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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-12-04

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

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, December 4, 2008

SOME GAZA CROSSINGS REOPEN ON 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF RELIEF AGENCY FOR PALESTINIANS

The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that some Gaza crossings, including the fuel pipelines, were open today.

As a result, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) managed to get six truckloads of Jordanian-donated aid into Gaza. But UNRWA adds that the additional ten trucks of oil and tinned meat that it had requested were not allowed in. Todays influx was not enough, according to UNRWA, which stresses that it needs 15 trucks a day in order to maintain its basic operations. UNRWA also notes that, over the past month, it has only been able to get 37 trucks into Gaza.

Meanwhile, today in Jerusalem, UNRWAs Commissioner General, Karen AbuZayd, is opening a year-long series of events to mark her agencys 60th anniversary, which falls on 8 December 2009.

In her remarks, she says that closures in the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza add to the terrifying sense of being trapped, physically, intellectually and emotionally, depriving children of that simplest of rights, the right to be a child.

She adds that this anniversary is a time for sober reflection on why an agency that the General Assembly created as a temporary body still exists at all. The 60th anniversary of UNRWA is nothing to celebrate, she stresses.

In related news, the Security Council held an open

meeting on Wednesday evening, at Libyas request, to discuss what was described as Israels refusal to allow a Libyan vessel carrying humanitarian aid to reach Gaza.

SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON MISSION TO AFGHANISTAN AND LEBANON TRIBUNAL

The

Security Council this morning heard a briefing on the recently-concluded Council mission to Afghanistan by the head of that mission, Ambassador Giulio Terzi de SantAgata of Italy.

The Council then went into consultations to hear from Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Patricia OBrien about the Secretary-Generals third report on the preparations for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. That report says that all practical arrangements for the Tribunal will be in place for the Prosecutor to arrive on 1 March 2009.

ZIMBABWE: BAN KI-MOON, SOUTH AFRICAN LEADER DISCUSS CHOLERA AND POLITICAL CRISIS

The Secretary- General discussed the situation in Zimbabwe with President Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa during a telephone call this morning.

They talked about the humanitarian situation, and the Secretary General stressed the need for the UN and other partners to respond urgently to the needs of the population and stop the cholera epidemic from spreading.

President Motlanthe and the Secretary-General also discussed the political situation and the South African Development Communitys (SADCs) mediation in the power-sharing negotiations.

Meanwhile, as the number of suspected

cholera cases in Zimbabwe climbed above 12,600, with 570 resultant deaths, the World Health Organization today pledged its continued support to the people of Zimbabwe.

WHO leads the Health Cluster that heads the group of health providers responding to the outbreak and the countrys wider health challenges. Zimbabwean authorities have called for $1.5 million in financial resources to be provided monthly to help respond to the current cholera outbreak, attract health workers back to their posts, and provide medical equipment and supplies. Chemicals are also desperately needed, valued at $ 4.4 million, to ensure the country's water supply is safe. Longer-term support was also called for to properly re-equip the country's health sector.

WHO said that diarrhoeal Disease Kits capable of treating 800 severe cases and 3,200 moderate cases have arrived in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's long running humanitarian crisis is now highlighted by a cholera outbreak affecting 9 out of 10 provinces in the country and spilling across borders into South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.

COTE DIVOIRE: TWO MILLION MORE CITIZENS REGISTER TO VOTE

The Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (ONUCI) says it is encouraged by the latest milestone in the identification and registration of citizens ahead of the presidential election in that country.

Despite some delays and sporadic incidents in recent months, two million people are reported to have received proper documentation, and most of them should be eligible to cast their vote.

The Mission says it will maintain and strengthen its logistical support for the identification drive. It also appeals to the Ivorian political actors to show restraint in their actions and words in accordance with the Code of Conduct they signed earlier this year.

DR CONGO: PEACEKEEPERS DEPLOY TO FORMER REBEL POSITIONS

In a response to a question yesterday on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN Mission there (MONUC) says that fighters from the DRC-based Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) have entered the town of Ishasha in the northeastern part of North Kivu near the Ugandan border.

The Mission disputes the information in some news reports that FDLR have systematically redeployed to "fill in" positions vacated by Laurent Nkundas CNDP rebels.

UN peacekeepers, meanwhile, will be redeploying in the Ishasha region until later this month. The peacekeepers are patrolling the region, and they intend to press the FDLR forces to leave.

And with the security situation improving in the Orientale province, UN peacekeepers are

helping to redeploy aid agencies there. The first group of humanitarians from WFP, UNHCR and OCHA arrived there on Tuesday to assist some 6,000 internally displaced persons. The region has suffered repeated raids by the Lords Resistance Army, which has killed at least 20 people and abducted more than 150 children since September.

Asked about sexual abuse allegations against Indian peacekeepers in the DRC, the Spokeswoman recalled that India, as the concerned troop contributing country, had taken follow-up action. She emphasized that the Secretary-General deems sexual abuse cases to be unacceptable.

GUNMEN ATTACK CONVOY IN DARFUR

The African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur reports an attack this morning against members of an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) working in Nyala.

UNAMID reports that a convoy composed of three vehicles transporting six staff members was stopped on its way to the Kalma camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Two assailants equipped with AK-47 assault rifles and a hand grenade stopped the convoy and forced it to drive down to a nearby gully.

According to UNAMID, although the workers complied without resistance to demands for money, the attackers assaulted them up before leaving the scene. Three out of the six workers were reportedly severely beaten and taken to the local hospital, where their condition is listed as stable and non life-threatening.

The mission cited initial reports as saying that the workers were transporting cash intended for the payment of salaries for staff working at Kalma camp.

UNAMID did not identify the NGO involved in the incident.

BAN KI-MOON ADDRESSES ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF CENTRAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND

This morning, the Secretary-General

addressed the annual high-level conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

He noted that, in its first three years, the Fund has provided more than a billion dollars for food, shelter, clean water and health care for tens of millions of people, in countries from Afghanistan to Zambia. 93 nations are contributors to the Fund, and many of them have also been recipients in times of need. The CERF is truly a Fund by all, a Fund for all, the Secretary-General said.

He praised the Fund for its achievements in drastically reducing the response time to worldwide disasters. He also noted that the Fund allocates money more equitably, including by setting aside one third of its funds for forgotten crises that receive little media attention.

With the financial crisis, climate change and population growth likely to increase demands for relief aid in the future, he appealed to Member States to contribute as much as possible.

U.N.D.P. HEAD COMMENDS DOHA NEGOTIATORS FOR AGREEMENT ON GLOBAL POVERTY

The Secretary-General will head for Poznan, Poland, next week for the climate change negotiations underway there. Meanwhile, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Kemal Dervis

commended negotiators at the Financing for Development conference in Doha, Qatar, for heeding the Secretary-Generals call to come to an agreement that reaffirms international commitments to tackle global poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Dervis stressed that the outcome document from Doha, which reaffirms developed countries commitment to provide 0.7 percent of their GNP as aid to developing countries by 2015, is an essential step in resolving what he called the triple crisis of financial turmoil, global poverty and climate change. He urged countries to focus on opportunities that can arise from the crises as they turn their attention to the UN climate-change negotiations underway in Poznan.

We must treat these crises as common rather than separate challenges, he said.

NEARLY 100 COUNTRIES SIGN ON TO CONVENTION ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS

The signing conference of the

Convention on Cluster Munitions concluded today in Oslo, with nearly 100 actions undertaken by States to the Convention, committing states to the international treaty that prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. The two-day conference brought out 94 signatures, 4 ratifications and 1 provisional application by the attending 100 governments.

The Convention will now be open for signature at Headquarters until after it enters into force. Ratifications from 30 states are needed to trigger the entry into force of the Convention and make it binding on its Parties.

The Convention represents a new milestone in humanitarian disarmament and establishes important commitments regarding assistance to victims, clearance of contaminated areas and destruction of stockpiles. It is the first successfully negotiated international treaty to ban an entire category of conventional weapons and is a significant strengthening of international humanitarian law.

Meanwhile, the

UN Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan today congratulated the Afghan Government for its decision to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Centre said that, as a result of its work, many of Afghanistan's cluster bombs have already been located and destroyed.

MEASLES DEATHS DOWN BY THREE-QUARTERS

Measles deaths worldwide

fell by 74 per cent between 2000 and 2007, from an estimated 750,000 to 197,000. Thats according to the founding partners of the Measles Initiative, which includes UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the UN Foundation.

In one WHO-designated region, which includes such countries as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan, measles deaths have been cut by 90 per cent from an estimated 96,000 to 10,000 during the same period. Thus, the UN goal of reducing measles deaths by 90 per cent by 2010 was achieved in that region three years early.

INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM GETS UNDERWAY IN INDIA

The 3rd Internet Governance

Forum got underway yesterday in Hyderabad, India, and runs through Saturday. Its theme is Internet for All, with workshops addressing such topics as expanding Internet access, including for persons with disabilities; promoting cybersecurity and child protection; and the future of the Internet.

In opening remarks, Assistant Secretary-General Jomo Kwame Sundaram, representing the Secretary-General, noted that the Forum has become a valuable tool for forging a common understanding of complex Internet issues from diverse points of view.

Nitin Desai, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser for Internet Governance, added that multilingualism is key most of the expansion of Internet use is taking place in developing countries, where the English language and Latin script are not used.

FORUM SEEKS TO INCREASE RESPONSIBILITY IN BUSINESS EDUCATION

Today and Friday, the UNs First Global Forum for Responsible Management Education will take place at UN Headquarters.

Hosted by the UN Global Compact, the Forum will provide a platform for sharing perspectives and expertise on the Principles for Responsible Management Education.

The Principles were an initiative launched in 2007 to embed corporate responsibility and sustainability in the mainstream of business education.

There will be a press conference on this Forum tomorrow at 11 a.m. in this room. Speakers will include Manuel Escudero, Special Adviser to the Global Compact; John Fernandes from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; Judith Samuelson from the Aspen Institute; and Liz Maw from Net Impact.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

BAN KI-MOON SPOKE WEDNESDAY WITH PAKISTANI LEADER: Asked about response to a letter received by the Secretary-General from the Government of Pakistan, the Spokeswoman noted that the letter was addressed to several member states and did not ask for a specific action to be taken. The Secretary-General, she recalled, had spoken by phone on Wednesday with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan.

BAN KI-MOON SPOKE WITH INDIAN PRIME MINISTER ON MUMBAI ATTACKS: The Spokeswoman noted, in response to a question about whether India wanted the recent Mumbai attacks to be referred to the Security Council, that the Secretary-General had spoken by phone on Monday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the attacks.

  • The guest at noon was Dmitry Titov, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions, who briefed on the new Convention on Cluster Munitions.

    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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