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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-20
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, July 20, 2009
SOMALIA: LOOTING OF U.N. COMPOUND FORCES SUSPENSION OF WORK IN BAIDOA
Two UN compounds were looted today in Baidoa and Wajid, in
Somalia. Al Shabaab men entered both compounds and took UN equipment and vehicles, according to the United Nations in Somalia.
In Baidoa, the looting of all emergency communication equipment and the lack of security officers makes it impossible for the United Nations as a whole to continue its operations. The UN Office in Somalia deeply regrets having to relocate staff and temporarily suspend its operations in Baidoa.
In Wajid, where the minimum security conditions are unchanged, operations will continue.
The United Nations is re-assessing the situation on the ground and is optimistic that the minimal conditions on the ground will be restored to allow the critical humanitarian work to resume in Baidoa and continue elsewhere in Somalia.
Asked about threats from al-Shebab that claimed that UN bodies would no longer be welcome in Somalia, the Spokeswoman said that Special Representative Ahmedou Ould-Abdallahs office could not confirm any official notification of such remarks. At the same time, she said that the United Nations was aware of press reports and was concerned about the actions that have taken place today.
SUDAN: U.N. ENVOY CONCERNED BY REPORTED VIOLATIONS OF ABYEI ROADMAP AREA
Ashraf Qazi, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sudan, welcomed the renewed commitment by the National Congress Party and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) to respect the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on Abyei.
Mr. Qazi is scheduled to be in Abyei on Wednesday when the ruling will be announced.
However, Mr. Qazi voiced concern over several confirmed or reported violations of the Abyei Roadmap Area by armed elements other than Joint Integrated Units and Joint Integrated Police Units.
He emphasized the need for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) to have full freedom of movement in the broader Abyei area.
UNMIS has reinforced its presence in Abyei to protect civilians in case of any incidents.
The Secretary-General, in his latest report on Sudan to the Security Council, welcomed the public commitments made by the parties to accept and peacefully implement the decision of the Court, and he assured the parties that the United Nations stands ready to assist them and the local communities in these efforts.
BAN KI-MOON CALLS ON CHAD & SUDAN TO WORK TOGETHER TO BRING STABILITY TO REGION
The Secretary-Generals latest
report on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) is out as a document.
In it, the Secretary-General says that the brief rebel incursion in eastern Chad in May and the fighting that ensued with Government forces exacerbated the security situation in eastern Chad. The incursion opened a fresh opportunity for banditry, which undermined the achievements of the European Force (EUFOR) and the UN Mission.
He adds that the further deterioration of relations between the Governments of Chad and Sudan was also a setback for the security of the broader region. The Secretary-General calls on the two Governments to redouble their efforts to build confidence and address the sources of their tensions, in order to bring stability to the region and improve the humanitarian situations in Darfur and eastern Chad.
In addition, the Secretary-General urges the Government of Chad and all stakeholders to create the foundations for an inclusive and comprehensive political process in Chad, which should address the sources of conflict in the eastern part of the country. Such a process is urgently needed to alleviate the plight of the hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons in Chad and to help create the conditions for MINURCAT to complete its mandate, he says.
The Secretary-General also notes that MINURCAT continues to operate without the support of vital enablers including 14 of the 18 required military helicopters needed to achieve its full force projection. He also voices concern over delays in deployment, which risk creating security gaps, and encourages Member States to assist troop-contributing countries in acquiring the necessary equipment and expediting the deployment of their contingents.
SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON NEPAL
Security Council held consultations this morning to receive a briefing on the work of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). Karin Landgren, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Nepal, briefed Council members on the Secretary-Generals new
report on Nepals request for UN assistance in support of its peace process.
In that report, the Secretary-General says that the two major tasks at the current stage of the peace process are the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist army personnel and the drafting of a new constitution. He says that the Nepalese Government has asked for a further six-month extension of the UN Mission there, and he accordingly recommends that the Council extend its mandate by six months, until 23 January 2010.
OPERATION TO SUPPORT AFGHAN ELECTIONS MOVING FORWARD
A month before the beginning of the elections in Afghanistan, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says that the huge logistical operation to support Afghanistans Independent Election Commission is moving forward.
Over the weekend, millions of ballot papers arrived in Kabul. Meanwhile, the special free phone helpline concerning the elections is now taking 30,000 to 40,000 calls a week, while more than 1,600 civic educators are briefing voters around the country.
HUMANITARIAN CHIEF HORRIFIED BY RISING ATTACKS ON AID WORKERS
In Geneva today, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) opened its Humanitarian Affairs Segment, focusing on the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian assistance.
Addressing the meeting, John Holmes, the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that in 2009, complex emergencies had taken an even heavier toll than in previous years.
He added that long-running conflicts, such as those in Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Somalia, continued to affect millions. Also, outbreaks of conflict in Pakistan, and the end game of the long running conflict in Sri Lanka had disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands more.
Holmes also said he was deeply saddened and increasingly horrified by the rising attacks on humanitarian workers. He urged the Economic and Social Council to join him in strongly condemning these unacceptable and extremely damaging attacks on humanitarian staff.
FUNDING FOR H.I.V. VACCINE RESEARCH DECREASES
A new report has
found that funding levels for HIV vaccine research decreased for the first time since investment trends started being tracked. This may have been influenced by shifts in scientific priorities, the declining economy, and competing priorities in the larger global health agenda.
Responding to the report, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said that research to develop new HIV prevention tools and strategies is essential to prevent new infections. Such research should be sustained and increased, he added. He also said that an HIV vaccine still holds the greatest hope to ending the epidemic.
The report was put out by the HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group -- of which UNAIDS is a partner.
U.N. OFFICIAL DISCUSSES RECOVERY PROCESS WITH SRI LANKAN REPRESENTATIVES
Jordan Ryan, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the UN Development Programmes Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, visited Sri Lanka from 12 to 15 July 2009, where he discussed the recovery process with senior government, non-governmental organization and civil society representatives in Colombo, Vavuniya and Jaffna.
Mr. Ryan raised and discussed issues and concerns about security, access, freedom of movement, the rapid release and return of internally displaced persons (IDPs), and reunification of families.
The government is taking the lead on the resettlement and recovery processes, and note was taken of the continued improvement in camp conditions for the IDPs and the gradual handover of camp management to civilian authorities.
Asked about reports that two UN staff members detained in Sri Lanka had been tortured, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General had raised the issue of the two staff members when he spoke to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the margins of the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement last week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON TO TRAVEL TO CHINA AND MONGOLIA
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to travel this week to China and Mongolia.
During his working visit to China, he will pursue his dialogue with the Chinese leadership on climate change and other global issues. He is scheduled to meet on Friday with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and other Chinese officials in Beijing and later, on Saturday in Xian.
He will participate during his stay in China in climate change events including a Green Light event focused on energy efficient technologies and the extensive production and use of energy saving lamps in China.
The Secretary-General is then scheduled to go to Mongolia on Sunday 26 July for an official visit. There he will also address the challenges of climate change and adaptation with an emphasis on the special needs of landlocked countries. He will meet President Elbegdorj Tsakhia, Prime Minister Bayar Sanj and Foreign Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold.
In his continuing focus on how climate change affects the lives of populations, the Secretary-General will also spend time in a traditional Mongolian herder community, faced with water shortages and desertification.
FORMER GHANA PRESIDENT TO BE GLOBAL AMBASSADOR AGAINST HUNGER: The World Food Programme (WFP) today
named former Ghanaian president John Kufuor as a Global Ambassador against Hunger. He joins an elite team of celebrities and statesmen to fight global hunger. WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran says Kufuor is bringing critical support during a time when hungry people in the world are expected to top one billion this year. Notably, Kufuor will emphasize the need to provide good nutrition for children in school.
BHUTTO COMMISSION WRAPS UP 1ST VISIT TO PAKISTAN: Asked when the Bhutto Commission is returning to New York from Pakistan, the Spokeswoman noted that the Commissioners gave a press conference in Islamabad last Friday to mark the end of its initial working visit to the country. A team of core staff will remain and be based regularly in Pakistan to carry out the commissions activities. The Spokeswoman also said it would submit a report at the end of its six-month period of work.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WANTS MORE DETAILS ABOUT MYANMAR AMNESTY: Asked about details of the amnesty announced in Myanmar, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General, in his
press comments following that announcement, had made clear that he wanted to ascertain further details about the amnesty. The ball remains in the court of the Government of Myanmar, Okabe said.
DISASTER ASSESSMENT TEAM STARTS TRAINING COURSE IN WEST & CENTRAL AFRICA: The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) started today in Bamako, Mali, its first induction course targeting mainly West and Central Africa. The two-week training would allow some 35 participants to join the UNDAC family by acquiring specialized skills that are needed to save lives in times of crises. The new members, particularly those from the region, will strengthen West and Central Africas to response capacity to future disasters and emergencies as the region is increasingly prone to such disasters.
UNDAC was established in 1993. Since then it has responded to disasters and emergencies in over 90 countries.
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