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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-09

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

Thursday, October 9, 2008

BAN KI-MOON JOINS UP WITH PHARMACEUTICAL CHIEFS IN FIGHT AGAINST H.I.V./A.I.D.S.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to meet this afternoon with senior executives from the worlds leading pharmaceutical companies.

The meeting is expected to highlight the fact that increasing access to vaccines, diagnostics and medicines is essential in scaling up prevention and treatment efforts.

At the same time, the importance of intellectual property in encouraging and ensuring research and development will be stressed.

Todays gathering is a follow-up to the July 2006 meeting which brought together the Secretary-General and CEOs of leading pharmaceutical companies in an effort to strengthen collective efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.

D.R. CONGO: UNITED NATIONS URGES PARTIES TO RETURN TO POSITIONS TO AVOID FURTHER CLASHES

In response to questions, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations notes that there are persistent reports about incursions by Rwandan troops into the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The reports allege that Rwandan elements are fighting alongside the National Congress for Peoples Defense (CNDP) of General Laurent Nkunda.

The UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) has not been able to confirm these reports and has suggested that the parties reactivate their Joint Verification Mechanism.

The Mission is in close contact with the Government of the DRC and Laurent Nkundas CNDP, urging both sides to return to their positions in order to avoid further clashes and to comply with the Disengagement Plan presented to both parties by the Mission.

It must be reiterated that the Mission is operating under a Chapter Seven mandate. It has resorted to the use of force to protect civilians under threat from armed groups in eastern DRC and in response to threats to main access roads.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Alan Doss, recently briefed the Security Council in full on the Missions operations and the conditions under which the Mission is working in eastern DRC.

The Secretary-General has been in contact with the parties during the General Debate and since then to urge an easing of tensions and offer his willingness to assist.

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS GEORGIA MISSIONS MANDATE

The

Security Council held consultations today on Georgia, to discuss the

UN Observer Mission in that country. Special Representative Johan Verbeke and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet briefed the Council. The Council then unanimously approved an extension of the Missions mandate by four months.

Also today, the Council heard a briefing in closed consultations on the work of the

Somalia Sanctions Committee, which is chaired by Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa.

PEACEKEEPING CHIEF VISITS DARFUR

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy met with internally displaced persons in El Fasher, North Darfur.

He also addressed personnel of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in a town hall meeting and met with Minni Minawi, leader of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA/MM) and signatory to the Darfur Peace Agreement.

The visit to Darfur took place yesterday as part of Le Roys familiarization visit to Sudan.

U.N. AGENCY APPEALS FOR FUNDS TO FEED ZIMBABWEANS

With more than five million Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages, the World Food Programme (WFP) today

appealed for US$140 million to provide vital relief rations over the next six months.

Without additional contributions, WFP warned it will run out of stocks in January at the very peak of the crisis.

Millions of Zimbabweans have already run out of food or are surviving on just one meal a day, and the crisis is going to get much worse in the coming months, according to WFP.

The situation is already critical in many rural areas. A large number of farmers harvested little if anything this year and have now exhausted their meager stocks. Many hungry families are reportedly living on one meal a day, exchanging precious livestock for buckets of maize or eating wild foods such as baobab and amarula.

NUCLEAR WATCHDOG LOSES ACCESS TO FACILITIES AT YONGBYON

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

says that it was informed today by the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) that, effective immediately, the Agencys access to facilities at Yongbyon would no longer be permitted.

The DPRK also stated that it has stopped its disablement work, which was initially agreed upon within the Six-Party Talks. Also, since it is preparing to restart the facilities at Yongbyon, the DPRK has informed the IAEA that its monitoring activities would no longer be appropriate.

The Agency says that its inspectors will remain in Yongbyon, pending further information by the DPRK.

STRONG COORDINATED ACTION NEEDED TO ADDRESS IMPENDING ECONOMIC DOWNTURN

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its latest World Economic Outlook, is

calling for strong, coordinated action to address an impending major economic downturn, which follows two very large shocks the surge in oil and commodity prices and the expanding financial crisis.

The IMF expects global growth to slow substantially in the latter part of 2008; a modest recovery isnt expected until the second half of 2009. Until then, growth in advanced countries will be close to zero, and no country will be immune.

In a separate

report, to be presented this weekend, the World Bank says high food and fuel prices will increase the number of malnourished people around the world by 44 million this year, to a total of 967 million. Even though price increases have slowed, prices are still much higher than before and show few signs of dropping, the World Bank says.

While people in the developed world are focused on the financial crisis, many forget that a human crisis is rapidly unfolding in developing countries, says World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick.

The report calls for allocating enough money to expand safety net programmes, as well as more generous cash transfer programmes, getting nutrition to infants and pregnant women, and targeted subsidies.

Asked whether the Secretary-General is concerned about the recent economic crisis in Iceland, the Spokeswoman said he had expressed his concerns about the global economic situation, and particularly the worry that the poorest of the poor may suffer the consequences of the crisis.

WORLD BANK ANNOUNCES FURTHER EMERGENCY GRANTS FOR HAITI

World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick today

announced US$25 million in additional emergency grants to Haiti. The funds will be used to support recovery and rebuilding, and to strengthen Haitis institutional capacity to cope with natural disasters, following four tropical storms and hurricanes since August.

The grants will fund rebuilding of major bridges and other rehabilitation work on key infrastructure, as well as expanding existing programs to help reduce Haiti's vulnerability to natural disasters and strengthen its capacity to respond to them.

Zoellick also plans to visit Haiti later this month.

SPOKESPERSON NOTES COOPERATION BETWEEN U.N. & N.A.T.O.

Asked about objections made by the Russian Mission to the United Nations about what it said was the lack of consultations with Member States on the recently-signed declaration between the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Spokeswoman noted that the declaration is an agreement between two Secretariats. The UN has similar agreements or declarations with other regional organizations, she said.

Montas clarified that the United Nations and NATO have cooperated in the field on practical matters for more than a decade now, in the context of UN-mandated missions. The Balkans and Afghanistan are examples. Strategic airlift support has been provided by NATO to African Union missions working under UN mandates in Sudan and Somalia. NATO has also provided assets and personnel in support of UN disaster relief operations.

The present UN-NATO declaration, she said, acknowledges that reality and provides a framework for continued consultation and cooperation. It calls for mechanisms for regular exchanges and dialogue between officials, cooperation with regard to training, and the sharing of information and lessons learned.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

REPORT NOTES WINDING DOWN OF IRAQ ESCROW ACCOUNT: The latest

report by the Board of Auditors dealing with the UN escrow accounts for Iraq is available as a document today, noting the winding down of that account. It notes that the total income of the account, which was at US$162.6 million at the end of last year, represented a 36 percent decrease from the amount for the previous biennium. That decrease, the auditors say, was primarily because of transfers made to the Development Fund for Iraq.

AGENCY CALLS FOR FUNDS TO TREAT MENTAL DISORDERS: More than 75% of people suffering from mental disorders in the developing world

receive no treatment or care, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Across Africa, for example, nine out of ten people suffering from epilepsy go untreated, even though the necessary drugs cost less than five dollars a year per person. WHO calls on Governments, donors and mental health stakeholders to rapidly increase funding and basic mental health services to close this huge treatment gap.

FISHERIES LOSING MONEY: A new World Bank Food and Agriculture Organization

report, released today, finds that marine fisheries lose US$50 million dollars each year through inefficiency, poor management and overfishing. The study argues that, by replacing incentives for overfishing with incentives for responsible stewardship, most of these losses could ultimately be turned into sustainable economic benefits.

U.N. YEARBOOK IS AVAILABLE ONLINE: The online version of the UN Yearbook has been launched. The new website,

unyearbook.un.org, will provide free public access to the 59 volumes of the Yearbook collection.

  • ** The guests at todays noon briefing were: Angela Kane, Under-Secretary-General for Management; Jun Yamazaki, Controller; and Sandra Haji-Ahmed, Director ad interim of the Strategic Planning and Staffing Division of the Office of Human Resources Management. They briefed on management reform.

    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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