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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-01

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 BANK KI-MOON

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

CHINA ASSUMES SECURITY COUNCILS ROTATING PRESIDENCY

With the start of a new month, Ambassador Zhang Yesui of China takes over as

Security Council President for the month of October, replacing Ambassador Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso.

There are no Council meetings or consultations scheduled today.

On Monday, the last working day of Burkina Fasos Presidency, Ambassador Kafando delivered a press statement on behalf of Council members condemning the terrorist attack that took place in Tripoli, Lebanon, earlier that day.

U.N. AGENCY CONFIRMS REPORTS OF CONGOLESE REFUGEES FLEEING INTO SUDAN

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has

confirmed reports of an influx of Congolese refugees into an area of Sudan bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Local authorities and aid agencies operating in the area reported that, in recent days, approximately 1,200 refugees fled to two villages, following attacks by armed groups believed to be Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fighters around the Dungu region of the DRC.

A four-day journey on foot brought the refugees to safety inside South Sudan. Refugees gave accounts of abducted children and homes set ablaze in acts of savagery. Asked why they fled to Sudan, they said that the LRA had blocked all other routes out of the region, says UNHCR. Unconfirmed reports indicate that bodies were seen floating in rivers along the way.

Immediate concerns identified by aid agencies include the proximity of the refugee settlements to the border, the likelihood of LRA attacks and abductions of civilians, poor living conditions and the diminishing stocks of food held by the local population.

UNHCR is working with partner agencies, particularly the World Food Programme and UNICEF, to rush emergency assistance to the beleaguered population.

Meanwhile, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and UNICEF are calling for the immediate and unconditional release children abducted by the Lords Resistance Army in the DRC. The children were kidnapped from their schools during simultaneous attacks on the Kiliwa, Duru, and Nambia villages in Orientale Province on in mid-September.

U.N. APPEALS FOR FUNDS TO HELP DROUGHT-HIT SYRIANS

The United Nations today

launched an appeal for more than $20 million to help up to one million drought-hit Syrians for a period of six months.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Syrias current drought is by far the worst it has experienced in the last four decades.

The vast majority of funds requested in the appeal will go towards agriculture, livelihoods and food.

Nearly $2 million from the UNs Central Emergency Response Fund has already been put towards the appeal.

NEARLY HALF OF MYANMAR HUMANITARIAN APPEAL REMAINS UNFUNDED

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Financial Tracking Services, nearly 50 percent of the requirements in the revised UN Flash Appeal for Myanmar

remains unfunded.

Total contribution now stands at $240 million out of the $482 million required, with agriculture and early recovery continuing to be the least funded sectors.

Nearly 5 months into the post-disaster response in Myanmar, over 33,000 metric tons of food have reached more than 733,000 people affected by the cyclone.

The United Nations underlines the importance of continuous support through the various recovery phases and calls upon the international community not to forget the cyclone survivors as the months pass.

Wrapping up its 8th meeting, the Tripartite Core Group on Myanmar yesterday recognized that the needs of the Cyclone Nargis victims are still great and that increased and committed financial support is necessary in order to continue assistance to the cyclone survivors. The group comprised of the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Government of Myanmar will undertake periodic reviews to regularly assess progress in the humanitarian effort, with the first review coming up in November.

Meanwhile, UNICEF, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Myanmars Ministry of Health, is actively supporting the promotion of safe feeding for infants and urging parents to ensure exclusive breastfeeding for babies for the first 6 months. They recommended that all infants should be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months of life and also encouraged early initiation of breastfeeding, which should start within one hour after birth.

SRI LANKA: UNITED NATIONS DEPLORES TARGETING OF GOVERNMENT TRUCK

The United Nations in Sri Lanka says that it deplores the placing of explosives by an unknown party on a Government truck that was due to join a UN food convoy to the Wanni area.

The United Nations reiterates that humanitarian operations and personnel must be protected at all times, in accordance with international humanitarian law, and acknowledges the actions by the Government to meet this responsibility.

The UN remains committed to supporting humanitarian operations that will reach Sri Lankan citizens in the Wanni area with vital aid.

Because of the effective cooperation of all involved, the convoy is now scheduled to depart in the next days accompanied by UN international staff.

SOMALIA: U.N. ENVOY ALARMED BY INCREASING PIRACY

The UN Special Representative for

Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has said he is extremely alarmed by the increase in piracy carried out against ships both in Somali waters and in international waters near Somalia.

He said piracy is increasingly a threat to international navigation and free trade in an already fragile environment. The millions of dollars in ransom paid to the pirates and their associates inland and overseas has become a multi-million dollar business which threatens stability in Puntland and in Somalia as a whole.

Up to 10 ships are reported to be held by pirates at present. Local Somali authorities say that trade to ports, particularly in the north, has been badly affected.

In response to a question, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations has no direct involvement in the case involving a Ukrainian ship that was seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia.

NEW U.N. INITIATIVE TO HELP CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

A new UN initiative, the Common Humanitarian Fund, has

set aside $2.5 million for 16 priority projects in the Central African Republic. The new fund is managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as its administrator.

The monies that it provides will help aid agencies protect the lives of newly displaced people, and provide health care and water to those struck by violence.

It will also ensure that infants and young children can survive crises and will help displaced people restart their lives upon return to their original place of residence.

OCHA says that some $2.8 million has been pledged to the Fund by some member states. It adds that a quarter of that money has already been reserved for the humanitarian air service, which was just about to cease operation for lack of cash.

MORE THAN 40 COUNTRIES TOOK 81 TREATY ACTIONS AT 2008 TREATY EVENT

The

2008 Treaty Event concluded this morning with additional three countries taking treaty actions.

During the more than week-long event, 42 Member States took 81 treaty actions there were 32 signatures and 49 ratifications, accessions, consents to be bound and other actions.

This morning, Iceland and Greece signed the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, while Cameroon signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.

The Disabilities Convention received the most attention at this year's Treaty Event, with six signatures and three ratifications. That brings the total number of States Parties to 40. The Optional Protocol to the Convention received seven signatures and two ratifications.

Since the first Treaty Event was held in 2000, a total of 1,442 treaty actions have taken place during these events.

U.N. AGENCY DRAWS ATTENTION TO GLOBAL TEACHER SHORTAGE

Ahead of World Teachers Day, which is this Sunday, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is

calling attention to the worldwide shortage of qualified teachers, especially in Africa. To reach the goal of universal primary education by 2015, at least 18 million more teachers are needed, the agency says.

Meanwhile, UNESCO has

announced the winners of the Mondialogo School contest. In that competition, students work in bi-national teams on photo essays, plays, sculptures, webpages, and other projects. This year, the Lebanon-Serbia team took first prize, while second prize went to the Indonesia-Ukraine team. The Syria-United States and Germany-Mexico teams shared third place.

And the UN Environment Programme and UNESCO have released an updated version of their popular YouthXchange Training Kit, which is used to promote sustainable consumption patterns among young consumers worldwide. The guide includes several new chapters, including on how young people can balance dressing cool and fashionably with an awareness of how their consumption impacts human rights and the environment.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR INVESTMENT IN LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today addressed a high-level forum on investing in landlocked developing countries, and she told them that external investment is critical in enabling those countries to mitigate their unfavorable geographic locations.

Halfway to 2015, she said, we need to accelerate progress in implementing the

Millennium Development Goals, particularly in the 31 landlocked developing countries.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

INTERNATIONAL DAY STRESSES CONCERNS OF OLDER PERSONS: Today is the International Day of Older Persons. In a

message to mark the occasion, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminds everybody that in many parts of the world, the rights of older persons are still violated every day. For example, older persons face age discrimination in the workplace. In that regard, the Secretary-General says that national ageing-specific policies need to be improved, and the concerns of older persons need to be noticed in a wider policy framework.

COPENHAGEN CONFERENCE LOOKS AT COUNTRIES IN CRISIS: Senior representatives from the United Nations, developing countries and the donor community convened for a high-level conference in Copenhagen today to push forward the early recovery agenda, exploring the concrete realities of countries in crisis and how to begin to better rebuild in the immediate aftermath of a crisis. Jointly sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Early Recovery Practitioners and Policy Forum aims to outline a set of commitments and actions to boost early recovery efforts. Forum participants will draw upon the lessons learned from crisis situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Myanmar and Pakistan where early recovery strategies have been put in action.

BAN KI-MOON HOLDS 172 MEETINGS DURING GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Asked about the Secretary-Generals bilateral meetings on the margins of the General Assembly session, the Spokeswoman said that he had conducted 172 meetings (125 bilateral meetings with visiting leaders and 47 meetings with larger groups) during that time.

COOPERATION ON SOUTH OSSETIA TO BE DISCUSSED IN GENEVA: Asked about any UN coordination with the European Union mission that has gone to South Ossetia, the Spokeswoman noted that the topic will be discussed during a meeting that will take place in Geneva on 14 October.

BAN KI-MOON TO MEET CYPRUS ENVOY TODAY: Asked about the schedule of Alexander Downer, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy on Cyprus, the Spokeswoman said that he will meet with the Secretary-General this afternoon.

NEPAL TRIP STILL BEING PLANNED: Asked about reports that the Secretary-General will travel to Nepal, the Spokeswoman said that a trip is being planned, but she added that she could not yet confirm any dates.

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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