality video for easy download from the Internet. Three to six stories are offered every day, with sound bites and natural sound, accompanied by shot lists and scripts (usually in English) that can be adapted into any language. It is a new way for TV broadcasters to access news material from the UN system around the world through a single source. This service is also available to any newspaper or website that uses video on its web site. Its available at

www.unmultimedia.org (click on UNIFEED). At the same site, one also has access to UN photos, radio reports and webcasts.

BAN KI-MOON TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCES 1ST TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH: In response to a question, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the Secretary-General on Thursday had announced that he intended to hold a press conference on the first Tuesday of each month from now on.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

13 September 19 September 2008

Saturday, September 13

In Beirut, the Deputy Secretary-General addresses the 12th Regional Coordination Mechanism for the Arab Region.

Monday, September 15

At 10 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall, the General Assembly holds the final meeting of its 62nd Session.

At 12.30 p.m. in Room S-226, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim gives his wrap-up press briefing on the work of the General Assembly during the 62nd session.

Today is the

International Day of Democracy, which is being observed for the first time. To mark the occasion, the General Assembly is convening an informal meeting from 9 to 10 a.m. At 3 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, the Secretary-General will deliver the keynote address at a special UN Democracy Fund event.

In The Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is scheduled to render judgment in the case of the Prosecutor vs. Rasim Delic.

In Geneva, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) launches its annual Economic Development in Africa report. Also, UNCTADs Trade and Development Board begins its fifty-fifth session, which runs through 26 September.

From today through 3 October in Geneva, the Committee on the Rights of the Child holds its 49th Session.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is scheduled to announce the winner of the 2008 Nansen Refugee Award.

In Paris, UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura will designate Dominican musician Juan Luis Guerra a UNESCO Artist for Peace.

Today and tomorrow in Lumbini, Nepal, UNESCO organizes a workshop for the World Heritage property of Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.

Tuesday, September 16

The 63nd Session of the General Assembly opens at 3 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall.

At 1.30 p.m. in Room S-226, Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary-General and U.N. Special Adviser on Africa (attendance to be confirmed); Maged Shawky, President of the African Securities Association; and Marilou Uy from the World Bank launch the Socially Responsible Investment Index for Africa.

At 5 p.m. in Room S-226, the President of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly, Miguel dEscoto Brockmann, briefs the press.

Today is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

Wednesday, September 17

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on peace and security in Africa.

The guests at the noon briefing are Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Edmund Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.

Thursday, September 18

At 9.45 a.m. in the Visitors Lobby, the Secretary-General takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony commemorating the 47th anniversary of the death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of those who accompanied him on his last mission of peace.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, followed by a briefing and consultations on the Middle East.

At 10.15 a.m. in Room-S226, UNIFEMs Progress of the Worlds Women 2008/2009 report will be launched by Ines Alberdi, Executive Director of UNIFEM; Anne-Marie Goetz, the reports main author; and Christiana Thorpe, Electoral Commissioner from Sierra Leone (attendance TBC).

At 11 a.m. in Room-S226, Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary-General and U.N. Special Adviser on Africa, briefs on the key development issues facing Africa and its international partners and previews the goals of the 22 September General Assembly high-level meeting on Africas development needs.

At 12 p.m. at the Delegates Dining Room, the Secretary-General participates in an event marking the launch of UNIFEMs Progress of the Worlds Women 2008/2009 report.

The guests at the noon briefing are U.N. Legal Counsel Patricia O'Brien; Ngonlardje Mbaidjol, Director of the New York Office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Clarissa Brocklehurst from UNICEF, who will brief on the upcoming 2008 Treaty Event.

In Paris, UNESCO Director-General Koďchiro Matsuura presents the Prize for Peace Education 2008 to South Africas Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

Friday, September 19

At 9:30 a.m. in the Japanese Garden, as part of a ceremony to mark the International Day of Peace (21 September), the Secretary-General will ring the Peace Bell, deliver a message of peace, and call for the observation of one minute of silence. Several Messengers of Peace will also be in attendance.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a private meeting with Troop Contributing Countries to the U.N. Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), followed by consultations on MINURCAT.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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