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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-05-19
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
BAN KI-MOON ANNOUNCES VISIT TO SRI LANKA
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a press conference in Geneva, announced that he would be visiting Sri Lanka later this week.
The visit on May 22 and 23rd would be to respond to the urgent need to treat the wounds of a war that has alienated the communities in the Island for almost three decades, he said.
He said he would travel to hardest hit areas for a first-hand assessment of conditions on the ground.
Saying that the task now facing the people of Sri Lanka is immense and requires all hands, the Secretary-General spelled out his message.
He said progress must come in three critical areas: first, immediate humanitarian relief; Second, reintegration and reconstruction; Third, a sustainable and equitable political solution.
He said: Progress on all three of these fronts must move forward in paralleland it must begin now.
Meanwhile, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman issued a
statement today saying that full and unimpeded humanitarian access must be ensured so that children and women can receive the assistance they so desperately need.
The Human Rights Council has announced that it will hold a special session next week to address the human rights situation in Sri Lanka following a request submitted today by Council members to convene the meeting.
Asked for an update on the Secretary-Generals Chef de Cabinet, Vijay Nambiar, who is currently in Sri Lanka, the Deputy Spokesperson said he was currently preparing the groundwork for the Secretary-Generals upcoming trip. Mr. Nambiar also undertook a field visit to the conflict zone today, she added.
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON APPOINTED UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR HAITI
The Secretary-General has appointed former U.S. President William J. Clinton to the position of United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti.
The appointment builds on Mr. Clintons extensive engagement with Haiti, both while serving in the White House, and most recently, through his Call to Action on Haiti at the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2008. Mr. Clinton also accompanied the Secretary-General to Haiti in March, during the Secretary-Generals visit to raise global awareness of the Caribbean nations needs.
As Special Envoy, Mr. Clinton will help to jumpstart social and economic recovery efforts in Haiti. He will focus attention on the importance of new partnerships and efforts among the private sector, civil society, and donors as well as strengthen local capacity, and create a more stable and prosperous future for Haiti.
The Secretary-General is confident that President Clinton will bring energy, dynamism and focus to the task of sustaining world interest in Haitis recovery and reconstruction efforts. Mr. Clinton has previously served as the United Nations Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
Asked how President Clinton had been selected and if this was a paid position, the Deputy Spokesperson noted President Clintons former role as the Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery. As we saw with the tsunami relief effort, she said, personal financial gain is not an issue for President Clinton.
WOMENS HEALTH MUST BE TOP PRIORITY, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL TO WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
In Geneva today, the Secretary-General
addressed the World Health Assembly, which is the supreme decision-making body for the World Health Organization (WHO).
In his remarks there, he said the outbreak of the H1N1 strain of Influenza A spotlights yet again the interconnected nature of our world. Geography does not guarantee immunity, he said. A threat to one is a challenge to all.
Also in his remarks, the Secretary-General said that there is perhaps no single issue that ties together the security, prosperity and progress of our world than womens health. Today, he noted, maternal mortality is the slowest moving target of all the Millennium Development Goals and that is an outrage. In the 21st century, he added, no woman should have to give her life to give life.
Also in Geneva, the Secretary-General met with representatives of vaccine companies. He stressed to them the importance of global solidarity. And he added that our top priority must be to build up the defenses of developing countries to ensure that they, too, have access to vaccines.
SPEEDING UP DISARMAMENT WILL FREE RESOURCES TO DEAL WITH MAJOR GLOBAL CRISES
The Secretary-General also
addressed the Conference on Disarmament this morning in Geneva. He said that there were a number of initiatives from nuclear and non-nuclear States that together provided a new momentum for disarmament. He added that these signs of greater political will were an opportunity that could not be missed.
The Secretary-General also stressed the need for a fresh multilateral approach in disarmament and non-proliferation. He said that the Conference on Disarmament, as the worlds only multilateral negotiating body on this subject, had an opportunity to build on advances already made, leave behind entrenched positions and look instead to shared aims of peace and development.
By accelerating disarmament, he said, we can liberate resources that we need to combat climate change, address food insecurity and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF INNOVATIVE FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT
Finally, in Geneva today, the Secretary-General
announced the creation of a regular network of consultation, coordination and mutual reinforcement among innovative financing efforts worldwide.
Opening a meeting on the innovative financing for development, he said that the economic crisis made innovative financing even more important now that the traditional forms of financing for development were under threat.
The network will be supported by a coordinating mechanism, facilitated by Philippe Douste-Blazy, the Secretary-Generals Special Advisor on innovative financing.
FLOOD OD DISPLACED CIVILIANS IN PAKISTAN SURPASSES 1.45 MILLION
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that the number of people
displaced by fighting in Pakistans North West Frontier Province has surpassed 1.45 million.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, who has just concluded a three-day visit to Pakistan, continues to call for urgent and massive international help from governments and donors for those left homeless by fighting.
Guterres stressed that humanitarian workers were struggling to keep up with the size and speed of the displacement. He has warned of the consequences if the uprooted people and tens of thousands of host families trying to care for them don't get help fast.
Asked about an expected UN flash appeal for Pakistan, the Deputy Spokesperson noted that no launch date or amount has been set yet. But the flash appeal will take into account humanitarian needs as expressed by Pakistans Government, relief agencies and the people themselves. In that context, Okabe reiterated Guterress concerns about the scale of displacement.
SECURITY COUNCIL DELEGATION LEAVES DR CONGO FOR LIBERIA
The Security Council delegation that is on a trip to Africa has just concluded its visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after a day of high-level talks in the capital, Kinshasa.
The delegation held discussions with senior political leaders, including President Joseph Kabila and some of his key ministers. The discussions focused on the security situation in the DRC, security sector reform, the rapprochement between the DRC and Rwanda, as well as the next phase of the mandate of the UN Mission in that country,
In a separate meeting with DRC parliamentarians, the Council members discussed issues of human rights, the need to strengthen state authority in all parts of the country and the internal political process, including electoral rules.
The delegation is now on its way to Liberia, where the Council members will be holding discussions with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and members of her government as well as senior officials of the United Nations in Liberia.
TOP AU-UN ENVOY IN DARFUR HOLDS TALKS WITH SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL
On Darfur, the African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative, Rodolphe Adada, met today with the Senior Assistant to the Sudanese President, Minni Minawi.
They discussed the latest developments in Darfur, particularly the recent fighting between the Minawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA/MM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). They also discussed rising tensions between Chad and Sudan.
Meanwhile, during the past 24 hours, the military component of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has conducted 72 confidence-building patrols, escorts, night patrols and investigative patrols in and around villages and camps for internally displaced persons.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME BUYS FOOD FROM SMALL-SCALE KENYAN FARMERS IN MOVE TO BOOST AGRICULTURE: The World Food Programme (WFP) has for the first time bought food from small-scale farmers in Kenya under a new Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative aimed at boosting agriculture by connecting farmers to markets. The initiative means that WFP now has a committed policy to buy from low-income farmers, allowing them to invest profits to boost production and increase food security.
GEORGIAN AND SOUTH OSSETIAN SIDES AGREE TO NOMINATE EXPERTS FOR JOINT ASSESSMENT MISSION: The fifth round of the Geneva Discussions took place yesterday and today. Despite initial difficulties, all participants met in two parallel working groups to discuss security and stability in the region and humanitarian matters. The discussions took place in a constructive spirit. The participants recommitted themselves to the implementation of the joint incident prevention and response mechanisms they had agreed on at the last round of Geneva Discussions in February. A number of humanitarian issues were also raised.
Noteworthy was the decision by the Georgian and South Ossetian sides to nominate experts to take part in a joint needs assessment mission led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to ensure that water supply systems be repaired for the benefit of the local populations. The participants agreed to meet again on 1 July.
OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER WELCOMES NEW JUDICIAL REFORMS IN NEPAL: The representative for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal, met the newly appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. OHCHR welcomed the various judicial reforms which the Chief Justice initiated and noted that they will aid the Supreme Court in protecting human rights and the rule of law. OHCHR reiterated its commitment to supporting the judiciarys independence and their new initiatives.
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