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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-09-26
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BANK KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, September 26, 2008
BAN KI-MOON TO CONVENE HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON MYANMAR
Tomorrow, Saturday 27 September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will convene and chair a high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General on
The Group will hear remarks by the Secretary-General and a briefing by the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser for Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, on recent developments in the country.
The Secretary-General looks forward to constructive discussion.
MIDDLE EAST QUARTET TO HOLD HIGH-LEVEL MEETING THIS AFTERNOON
This afternoon at 3:30, here at Headquarters, there will be a meeting of the principals of the Middle East Quartet. Participants will include: the Secretary-General; United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov; the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union (EU), Javier Solana; European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner; French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, on behalf of the EU Presidency; and Quartet Representative Tony Blair.
The principals are expected to issue a joint communiqué.
Later this evening, the Secretary-General will host an iftar dinner, also here at Headquarters. In addition to the Quartet principals, the Secretary-General of the Arab League and 12 Arab Foreign Ministers will be in attendance.
AT LEAST $16 BILLION COMMITTED TOWARDS MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals yielded at least $16 billion in commitments. The exact figure is still being tallied, but should be available by the middle of next week.
At least $4.5 billion was committed for education alone. That includes $3 billion from the World Bank, and $500 million each from Saudi Arabia and Australia to launch the Class of 2015 Partnership to get 24 million children into school by 2010.
Global Malaria Action Plan received more than $3 billion in commitments, with more than half of that coming from the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
A total of $7 billion was committed to reducing mortality and improving maternal health over the next seven years. And at least $1.6 billion was pledged to bolster food security.
remarks to the closing plenary, the Secretary-General thanked everyone for their response, calling it an inspiring day at the United Nations. He urged those gathered to forge ahead to accelerate progress on the Goals, adding that it was important to seize the opportunity of the upcoming review conference in Doha on implementation of the Monterrey Consensus.
Later in the evening, the Secretary-General hosted leaders and senior officials from 30 countries at a dinner to discuss the food and climate change crises.
At that evening event, leaders expressed their support for the Secretary-Generals proposals on increasing productivity, especially for smallholder farmers, and investing more in agricultural development, research, and technology transfer. They also agreed the urgent need for an ambitious global agreement on climate change, and that the upcoming
climate talks in Poznan, Poland, should result in a concrete work programme for negotiations in 2009 and a vision on what a final agreement should contain.
BAN KI-MOON EXPRESSES STRONG SUPPORT FOR BOLIVIAN DEMOCRACY
At this moment of challenge and change in Bolivia, the Secretary-General wishes to
express his strong support for the countrys democracy and democratic institutions. During his meeting with President Evo Morales this week on the margins of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly, the Secretary-General welcomed the Governments efforts to pursue dialogue with opponents in search of peaceful, mutually-agreed solutions to the problems facing the country.
He voiced his expectation that all parties will refrain from the use of violence to further their positions.
The Secretary-General welcomes the determined diplomatic efforts of the Association of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union and the Catholic Church, who -- together with the United Nations -- are serving as witnesses to the process of dialogue in Bolivia.
He further welcomes the creation of a UNASUR commission of inquiry into the deplorable killings in the Department of Pando, Bolivia, on 11 September. Those responsible should be punished in accordance with the law.
COMPLEX DEVELOPMENT EMERGENCY REQUIRES URGENT ACTION, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS
The Secretary-General today
addressed the annual meeting of the foreign ministers of the Group of 77 bloc, as well as China, and he highlighted the challenges posed by the weakening world economy, steep rises in food and energy prices, and climate change, which all threaten to reverse previous development gains.
This complex development emergency makes it all the more imperative that we take urgent action, he said. He added that he was heartened by the renewed pledges made at yesterdays High-Level Meeting on the
The Secretary-General also renewed his appeal to Member States to rapidly conclude the Doha Round of World Trade talks. A pro-development Doha Round would be a strong catalyst for integrating developing countries in the international economy. In these turbulent times, he stressed, it is more critical than ever to act.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED BY OSCE, THEN TAKES UP ISSUE OF ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS
The Security Council began its work today with an open
briefing by the officer-in-charge of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Council members then moved on to an open debate on the Middle East, concerning the question of Israeli settlements.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS WIDE-RANGING COOPERATION WITH EUROPEAN UNION
Addressing a lunchtime seminar on UN-European Union cooperation, the Secretary-General
said that cooperation between the two organizations goes well beyond crisis management, including such issues as climate change, HIV/AIDS, gender, migration, emergency relief, development and peacebuilding.
He said that the United Nations and the European Union share a responsibility to show that multilateralism works -- that it delivers results and can address the crises of today and tomorrow.
In his latest
report on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations, the Secretary-General says that the United Nations and the African Union have deepened their collaborative and mutually reinforcing relationship with the establishment of the
AU-UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur. Among other topics, he mentions his strong support for the League of Arab States initiative in solving the political crisis in Lebanon.
DR CONGO: TEAM FROM U.N. MISSION BEGINS ASSESSMENT MISSION IN EASTERN TOWN
A team from the Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has begun a
mission to Dungu, a town in Orientale, where the situation remains tense as fighting rages in nearby North Kivu between government and rebel forces.
Lately, civilians in the Orientale province have been the target of looting raids and abductions by the Lords Resistance Army, causing many to flee and schools to close.
The UN team will assess humanitarian and security conditions focusing on how they affect the exercise of basic human rights. Among other tasks, the team will seek to identify the victims of recent large-scale human rights violations, determine their number and collect testimonies.
INT'L CRIMINAL COURT CONFIRMS CHARGES AGAINST TWO FORMER CONGOLESE REBEL COMMANDERS
The International Criminal Court has
ruled that there is sufficient evidence to pursue criminal cases against Congolese nationals Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui.
The two former rebel commanders are accused of jointly committing the crime of using children under the age of fifteen in active hostilities, by using the children as body guards and combatants.
The Court said that such involvement of children in active hostilities took place, among other instances, in a deadly assault on the village of Bogoro in February 2003. They are also facing a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, sexual slavery and rape.
SOMALIA HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AT ITS LOWEST LEVEL IN NEARLY TWO DECADES
In its latest food security analysis for Somalia, the UN Country Team
calls the ongoing crisis in Somalia the worst humanitarian situation it has observed in 17 years. The number of civilians in urgent need of assistance has reached a staggering 3.2 million, or 43 percent of the population. This represents an increase of some 77 percent since the start of the year.
Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency says that the fighting now underway in Mogadishu and elsewhere is the most brutal since February 2007. It has forced some 15,000 people into the Afgooye relief camp. On average, 5,000 Somalis have managed to cross into Kenya every month even though the border between Somalia and Kenya is officially closed. Kenya, meanwhile, has identified additional land to erect another camp. The number of uprooted Somalis arriving this year in the sprawling Dadaab refugee camp complex in north-eastern Kenya has now surpassed 45,000.
In spite of the worsening conditions, UNICEF intends to hand out some 8,000 non-food items and press ahead with a feeding programme for 10,000 children under the age of 5.
In response to a question, the Spokeswoman confirmed that an aid convoy of trucks carrying food aid and supplies was looted yesterday in Mogadishu.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SURVEYS HURRICANE DAMAGE IN HAITI
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran has
begun a two-day visit to Haiti.
Shell survey the damage caused by recent tropical storms and hurricanes, which have devastated Haitis agricultural sector and much of its infrastructure. Sheeran believes that now is the time for concerted support to the Haitian governments search for a sustainable solution to hunger and poverty. Shell be traveling along with the CEO of Yum! Brands, which has
committed $50 million in cash to WFP. The money will be spent on some 200 million school meals, in Haiti and elsewhere, for children over 5 years.
Meanwhile, WFP says that it has fed half a million people in Haiti with some 2200 tons of food. Even so, the agency continues to appeal for some $54 million to continue its relief work in Haiti. So far, however, only $1 million was received.
U.N. AGENCIES CALL FOR VIGILANCE ON POSSIBLE SPREAD
OF MELAMINE-CONTAMINATED DAIRY PRODUCTS FROM CHINA
Regarding the ongoing milk crisis in China, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today
urged affected countries to ensure safe feeding for millions of infants. They also called on countries to be alert to the possible spread of melamine-contaminated dairy products.
Both agencies have used WHOs International Food Safety Authorities Network to inform and update the relevant authorities on this food safety crisis, one of the largest in recent years.
NUMBER OF MOBILE PHONE SUBSCRIBERS LIKELY TO TOP FOUR BILLION BY END OF 2008
The head of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Hamadoun Touré, today
said that worldwide mobile cellular subscribers are likely to reach the 4 billion mark before the end of this year.
He added that this growth in mobile phone use means that its technically feasible to connect the world to the benefits of information and communications technology.
Such technology has the potential to act as a catalyst to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, he said.
MRS. BAN JOINS FIRST LADIES TO LAUNCH NEW AUTISM INITIATIVE
The United Nations, together with the Mission of Qatar, Autism Speaks, and the Autism Society of America, launched today the UN World Focus on Autism conference on the sidelines of the 63rd General Assembly, with the concept of an annual observance devoted to promote awareness of the condition.
Co-chairing the event with First Ladies Mrs. Laura Bush of the United States and Mrs. Dorrit Moussaieff of Iceland, the wife of the Secretary-General, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, in her keynote speech said that autism is still dismissed as a lost cause in many parts of the world.
Last year, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day, devoted to raising awareness of the signs and the need for early diagnosis of autism.
TOP LEGAL OFFICIAL RESPONDS TO LETTER FROM MEMBERS OF MYANMARS PARLIAMENT UNION: In response to previous questions about the request from members of Myanmars Parliament Union to receive credentials to represent Myanmar in the General Assembly. That request came in a letter to the Secretary-General on 9 September. Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Patricia OBrien has responded to the letter, noting the Secretary-Generals technical role in reviewing the formal criteria for credentials set forth in the General Assemblys
Rules of Procedure. She said that the Secretary-General has decided not to take action on the letter he received, as it does not comply with the formal legal requirements set out in Rule 27 of those rules of procedure.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME HELPS FLOOD VICTIMS ACROSS NEPAL: The World Food Programme (WFP) is mobilizing emergency assistance for up to 170,000 people displaced by severe flooding in western Nepal. WFP will provide a mixed-commodity basket of rice, lentils, vegetable oil and salt. In the meantime, WFP continues its work in eastern Nepal, where its providing relief supplies to some 70,000 people displaced when the River Koshi burst its banks last month.
THREE MORE COUNTRIES RATIFY LEGAL TREATIES: According to the
Office of Legal Affairs, the President of Chile this morning ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Austria, for its part, ratified the Disabilities Convention and its Optional Protocol and the Bahamas ratified the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
27 September 03 October 2008
Saturday, September 27
The General Assembly continues its General Debate today and Monday.
At approximately 12.45 p.m. outside of Conference Room 7, the Secretary-General will speak to the press, following a high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General on Myanmar.
Today is World Tourism Day.
Monday, September 29
This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on the U.N. Mission in Liberia.
At 11 a.m., Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, holds a press conference on the outcome of the General Assembly General Debate.
From 3.30 to 5.30 p.m. in the ECOSOC Chamber, the Secretary-General hosts a ministerial meeting on Reducing Disaster Risks in a Changing Climate.
From today through Saturday in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency holds its 52nd General Conference.
Tuesday, September 30
U.N. Headquarters and most major duty stations are closed for an official holiday (Eid al-Fitr).
Today is the last day of Burkina Fasos Security Council presidency.
From today through 17 October in Paris, UNESCOs Executive Board holds its 180th session.
Wednesday, October 1
Today is the first day of Chinas Security Council presidency.
From 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council, there will be a high-level forum on Investing in Landlocked Developing Countries: Trends, Experiences and the Way Forward.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room 4, the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission holds its 1st meeting.
From today through 10 October, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visits Colombia, at the invitation of the Government.
Today is the International Day of Older Persons.
Thursday, October 2
Today and tomorrow, the General Assembly holds a high-level plenary meeting devoted to the midterm review of the Almaty Programme of Action.
At 1.30 p.m. in Room S-226, Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary-General, Special Adviser on Africa and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, joins other speakers to brief on the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries.
In Paris, UNESCO is scheduled to present its Felix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize to Martti Ahtisaari.
Today is the International Day of Non-Violence.
Friday, October 3
At 12.30 p.m. in Room S-226, Ambassador Zhang Yesui, Permanent Representative of China and President of the Security Council for October, briefs on the Councils programme of work for the month.
From 1.15 to 2.45 p.m. in Conference Room 6, there will be a round table on Regional dimension of transit transport cooperation.
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