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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-06-24

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

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BAN KI-MOON URGES G-8 COUNTRIES TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS, SCALE UP AID TO AFRICA

In advance of this years G8 Summit in lAquila, Italy, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has written to the G8 leaders outlining challenges that require their urgent attention.

On climate change, he asks G8 Governments to lead by making ambitious and firm commitments to reduce emissions on the order of the 25 to 40 per cent the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tells us is required from industrialized countries by 2020 to avert the worst effects of climate change.

He says he hopes that G8 Governments will commit to a specific timetable and modalities to deliver the billions of dollars needed during the next few years to assist the poorest and most vulnerable to adapt to climate change.

On the

Millennium Development Goals, the Secretary-General says that with less than a year to 2010, annual aid to Africa remains at least $20 billion below the Gleneagles targets. He urges the G8 to set out, country by country, how donors will scale up aid to Africa over the next year to make the Gleneagles commitments real.

He concludes by saying that Italy gave the world the expression crossing the Rubicon. In Italy next month, the Secretary-General says, we must cross a new Rubicon into a bold new future where half measures and unfulfilled commitments are a thing of the past.

BAN KI-MOON TO ATTEND MIDDLE EAST QUARTET MEETING IN ITALY

The Secretary-General will be heading to Trieste, Italy, later this week, for a meeting of the Middle East Quartet.

On the day of that gathering, Friday, 26 June, the Quartet principals are also hoping to meet with members of the League of Arab States follow-up committee on the Arab Peace Initiative.

While in Trieste on the 26th, the Secretary-General also plans to attend a meeting of the G-8 on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He will be back in New York this weekend.

GAZA CRISIS DELAYING PROGRESS IN MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS

Yesterday afternoon, the Security Council held a

meeting followed by consultations on the Middle East.

In his remarks, the UNs Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said the unresolved crisis in Gaza has negative repercussions on all efforts to advance the peace process. It also wreaks unacceptable havoc on the fabric of civilian life in Gaza.

Serry added that, as parties prepare for Fridays Quartet meeting, both the Israeli and Palestinian governments need to be clearly committed to a two-State solution.

He also told Council members that, on 1 June, he met Justice Richard Goldstone when Goldstone arrived in Gaza through Rafah. Goldstones fact-finding mission, with its mandate from the Human Rights Council, expects to return to the Strip at the end of this month, Serry noted. But regrettably, Israel has still not extended its cooperation to the effort.

IMPACT OF FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC CRISIS COULD LINGER FOR YEARS IN DEVELOPING WORLD

The Secretary-General today

addressed the General Assembly conference on the Global Financial and Economic Crisis. He warned that, despite signs of financial stabilization and growth in some countries, the consequences could stretch for years for developing nations.

The Secretary-General said that we must mobilize our full strength for better real-time data on the impact of the crisis on the poorest. To that extent, he is marshalling the resources of the United Nations to monitor the impact of the crisis in real time, and we will launch the Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System in the coming months.

Also, he said, we must keep global commitments to help women and men move from vulnerability to opportunity and we must work together to reform international institutions for the 21st century. The global economic crisis shows why we need a renewed multilateralism, he said.

BAN KI-MOON DEEPLY DISTRESSED BY SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN D.R. CONGO

The Secretary-General says he is

deeply distressed by the rape and assault of about 20 female inmates during an attempted escape from Gomas central prison, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The incident also caused the death and wounding of several people, he adds.

This is a grim example of both the prison conditions and the level of sexual violence that plagues the DRC.

The Secretary-General called on the DRC authorities to bring to justice those who have committed these crimes and, more generally, to renew efforts to bring an end to the impunity too often enjoyed by perpetrators of sexual violence.

During my last visit to the DRC, he said, I emphasized the issue of sexual violence with President Kabila. The Security Council, during its recent visit in the country, did likewise. It is absolutely essential that the DRC Government take concrete steps to bring justice to victims of sexual violence, said the Secretary-General, inviting the Government to make use of the wide assistance provided by the United Nations on the ground to combat sexual violence.

AFGHANISTAN: KILLING OF AID WORKERS IS CONDEMNED

The acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator in

Afghanistan, Tekeste Tekie, today said he was shocked by the indiscriminate attack that took place yesterday in northern Afghanistan, which took the lives of three aid workers.

A roadside bomb destroyed an unmarked white vehicle carrying three national staff of the non-governmental organization Development and Humanitarian Services in Afghanistan (DHSA) in the province of Jawzjan. That group is a partner of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), implementing a shelter programme for Afghan returnees.

This is at least the fourth security incident targeting humanitarian workers in Afghanistan in the past two weeks. All parties to the conflict should honour their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure that this horrible incident is not repeated.

BANDITRY REMAINS A CONSTANT THREAT IN DARFUR

The security situation in Darfur is reported as calm. However, the UN/African Union Mission there (UNAMID) says banditry remains a problem and recent incidents have targeted Mission staff while other acts of banditry were reported in and around camps for the internally displaced.

Yesterday, a house shared by Mission staff in El Fasher was robbed. The thieves made away with cash and electronic equipment. The Mission says an investigation is ongoing.

GLOBAL MARKETS FOR COCAINE, OPIATES AND CANNABIS STEADY OR IN DECLINE

The 2009 World Drug Report was

launched this morning by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in Washington D.C.

The 314-page document shows that global markets for cocaine, opiates and cannabis are steady or in decline, while production and use of synthetic drugs are feared to be increasing in the developing world.

The report also highlights the links between drugs and crime. In it, UNODC Executive Director, Antonio Maria Costa calls for greater investment in drug treatment and crime control.

BAN KI-MOON APPOINTS TWO DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS FOR U.N. AIDS PROGRAMME

The Secretary-General has

appointed Paul De Lay of the United States and Jan Beagle of New Zealand as Deputy Executive Directors of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, also known as UNAIDS.

Dr. De Lay is a medical doctor with more than a decades experience in strategic planning and implementing and monitoring national and international AIDS programmes. He will be responsible for overseeing UNAIDS programmatic aspects.

Ms. Beagle is currently the Deputy Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva. You may remember her from here at Headquarters, when she served as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management. At UNAIDS, she will be handling management and external relations.

Meanwhile, Michel Sidibé today

addressed UNAIDS governing board -- for the first time in his capacity as head of UNAIDS.

Noting that the AIDS pandemic continues to kill two million people per year, he said we should not lose sight of the big picture: the need to end the epidemic. It is not enough to provide treatment to everyone who becomes infected with HIV, he stressed. Rather, we need renewed support for the development of a cure, a vaccine, or both.

Sidibé added that punitive laws that discriminate against men who have sex with men, sex workers, injecting drug users, migrants and people living with HIV must be removed from the statute books, country by country.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO RENEW APPOINTMENT OF UNCTAD CHIEF

The Secretary-General has informed the General Assembly of his intention to confirm Mr. Supachai Panitchpakdi as Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)for a further four-year term of office beginning on 1 September 2009 and ending on 31 August 2013.

In response to questions, the Spokeswoman affirmed the Secretary-Generals strong support for Supachai Panitchpakdi as the head of UNCTAD.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

TANZANIA: U.N. BIO-PESTICIDE CAMPAIGN HELPS AVERT LOCUST INFESTATION: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says it has helped to successfully

prevent a massive red locust outbreak in Tanzania. FAO says that, as a result of the rapid bio-pesticide campaign, a full-blown invasion, which could have affected the food crops of around 15 million people in the region, was avoided.

PROSPECTS ARE GLOOMY FOR FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENTS: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

reports a steep decline in foreign direct investments in the last quarter of 2008. UNCTAD says that this trend has continued into 2009, with cross-border mergers and acquisitions, the main type of foreign direct investments, falling by 77 percent in the first quarter compared to early 2008. Overall, foreign direct investments dropped by 54 percent and their prospects remain gloomy for the rest of the year, UNCTAD says.

INDEX INSURANCE NOW AVAILABLE FOR FARMERS, HERDERS AND FISHERMEN IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: The United Nations Development Programme

reports that a new index insurance program is now available to farmers, herders and fishermen in developing countries. According to UNDP, this type of insurance is an appealing alternative to traditional insurance policies because it takes into account weather patterns, such as low rainfall, when determining payouts.

  • ** The guest at the noon briefing today was Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), who launched UNCTADs report Economic Development in Africa 2000 strengthening regional economic integration for Africas Development.***

    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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