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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-27
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, October 27, 2008
D.R. OF CONGO: BAN KI-MOON URGES ALL PARTIES TO CEASE HOSTILITIES
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is extremely
concerned by the further deterioration in the security situation in North Kivu, and in particular developments in Rumangabo and in Goma and its impact on civilians. He condemns the deliberate attacks on peacekeepers of the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) by forces of the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP). He denounces the continued hostilities between CNDP forces and those of the Defence forces of the Democratic Republic, in violation of the ceasefire.
The Secretary-General urges the Government and provincial authorities to make every effort to restore calm among the affected populations and to work in close cooperation with MONUC. He reaffirms that MONUC will take all necessary measures within its mandate to protect civilians and United Nations personnel and property.
Recent developments demonstrate without doubt the need for all parties to implement the Actes d'engagement and to disengage.
The Secretary-General calls on all parties to immediately cease hostilities and pursue in good faith in efforts to resolve peacefully the issues that have thus far hindered progress in the Nairobi and Goma processes.
Asked about a reported incident in which MONUC troops were alleged to have fired on demonstrators outside their compound, the Spokeswoman said that we are still awaiting additional information on that incident.
U.N. FORCE COMMANDER IN DR CONGO STEPS DOWN
Lieutenant General Vicente Diaz de Villegas y Herrería of Spain, who was recently appointed as Force Commander for
indicated that for personal reasons he will not be able to continue with his assignment as planned.
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations is pursuing arrangements to ensure continuity of command and to replace General Diaz as quickly as possible.
In the interim, Brigadier General Ishmeel Ben Quartey of Ghana will serve as Acting Force Commander pending the appointment of General Diazs successor.
UNITED NATIONS RESPONDS RAPIDLY TO HELP THOSE DISPLACED BY FIGHTING IN EASTERN DRC
As the security situation continues to deteriorate in the eastern DRC, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says it is concerned about the humanitarian situation there.
The upswing in fighting has caused a sharp increase in the number of internally displaced persons, with an estimated 250,000 people made homeless since August. That comes on top of some 850,000 internally displaced persons registered in North Kivu before the resumption of fighting. The displaced are facing significant shortages of shelter, food, water and sanitation, health and protective security measures.
Meanwhile, OCHA and
UNICEF have launched a Rapid Response Mechanism to address as many of these needs as possible. Overall humanitarian access is extremely restricted due to the fighting. The reduced access is variously blamed on roadblocks, the intimidation of aid workers, the hijacking of their vehicles, and angry demonstrations by civilians in some parts of the regions.
OCHA says it is also concerned that the warring parties are engaging in widespread looting of civilian infrastructure, including health centres.
Serious human rights abuses are also being reported in Province Orientale, where some 28,000 people have been made homeless and fled into Sudan after attacks by the Lords Resistance Army.
SOMALIA: U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has
welcomed the ceasefire agreement signed this weekend in Djibouti between the Transitional Federal Government and the opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia.
The agreement also outlines a gradual withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia and measures to avoid a security vacuum. Those measures involve a joint security role for the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM), the transitional government and the Alliance until there is a possible deployment of UN peacekeeping forces.
According to the agreement, the ceasefire will take effect starting on November 5th.
Special Representative Ould-Abdallah said that with this agreement, some very important principles have now been established. The challenge is to ensure that concrete action is taken to show the Somali people how this will benefit them.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON WORK OF U.N. PEACEKEEPERS IN CÔTE DIVOIRE
The Security Council discussed Côte dIvoire this morning, with the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Choi Yong-jin, briefing Council members in a formal meeting on the work done by UN peacekeepers in that country.
He said that accumulating delays in Côte dIvoires electoral process constitute the UN
Missions primary concern because they may put at risk the entire Ivorian peace process.
At the same time, he noted recent milestones that were reached, saying, The Ivorian electoral process now seems irreversible. Choi called on the international community to redouble efforts to bring timely financial, technical and logistical assistance to the Ivorian identification and electoral process.
The meeting was followed by consultations on Côte dIvoire, as well as on the work of the sanctions committee dealing with that country, which is chaired by Ambassador Jan Grauls of Belgium.
After those consultations, the Security Council discussed provocations in the security zone. On that subject, David Harland of the
Department for Peacekeeping Operations briefed Council members on recent events in Abkhazia, Georgia.
RISING DISPLACEMENTS REPORTED IN COLOMBIA
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that it is seeing population displacements in several areas of Colombia.
In the southern department of Amazonas, for example, members of the Baro indigenous tribe, which is currently considered at risk of extinction, have fled to the regional capital, Leticia, following the incursion into their territory of an unidentified armed group. OCHA reports that the displaced are facing difficulties in being registered, as they have no identification documents. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has identified the Baro as being at serious risk due to their lack of experience in urban settings.
Also, in the southwestern department of Putumayo, nearly 60 indigenous families have been displaced following alleged threats from the Army. The UN refugee agency is investigating these claims, an inter-agency mission is planned, and humanitarian aid is being distributed.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER VISITING COLOMBIA AND HAITI
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has arrived in Colombia to
review the human rights situation there. Pillay plans to meet with President Alvaro Uribe and senior ministers, as well as members of Congress, the judiciary, civil society, and UN colleagues, to discuss a range of human rights concerns.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has a major country office in Colombia, and while there, Pillay will visit her agency's field operations outside the capital, Bogotá.
Pillays week-long trip will be followed next week by a stop in Haiti.
U.N. FOOD AGENCIES TO PROVIDE US$10 MILLION IN AGRICULTURAL AID TO HAITI
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development today
announced more than US$10 million in aid for Haitis agriculture sector.
Under the programme, which is being implemented through FAOs Initiative on Soaring Food Prices, hundreds of thousands of small farmers will receive seeds and plants.
The aim is to quickly boost local production, increasing the availability of basic food products in the markets and strengthening food security in the population at large.
WHO RELEASES NEW STUDY ON GLOBAL HEALTH
The World Health Organization (WHO) today published a new
study that provides a comprehensive picture of the global and regional state of health. The report features health comparisons for 2004 as well as projections up to the year 2030.
The study shows that, with both malaria and HIV/AIDS, Africa accounts for nine out of every 10 child deaths. It also says the top five causes of death in low-income countries are: pneumonia, heart disease, diarrhoea, HIV/AIDS and stroke. But in high-income countries the list is topped by heart disease, followed by stroke, lung cancer, pneumonia, and asthma/bronchitis.
Meanwhile, men between the ages of 15 and 60 have much higher risks of dying than women in the same age category in every region of the world mainly due to higher levels of heart diseases and injuries, including from violence and conflict.
IMF REACHES AGREEMENTS WITH UKRAINE, HUNGARY AND ICELAND
Over the weekend, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced separate, tentative agreements with Ukraine and Hungary. Under the Ukraine plan, the IMF will
lend the country US$16.5 million dollars over the next 24 months to address economic problems linked to the recent international financial turmoil. The agreement hinges on the approval of legislative changes to Ukraines banking system.
On Hungary, the IMF also
announced yesterday an agreement on policies designed to improve both near-term stability and long-term growth. A substantial financing package is expected to be announced in the coming days.
On Friday, the IMF announced an initial
agreement to loan Iceland more than US$2 billion over two years. The funds will support an economic recovery program to help restore confidence in Icelands banking system and stabilize its currency.
comments that the Secretary-General made on Friday about the possible restructuring of the Bretton Woods Institutions, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General did not refer to specific measures, which are not part of his mandate. He does not have a direct role in dealing with the structures of the World Bank or International Monetary Fund, although they are part of the larger UN family.
At the same time, Montas said, the Secretary-General talked about the need for an inclusive process that would mitigate the impact of the financial crisis on the poorest and middle-income countries. He will attend the G-20 meeting in Washington on 15 November to discuss the matter.
She added that the General Assembly President would hold a meeting on 30 October on the Bretton Woods Institutions.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT REPUBLIC OF KOREA AND CHILE
Deputy Secretary-General leaves for Seoul, Republic of Korea. While there, she will attend the World Leaders Forum commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Republic of Korea and deliver remarks on international cooperation for green growth.
She will also address 100 women leaders in Korea on climate change and the role of women internationally. The Deputy Secretary-General will give a special lecture at the Kyunghee University on the financial crisis and implications for the UNs development work. She will also hold bilateral meetings with senior government officials, including the Prime Minister.
On November 3rd and 4th, the Deputy Secretary-General will visit Santiago, Chile, to open the Regional Coordination Meeting of U.N. agencies in Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to reviewing progress on key inter-agency activities and discussing future work, the focus of discussions will be on the impact of the international crisis and climate change on development of the region. While in Santiago, the Deputy Secretary-General will also meet with the Chilean President.
U.N. HAS NO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON REPORTED U.S. ATTACK IN SYRIA: Asked about reported claims by Syria that US forces attacked Syria near its border with Iraq, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations does not have any information on the incident beyond what is being reported in the media. She noted that the United Nations has always encouraged regional cooperation to solve issues of common concern, including border security, through the expanded ministerial process of Iraq and its neighbours. The United Nations is committed to helping to promote regional dialogue to bring stability to Iraq and the region as a whole.
AUCTION OF CHILDRENS PAINTINGS RAISES US$21,000 FOR UNICEF: All 26 childrens paintings from last weeks U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) Paint for the Planet event were
auctioned yesterday at the Harvard Club of New York City. The event raised US$21,000 for UNICEF. The funds will be used to help children in areas affected by climate-related disasters. The 26 paintings were chosen from roughly 200,000 entries from UNEPs International Childrens Competition.
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