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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-21

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 MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

BAN KI-MOON TO DELIVER SPEECH ON SECURING

THE COMMON GOOD IN A TIME OF GLOBAL CRISES

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon left this morning for Cambridge, Massachusetts, to deliver a speech to students and faculty at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

The speech, which he will deliver in a few hours at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, is called Securing the common good in a time of global crises.

It will focus on 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.

The Secretary-General is expected to say that global public goods distinguish themselves from other issues of concern because: they endanger all countries whether rich or poor, big or small and all their people; they cross borders freely and are highly contagious; and they cannot be resolved without action by us all.

He will say that, while recently we have heard much in the United States about how problems on Wall Street are affecting innocent people on Main Street, we need to think more about those people around the world with no streets. Wall Street, Main Street, no street the solutions devised must be for all.

At the United Nations, he will say, we focus daily on the for all part. He will also stress that we cannot allow the financial crisis to turn into a prolonged human crisis.

Also at Harvard today, the Secretary-General will discuss with faculty experts the importance of securing global goods, including global financial stability.

The Secretary-General is planning to return to New York later this evening.

DARFUR: CONDITIONS FOR EFFECTIVE PEACEKEEPING REMAIN ABSENT

The Secretary-Generals

report to the Security Council on the deployment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) is out as a document today.

The Security Council is scheduled to take up the report on the afternoon of October 28, next Tuesday, and Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy who has just completed his travels to Darfur will be briefing the Council.

In the UNAMID report out today, the Secretary-General observes that the conditions required for an effective peacekeeping operation remain absent in Darfur. The Government and the parties continue to pursue a military solution to the conflict, he notes, while little progress has been made in the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement. As violence prevails, the protection of civilians remains a grave concern.

The Secretary-General notes that the Government of Sudan has the responsibility to put an end to aerial bombardments and military offensives, which could harm civilians, and to take concrete steps towards disarming militia and other government-affiliated forces.

In addition, he urges the government to comply with its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, in particular with regard to the protection of civilians.

He also urges rebel groups to commit to an immediate cessation of hostilities, begin serious negotiations with the Government and fully cooperate with UNAMID.

And again, the Secretary-General called on those who are in a position to provide critical assets to do so immediately. It is the responsibility of Member States to equip the mission and empower it to perform the task entrusted to it by the Security Council.

SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON THE WORK OF THE PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION

The Security Council this morning is holding a meeting to discuss the work of the UNs Peacebuilding Commission.

The Chair of that Commission, Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan, briefed Council members on the Commissions efforts, including those underway in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.

EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR TO VISIT HAITI

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes will visit Haiti this Thursday and Friday to review the response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the storms that recently hit the country.

During his visit, Holmes will meet with Haitian leaders and representatives of the UN system and non-governmental organizations. He will also visit the city of Gonaļves, which was devastated by the hurricanes.

Also today, the UN Mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, said that a formed police unit of 140 Indian officers has completed its arrival into the country. The Indian contingent will be based in Port-au-Prince.

WORLD COURT APPEALS FOR SUBMISSIONS ON LEGALITY OF KOSOVOS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

The International Court of Justice says UN member states have until April 17th 2009 to submit written statements on the question of Kosovos unilateral declaration of independence.

This is in relation to the General Assemblys request to the Court for an advisory opinion on the legality under international law of Kosovos declaration of independence. Kosovo authorities are also invited to make written contributions. The subsequent procedure was reserved for further decision.

Asked about reports concerning a letter sent by the Secretary-General to the European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, concerning the EULEX mission in Kosovo, the Spokeswoman confirmed that a number of letters have been exchanged between the Secretary-General and Solana, but their contents are confidential. At the same time, she noted, the Secretary-General's recent report strongly suggests EULEX status neutrality.

INT'L CRIMINAL COURT CONFIRMS DISMISSAL OF CASE AGAINST CONGOLESE WARLORD

The judges at the International Criminal Court unanimously dismissed the appeal filed by the Prosecutor to stop the Court-ordered release of accused Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.

The Court said that there was no prospect for a fair trial after the Prosecutor had proved unable to disclose a large number of documents containing potentially exculpatory information and information relevant to the preparation of the defense.

The Prosecutor had obtained the documents in question from several sources including the United Nations on the condition of confidentiality. These sources, in particular the UN, had refused to disclose their information to the defense and, in most instances, to the trial chamber.

REPORTS ON U.N. PROCUREMENT ARE PUBLIC DOCUMENTS

Asked about reported recent findings by the Procurement Task Force, the Spokeswoman said that the Office for Internal Oversight Services report on the activities of the Procurement Task Force for the period 1 July 2007 to 31 July 2008 was issued as a document in August.

That report will be introduced to the Fifth Committee on Thursday morning, along with the Secretary-Generals note on the report.

In addition, the Committee will have the Board of Auditors report on the activities of the Procurement Task Force and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions report thereon.

URGENT ASSISTANCE NEEDED FOR FLOOD-HIT NORTHERN KENYA

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that some 6,000 persons in northeast and 7,500 in northwest of Kenya have been displaced by the floods.

OCHA is concerned about contaminated water sources and disease outbreak that threatened some 150,000 people.

Urgent needs for northeast and northwest Kenya include food supplies for one month, rapid construction of latrines, water purification tablets, tents, covers, mosquito nets and repairing the water supply system.

EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION CHANNEL FOR IRAQI SCHOOLCHILDREN IS LAUNCHED

The Iraqi Ministry of Education, in partnership with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the Iraqi Educational TV Channel yesterday.

The channel, dubbed Iraqi Edu, is intended to support the participation and involvement of primary and secondary school students in their studies, through learning tools designed according to the Iraqi formal school curricula. The channel will broadcast educational episodes 24 hours a day.

AFRICAN UNION/UNITED NATIONS MEETING UNDERWAY IN ADDIS ABABA

In response to a question about recent actions taken by the European Union and African Union on Mauritania, the spokesperson noted that UN and AU officials were meeting now in Addis Ababa, and Mauritania was one of the subjects under discussion.

STATUS OF WOMEN IMPROVES MARGINALLY ACROSS U.N. SYSTEM

Out on the racks today is the Secretary-Generals report to the General Assembly on the improvement of the status of women in the United Nations System, including latest statistics, progress made and obstacles encountered in achieving gender balance, as well as recommendations for accelerating progress. In the report, the Secretary-General stressed that the pace of progress towards the goal of gender parity has been slow, even marginal, and added that the regrettable trend must be addressed with urgency.

He did, however, underline that in spite of the marginal progress, the issue of gender balance in the UN system has gained prominence since the last reporting period. This, together with an increased awareness of the absence of even suboptimal progress since the previous reporting period, has contributed significantly to this renewed interest which has the potential of instigating concrete advance in a stagnant situation.

The report shows that in the UN system, the representation of women in the Professional and higher categories increased negligibly from 36.9 percent to 38.4 percent between December 2004 and December 2007 an annual average increase of only 0.5 percent.

In the Secretariat, the percentage of women staff in the Professional and higher categories showed a meager improvement of 0.2 percent during the two-year period 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2008, increasing from 37.4 to 37.6 percent. The report includes information on the representation of women in organizations and agencies of the UN system from January 1 2005 to December 31 2007, and the UN Secretariat from 1 July 2006 to June 30, 2008.

Stressing that efforts must be made to overcome the UN systems informal organizational cultures which constrain the advancement of women staff, the Secretary-General reiterated his commitment to achieving gender parity in the Secretariat.

  • **The guest at the noon briefing today was Dr. David Nabarro, U.N. System Influenza Coordinator, who briefed on the status of the current avian influenza threat and the quality of the global response.***

    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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