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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-10

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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







Friday, October 10, 2008


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is

delighted that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2008 has been awarded to Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, a long-standing United Nations colleague and ally in the cause of peace, development and human rights.

He pays tribute to Mr. Ahtisaaris exceptional career in the service of the global community, with missions ranging from the former Yugoslavia to Namibia, the Horn of Africa and elsewhere, including his successful mediation to help achieve a peaceful settlement in Aceh between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement.

The Secretary-General notes that, whether working inside or outside the United Nations, as President of Finland or on the international stage, Mr. Ahtisaari has never ceased to champion the principles and ideals of the Organization.


The Secretary-General is

following developments in the border areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda with increasing concern.

The continued fighting between units of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) of Laurent Nkunda add to the suffering of the civilian population and risks provoking wider conflict in the region.

The Secretary-General appeals to the CNDP and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to immediately observe an effective ceasefire and to cooperate with the U.N. Mission in the DRC (MONUC) to achieve a separation of forces.

He further urges all parties to proceed without any further delay with the implementation of the disengagement plan elaborated by MONUC, to respect their commitments under the Actes dengagement and to make full use of the mechanisms of the Amani programme to this end.

The Secretary-General reiterates that MONUC will act within its mandate to protect civilians threatened by armed groups and to prevent any encroachment on the main population centers and major arterial roads.

The Secretary-General calls on all States in the region to prevent their territories and nationals from being used to aid armed groups in the eastern DRC. He urges the Governments of the DRC and Rwanda to bridge their differences using diplomatic and other means available to them, including the DRC-Rwanda Joint Verification Mechanism, and to redouble their efforts to implement the Nairobi Communiqué. TSecretary-General stands ready to assist in this regard.

MONUC, meanwhile, says that relative calm prevails in the North Kivu province after UN peacekeepers successfully mediated the return of some rebel-held areas to Government forces. These include the Rumangabo military camp, recently seized by Laurent Nkundas forces, whose spokesman also confirmed the latest developments.

Both sides have also assured the United Nations of their desire to proceed with the establishment of buffer zones included in the Goma disengagement plan.

As stated by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Alan Doss, at his

briefing to the Security Council last week, mission officials have reiterated the need for additional troops and air assets in order respond to increased insurgent activity.


Asked about reaction to the continuing deadlock in Zimbabwe, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General is concerned about this impasse. He urges the parties to focus hard on reaching a workable agreement as soon as possible.

It is critically important, she said, to get a government in place and to take steps to restore the economy and get Zimbabwe on a path to recovery and a better life for its people.

For its part, the United Nations is making every preparation it can to work with the new government to help solve the problems facing Zimbabwe, Okabe added.

She said that the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is deteriorating and will continue to worsen through 2008 and into 2009.

'The Spokeswoman noted that, with more than five million Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages, WFP appealed for $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.


The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, left El-Fasher this morning for El-Geneina, West Darfur, on the second-leg of his trip in Darfur.|

He is expected to proceed to Nyala, South Darfur, later this afternoon, and is scheduled to meet with local authorities, visit a number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and meet with staff of the United Nations-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

Yesterday in El Fasher, he met with IDP representatives from three camps in North Darfur to listen to their concerns. They requested an increase in UNAMID presence in and around the camps to ensure security and protection of civilians.

Mr. Le Roy reassured them that UNAMID is taking their concerns very seriously and has adopted a number of measures to address the current situation, including plans to deploy at least 4,500 troops by the end of this year bringing the total deployment level to about 65 per cent of the mandated troop levels.

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations, in consultation with UNAMID, is also reviewing plans to increase police and Formed Police Units in the Camps.

During his meetings with local civil society representatives from the different parts of North Darfur, whom he referred to as "natural allies" in the peace process in the region, civil society representatives pointed out that the only way to achieve peace in Darfur is to "pressurize" all stakeholders in the Darfur process to come to the negotiating table.


Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met this morning in the UN Protected Area of Nicosia.

Speaking after the encounter, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, said that the leaders meeting today had been productive and that they had agreed to meet on a weekly basis.

The discussions focused on the powers of the federal government and the structure of the federal executive, with both sides putting forth proposals. The talks will continue next Monday.


The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

reports that food insecurity in Ethiopia continues to worsen. According to a recent assessment by the Ethiopian Government and its humanitarian partners, roughly 6.4 million people now require emergency food assistance just to stay alive. That is an increase of about 40 per cent since June.

As a result, more people are migrating from rural to urban areas in search of food. Three logistics hubs are being set up to enhance food aid delivery to nearly two million people in the region.

The World Health Organization and UNICEF have also been helping to control disease outbreaks.


Asked about the Secretary-Generals concerns about the current global financial crisis, the Spokeswoman said that he has expressed his concerns about how the crisis will affect the poorest and most vulnerable people. She noted that, throughout the recent General Debate, the Secretary-General had raised the issue with the leaders he had met.

She also said that he welcomed the President of the General Assembly's initiative to hold a thematic debate on 24 October to discuss this financial crisis issue.

She later said the Secretary-General would be convening the CEB the Chief Executives Board for coordination, a meeting where all the heads of UN agencies, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will get together on that day and on the following day, and that he had allocated a special session devoted to the financial crisis issue.


The Secretary-General will be flying to Geneva for talks with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe concerning the situation in Georgia and the future role of the United Nations there. He is expected to be in Geneva on Tuesday, on the eve of those talks, which will be held at the expert level. The Secretary-General will be represented at the talks by his Special Representative, Johan Verbeke.

At the end of next week, the Secretary-General will travel to Quebec, Canada, at the end of next week, to attend the Francophonie Summit that will be held there. He expects to address the opening ceremony of the summit next Friday, and he will highlight the strong ties between the United Nations and Francophone countries. He will also hold a number of bilateral meetings while he is there. The Secretary-General will return to New York later that weekend.

Later this month, he plans to visit Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government to deliver a speech, entitled Securing the common good in a time of global crises. The speech will be delivered to the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, which regularly hosts heads of state; leaders in politics, government, business, labor and the media; academics; community organizers; and artists. In his remarks, the Secretary-General plans to discuss the importance of securing global goods such as disarmament, climate change solutions, global health and action against terrorism. He will speak to the particular challenge of addressing these at a time when they are put at risk by concurrent global crises including those related to finance, food, energy, and development.


UNITED NATIONS RELEASES HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT ON CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: The UN Peace-Building Support Office in the Central African Republic has issued a report on the human rights situation in that country in the early months of this year, which it says deteriorated considerably in the north while remaining relatively stable in other parts.The Office also notes a situation in which impunity prevails and the presumed perpetrators of human rights violations are rarely pursued. The report also cites cases of torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment faced by people in the countrys detention centres.

REFUGEE AGENCY HELPS TO FIND MISSING PEOPLE IN GULF OF ADEN: The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is helping search for about 100 people reported missing after smugglers forced them overboard in the Gulf of Aden. Survivors tell the U.N. refugee agency the boat departed from Somalia on Monday with 150 people on board. Three days later, when it was five kilometers off the coast of Yemen, they say most of the passengers were forced overboard. Forty-seven of them made it to shore; theyve been transferred to a UNHCR centre.

U.N. POSITION CLEAR ON VIOLENCE BY ISRAELI SETTLERS AGAINST PALESTINIANS: Asked about violence perpetrated by some Israeli settlers against the Palestinians, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-Generals position on Israeli settlements has been clearly expressed. She later told the correspondent that Special Coordinator Robert Serry expressed concern about the rising level of settler violence in his last briefing to the Security Council. Also, the Quartet, in its most recent meeting on 26 September, "condemned the recent rise in settler violence against Palestinian civilians, urging the enforcement of the rule of law without discrimination or exception."

U.N. AND ASEAN RAISE AWARENESS FOR INT'L DAY FOR DISASTER REDUCTION: In Bangkok, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have raised awareness of the need for safer communities in the Asia-Pacific region by jointly observing the International Day for Disaster Reduction and the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management. Messages from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, among others, drew attention to the increasing number and scale of natural disasters in recent years, involving the loss of thousands of lives and the destruction of hundreds of thousands livelihoods.

CENTRAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND HAS LARGELY ACHIEVED ITS OBJECTIVES: In the Secretary-Generals latest report to the General Assembly on the Central Emergency Response Fund, covering an 18-month period ending on June 30th of this year, the Secretary-General says the Fund has largely achieved its objectives. In a short time, it has become a valuable and impartial tool for humanitarian action, accelerating response, increasing coverage of needs, and serving as a catalyst for improved field-level coordination and prioritization. For the Fund to remain an effective tool, it must be adequately supported so that it can reach the annual target of 500 million dollars consistently, the Secretary-General says. All Member States are encouraged to contribute, as a part of global engagement and as a gesture of solidarity with those affected by disasters around the world. There will be a high-level Conference in December on the Fund.

TODAY IS WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY: Today is World Mental Health Day. In a message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General says that health systems around the world face enormous challenges in delivering mental health care and protecting the human rights of people with severe disorders. We have also a message from Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). She says that the mental health of mothers has an impact on a childs health and survival. UNFPA and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working together to integrate mental health aspects into existing maternal and child health policies and programmes.

  • The guest at noon was Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, who briefed on the latest developments in negotiations on a new climate change agreement that needs to be finalized by December 2009 in Copenhagen.


    Saturday, October 11

    From today through Monday, the 2008 annual meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group take place in Washington, D.C.

    Today and tomorrow in Petra, Jordan, there will be a tribute charity concert and memorial ceremony in honour of late UN Messenger of Peace Luciano Pavarotti.

    Monday, October 13

    From today through 31 October in Geneva, the Human Rights Committee holds its 94th session.

    From today through Saturday in Geneva, the International Atomic Energy Agencys 22nd Fusion Energy Conference takes place.

    Tuesday, October 14

    The Secretary-General is in Geneva, ahead of talks on the situation in Georgia and the future role of the U.N.

    This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti and hold a debate on the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

    In Almaty, Kazakhstan, the World Health Organization releases its annual World Health Report.

    From today through Friday in Rome, the Food and Agriculture Organizations Committee on World Food Security holds its 34th Session.

    Wednesday, October 15

    At the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the European Union, the U.N. and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe co-chair expert-level talks on the situation in Georgia.

    In The Hague, the International Court of Justice is scheduled to deliver an order on Georgias request for the indication of provisional measures against the Russian Federation, concerning allegations of racial discrimination toward Georgian minorities during the recent conflict.

    The first-ever Global Handwashing Day will be celebrated in more than 70 countries, in an effort to mobilize and motivate millions around the world to wash their hands with soap.

    Today is also the first-ever International Day of Rural Women. To mark the occasion, there will be a panel discussion at 1.15 p.m. in Conference Room 3.

    Thursday, October 16

    U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes are among the keynote speakers at a high-level conference on Ten years of Guiding Principles on Internal DisplacementAchievements and Future Challenges, taking place today and tomorrow in Oslo.

    Today is World Food Day.

    Friday, October 17

    In Quebec City, the Secretary-General is scheduled to address the opening ceremony of the Francophonie Summit.

    This morning, the General Assembly is scheduled to elect five non-permanent members of the Security Council for 2009-2010.

    Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

    At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, The Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Permanent Mission of France to the UN hold a joint press conference to highlight current challenges in the fight against poverty.

    At 1:15 pm in Conference Room 2, there will be an event on Human Rights and Dignity of People Living in Poverty.

    From today through Sunday, there will be events around the world, as part of the annual Stand Up & Take Action against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals campaign.

    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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