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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-03-26
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.HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, March 26, 2009
SECRETARY-GENERAL NOMINATES HELEN CLARK OF NEW ZEALAND AS NEW U.N.D.P. ADMINISTRATOR
Following consultations with the
UNDP Executive Board, the Secretary-General has written to the President of the General Assembly requesting the General Assembly to confirm
Helen Clark of New Zealand as the new Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for a term of four years. Clark replaces Kemal Dervis of Turkey.
The Secretary-General is deeply grateful to Dervis for the services he has rendered to the Organization and for so ably leading UNDP at a critical juncture. The Secretary-General is particular appreciative of the great leadership displayed by Dervis in the implementation of his mandate.
Clarks nomination came at the end of an extensive selection process which included the establishment of a senior appointments panel chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General which consisted of senior UN officials, as well as two outside experts in financial and developmental economics. After an interview process, a short list of candidates was then recommended to the Secretary-General for his consideration.
Clark was selected, amongst a group of excellent candidates, for her outstanding qualifications and numerous accomplishments in her long career. She is expected to bring to the position her well honed consensus building skills and commitment to a multilateral approach to addressing global financial and development issues.
Clark has been a member of the New Zealand Parliament since 1981, and was Prime Minister from 1999 to 2008.
Asked about further action by the General Assembly, the Spokeswoman said it would be up to Assembly to confirm Clarks appointment.
Asked about the impact of Clarks nationality on her appointment, Montas said that she was chosen for the job because she is exceptionally qualified.
BAN KI-MOON URGES G-20 LEADERS TO HELP POORER NATIONS WEATHER WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS
The Secretary-General has written to the participants of the G-20 meeting in London emphasizing his strong concern that unless urgent and decisive action is taken to buffer the blows of the global downturn on the most vulnerable, the economic crisis may soon be compounded by an equally severe crisis of global instability.
He writes: A prolonged and severe recession, if not addressed boldly with urgent attention given to the needs of the vulnerable, could affect countries and regions with profound consequences for the security and stability of us all. Noting that financial flows to developing countries have fallen precipitously, he stressed the need for a global stimulus package that meets the needs of developing countries.
A quarter of the resources urgently needed would be for the protection of the most vulnerable people and countries. In his letter, the Secretary-General urges the G-20 leaders to meet the funding needs of the programmes of the United Nations and World Bank to enable them to respond effectively to the crisis including through the proposed Vulnerability Fund as well as the funding needs of established vehicles such as the
Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. In particular, he urges them to help address the root causes of the food security crisis by establishing a new mechanism to support smallholder farmers in developing countries.
Reminding them of their pledges last November to refrain from raising new barriers to investment and trade, the Secretary-General appealed to G-20 leaders to avoid erecting new barriers that could slow economic recovery, and trigger grave social consequences. He also urged them to consider the plight of migrants as they respond to the crisis.
A genuine solution of the crisis, the Secretary-General said, requires a new international financial and economic architecture that reflects the changing realities in the world and gives greater voice to emerging and developing economies.
These issues were discussed during the Secretary-Generals meeting yesterday with Prime Minister Gordon Brown as the Secretary-General himself told you at the stakeout. Asked about the financial architecture proposed in the Secretary-Generals letter, the Spokeswoman noted that the proposal is to be discussed by the G-20 countries.
Asked about financing measures, Montas said that, regarding official development assistance (ODA), the current level of aid is roughly $100 billion per year. The Secretary-Generals proposal is to increase it to $125 billion for each of 2009 and 2010.
This is more than doable if countries fully implement the pledges they made in Gleneagles to increase aid, Montas said. The proposal, she added, also includes long-term lending.
U.N.-A.U. DARFUR PEACE ENVOY BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL
Security Council this morning held closed consultations on
Sudan. Djibril Bassolé, the Joint African Union-UN Chief Mediator for Darfur, briefed Council members on the Darfur political process. This was his first briefing to the Council since he took up his post last August.
The Council also heard from Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, who briefed the members on his recent visit to Darfur and the work of the UN-Sudanese Government assessment mission to the three Darfur states.
Asked whether the Security Council would discuss Sri Lanka, the Spokeswoman said that, this afternoon, the members of the Security Council have scheduled an inter-active discussion, outside of Council chambers, on Sri Lanka. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes will provide a briefing on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka. The session is closed.
DARFUR PEACEKEEPERS AIRLIFT EXAM MATERIALS TO REMOTE SCHOOLS
The UN-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) today assisted in airlifting exam materials to remote secondary schools located across North Darfur. Three helicopter flights distributed exam papers to nine locations around the state.
This is the second such airlift that UNAMID has conducted for the 2009 certificate examinations, which are being held across Sudan and are scheduled to start on 30 March.
UNAMID reports that the security situation in Darfur is relatively calm, with few incidents of banditry activities.
Meanwhile, the ongoing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process in Sudan marked another milestone on Tuesday, when the reintegration component of the programme started in Ed Damazin, in Blue Nile State.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN MOSCOW FOR SPECIAL CONFERENCE ON AFGHANISTAN
The Secretary-General has arrived in Moscow, where on Friday he will speak at the Special Conference on
Afghanistan that is being convened under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
This evening, the Secretary-General will have a working dinner with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
REPORT: ARBITRARY DETENTION IS PERVASIVE IN AFGHANISTAN
The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today released a report saying that many Afghans are often detained without lawful reason, with detainees in many instances not enjoying their basic rights enshrined in the countrys constitution.
The report says that detainees frequently do not have access to a lawyer, are unable to challenge the legality of their detention before an impartial judge and do not enjoy the presumption of innocence before being tried in a lawful court.
In a briefing today in Kabil, Norah Niland, UNAMAs top human rights official, said the United Nations looks forward to working with the Afghan authorities to develop practical activities aimed at ending arbitrary detention in Afghanistan.
NUCLEAR WATCHDOG'S BOARD GATHERS TO PICK NEW LEADER
The Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is meeting today in closed session in Vienna to decide on the appointment of the next Director General.
Japan has nominated Ambassador Yukiya Amano for the post, and South Africa has nominated Ambassador Abdul Samad Minty. In order to be appointed, a candidate must secure a two-thirds vote of the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors by secret balloting.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradeis term of office expires on 30 November 2009. He has served as Director General since 1997 and has said that he is not available for a fourth term of office.
ASIA-PACIFIC REGION AT GREATER RISK IN COMBINED FUEL, FOOD AND CLIMATE CIRISES
The Asia-Pacific region is at the epicenter of what is now being referred to as a triple threat: the convergence of the food and fuel crises, climate change and the current economic crisis. Thats
according to the 2009 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, launched today by the UNs Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of ESCAP, said that the severity of the triple crises required a more responsive, action-oriented agenda. She added that the Surveys findings and recommendations will serve as a guide to policymakers during these uncertain times.
UNITED STATES RESUMES FUNDING OF U.N. POPULATION FUND
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is
welcoming the announcement by the US State Department to officially resume funding to the Fund around 50 million dollars for 2009.
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA Executive Director, said this marked a new era for women, girls and their families around the world. She also noted that the United States will, once again, take a leading role in championing womens reproductive health and rights.
Obaid said that the resumption of US funding would allow UNFPA to maintain its ongoing global initiatives, such as training midwives, expanding access to family planning, delivering reproductive health supplies to clinics in remote areas and ending violence against women.
U.N. MONITORING REPORTS OF ALLEGED ISRAELI AIR ATTACK IN SUDAN: Asked about reports that Israel had attacked a convoy in Sudan, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations is aware of the news reports and has no further information on the matter. We are following developments, she said.
U.N. CONSIDERING OPTIONS IN MADAGASCAR CRISIS: In response to a question, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations continues to explore its options regarding the situation in Madagascar.
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