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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-17

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, October 17, 2008

FINANCIAL CRISIS MUST NOT SLOW MOMENTUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE

[The following

statement attributable directly to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was issued after the noon briefing.]

"I remain deeply concerned about the impact of the financial crisis on the developing world, particularly on the poorest of the poor. For this reason, also, it is essential to maintain our momentum on climate change. One crisis must not become an obstacle to action on another.

In this context, I strongly believe that the European Union (EU) should continue to provide leadership on climate change, including through its ambitious energy and climate policy package. I see the recent decisions taken at its summit in Brussels in this light. I hope the EU will soon conclude its package, which has the potential to foster green growth and create millions of new jobs.

Developing countries look to the industrialized countries for leadership. As negotiations continue toward a new agreement on climate change by the end of 2009, the industrialized countries must indicate their willingness to do more to finance clean technology and to help developing countries adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change.

The climate meeting in Poznan, Poland, offers a chance to send precisely the right signal, and I very much hope that world leaders will seize the opportunity."

BAN KI-MOON TO WELCOME FINANCIAL REFORM AT FRANCOPHONIE SUMMIT

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Quebec to attend the 12th Francophonie Summit.

He is expected this afternoon to address the meeting of Heads of State and Government. The Secretary-General will be welcoming most strongly a reform of the international financial system. The UN, he will say, is ready to support and assist in such initiatives in every possible way.

Noting the recent pledges of $16 billion made towards realizing the Millennium Development Goals, he will stress the need to safeguard these gains during these difficult times, in the name of our common humanity and the responsibility to protect those less fortunate than us.

He will also stress the need to move forward on climate change issues and not allow the financial crisis to impede our progress in Poznan in December, and Copenhagen next year.

The Secretary-General will be returning to New York over the weekend.

POVERTY WONT BE ERADICATED WITHOUT DUE RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Today marks the UN's International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The theme this year is "Human rights and dignity of people living in poverty".

To mark the occasion, earlier this morning here at Headquarters, UN staff, students and representatives from delegations and non-governmental organizations symbolically

stood up to pledge their support to the fight against poverty and to call on world leaders to deliver on their commitments to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Addressing the gathering, the Deputy Secretary-General said there is no time to waste if we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the target year of 2015. We must redouble our efforts and form a true partnership for development -- a partnership of rich and poor countries alike, civil society, the private sector, and communities, she added.

The Secretary-General, in a message,

said hundreds of millions of people are still deprived of basic human rights such as food, housing, education, and decent working conditions. Those forced to live in poverty often face social exclusion, discrimination and disempowerment. Poverty robs the poor of their human dignity, he added. In that regard, he stressed that poverty will not be eradicated without due respect for human rights.

IRAQIS STILL THE TOP NATIONALITY SEEKING ASYLUM IN INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES

Despite a drop in their numbers, Iraqis

remained by far the top nationality seeking asylum in industrialized countries in the first half of 2008, according to the latest asylum report released today by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

During the first six months of 2008, a total of 19,500 asylum claims were lodged by Iraqis in the 44 industrialised countries included in the report. In spite of a downward trend, Iraqis still accounted for 12 percent of all asylum applications lodged in the industrialised world.

UNHCRs report shows that the number of asylum claims made by Iraqis was higher than the combined number of asylum claims submitted by citizens of the Russian Federation and China, the second and third most important source countries. Other important countries of origin of asylum seekers were Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Sixty percent of all Iraqis claimed asylum in only four countries: Sweden, Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands.

The United States remained the largest single recipient of new claims by asylum seekers of all nationalities during the first six months of 2008.

Among the major source countries of asylum-seekers, significant increases were registered by asylum applicants from Mali, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Côte d'Ivoire, Georgia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

COTE DIVOIRE: ELECTIONS COULD BECOME SOURCE OF INSTABILITY IF NOT MANAGED PROPERLY

The Secretary-General, in a

report to the Security Council, notes that Cote dIvoire has experienced sustained peace and stability since the signing of the Ouagadougou Agreement 18 months ago. The peace process, he writes, crossed a critical milestone with the launching of the voter registration process on 15 September, and he notes the satisfactory progress of the electoral process thus far.

The Secretary-General says that it is now imperative to carry forward the simultaneous issuance of identity cards and voter registration in a credible manner. He adds that, although the cantonment of former combatants is making progress, the effort to collect their weapons and place them in secure storage has so far yielded disappointing results.

He warns that, if not managed properly and transparently, elections could become a source of instability.

SOMALIA: U.N. AGENCIES HELP CIVILIANS HIT BY CONTINUED FIGHTING

Civilians continue to bear the brunt of continued fighting in Mogadishu. According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an estimated 5,500 people were displaced from the city during the week and over 61,000 since 21 September.

UNICEF and partners continue to provide safe drinking water to over 100,000 displaced persons. UNICEF and local partners have now provided emergency school tents and foundations for 20 classrooms enabling access to education for another 1,000 children.

The World Food Programme (WFP) will undertake direct distribution to beneficiaries of supplementary feeding, mother and child health centres and social support programmes in the Bakool region, where malnutrition rates stand at 25.5%, one of the highest in Somalia.

FOOD SITUATION WORSENING IN ETHIOPIA

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warns that the food situation in several regions of Ethiopia is deteriorating, with the cost of maize, the staple food for many Ethiopians, increasing by 275 percent in some areas, compared to the same period in 2007.

Rural-urban migration by people in search of food is increasing and the nutritional situation is dire. A rapid assessment team has verified critical water and pasture shortages in some areas and humanitarian agencies have identified critical malnutrition.

Pipeline breaks have resulted in reduced rations for beneficiaries, which began in July and will continue until December 2008. As a result of reduced rations, OCHA expects to see increased malnutrition and a rise in child labour and begging. If the October-December rains do not deliver, food insecurity will likely continue well into 2009.

REFUGEE AGENCY PROVIDES RELIEF SUPPLIES TO DISPLACED GEORGIANS RETURNING HOME

Over the past week in Georgia, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has

witnessed a massive return of more than 20,000 internally displaced people to the buffer zone around South Ossetia. The agency is warning returnees to watch out for landmines, as casualties have already been registered.

Earlier this week, the UNHCR tent camp in the Georgian town of Gori was closed after the last of the displaced left for their homes in the buffer zone or were relocated to collective centers.

In addition to assisting returnees with tools and reconstruction materials, UNHCR is also distributing stoves, firewood, blankets, mattresses, bed sheets and kitchen stoves. Meanwhile, its teams also plan to convert unused public buildings into apartments for some 5,000 persons who cannot return home.

UNHCR says it urgently needs additional funds. Thus far, it has only received 31 percent of what it needs.

U.N. FOOD CONVOY MANAGES TO REACH NORTHERN SRI LANKA

In Sri Lanka today, a major UN food convoy finally

reached the north of the island, transporting food aid to some 230,000 displaced persons trapped in the conflict zone.

This was the second attempt for delivery after the 50-truck World Food Programme convoy was forced to turn back due to fighting and an exchange of heavy fire along a major route into the Vanni region.

The United Nations reiterates its full commitment to assisting the Sri Lankan Government in its efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the civilians who need it.

NEW OFFICIALS APPOINTED FOR U.N. MISSIONS IN LIBERIA & SOUTH ASIA

The Secretary-General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Lieutenant General A.T.M. Zahirul Alam of Bangladesh as Force Commander for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and Major General Kim Moon Hwa of the Republic of Korea as Chief Military Observer in the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

Lieutenant General Alam will replace Lieutenant General Chikadibia Obiakor of Nigeria and Major General Kim will replace Major General Dragutin Repinc of Croatia. The Secretary-General is grateful to Lieutenant General Obiakor and Major General Repinc for their exemplary and highly professional service in UNMIL and UNMOGIP, respectively.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL HEADS TO ETHIOPIA

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro is scheduled to leave for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this Sunday.

She plans to chair a meeting of the Regional Consultation Mechanism of UN Agencies and Organizations Working in Africa in Support of the African Union and its New Partnership for Africa's Development programme, known as NEPAD.

The meeting will focus on "Delivering as one in support of Africa's development at the regional and subregional levels."

While in Addis Ababa, the she will also meet with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia.

FIVE NON-PERMANENT MEMBERS OF SECURITY COUNCIL ARE ELECTED

[The General Assembly today elected Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda to serve as non-permanent members of the Security Council for two-year terms starting on 1 January next year.

The newly elected countries will replace Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama and South Africa when their terms on the 15-member body expire at the end of this year. ]

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NO DATES SET FOR PAKISTAN TRIP: Asked whether the Secretary-General will travel to Pakistan, the Spokeswoman said that he intends to go there, but no dates have been set yet. She added that, although he is not visiting Pakistan during his trip to Asia later this month, this should not be seen as a "snub," as reported in a local paper.

FINANCIAL CRISIS DISCUSSED WITH REGIONAL COMMISSION HEADS: Asked about the Secretary-Generals Thursday meeting with the heads of UN regional commissions, the Spokeswoman noted that they discussed, among other topics, the impact of the world financial crisis on the regional centres.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Sunday, October 19

The Deputy Secretary-General leaves for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, today. While in Ethiopia, she will chair the Ninth Meeting of the Regional Consultation Mechanism of UN Agencies and Organizations Working in Africa in Support of the African Union and its NEPAD Programme, which takes place on 21 and 22 October. She will also meet with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia.

Monday, October 20

This morning the Security Council holds a debate on the Peacebuilding Commission.

Starting today and continuing until 3 November, the 3rd Committee of the General Assembly holds a series of Human Rights Interactive Dialogues with Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts and Chairpersons of Working Groups.

Starting today and lasting until Saturday, negotiations will be taking place in Geneva on the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control protocol aimed at counteracting the illegal trade in tobacco products. There will be 600 delegates from more than 150 countries participating.

In Geneva, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women opens a three-week session.

The 2008 UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia Economic Forum takes place in Moscow, aimed at improving Central Asias investment climate.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Ms. Najat Mjid Maalla, will visit Estonia from 20-24 October.

The vital role of forests in combating climate change will be among the major issues to be debated at the first-ever European Forest Week, taking place at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome from 20 to 24 October.

Tuesday, October 21

This morning the Security Council meets on the Middle East. In the afternoon, it holds consultations on the U.N. African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Following consultations, Alain

Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, will speak to the press at the Security Council stakeout.

The Secretary-General will today visit Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government to deliver a speech, entitled Securing the common good in a time of global crises.

The guest at the noon briefing is Dr. David Nabarro, UN System Influenza Coordinator, to brief on the status of the current avian influenza threat and the quality of the global response.

Wednesday, October 22

This morning, the Security Council holds a briefing on peace and security in Africa.

Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang today opens a major conference in Nairobi of national human rights institutions from all over the world.

At 6 p.m. in S-226 there is a press conference by Martin Scheinin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.

Thursday, October 23

This morning, the Security Council, holds a briefing on the U.N. Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes will be in Haiti today and tomorrow.

At 10 a.m. in S-226, Donville Inniss, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business of Barbados, and Luis Fernando Andrade Falla, Secretary-General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), brief on the work of the Association to designate the Caribbean Sea as a Special Area in the context of sustainable development.

The guest at the noon briefing is UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, to brief on Paint for the Planet, an event organized by UNEP involving young artists from around the world, whose work will be auctioned to raise funds for UNICEF. This briefing is followed at 12.30 p.m. by the opening of an exhibition in the Main Lobby of UN Headquarters in New York. The exhibition will run through 18 November and be open to the public.

From 1 to 2 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jacques Diouf leads the annual observance at UN Headquarters of World Food Day (which was on 16 October).

At 1.30 p.m. in S-226 there is a press conference by Tomas Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

Friday, October 24

Today and tomorrow, the Secretary-General is scheduled to convene a meeting of the Chief Executives Board, which will include a special session devoted to the financial crisis issue.

Today is United Nations Day and World Development Information Day. It also marks the start of Disarmament Week.

At 10.15 a.m. in S-226 there is a press conference by Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

At 11.15 a.m. in S-226, Sergey Kislyak, Russian Ambassador to the U.S. and an expert on weapons of mass destruction, briefs the press on a new initiative to break the logjam on nuclear non-proliferation.

At 3 p.m. in S-226, there is a press conference by Raquel Rolnik, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living.

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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