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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-08

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

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

SUMMARY OF REPORT ON ALGIERS BOMBING RELEASED

A

summary of the Report of the Independent Panel on Accountability related to the attack on the United Nations premises in Algiers in December 2007 was made public today. The report itself was presented to the Secretary-General on 21 September 2008.

The Panel, which was comprised of Mr. Ralph Zacklin (Chair), Mr. Jean Jacques Graisse, Mr. Sinha Basnayake, Ms. Zelda Holtzman and Ms. Marisela Padron, was established on 19 June 2008. In accordance with its terms of reference, the Panel was mandated to gather and review documentation relating to the attack, identify the officials and offices concerned with the security of the United Nations operation in Algiers, make findings regarding acts or omissions of individuals at Headquarters and in the field in implementing relevant security regulations and rules which may have prevented the attack or mitigated its effects.

It was also mandated to make recommendations regarding proceedings against individuals or others giving due regard to applicable rules of the Organization.

The Panels report is based on extensive interviews of 54 individuals and an intensive review of thousands of pages of documents concerning the security framework and the communications involving the Algiers office in the period 2006-7.

Asked about follow-up to the reports findings, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General is setting up a small internal review board to pursue any administrative matters and disciplinary measures. She declined to speculate on what measures might be taken. She later added that the small team will draw staff from the Office of Human Resources Management and the U.N. Development Programme. It will act on the recommendations of the Panel with strict attention to due process.

Asked whether the report would be made public, she said it would not, beyond the executive summary. Montas said that the United Nations must consider the security impact of the full report, which is extremely sensitive and describes how the United Nations gathers, analyzes and uses information to protect staff. She also noted the need to respect the due process rights of staff who will be subject to administrative or disciplinary action.

Montas expressed the Secretary-Generals profound appreciation for the staff working in the field under very difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances.

EXCEPTIONAL LARGE-SCALE EFFORT IS NEEDED TO HELP HAITI RECOVER FROM HURRICANES

Hédi Annabi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Haiti, briefed the Security Council in an open meeting on the devastating series of hurricanes that hit that country recently, as well as the nomination and confirmation of the new Government there. He said that we stand simultaneously at a time of challenge and one of hope.

Annabi emphasized that an exceptional, large-scale effort is needed to help Haiti recreate a basic infrastructure, warning that, without such an effort, Haiti cannot hope to truly begin the process of recovery. He said that if we stay the course and remain engaged in an effective partnership with Haiti, the country can emerge from its troubled past toward a better future.

He also briefed Troop Contributing Countries for the

UN Mission in Haiti earlier, and the Council continues to discuss Haiti in its closed consultations.

NEW HEAD OF U.N. PEACEKEEPING TRAVELS TO DARFUR TODAY

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy and the Secretary-General's Special Representative in Sudan, Ashraf Qazi,

visited Abyei yesterday as part of Le Roys week-long familiarization tour of the Sudan.

While in Abyei, they met with members of the newly formed Joint Integrated Unit and Joint Integrated Police Unit. These units are responsible for security and policing in the town under terms of the Abyei roadmap agreement that emerged after violent clashes displaced over 50,000 people from the town last May and left 98 dead.

Today they met with First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir in Juba. Mr. Le Roy noted that while the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) remains on track, much needs to be done to fulfill the CPA within the time remaining and the parties must redouble their efforts to accomplish the remaining benchmarks.

Later today, he is traveling to El Fasher, North Darfur.

The UN-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) also

reports that the African Union, United Nations, Government of Sudan (GoS), Tripartite Committee for the Deployment of UNAMID, held its first meeting yesterday in Khartoum.

Leading the UN and AU Tripartite Committee delegations were the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra; the UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Ms. Susana Malcorra. Rodolphe Adada, the AU-UN Joint Special Representative also took part in the meeting.

The Committee was established as a result of consultations that took place among the three parties on the fringes of the AU Summit of July 2008 in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, to review the deployment of UNAMID and outline practical solutions to the challenges this represents.

Briefing the press about the meeting yesterday, Ms. Malcorra said the discussions focused on the logistical aspects of UNAMIDs deployment and actions required to ensure that it was expeditious and effective.

DR CONGO: NEW U.N. FORCE COMMANDER COMPLETES WORKING VISIT TO NORTH KIVU

The new Force Commander for the Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), Lieutenant-General Vincente Diaz de Villegas, completed his first working

visit to North Kivu. General Diaz took up his functions last week. While in North Kivu, he met with UN peacekeepers and the UN coordination team. He was briefed on the security and military situation and was later escorted on a tour of strategic peacekeeping bases.

Meanwhile, in Kinshasa, Mission and government officials discussed the implementation of the Amani Programme, which focuses on peace, security and development in the northeast. Government officials assured MONUC of their commitment to the military disengagement plan agreed between the government and various armed groups.

And the Mission notes some progress in creating buffer zones between the warring parties. However, as of today, violence continues, with increasing intensity, in the northeast. And the Mission continues to call on the parties to conform to the Goma Acts of Engagement signed last January.

Asked about criticism by residents in the area of Saké that MONUC has not been acting forcefully, the Spokeswoman said that the Mission has been acting in accordance with its mandate, which allows it to use force to protect the population (under Chapter VII of the UN Charter).

ENVOY FOR GREECE-FYROM TALKS MEETS WITH BOTH SIDES IN NEW YORK

The Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Matthew Nimetz, held a meeting this morning with the two sides here at UN Headquarters.

In a press

encounter following the meeting, Nimetz confirmed that he had presented the representatives from Athens and Skopje with a new set of ideas, which they would now take back to their capitals for further study.

Asked if these ideas represented a final proposal, Nimetz said that mediators were not in a position to offer take-it-or-leave-it deals.

UNITED NATIONS IS ASSISTING THOSE AFFECTED BY KYRGYZSTAN EARTHQUAKE

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the death toll from the earthquake in

Kyrgyzstan is not expected to increase dramatically, but approximately 211 displaced families have also been identified.

A camp is being set up for the displaced families, and the Government of Kyrgyzstan is assessing the situation and providing assistance with the support of the humanitarian community present in the country.

Relief items, including tents, mattresses, blankets, warm clothing, food and other basic necessities, are starting to reach the affected areas, and the electricity supply has been restored.

OCHA is allocating an emergency cash grant to provide basic non food items as well as two generators, while the International Organization for Migration is providing accommodation and care to up to 50 children from the affected village of Osh.

Two emergency health kits that were stockpiled by the World Health Organization have been used in the response, and UNICEF has released hygienic and sanitary kits for the affected population. The United Nations Population Fund has provided clean delivery kits and other supplies.

ACCUSED FORMER RWANDAN MINISTER TRANSFERRED TO ARUSHA TRIBUNAL

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

says that Augustin Ngirabatware, the former Rwandan minister of planning, was transferred today to Arusha, from Germany. He is now pre-trial detention at the seat of the Tribunal in Arusha.

He was arrested in Frankfurt two weeks ago on nine counts of genocide and crimes against humanity, including mass murder and rape.

DISASTER REDUCTION EFFORTS MUST BE INCORPORATED INTO DEVELOPMENT WORK

Today is the International Day for Disaster Reduction. In a

message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General says that now, more than ever, when we are trying to accelerate national and international efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, disaster risk reduction needs to be acknowledged and incorporated as a key plank of that work.

He also adds that we need to mobilize society at every level to reduce risk and protect health facilities so that they can save lives.

This years

International Day falls on the third anniversary of the earthquake that hit South Asia.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

EXPERTS TO DEVELOP PLAN OF ACTION ON HOW CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTS HUMAN HEALTH: A meeting of experts convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Madrid

agreed today to develop a plan of action to explore how climate change affects human health. Such a plan will help Member States strengthen evidence, which will in turn pave the way towards policy action. WHO says that, in the last decade, even though climate change has been increasingly acknowledged as an important risk to human well-being, its effects on health have received little research attention.

LOCAL COMMUNITY CONTROL OF NATURAL RESOURCES CAN IMPROVE INCOME FOR RURAL POOR: The U.N. Environment Programme, the U.N. Development Programme, the World Bank and the World Resources Institute today

launched the World Resources Report 2008. The report focuses on how expanding nature-based enterprises and granting local communities more authority over their natural resources can increase income for the rural poor and help them become more resilient to climate change and other threats.

NEW TOOLS WILL HELP STANDARDIZE REGULATIONS FOR ORGANIC PRODUCTS: The Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development and the umbrella organization for organic agriculture worldwide have

unveiled new tools to help farmers in developing countries market their organic products. Specifically, the tools assess the wide range of organic standards and regulations around the globe, and also set minimum requirements for organic certification bodies.

  • *The guest at noon was Mr. Ralph Zacklin, former Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and head of the Independent Panel on Accountability related to the attack on the United Nations premises in Algiers in December 2007, who briefed on the panels report.

    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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