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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-09
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, July 9, 2009
CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITMENTS NOT SUFFICIENT, BAN KI-MOON SAYS IN ITALY
In LAquila, Italy, today, the Secretary-General
addressed the meeting of the Major Economies Forum Leaders, on the margins of the Group of Eight Summit. He told them that the commitments expressed today on climate change, while welcome, are not sufficient. They do not meet the scientific bottom line for reducing emissions, and much more will need to be done if Governments are to seal the deal on a new climate agreement in Copenhagen this December.
He emphasized, The time for delays and half-measures is over. He warned that if the countries represented in LAquila fail to act this year, they will have squandered a unique historical opportunity that may not come again.
The Secretary-General welcomed the G-8s agreement for a long-term goal to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. But for this to be credible, he said, we need ambitious mid-term targets and clear baselines.
The Secretary-General also noted the continuing problem of food security, and welcomed the G-8s pledge of $15 billion over the next three years to deal with it.
And he said that the H1N1 pandemic is starting to accelerate in a disturbing way. The G-8 leaders need to commit to helping the countries that are affected, he warned, which could require a commitment of at least $1 billion.
The Secretary-General also met earlier today with a number of leaders attending the G-8 Summit, and discussed climate change with all of them. Among other topics that came up, he discussed Myanmar with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown; he talked about regional security in Africa with South African President Jacob Zuma; and he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel touched on the H1N1 flu and food security.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals views on the refusal by some developing countries to set targets for greenhouse gas emissions, the Spokeswoman later pointed to the Secretary-Generals press release, which stated, Developing countries also need to contribute by undertaking national efforts to mitigate emissions that are nationally appropriate, measurable, reportable and verifiable.
SOMALIAS TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT MUST NOT COLLAPSE, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD
The Security Council has been holding an open meeting today on
Somalia, with briefings from Under-Secretaries-General, B. Lynn Pascoe, for the Department of Political Affairs, and Susana Malcorra for the Department of Field Support.
Pascoe stressed to the Council that it is in the interest of the international community to ensure that Somalias Transitional Federal Government (TFG) does not collapse.
He recommended an expression of full support to the TFG as the legitimate authority in Somalia and the need to honour financial pledges made at Aprils Brussels Donors Meeting for Somalia. Pascoe also urged the international community to assist in building up the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), with the necessary resources to enable it to continue its support to the Government and people of Somalia.
On the issue of piracy, Pascoe said that the Secretary-General has dispatched his Legal Counsel to Kenya to explore possible initiatives for combating piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia.
Under-Secretary-General Malcorra briefed the Council about the systematic progress being made by her department to support AMISOM. She also urged all Member States and regional organizations, to deliver on their financial pledges to Somalia.
She said the deployment of international staff in Somalia would be instrumental in the delivery of the required level of support associated with a UN peacekeeping mission. But she warned that such a deployment could only be done based on security conditions on the ground.
The Councils open debate ended with the adoption of a Presidential Statement, in which the Council condemned the recent attacks on the TFG and the civilian population by armed groups and foreign fighters who undermine peace and stability in Somalia. It took note of the communiqué of the African Union Summit in Sirte, calling on the Council to impose sanctions against those, including Eritrea, providing support to the armed groups engaged in undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia.
HUMANITARIAN CHIEF VIEWS DESTRUCTION IN PAKISTAN
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes today
went to Buner District in Pakistans North West Frontier Province. He visited the town of Sultanwas, which suffered extensive destruction during the military operation, and Daggar, the district centre, where he met members of the community.
In the town of Daggar, he noted that most shops had opened, and that normal business seemed to be resuming. In Sultanwas, Holmes viewed a residential area partially destroyed by the military operation, and saw evidence of collapsed homes, damaged power supplies, and visible ordnance craters.
Holmes noted that recovery and reconstruction after such damage would require time and substantial resources. He reaffirmed the utility of short-term humanitarian assistance when people return, combined with the Governments cash grants.
On Friday, Holmes is scheduled to meet the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan, as well as non-governmental organizations and donors.
Asked whether conditions are stable enough for displaced Pakistanis to return home, the Spokeswoman noted that the United Nations is supporting efforts by the Government of Pakistan to bring displaced persons back to their homes but is not itself in charge of the return process.
LEBANON TRIBUNAL GETS NEW REGISTRAR
The Secretary-General has appointed David Tolbert of the United States as the Registrar of the Special
Tribunal for Lebanon. He will commence his duties on 26 August.
Tolbert is the second Registrar of the Tribunal, succeeding Robin Vincent. The Secretary-General is grateful for Vincents assistance in the establishment and commencement of the Tribunals work.
Tolbert has served in a number of senior capacities in all three organs of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). He also served as the Secretary-Generals Special Expert on UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT).
KENYA: FORMER SECRETARY-GENERAL HANDS OVER EVIDENCE ON POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE
Luis Moreno Ocampo, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), today received from Kofi Annan, the Chairman of the African Unions Panel of Eminent African Personalities, a sealed envelope and supporting materials on the post-election violence that erupted in Kenya in late 2007 and early 2008.
The situation in Kenya has been under preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor since 2008. Last week, following the visit of a high-level governmental delegation from Kenya to The Hague, all the actors involved in ensuring accountability for post-election violence in Kenya agreed on the need to move the process forward now to prevent the recurrence of such events.
The transmission of documents by Kofi Annan forms part of the collaborative efforts to ensure that justice is not delayed and that future crimes can be prevented, Moreno-Ocampo stated. Kofi Annans work was supported by the UN Secretariat.
FINANCIAL CRISIS MUST NOT DERAIL PROGRESS ON DEVELOPMENT
In Geneva today, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) High Level Segment, which opened Monday, concluded its Annual Ministerial Review. A Ministerial Declaration, agreed upon early this morning, will be adopted later today at the closure of the High-Level Segment.
The ECOSOC-negotiated outcome document has put the issue of health on the political agenda at the highest level and sent a message that the world cannot afford to neglect its commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) despite the current international crises. The global economic and financial crisis seriously threatens to derail progress already made on the Millennium Development Goals, according to the outcome document.
U.N. OFFICIAL CALLS ON LEADERS TO PRIORITIZE WOMENS HEALTH
Ahead of World Population Day, which falls on Saturday, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says that investing in women and girls during the global financial crisis will help set the stage for economic recovery and reduce inequality and poverty.
According to UNFPA, womens health has critical economic importance in developing countries. Women are more than half the agricultural labour force. They grow 80 per cent of staple crops in Africa. And in South-East Asia, 90 per cent of rice growers are women.
UNFPAs Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid,
stressed that even before the current crisis, women and girls were the majority of the worlds poor and are now falling deeper into poverty. She called on all leaders to make the health and rights of women a political and development priority.
NEW REPORT DOCUMENTS DAMAGE DONE TO BABYLON
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
presented its Final Report on Damage Assessment in Babylon at a press conference in Paris today. The report concludes that the archeological site suffered serious damage while it was used as a base by coalition forces in Iraq between 2003 and 2004.
This renowned archeological site is most famous for being the home of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. UNESCOs report calls on the Iraqi authorities to heighten their conservation efforts and provides recommendations for the restoration and management of the site. Additionally, the report states that all activities should be undertaken with a view to nominating Babylon as a World Heritage site.
REGISTRY ON WALL BEING MAINTAINED: In response to a question, the Spokeswoman said that the registry set up under a General Assembly mandate to deal with the damages caused by the Israeli wall in the occupied Palestinian territory is being maintained and updated.
U.N. CONCERNED ABOUT REQUEST TO SCALE BACK RED CROSS WORK: Asked about the Sri Lankan Governments request to the International Committee of the Red Cross to scale back its work in the country, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations is concerned and is trying to obtain more information. She added, regarding the situation of doctors who had been detained in Sri Lanka, that the Secretary-General had consistently asked for their release, which now seems to have taken place.
SOME DISTURBANCES NOTED IN U.N. INTERNAL SYSTEM: Asked about cyber-attacks reported against US and South Korean sites, the Spokeswoman noted that there had been some recent disturbances in the internal UN communications system, but it was not clear if that was linked to the other cyber-attacks.
CYPRUS LEADERS MEET UNDER U.N. AUSPICES: The Cyprus leaders met today in Nicosia under UN auspices. Speaking to reporters afterwards, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Cyprus, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, noted that the main topic today was the issue of security and guarantees. He also noted that the leaders would meet again on Friday, July 17th.
WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS TO HELP DISASTER SURVIVORS: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today
announced that it will now be collaborating with Qualcomm, a digital wireless communications company. The goal of the partnership will be to improve emergency communications for disaster preparedness and to coordinate relief activities in the aftermath of disasters. According to ITU, wireless technology becomes essential when terrestrial networks are knocked out by natural disasters.
CONFERENCE CALLS FOR MORE INVESTMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, has concluded its World Conference on
Higher Education yesterday, calling for increased investments in higher education. In a final communiqué, participants from around 150 countries stress the importance to invest in higher education as a major force in building an inclusive and diverse knowledge society and in advancing research, innovation and creativity.
NEW TOOL TO GIVE DATA ON AFRICA INVESTMENTS: The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
announced today that it is launching an online Investment Monitoring Platform that maps investment flows in Africa. This new platform will provide data and information for African countries, on the characteristics of foreign and domestic investors.
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