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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-11-18
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ
ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
BAN KI-MOON TO CONVENE SUMMIT ON FINANCE AND DEVELOPMENT IN DOHA
At last weekend's summit in Washington, D.C., Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pressed world leaders to attend the up-coming conference on financing for development, to be held in Doha beginning November 28.
This meeting has since grown to be a full-fledged summit, with some 40 heads of state or government from the developed and developing world arriving to discuss the next steps for follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus, and managing the global financial crisis.
The Secretary-General's goal at Doha is to broaden the debate beyond the need for a global stimulus package--the main theme in Washington--to include 1) protections for the needs of developing nations, by maintaining international commitments on aid and trade and minimizing negative impact on global security and well being of people. 2) to promote "green jobs" and "green economy" as an integral element in any stimulus package; and 3) to ensure that inclusive multilateralism be the watch-word for institutional financial reform.
As the Secretary-General sees it, the world does not face a single crisis. It faces a nexus of interrelated crises which can only be dealt with comprehensively. Solutions to each challenge must therefore be solutions to all.
In Geneva today, the Secretary-General
spoke at the inauguration ceremony for the new Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room at the Palais des Nations, which was donated by Spain. Saying that human rights are a fundamental part of the work of the United Nations and of the Organizations very identity, the Secretary-General said that he was pleased to inaugurate the new room on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
He said that the
Alliance of Civilizations is a very important and practical initiative that is linked intrinsically to human rights, adding that Spain and Turkey have played a dynamic role as conveners of the Alliance.
Later, the Secretary-General met with the King and Queen of Spain; and with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. He also spoke with the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, in conjunction with her role as a Special Envoy to the Conference on Financing for Development.
Earlier today, the Secretary-General met with the head of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and had a town hall meeting with WIPO staff.
Asked about how the renovations to the new Human Rights Council and Alliance of Civilizations (Room XX) at the Palais des Nations were funded, the Spokesman later said that they were entirely funded by ONUART, a foundation formed by Spains Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in place to collect public and private money from Spanish society.
DARFUR: U.N. MISSION RECEIVES REPORTS OF INCREASING MILITARY ACTIVITIES
The UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has received reports from various sources pointing to increased military activities throughout Darfur during the past few days. These include reports of aerial bombings by the Government of Sudan in the Kutum area; UNAMID is trying to confirm these reports.
Meanwhile, Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan,
welcomes the National Assemblys approval of the appointment of a National Elections Commission. Qazi congratulated the new Commissioners and pledged the UN Mission in Sudans readiness to support and assist with preparations for upcoming elections to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has welcomed the announcement by Sudans Minister of Humanitarian Affairs on the extension of the Moratorium facilitating humanitarian aid to Darfur until the 31 January 2010.
This should further enhance the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance for up to 4.7 million conflict affected people as well as enabling humanitarian organizations to operate in Darfur.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE END TO GAZA BLOCKADE
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today
called for an immediate end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. She added that, because of the blockade, 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children have been forcibly deprived of their most basic human rights. Pillay said, This is in direct contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law. It must end now.
According to the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), no fuel, humanitarian supplies or commercial commodities were allowed into Gaza today.
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is drawing attention to what it calls unprecedented levels of hardship. For example, it says, mothers are being turned away from UNRWA food centres without powdered milk for their babies. The agency also notes that it is unable to get in supplies even for blind children.
ACCUSED CONGOLESE WARLORD LUBANGA DENIED PROVISIONAL RELEASE
The International Criminal Court says Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo will
remain in its custody until the start of his trial in January 2009. The Court earlier today lifted the stay of proceedings in the case against Lubanga after a status conference in The Hague.
The suspension was imposed in June when judges deemed that Lubanga would not receive a fair trial because the Prosecutor had failed to share with the defense confidential information from the United Nations and other agencies that he has used in his case against Lubanga. The Court now says that the reasons for imposing a halt have fallen away.
Meanwhile, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN Mission (MONUC) says that some 25,000 internally displaced persons have gathered around its base in Bambu, about 80 kilometres north of Goma. According to the Mission, the displaced civilians are without assistance, as there are currently no humanitarian workers in or around Bambu.
In the provincial capital, Goma, the World Food Programme says it is stepping up food distribution to some 100,000 displaced people. The agency also intends to cross into rebel territory to assist some 100,000 civilians.
UNICEF, meanwhile, says that some 150,000 school children have stopped going to school as a result of the insecurity.
Asked whether the Secretary-General wants to see any change in the mandate of the UN Mission in the DRC, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-Generals focus is on obtaining an additional 3,000 personnel, who would be able to deploy quickly.
The request for additional personnel had preceded the latest fighting, Haq added, but the violence underscored the urgency of the request for additional troops.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO FOCUS ON AFRICAS DEVELOPMENT NEEDS
DURING TRIP TO ADDIS ABABA
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro leaves New York later today for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to attend the Second Meeting of the Africa Commission convened by the Government of Denmark from 20 to 21 November.
The Meeting will focus on the creation of jobs in furthering economic growth in Africa as a way to enhance implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The Commission will examine underlying issues relating to education, youth and women employment and climate change.
In addition, the Deputy Secretary-General will address the Sixth African Development Forum meeting, where she will give remarks on gender equality and the elimination of violence against women.
HONDURAS AND GUATEMALA STRUGGLING TO RECOVER FROM RECENT FLOODING
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the reports it has received on Honduras following the floods there indicate that the living conditions for 313,350 affected people will remain precarious for several months, owing to the extent of damage to livelihoods and infrastructure.
However, only 10 percent of the $17 million requested in a Flash Appeal has been committed, and the limited resources available so far are slowing down the humanitarian response.
UNICEF is providing cleaning equipment and material to the families that were sheltered in school buildings, in order for them to keep the premises clean, and it has also developed a work plan to restore the provision of safe water in the affected areas. The World Food Programme (WFP), meanwhile, urgently needs at least 2,000 metric tons of food in order to start recovery activities.
In neighbouring Guatemala, floods have affected 30,000 families. UNICEF and WFP have sent in teams to plan a response, and the
UN Population Fund is distributing 2,000 hygiene kits. WFP has already delivered food for more than 28,000 people.
U.N. AGENCIES HELP KYRGYSTAN PREPARE WINTER RESPONSE PLAN
The United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with other UN agencies and NGO partners, is concerned about some 700,000 vulnerable people in Kyrgyzstan facing the winter season without adequate shelter and facilities.
This includes 250,000 people at risk of electricity and water shortages during the extremely cold winter months, and 580,000 people considered to be food insecure.
To ensure minimum standards of critical services during the winter months, from this December to April 2009, the agencies are working to complement government efforts to ensure priority interventions through a Winter Response Plan. The response plan requires some $18 million.
INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE TO HEAR CASE BETWEEN GREECE AND FYROM
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) reports that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has
instituted proceedings against Greece. FYROM contends that Greece violated a previous agreement between the two States when it decided to veto FYROMs application to join NATO because of the name issue.
FYROM requests the Court to order Greece to cease and desist from objecting in any way to its membership of NATO or any other organization of which Greece is a member.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and FYROM, Matthew Nimetz, says that the FYROM Government assured him that this latest action did not lessen its commitment to continue the process under the Secretary-Generals auspices to seek a solution to the name issue.
In other developments at the ICJ, the Court today, despite Serbian objections,
affirmed that it has jurisdiction to rule on a Croatian case alleging that Serbs committed genocide during the Balkans conflicts of the 1990s.
LATEST UPDATE ON U.N. MEMBER STATE BUDGET CONTRIBUTIONS AVAILABLE
The latest update on the status of Member States contributions to the United Nations regular budget, from 17 November, shows that a total of 131 Member States have paid in full their assessments to the regular budget for 2008.
With inclusion of current assessments, a total of approximately $4.3 billion is still outstanding as of today. Of this, $533 million is for the Regular budget and $3.6 billion relates to peacekeeping operations. The remaining outstanding contributions consist of $52 million for the international tribunals and $79 million for the Capital Master Plan. Details on the contributions by each Member State are available online at:
Asked when the deadline for regular budget dues had passed, the Spokesman said that the deadline had been on 31 January. At the same time, he added, the United Nations is aware that different countries have different budgetary cycles, so some payments may come later.
Asked about penalties for non-payment, he said that, if a countrys unpaid dues equal or exceed the amount it had owed for the previous two years, it can lose its voting rights in the General Assembly, unless the Member States grant an exception under Article 19 of the UN Charter. Dues, Haq added, are a treaty obligation and must be paid by all Member States on time, in full and without preconditions.
NEW DEVELOPMENT PROJECT LAUNCHED IN PAKISTAN: The UN Development Programme in Islamabad has joined hands with a
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