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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-09-19

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:







Friday, September 19, 2008


Commemorating the

International Day of Peace which falls on Sunday this year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this morning, rang the Peace Bell joined by U.N. Messengers of Peace Michael Douglas, Jane Goodall and Elie Weisel, as well as renowned violinist Midori Goto, who is appointed as a Messenger of Peace on this special day.

He took the occasion to

call on people around the world to observe a minute of silence at noon on Sunday, to mark the International Day of Peace, and also call on them to send a text message appealing for peace.

This year, the Secretary-General said, the International Day of Peace takes on special meaning, because this year also marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We know that human rights are essential to peace, he said. Yet too many people around the world still have their rights violated -- especially during and after armed conflict. That is why, he added, we must ensure that the rights in the Declaration are a living reality -- that they are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.

With a press of a button, the Secretary-General, flanked by four world-renowned personalities who help promote the aims of the United Nations, kicked off this years celebration of the International Day of Peace by sending a text message appealing for non-violence. His text message read: On 21 September, the

International Day of Peace, I call on world leaders and peoples around the world to join forces against conflict, poverty and hunger, and for all human rights for all.

Also today at the Headquarters, the Secretary-General took part in a student conference. This year the student observance will focus on the theme Peace and Human Rights, which the students were to discuss with the Messengers of Peace. Youth in peacekeeping missions in


Liberia and

Sudan were expected to join in via video conference.

Many activities will take place around the world to mark this special day, including a peace walk in Accra, an observance in cooperation with Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, a peace bell ceremony in Mexico City, and a traditional UN Cup Chess Festival entitled sports for Peace in Yerevan.


The Security Council this morning discussed the work of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad, known as

MINURCAT, and heard from the head of that Mission, Victor Angelo.

He told the Council that situation in Chad remains fragile, although there has been some progress on the political front, while the situation in parts of the Central African Republic continue to be volatile. He also detailed the Secretary-Generals recent report, including the potential expansion of MINURCAT as it takes over responsibilities next year from the European Force, or Eufor, on the ground.


At 3 p.m. the Security Council is to hold consultations this afternoon on Peace and Security in Africa with a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios.

Mr. Menkerios was in Harare this Monday to witness the formal signing of the power-sharing agreement between the Zimbabwean parties, under which Robert Mugabe remains the countrys President and Morgan Tsvangirai becomes its first Prime Minister.


The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for

Sudan, Ameerah Haq is deeply concerned at the continued fighting between the Government of Sudan and the armed rebel movements in North Darfur.

During a visit to El Fasher yesterday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator learnt that the clashes have severely restricted humanitarian access to multiple locations in Darfur and the delivery of critical assistance to vulnerable beneficiaries.

Thousands are reported to be newly displaced by the fighting but figures are so far unconfirmed.

Haq urges both parties to immediately cease hostilities and requests humanitarian access to the affected areas in North Darfur.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator reminds all parties of their responsibilities to protect civilians and the importance of respecting humanitarian space. In this context, reports of incursions into the Zam Zam camp for internally displaced persons earlier this week by Government of Sudan police are of concern and the Humanitarian Coordinator urges restraint by all parties.


The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Kosovo, Lamberto Zannier, today shared some details concerning the reconfiguration of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) during a meeting today in Pristina.

Zannier said that UNMIK will retain key functions given to it by Security Council resolution 1244, including political reporting and facilitating dialogue on practical issues between Pristina and Belgrade. Also, UNMIK will maintain, as needed, its field presence through its office in Mitrovica and three smaller field offices in other parts of Kosovo.

Zannier made it clear that Kosovos minority communities will continue to be a strong focus of UNMIK's future work. And he noted that substantial numbers of staff, both local and international, will leave between now and the end of the year.


A UN humanitarian assessment mission has left South Ossetia for North Ossetia. It was able to visit villages and speak to South Ossetians over a period of two days. When its findings become public, the Office of the Spokesperson intends to share it with the public.


UNICEF reports that it has distributed some 265 school-in-a-box kits and 235 recreation kits to the municipal authorities in the Georgian town of Gori. Those materials will benefit some 26,000 conflict-affected children in and around Gori. UNICEF is also working with partners to get children back to school through the collection and distribution of textbooks, the improvement of hygiene in schools, and the provision of psychosocial support through teacher training. Mine risk education has also started in the area, according to UNICEF.


The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the situation in Haiti remains very serious. The agency says that it urgently needs support for its Flash Appeal for Haiti as only 2 per cent of the required for $108 million have been donated so far. Some $54 million of this Flash Appeal will go to providing emergency food aid.

Another critical OCHA concern remains access to reach those who have not yet received assistance, including affected people in the Artibonne and Nippes regions. OCHA is concerned that continued rains might complicate relief efforts. For its part, WFP says that is has provided food aid to some 298,000 people since the start of the crisis.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Haiti, Hedi Annabi,

was in the town of Hinche, in central Haiti, to visit people affected by recent hurricanes in the region. Annabi sought to evaluate the needs of the affected and assure them of the commitment of the UN and the international community to assist them.

And, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

Mia Farrow is in the country today through September 23 to take stock of the devastation. Both Farrow and Nigel Fisher, the head of UNICEF Canada, will be meeting with children and women affected by the disasters. The team will also visit Gonaďves, the town worst hit by the hurricanes and flooding, where some 70,000 people are in temporary shelters. A visit is also planned to the Cite-Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.


The United Nations and the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic has appealed for some $10 million in urgent humanitarian aid to help relieve disease, malnutrition and loss of livelihoods facing hundreds of communities hit by recent floods there.

Over 200,000 people in eleven provinces lost farmland, infrastructure and homes when the river Mekong and many of its tributaries burst their banks following torrential rains in mid-August.


Despite the overall climate of insecurity and violence in Somalia, UNICEF was able to reach some 142,000 children between the ages of 9 months and 15 years and vaccinated them against measles. This latest immunization campaign focused on Mogadishu and the camps for internally displaced persons in Afgoye.

Measles is a serious public health problem in Somalia, with routine measles vaccination covering only about 19 per cent of the country. Existing data show that measles is a leading cause of death for children. And Somalia has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, with 86 out of 1,000 children unlikely to survive and as many as 135 newborns dying within hours or days of their births.


The World Food Programme this week

launched, with the Government of Liberia, an urban school feeding programme in the capital, Monrovia, for 150,000 children who have been short of food because of high food prices.

In addition, another 400,000 rural school children in Liberia will continue to benefit from school feeding programmes offered by WFP and the Liberian Government over the course of the present school year.


In Geneva, the Human Rights Council

devoted the entire day today to the issue of racism, racial discrimination and, specifically, the defamation of religions.

The new Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Githu Muigai of Kenya, made his first address to the Human Rights Council. He presented a report prepared by his predecessor on the defamation of religions, and in particular on the serious implications of Islamophobia.


Contrary to what some marketers are implying, the World Health Organization (WHO)

does not consider the electronic cigarette to be a legitimate therapy for smokers trying to quit.

WHO says it has no scientific evidence to confirm the product's safety and effectiveness and wants marketers to stop saying that WHO has endorsed it.

The agency adds that it does not discount the possibility that the electronic cigarette could be useful as a smoking cessation aid but insists that the only way to know for sure is to conduct tests.|

The WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation is scheduled to address the electronic cigarette, among other topics, in mid-November in Durban, South Africa.

** The guest at the noon briefing today, John Holmes, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, briefed on the food crisis in the horn of Africa.**


Saturday, September 20

This is Clean Up the World Weekend, an initiative supported by the U.N. Environment Programme.

Sunday, September 21

Today is the International Day of Peace.

Monday, September 22

At 9 a.m., the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Implementation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development gets underway in the General Assembly Hall. The Secretary-General is scheduled to address the meeting.

At 9 a.m. in Room S-226, Mary Robinson, Chair of Realising Rights: Ethical Global Initiative; Juan Somavia, Director-General, International Labour Organization; Ela Bhatt from the Self-Employed Womens Association of India and a member of The Elders; Carl-Henric Svanberg, CEO of Ericsson; and José Antonio Ocampo from Columbia University brief on Working out of Poverty: A Decent Work Approach to Development and the Millennium Development Goals.

At 9.45 a.m., Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, briefs the press at the Security Council stakeout.

At 10 a.m., the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (for assistance to the Palestinian people) meets in Conference Room 3. The Secretary-General is scheduled to address the meeting.

At 10.15 a.m. in Room S-226, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, briefs the press.

At 11.15 a.m. in Room S-226, Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania and Chairperson of the African Union, and Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, brief on the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on Africa's Development Needs.

At 1 p.m. in Room S-226, Jonas Gahr Střre, Foreign Minister of Norway and Co-chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, briefs the press (additional participants TBC).

At 3.30 p.m. (location TBC), the Secretary-General is scheduled to host a meeting with Presidents Paul Biya of Cameroon and Umaru Musa YarAdua of Nigeria to congratulate them on last months successful and peaceful transfer of authority over the Bakassi Peninsula

The International Monetary Fund issues its annual report.

Tuesday, September 23

The General Assemblys annual General Debate gets underway this morning.

This afternoon, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a high-level meeting on mediation and settlement of disputes.

At 10 a.m. in Room S-226, Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, holds a press conference.

At 11 a.m., Pascal Couchepin, President of Switzerland, briefs the press at the Security Council Stakeout.

At 4 p.m. at the Secretary-Generals Residence, Madame Ban (Yoo) Soon-taek hosts an official tea reception for spouses of heads of state and ministers.

At 4.30 p.m. in Room S-226, Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, and Alexander Stubb, Foreign Minister of Finland, brief the press.

At 5.30 p.m. in Conference Room 4, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, briefs the press.

At 7.30 p.m. in Room S-226, Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia, briefs the press.

From today through 1 October, the tenth annual Treaty Event takes place at U.N. Headquarters.

Wednesday, September 24

This afternoon, the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing on the European Union force in Chad and adopt a resolution on the U.N. Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad.

At 9 a.m. in Room S-226, Juan Somavia, Director-General, International Labour Organization; Achim Steiner, Executive Director, U.N. Environment Programme; Guy Ryder, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation; and Ronnie Goldberg, Vice President, International Organisation of Employers, launch a study entitled Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World.

At 9.30 a.m. in Conference Room 2, the Fourth Ministerial Meeting to promote the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty takes place.

At 10 a.m. in Conference Room 4, Ellen-Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania; Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda; Sandra Torres de Colom, First Lady of Guatemala; Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme; Howard G. Buffett, Chairman of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation; and Bill Gates, Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, hold a press conference to launch a joint initiative to empower small farmers.

At 11.05 a.m. in Conference Room. 4, the Secretary-General holds a joint press conference with the Troika leaders of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change: Lech Kaczy&#324;ski, President of Poland; Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark; and Hassan Wirajuda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia.

At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, Ursula Plassnik, Foreign Minister of Austria; Stephen Smith, Foreign Minister of Australia; Bruno Stagno Ugarte, Foreign Minister of Costa Rica; U.N. Messenger of Peace and actor Michael Douglas; Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry; and Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Secretariat brief on the Ministerial Meeting in Support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

At 12.40 p.m. in Room S-226, the Secretary-General holds a joint press conference with Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway; Achim Steiner, Executive Director, U.N. Environment Programme; Kemal Dervis, Administrator of the U.N. Development Programme; and Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, to launch a new initiative to reduce emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation.

From 1.15 to 3.30 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, there will be a high-level side event on Water and Sanitation For All, which the Secretary-General is scheduled to attend.

At 6 p.m. in Room S-226, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, President of Colombia, briefs the press.

From 6 to 7.30 p.m. at the Millennium U.N. Plaza Hotel, the World Business and Development Awards will be handed out.

In Geneva, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development publishes its World Investment Report.

Thursday, September 25

All day today, beginning at 8:45 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall, the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly convene a High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals, which will conclude with a High-level Evening Event on the food and climate change crises, hosted by the Secretary-General.

At 8 a.m. in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, the Secretary-General, musician Bono, and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the U.N. Millennium Project, attend the Irish Hunger Task Forces presentation of its report to the Prime Minister of Ireland.

At 10.15 a.m., the Secretary-General is scheduled to hold a press stakeout (location TBC).

At 12.45 p.m. in Room S-226, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, holds a press conference.

At 2 p.m. in Room S-226, Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization, briefs the press.

At 6 p.m. in Conference Room 4, the Secretary-General holds a joint press conference with Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania; Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; and Bill Gates, Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the Millennium Development Goals High-level Event. [Participants TBC]

Friday, September 26

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Chairman-in-Office.

From 8 to 10 a.m. at the Millennium Hotel, Madame Ban (Yoo) Soon-taek attends at an "Autism Speaks" breakfast, where she is scheduled to deliver remarks.

At 9.30 a.m. in Room S-226, Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, holds a press conference.

At 11.15 a.m. in Room S-226, Dimitris Christofias, President of Cyprus, briefs the press.

At 11.45 a.m., Alexandra Stubb, Foreign Minister of Finland, briefs the press at the Security Council stakeout.

At 5 p.m. in Conference Room 4, the Secretary-General holds a joint press conference with the following representatives of the Middle East Quartet: Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State; Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation; Bernard Kouchner, Foreign Minister of France; Javier Solana, High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy; Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations; and Tony Blair, Quartet Representative. At 6:45 p.m. in the Delegates Dining Room, there will be a Quartet Iftar dinner with Arab partners.

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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