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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-24

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








Friday, October 24, 2008


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this morning convened a semi-annual gathering of the Chief Executives Board of the United Nations System, which is focusing on the international economic situation, including the special challenges facing developing countries in the context of the worldwide financial crisis.

At 3:00 pm, the Secretary-General and the other leaders throughout the UN system will hold a special session on the financial crisis at UN Headquarters.

Meanwhile, a

statement was issued on the discussions the Secretary-General had yesterday with a group of five eminent economists to share views and brainstorm on the international economic situation.

During that discussion, the Secretary-General stressed the need to keep the long term objectives such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the fight against extreme poverty, as well as the need for action against climate change at the center of the global agenda. He underlined his pledge to advance the voice of the poor, voiceless and excluded, including by demonstrating the UN's responsibility for leading an inclusive multilateralism that would need to be reflected in any discussion of the reform of the international monetary and financial system.

It was generally agreed that the era of self-regulation was over. Multilateral financial institutions cannot function as they are doing currently. In designing a reform regime, however, a comprehensive approach was needed.

If past history is a guide, a prolongation of an economic slowdown can be averted only if states resisted pressures to adopt trade protectionist measures while pursuing appropriate macro-economic policies.

Asked whether the Secretary-General agrees with the General Assembly President that a Group of 192 comprising all UN Member States needs to deal with the financial crisis, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General appreciates that the crisis is affecting every country.

He believes, Montas said, that the upcoming General Assembly meeting on the crisis is important, as is the Group of 20 meeting in the Washington, D.C., area, which he will attend. In those meetings, the Secretary-General believes the focus should be on how to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable countries and prevent the crisis from hurting the poorest of the poor.


This afternoon, here at Headquarters, the Secretary-General and World Bank President Robert Zoellick will sign a partnership framework that will affirm their commitment to work together more effectively in countries hit by conflict and/or natural disasters.

Among other things, the UN-World Bank Partnership Framework for Crisis and Post-Crisis Situations will provide common guiding principles for working with national authorities and partners to support crisis prevention, stabilization and recovery strategies -- while acknowledging the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.

It will also call on the World Bank Group and UN system organizations to improve inter-agency communications, strengthen joint planning, increase collaboration on funding mechanisms, and foster a culture of greater collaboration through joint training, evaluation and research.


In his address this morning to the East-West Institutes session on The United Nations and Security in a nuclear-weapon- free world, the Secretary-General

stressed that although Member States make the key decision in the field of global peace and security, the United Nations has important roles to play -- to provide, for example, a central forum where states can agree on norms to serve their common interests.

Analyzing and advocating in the pursuit of agreed goals towards peace and security in a nuclear-weapon- free world, the Secretary-General laid out a five-point proposal, including urging all Non-Proliferation Treaty parties, in particular the nuclear-weapon-States, to fulfill their obligations under the treaty to undertake negotiations on effective measures leading to nuclear disarmament.

He also proposed that the Security Councils permanent members should commence discussions, perhaps within its Military Staff Committee, on security issues in the nuclear disarmament process.


The Secretary-General, in his latest

report to the Security Council on the implementation of resolution 1559, concerning Lebanon, says that the country has experienced both sectarian violence on the one hand, and hope and optimism on the other, over the past six months. Lebanon, he says, was taken to the brink of a civil war and back; but President Michel Suleimans election signaled the reactivation of the countrys constitutional process.

The Secretary-General says that he remains concerned by the political assassinations and explosions that continue to plague Lebanon. And he notes the continuing issue of Hezbollahs weapons and reiterates his conviction that the disarming and disbanding of militias in the country should be accomplished through an inclusive political dialogue that addresses the political interests of all Lebanese.

The Secretary-General adds that he is encouraged by positive developments in relations between Lebanon and Syria and the initiation of a process of normalization between the two countries.


Acting on a request from the Security Council, a 15-member inter-agency mission arrived this morning in Bangui to study how to improve UN system coherence and coordination in the Central African Republic.

The UN Peacebuilding Support Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) says that the assessment team will be meeting with government and civil society representatives, the UN country team and members of the international community.

Upon completion of its week-long visit, the assessment team is expected to begin drafting recommendations to the Security Council on how to integrate all UN activities in that country.


A contingent of 100 UN-trained Chadian police officers is now en route from NDjamena to northeastern Chad, where they will be taking up the task of helping to protect refugees and internally displaced persons.

The Mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (MINURCAT) says that this deployment is the first in an initiative that, when completed, will have a total of 850 UN-trained protection officers working full-time in and around camps for internally displaced persons and refugees in eastern Chad.


The Secretary-Generals latest

report on women and peace and security is available today. In it, he notes progress in making the UNs overall peace and security architecture more sensitive to womens needs. However, there remains a noticeable gap between policies and their effective implementation.

The Secretary-General says that more needs to be done at the country level to mainstream gender perspectives at every stage of conflict prevention, resolution and management, as well as in peacebuilding.

He also recommends that efforts to prevent and halt sexual and gender-based violence be intensified, including through more systematic responses by UN peacekeeping missions and humanitarian assistance programmes, the protection of women in situations of displacement, and more comprehensive strategies to address impunity for perpetrators of sexual abuse.


Angelina Jolie, Goodwill Ambassador for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), concluded her first

visit to Afghanistan, where she saw both the successes and difficulties of refugee return and reintegration.

She appealed for long-term commitments to Afghanistan and greater humanitarian support for the population as the harsh Afghan winter approaches.

According to UNHCR, Jolie is no stranger to the agencys Afghan operation, one of its biggest worldwide. She had met with Afghan refugees in neighbouring Pakistan twice in recent years and wished to see for herself how returnees were coping on their return to Afghanistan.

Her visit, which ran from Tuesday to Thursday, was also aimed at raising awareness of the refugee issue ahead of an international conference on return and reintegration to be held in Kabul in November. Despite the huge returns to Afghanistan over 5 million people have gone home over the past six years approximately 3 million registered refugees remain in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan.


The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is

helping thousands of

Iraqi Christians who have fled the northern city of Mosul over the past fortnight, with most of them going to villages elsewhere in the province of Ninewa, and some 400 of them crossing the border into Syria. It is still not clear who is behind the intimidation that caused them to flee.

More than 2,200 families, or some 13,000 people, are estimated to have left Mosul by mid-week, mostly to safe areas to the north and east of the city. That is more than half of Mosul's Christian population.

UNHCR and its partners have delivered aid to at least 1,725 of the displaced families in about 20 areas of northern Iraq.

Asked about Special Representative Staffan de Misturas travels, the Spokeswoman said that de Mistura was expected to brief the Security Council in New York during the first week of November.


The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that Guinea-Bissau is currently struggling with a cholera epidemic. This year so far, there have been more than 12,000 cases recorded, with more than 200 deaths. But OCHA expects these figures to rise.

UNICEF and the World Health Organization are working with Guinea-Bissaus Ministry of Health to fight and contain the outbreak and train Government officials, teachers and hundreds of volunteers in cholera prevention practices. UNICEF says it is worried that the countrys electoral campaign, which is now starting, could result in a new increase in cases.

According to OCHA, more than a million dollars has been mobilized by the UN system this year to support Guinea-Bissau, but more funds are needed.


Available today is the Secretary-Generals latest

report to the General Assembly on the implementation of the Capital Master Plan (CMP) to renovate the United Nations Headquarters Complex.

According to the report, the CMP is on schedule and all leases for swing space have been concluded. Work is progressing well on the North Lawn Conference Building.

The relocation plan for the moves of approximately 6,000 staff has been finalized.

The updated design will achieve a reduction in energy consumption at UN headquarters of 44%.

Applying value engineering, the estimated cost overrun of the CMP was reduced by over $100 million; estimated overrun is now $97.5 million. Value engineering efforts will continue.



The UN Population Fund is a member of a group that yesterday released a new

report entitled International Migration and Human Rights: Challenges and Opportunities on the Threshold of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which examines the legal framework underpinning the human rights of migrants and highlights the importance of human rights in the migration and development discourse.

The report, to be presented at next weeks Global Forum on Migration and Development to take place in Manila, which the Secretary-General will be attending, shows that a lack of respect for the human rights of migrants reduces their ability to contribute to development.

Produced by the 14 member agencies of the

Global Migration Group, the report stresses that nations, while exercising their sovereign right to determine who enters and remains in their territory, have an obligation to protect the human rights of migrants.

It also highlights the different categories of migrants, with particular attention to groups with special needs, including migrant children, female labour migrants in the informal sector, trafficking victims, irregular migrants, as well as refugees and asylum seekers.


Today is the 63rd

United Nations Day. In a message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General says that this year has been crucial for the United Nations. The midpoint in the struggle to reach the Millennium Development Goals has now passed and we can see more clearly that the threats of the 21st century spare no one.

He adds that he is deeply concerned about the impact of the global financial crisis. Leadership and partnerships have never been more important than today.

The Secretary-General will be delivering related remarks at a UN day concert tonight in the General Assembly hall.

Meanwhile, to mark UN Day 2008, the UN has launched a newly redesigned website that provides information about the UN in 130 languages. It can be visited at:

UN Day is being celebrated around the world today. In Russia, this years UN Day also marks the 60th anniversary of the UN presence in that country. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attended a ceremony, to which the Secretary-General has sent a message.

In Addis Ababa the celebration at the Economic Commission for Africa will mark not only UN Day, but also the 50th anniversary of the Commission.

Meanwhile, Bangkok kicked off the festivities a day early with the opening of a One UN multimedia exhibit by 17 UN entities in the citys largest shopping complex.

And in Windhoek, Namibia, UN staff participated in a blood drive, organized in part by the World Heath Organization.

And in New York City, some 3,500 high school students in all five boroughs commemorated UN Day with UN staff members as the Department of Public Information launched a new project called UN4U.

As part of the project, school assemblies were addressed by UN officials, including Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka; the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy; Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan Michael Adlerstein; and the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Rachel Mayanja.

The speakers gave students an overview of the Organization, presented a video showcasing the UNs work around the world, shared their own experiences as UN staff members, and interacted with the students in a question and answer segment.


There will be no celebration of UN Day in Haiti this year as the occasion comes at a very difficult time for the island, said Hedi Annabi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for that country.

Annabi noted that Haiti has suffered a crushing loss of lives and property during this years hurricane season, with the overall material damage estimated at over $1 billion dollars by the World Bank.

All efforts are now geared toward finding urgent humanitarian assistance for the millions of Haitians whose lives were left in tatters by four successive storms. Annabi has urged UN staff in the country to take part in conferences, TV and radio programmes and other public fora to advocate for greater humanitarian assistance to Haiti, especially that, so far, the worlds response to Haitis plight has been tepid at best.

In the face of this, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, who is presently in Haiti, expressed his willingness to make an additional allocation from the Central Emergency Response Fund to fund the urgent humanitarian needs of people affected by the recent hurricanes in Haiti.

Asked about the cancellation of UN Day celebrations in Haiti, the Spokeswoman said that it showed how difficult the situation in Haiti is.

Asked whether the situation in nearby Cuba was also a crisis, the Spokeswoman noted that the efficient prevention system in Cuba, with the evacuation of up to three million people, had lessened the number of victims. She later added that UN efforts to raise $30 million for the relief efforts in Cuba are ongoing, in addition to $8.7 million contributed by different UN agencies through their emergency funds and by the Central Emergency Response Fund, on the aftermath of the four devastating storms that hit the island, after striking Haiti.


AGREEMENT TO PROTECT MIGRATORY BIRDS OF PREY: Twenty-eight countries yesterday

signed an agreement to protect migratory birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia. The agreement, reached under the UN 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.

BAN KI-MOON SUPPORTS WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA: In response to a question on a speech given by a Saudi journalist, and Dag Hammarskjold fellow on Thursday, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General endorses the call for womens rights everywhere including in Saudi Arabia.

NO COMMENT ON GEORGIA INVESTMENT DECISION: Asked about Georgias decision to ban investment in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Spokeswoman declined to comment on a decision taken by a sovereign country.


25 October 31 October 2008

Saturday, October 25

From today through 31 October, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Ms. Najat Mjid Maalla, visits Latvia.

Monday, October 27

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing on the U.N. Mission in Côte dIvoire (UNOCI), followed by consultations on UNOCI and Côte dIvoire sanctions review.

At 11 a.m. in Room, S-226, Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, and Eduardo Lopez Moreno, Director of UN-HABITATs City Monitoring Branch, brief on UN-HABITATs new State of the Worlds Cities Report 2008/9: Harmonious Cities.

At 3 p.m. in Room S-226, Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the right to food, briefs the press.

From today through Wednesday in Amman, Jordan, the first-ever Regional Seminar on Upholding Human Rights While Countering Terrorism takes place.

Tuesday, October 28

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing on the International Court of Justice. In the afternoon, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy is scheduled to brief on the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), which will be followed by consultations on UNAMID.

At 1:30 p.m. in the DHL Auditorium, Jeffrey D. Sachs signs copies of his latest book "Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet".

From today through Thursday, more than 20 Pacific Rim countries participate in a tsunami drill, designed to test the UNESCO-initiated Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System.

Wednesday, October 29

The Secretary-General is in Manila, where he will address the opening of the 2nd Global Forum on Migration and Development, receive an honorary degree from the University of the Philippines and meet with President Gloria Arroyo.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on women and peace and security.

At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), briefs on how the UNCCD constitutes a systemic and worldwide response to global environmental challenges.

At UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, a symposium on Freedom of Expression: Development, Democracy and Dialogue will be held as part of celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Thursday, October 30

The Secretary-General is in Delhi, India, where he is scheduled to meet with Government officials and the UN country team.

Beginning at 9 a.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, the General Assembly holds an interactive panel on the global financial crisis.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on Côte dIvoire sanctions, followed by a briefing and consultations on its 1559 report.

Friday, October 31

Today and tomorrow, the Secretary-General is in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he will meet with the Prime Minister, President, Foreign Minister, and members of the Constituent Assembly. The Secretary-General is also scheduled to visit Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha.

At 10 a.m. in Conference Room 4, the first Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will include a panel discussion on the Convention as a human rights instrument and a tool for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Karen AbuZayd, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), is the guest at the Spokespersons noon briefing.

Today is the last day of Chinas Security Council Presidency (Costa Rica assumes the presidency for the month of November).

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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