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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-23

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 23, 2008

SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS WITH LEADING ECONOMISTS ON THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon held an informal meeting this morning on the financial crisis. He exchanged views with Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University; Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University; Dani Rodrik of the Kennedy School of Government; Nancy Birdsall, President of the Center for Global Development; Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Kemal Dervis, the head of the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP). Their discussions lasted an hour and a half.

They discussed prospects for the world economy, and how the present financial crisis will affect the emerging economies, as well as the least developed countries. They exchanged views on financing for development, the international reserve system, trade and the regulatory role multilateral institutions can play, as well as reforms of the existing institutions. They also discussed the upcoming November 15 meeting in Washington, which the Secretary-General will attend, as well as the upcoming

conference in Doha at the end of November.

The issue of the financial crisis will also be raised Friday at the regular meeting of the UN Chief Executives Board that will be attended by the heads of the specialized agencies and the Bretton Woods institutions.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR RESOLUTE ACTION ON ECONOMIC TURMOIL

The Secretary-General took part in the observation of

World Food Day at U.N. Headquarters today, along with the presidents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton gave the keynote address.

In his

remarks, the Secretary-General focused on how the turmoil in the global economy is affecting the poorest of the poor, adding that resolute action is needed now. A comprehensive approach to food security is required, one that confronts high food and energy prices, as well as climate change and sustainable development.

He urged governments, when they attend next months Financing for Development Conference in Doha, to make sure that the financial crisis does not undermine their commitments to provide more aid and other resources for achieving the

Millennium Development Goals and confronting new development challenges.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES INDIA ON SPACE LAUNCH

The Secretary-General warmly

congratulates the Government and people of India for the successful launching of the Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft. This achievement is yet another manifestation of the importance that India attaches to the quest for knowledge and scientific advancement.

The Secretary-General is confident that this mission and its scientific research will make a valuable contribution to India's continued development and to human progress.

EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR BEGINS VISIT TO HAITI

The damage from this years hurricane season has dealt a severe blow to

Haitis efforts to combat poverty. Although the UN and other agencies continue to seek cash for emergency life-saving humanitarian work, only $24.8 million out of the required $106 million has been committed.

Thats the state of affairs today in Haiti as Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes begins an official visit there. Holmes will review the progress in meeting the humanitarian needs of the hurricane-struck island. Hell discuss disaster preparedness with the government, and appeal for greater and faster assistance to Haiti. Hell also visit Gonaļves, the city hardest hit by the storms.

Holmess visit comes less than a day after World Bank President Robert Zoellick

toured Haitis disaster areas. Two weeks after he announced a $25-million emergency grant to Haiti, Zoellick again stressed the Banks strong commitment to help the island out of this humanitarian crisis.

More than a million people were variously affected by the storms; some 790 people died, and several hundred were injured. And today the World Food Programme (WFP) said that it has been handing out 5,000 tonnes of food to more than half a million people, about half of these in Gonaļves alone. WFP also flew some 50,000 2-week food rations to the flooded region of Artibonite. It is also ensuring that 500,000 schoolchildren are given breakfast and lunchtime meals. With the help of local volunteers, it is also working to restore storm-hit schools.

U.N. AGENCIES SEEK RELIEF FUNDS FOR CUBA

U.N. agencies are seeking $30 million to help storm survivors in Cuba. Four tropical storms and hurricanes devastated the country between mid-August and early September, leaving hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed and significantly damaging the countrys infrastructure.

In other news, a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination

team is being deployed to Honduras. The country has been especially hard-hit by recent heavy rainfall that has caused flooding and mudslides across Central America and Mexico.

MORE THAN 35,000 PEOPLE DISPLACED FROM SOMALIAS CAPITAL IN SEPTEMBER

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports the displacement from Mogadishu of more than 35,000 people during September. This brings to more than a million the number of internally displaced persons in Somalia. OCHA says the new wave of internally displaced persons was caused by bouts of violence between the Government, its allies and various armed opposition groups.

The IDPs live in extremely dire conditions, with diseases such as acute diarrhea claiming dozens of lives every month. Water shortages and long spells of drought have seriously weakened coping mechanisms in rural settings.

Widespread insecurity, meanwhile, ensures that much of the assistance does not reach those in need. UN flights into Mogadishu, for example, have been suspended following a ban by an Islamist insurgency group a month ago. Even so, the World Food Programme and its partner NGOs have been able to feed some two million people in recent weeks.

FIRST MEMBERS OF BANGLADESHI LOGISTICS UNIT ARRIVE IN DARFUR

The first group of the Bangladeshi Multi-role Logistics Unit, comprising 163 personnel,

arrived in Nyala, South Darfur, today, giving the African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur (UNAMID) a much-needed boost in logistical support.

UNAMID reports that the remaining 162 officers are expected to arrive on Friday. Todays deployment brings the total number of UNAMID forces in Darfur to 8,917.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED BY DJIBOUTIS PRESENT ON HIS COUNTRYS RECENT TENSIONS WITH ERITREA

The Security Council held a

meeting on peace and security in Africa this morning, to hear from Djiboutis President, Ismail Omar Guelleh, about the recent tensions between Djibouti and Eritrea. An Eritrean representative also spoke.

Todays formal meeting was the 6000th meeting held by the Security Council.

REFUGEE AGENCY OFFICIALS CALL FOR ADDRESSING CHILDRENS NEEDS IN ASYLUM AND MIGRATION PRACTICES

The UN refugee agency's top protection official has

called for the creation of asylum and migration practices which take greater account of the specific needs of children.

The call was made at a conference in the United States, organized by the US State Department's Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration, aimed at improving the timeliness and effectiveness of protection for the more than 1.6 million children who either as refugees, internally displaced persons or migrants have become separated from their parents or guardians.

Many unaccompanied children have survived arduous and dangerous journeys to escape persecution, human rights violations and violence. An estimated 1.2 million children are the victims of exploitation by human traffickers, while an unknown number have been sent by caregivers, willingly or otherwise, to countries that offer the promise of a better future.

URBAN GROWTH SOARING IN DEVELOPING WORLD, ACCORDING TO LATEST REPORT ON WORLD CITIES

According to UN-HABITATs latest State of the Worlds Cities

report, half of humanity now lives in cities, and within two decades, nearly 60 per cent of the worlds people will be urban dwellers. Urban growth is most rapid in the developing world, where cities gain an average of five million residents every month.

The report said that income distribution varies considerably among less-developed regions, with the divide most noticeable in African and Latin American cities. The report warned of unrest should governments fail to tackle the urban poverty crisis more seriously.

CONVENTION SIGNED TO PROTECT MIGRATORY BIRDS OF PREY

Twenty-eight countries on Wednesday

signed an agreement to protect migratory birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia.

The agreement, reached under the U.N. Environment Programmes Convention on Migratory Species, covers more than 70 species. Among them are ospreys, eagles, and owls; all have lost habitat to industry and agriculture or are threatened by hunting and poisoning. The agreement enters into force on 1 November.

  • * The guest at noon was the UN Environment Programmes (UNEP) Executive Director, Achim Steiner, who briefed on

    Paint for the Planet, an exhibit organized by UNEP involving young artists from around the world, whose work will be auctioned to raise funds for UNICEF.

    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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