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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-05-21

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF

THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON

FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, May 21, 2009

BAN KI-MOON TRAVELS TO WASHINGTON D.C. BEFORE HEADING TO SRI LANKA

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled today to Washington, D.C., where he met with the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and some key members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee. Topics discussed included climate change, peace and security issues and development.

The Secretary-General thanked the U.S. Congress for its support and said he looked forward to working with the United States.

Later this afternoon, the Secretary-General is scheduled to deliver the Commencement Address at the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC under the theme: Global Leadership in a Time of Crisis.

He is expected to call for a special brand of global leadership and a new multilateralism to deal with the new and complex challenges facing the world today.

The Secretary-General will highlight the fact that just as the worlds people have become more interdependent, so too have the issues, adding that no nation can deal with them alone.

He will call for bold action and powerful partnerships for enduring peace and prosperity. He will add that the new multilateralism should focus on delivering global goods: freedom from hunger, health and education and security from terror or the threat of Armageddon.

The Secretary-General is expected to urge the students who are graduating from School of Advanced International Studies to consider careers in public service, saying that there is no more noble calling and no greater good than a life of public service.

The Secretary-General leaves Washington, D.C. later today for Sri Lanka.

SRI LANKA: BAN KI-MOON'S CHIEF OF STAFF ADDRESSES SITUATION OF WAR-AFFECTED TAMIL CIVILIANS

The Secretary-Generals Chief of Staff, Vijay Nambiar, traveled to the camps housing the internally displaced (IDPs) in Vavuniya and the flew over what was formerly known as the conflict zone today, a day after his helicopter had to turn back midway due to bad weather.

Mr. Nambiar met with the President of Tamil United Liberation Front, a Tamil political party. They discussed the situation with the IDPs who remained in the conflict zone. They also discussed civilian casualties and those who were injured and missing, the continuous shelling which resulted in abandoned hospitals, and the allocation of more land to address overcrowding and suitable provisions, especially for children.

Mr. Nambiar also met with a group of Members of Parliament of the Tamil National Alliance.

He is also scheduled to hold a press conference in Colombo at 10 a.m. local time tomorrow.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports today that according to the Government, all IDPs are out of both the conflict zone and through all transit points.

Access into Menik Farm camps remains restricted for aid vehicles, OCHA reports.

We are still extremely concerned about overcrowding in Menik Farm camps.

Freedom of movement is needed for people in the camps to allow those who have been identified as non-combatants to voluntarily relocate to stay with host families if they have that option.

Asked if the Sri Lankan Government was preventing Mr. Nambiar from traveling to camps housing the internally displaced in Vavuniya and the conflict zone, the Deputy Spokesperson reiterated that bad weather had been the cause of his inability to travel earlier. Okabe noted that the rainy season is underway right now and that, since Mr. Nambiar has been in Sri Lanka, he has had to cancel several planned flights because of inclement weather.

U.N. ENVOY IN IRAQ STRONGLY CONDEMNS LATEST BOMBINGS

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Iraq has strongly condemned bombings in Kirkuk and Baghdad yesterday and today. The attacks killed dozens of Iraqi civilians and left many others injured.

De Mistura described these latest bombings as reprehensible crimes that have indiscriminately targeted ordinary Iraqis.

He has extended the sincere condolences of the United Nations to the bereaved families. He also wishes the wounded victims a full and speedy recovery.

SECRETARY-GENERAL LAMENTS SLOW PACE OF PROGRESS IN CYPRUS

The Secretary-Generals latest

report on Cyprus is now available. In it, he says that, while the parties have made steady progress, an increase in the pace of the talks between the leaders is needed. He adds that it is disappointing that, since the agreement on nearly two dozen confidence-building measures during the preparatory phase of the talks, the parties have made little progress in implementing them.

The Secretary-General says that, in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) continues to play a vital and unique role on the island, including as a stabilizing factor on the ground. In that regard, he recommends that the Security Council extend the Missions mandate for a further six months, until 15 December 2009.

Meanwhile, the two Cyprus leaders met today under UN auspices in Nicosia. The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, was present.

UN CHILDRENS AGENCY STRONGLY CONDEMNS LOOTING AID SUPPLIES IN SOMALIA

UNICEF has strongly

condemned the looting and destruction of humanitarian supplies and its facilities in the town of Jowhar by militiamen.

According to the agency, thousands of doses of vaccines have been destroyed, and food to prevent child malnutrition was stolen.

UNICEF adds that the loss and damage of crucial supplies for children and women and the break in the supply chain will have an enormous impact on UNICEFs overall programmes, since Jowhar is the main hub for the provision of services and supplies to all of central and southern Somalia.

UN MISSION IN CÔTE DIVOIRE URGES PROMPT RESTART OF VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE

The United Nations Mission in Côte dIvoire (UNOCI) is calling for a prompt resumption of voter registration activities in the country.

It encourages the Independent Electoral Commission, the Government and all Ivorian parties, to respect the date that was announced for the holding of presidential elections in the country29 November.

In this regard, the Mission stresses the importance of a string commitment to expedite the remaining tasks for organizing free, fair and transparent elections in the country-- as defined in the agreed upon timeline.

NEW REPORT ON DR CONGO FOCUSES ON NORTH KIVU

The interim

report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo is out as a document.

The report focuses on the security situation in North Kivu province, where the most serious fighting took place in late 2008, and particularly on the accelerated military integration of non-state armed groups into the national army, the FARDC, in early 2009.

The Group of Experts highlights a number of concerns on the issue of military integration, notably the maintenance of parallel command structures operated by former senior officers of CNDP (Congrès national pour la défense du peuple) rebel movement who have been integrated into the FARDC. The interim report also underlines the need for a vetting mechanism to screen the human rights records of officers in the FARDC.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION REPORTS DROP IN INFANT DEATHS

Deaths of children under the age of five have

dropped globally by nearly 30% since 1990, according to the

World Health Organization. But the agencys first progress report on the health-related Millennium Development Goals doesnt contain only good news. For example, progress in reducing child mortality has not been sufficient in many African countries and low-income countries in general.

Also on the health front, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé has been using World Health Assembly week in Geneva to

meet with more than 80 health ministers. Among his messages has been a call to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV by 2015.

UNESCO CALLS FOR PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY

Today is

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) marked the occasion by calling on countries around the world to commit to promoting and protecting the worlds cultural diversity.

UNESCO has organized a nine-day international festival that will culminate tomorrow at its Paris headquarters.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO DENMARK

On Sunday, May 24, the Secretary-General will be in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he will open the World Business

Summit on Climate Change.

Jointly organized by the

UN Global Compact, this three-day summit is expected to send a strong message from the global business community to governments to seal the deal on an ambitious new climate agreement in Copenhagen, in December.

According to the Global Compact office, the event will gather more than 650 business leaders, government representatives, scientists and civil society leaders from around the world. They will demonstrate how innovative business models, partnerships and the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies can help solve the climate crisis and contribute to long-term global economic recovery.

*** The guests today were Under-Secretary-General for Management Angela Kane, and Controller Jun Yamazaki, who briefed on the financial situation of the United Nations.

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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