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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-28
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
DR CONGO: PEACEKEEPERS OPEN FIRE ON ADVANCING REBELS TO PROTECT CIVILIANS
The Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)
says rebels loyal to General Laurent Nkunda have fired five rockets on a UN convoy assigned to protect civilians on a road near Goma.
Large numbers of civilians are attempting to reach Goma, fleeing areas where clashes are reported.
Meanwhile, UN helicopters, acting under the UNs mandate to support the Congolese army in protecting civilians, have opened fire on Nkundas positions some 20 kilometres north of Goma.
As of this morning, according to MONUC, a UN attack helicopter was flying over the area with strict orders to fire on sight at Nkundas fighters.
The UN Mission emphasizes that it will continue to intervene to protect civilians and urban centres across North Kivu.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR), meanwhile, says that the fighting is likely to force some
30,000 displaced people to flee camps and villages. Amid tight security, a UNHCR team was on its way this morning to Kibati camp, about 10 kilometers north of Goma, to prepare for the expected 30,000 new arrivals.
BAN KI-MOON TO ADDRESS GLOBAL MIGRATION FORUM IN MANILA
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has arrived in the Philippines, where tomorrow he will address the plenary session of the second
Global Forum on Migration and Development.
He is expected to say that our world faces economic upheaval of a kind not seen in generations, and that today, more than ever, we must understand how to draw on the power of migration to advance development. He will argue that migration can and should be a tool to help lift us out of the current economic crisis.
In the morning, he is set to attend a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of Philippine national heroes at the Rizal Monument.
Following a luncheon hosted by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, the Secretary-General will attend a ceremony at the University of Philippines.
The Secretary-General will then pay a call on President Gloria Arroyo and sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Philippines participation in the
UN Standby Arrangements in Peacekeeping operations, after an expanded meeting with the President.
He is also set to receive from President Arroyo, the Order of Sikatuna in the Rank of Rajah, the conferment of the highest diplomatic award in the Philippines in recognition of his diplomatic merit to that country.
WORLD COURT PRESIDENT, HEAD OF PEACEKEEPING BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL
Security Council this morning heard a briefing, in a private meeting, on the work of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by its outgoing President, Judge Rosalyn Higgins. They then held consultations about the Councils annual report to the General Assembly.
This afternoon, at 3:00, the Security Council will hear briefings in an open meeting on the UN-African Union hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) Under-Secretaries-General for Political Affairs, Alain LeRoy, and for Field Support, Susana Malcorra, will brief the Security Council in the meeting, which is to be followed by consultations on the same subject.
The Security Council will also receive a briefing on the latest fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the afternoon consultations.
SUDAN: LACK OF MUTUAL TRUST A HURDLE TO PEACE BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH
report to the Security Council on Sudan is out as a document.
In it, the Secretary-General says the lack of mutual trust and confidence between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) remains the main challenge for the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
On the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, which he says is critical to peace in the Sudan, he urges the donor community to be generous with their pledges at the round-table conference to be held in November.
In 2011, he notes, the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei will exercise their legitimate right of self-determination to vote for unity or separation. He encourages the parties to initiate discussions on a long-term wealth-sharing agreement beyond 2011 for the sake of peace and the people of the Sudan.
He also suggests that the Security Council consider holding a thorough debate on provisions related to the protection of civilians in imminent danger under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. Clear guidelines need to be developed that can be translated into realistic rules of engagement for peacekeepers equipped with the requisite capacity.
Finally, the Secretary-General urges the Government of the Sudan to cooperate with the Sudan Criminal Court and put in place an effective judicial and political process at the national level.
The report is expected to be discussed by the Security Council next month.
BAN KI-MOON, DISTRESSED AT HUMAN TOLL OF ZIMBABWE CRISIS, RENEWS U.N. WILLINGNESS TO ASSIST
statement issued late yesterday, the Secretary-General reiterated the United Nations' willingness to support Zimbabwe throughout the delicate transition process and to work with regional leaders and the international community to provide immediate relief to the suffering of its people.
He remains distressed about the growing human cost of the crisis in Zimbabwe, in particular given the signs that the humanitarian situation in the country may worsen in the course of 2008 and 2009.
He is deeply concerned that the population of Zimbabwe in both rural and urban areas faces many challenges, including critical shortages of all food, essential drugs, basic services, and clean water. It is urgent to resolve the ongoing political impasse so that recovery can begin.
NEPAL PEACE PROCESS COMMANDS INTERNATIONAL ADMIRATION
The Secretary-Generals latest
report on Nepal is available today. In it, he notes that the major achievements of the peace process, which has been driven by the Nepalese themselves, have commanded international admiration.
He welcomes the Nepali Congresss commitment to cooperation in the drafting of the new Constitution. He also welcomes the Prime Ministers commitments to multiparty democracy and the protection and promotion of human rights.
The Secretary-General notes that, since parts of the mandate of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) have been completed, the Missions staffing level has been substantially reduced. In that regard, he encourages the Government to quickly create conditions conducive to the completion of all UNMIN activities. At the same time, he says, continued help from the international community will be important to ensuring the peace processs successful conclusion and consolidation.
WEST AFRICA IS AT RISK OF BECOMING DRUG TRAFFICKING HUB
The Executive Director of the UN Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, has warned that West Africa is at risk of becoming an epicenter for drug trafficking and the crime and corruption associated with it. He was speaking at a conference in Cape Verde on drug trafficking as a security threat to West Africa.
Also at that conference, a new UNODC report was launched, noting that at least 50 tons of cocaine from the Andean countries are transiting West Africa every year.
In a message to the conference, the Secretary-General expresses his concern over the alarming surge in drug trafficking and organized crime in West Africa. He urges the international community to support the efforts that West African States have already initiated, to put in place an effective subregional strategy to eradicate this menace.
REFUGEE, FOOD AGENCIES SCRAMBLE TO HELP FLOOD-HIT YEMEN
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has
expressed concern over the situation in Yemen, which has recently been hit by severe flooding.
The World Food Programme has already started providing immediate food aid to 20,000 flood-displaced people. In addition to delivering high-energy biscuits and dates to those without access to food or cooking facilities, the agency is also offering logistical support to other humanitarian organizations.
Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency has sent 11 trucks of relief aid to the hardest-hit areas in Yemen, and the World Health Organization has sent emergency medicines and health equipment to treat tens of thousands of survivors.
HURRICANE VICTIMS IN CUBA AND HONDURAS RECEIVE HELP
The World Food Programme is launching an
emergency operation to help feed nearly two million people in Cuba who were affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Over the next six months, WFP will work closely with the Cuban Government to provide and distribute $6 million worth of food rations. WFP will also supply temporary food storage warehouses and liquid gas stoves to people who lost cooking facilities in the storms.
In other news, the UN has responded to a request from Honduras for humanitarian support in the wake of recent flooding caused by a tropical depression. The World Food Programme has distributed nearly 60 tons of food. The World Health Organization (WHO) is mobilizing medical teams and purchasing medicines. And
UNICEF has distributed supplies and plans to rehabilitate affected water systems and schools. Also, WFP, UNICEF, and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs have together allocated some $300,000 in cash assistance.
LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN EXPORT TO RISE EXPONENTIALLY
In its latest report, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says that
exports from the region are still on track to grow by an estimated 23 per cent in 2008, despite the current financial crisis.
But the global slowdown, the recent drop in commodity prices, and falling demand for products are all likely to cause lower growth rates and less favourable trade balances for the region in 2009.
Because of the economic reforms of recent decades, the region is relatively better prepared to face the current financial crisis and looming recession, ECLAC says, adding that these reforms must be maintained.
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