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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-24
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ
ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, July 24, 2009
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON CHINA TO BE A GLOBAL LEADER IN FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE
The Secretary-General called today on China to be a global leader in combating climate change, the main focus of his two-day working visit to Beijing and Xian. The Secretary-General addressed the challenges posed by climate change when he met with Chinese President Hu Jintao, with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
In the morning, he participated in the
launch of the Green Lights programme, which promotes energy-saving lighting that could cut Chinas energy consumption by eight per cent. He said that Chinas approach to climate change can demonstrate to the world that the country is ready to take up a global leadership role in the twenty-first century. By investing in green economy and green growth, he asserted, China has an opportunity to leapfrog over decades of traditional development based on high polluting fuels.
Without China, there can be no success this year on a new global climate framework, the Secretary-General added, referring to the UN climate summit taking place this December in Copenhagen.
The Secretary-General also
spoke to the alumni of the UN-China Advanced Leadership Programme, an initiative supported by the United Nations; he told them that China is already establishing itself in the greater use of renewable energy, with its renewable energy investments second only to Germanys. He said that China is well positioned to be a leader in what is shaping up as one of the main global marketplaces of the future.
In his bilateral meeting with President Hu Jintao, the Secretary-General discussed the Copenhagen Summit this December, as well as the September Summit on climate change in New York. With Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, he discussed the mitigation efforts to be undertaken by developing countries and the role of China in helping African countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
During his extensive meeting with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, the Secretary-General discussed climate change, UN and Security Council reform, the Millennium Development Goals, and Chinas achievement in lifting 300 million people out of poverty. They also spoke about the financial crisis, disarmament, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, peace-building and peacekeeping questions. Some regional issues were also discussed, including Myanmar, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia.
Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will travel to Xian in China before going to Mongolia on Sunday.
BAN KI-MOON INVITES MAURITANIANS TO CONSOLIDATE DEMOCRATIZATION
The Secretary-General takes note of the announcement by the Constitutional Council of the final results of the presidential elections in Mauritania.
The Secretary-General would like to invite the Mauritanian people and their leaders to consolidate the democratization process and reconciliation including through the pursuit of the inclusive national dialogue as provided for in the Dakar agreement. He also wishes to give his assurance that the United Nations will continue supporting efforts in this area.
SUDANESE GOVERNMENT MUST SHOW ITS COMMITMENT TO DARFUR
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy briefed the
Security Council in its open meeting this morning on the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), and he said that there have been several changes in the security situation in Darfur in recent months. Large-scale violence and displacement of civilians are no longer seen, although localized attacks continue. Meanwhile, he said, there has been deterioration in the relations between Sudan and Chad.
The evolution of the crisis, Le Roy said, does not in any way diminish the tragedy of Darfur or lessen the suffering of the 2.7 million displaced people, but it does require that the United Nations adapt its approach in order to be effective.
He warned that, in the five years since the Security Council addressed the crisis, we are no closer to a solution than when the issue was first taken up. He said that the Sudanese Government must make serious concessions and illustrate its commitment to Darfur through active investment in its people and infrastructure, while the rebels must compromise among themselves and agree on a serious platform for discussions.
Asked what the death toll has been during the course of the conflict in Darfur, the Spokesperson noted that the United Nations has made several efforts to ascertain the facts behind the reports of atrocities, including the high-level panel headed by Judge Antonio Cassese. Now, he said, the question of killings and other possible crimes committed in Darfur was in the hands of the
International Criminal Court, and it would be up to the Court to determine the facts.
NEW FORCE COMMANDER NAMED FOR DARFUR MISSION
The Secretary-General has informed the Security Council of his joint agreement with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to appoint Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba of Rwanda as Force Commander of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), with effect from 1 September.
General Nyamvumba will lead the Missions military component and assist in the continued implementation of UNAMIDs mandate at this critical juncture. He succeeds General Martin Luther Agwai of Nigeria, who has served as Force Commander since the establishment of UNAMID. The Secretary-General would like to take this opportunity to express his gratitude to General Agwai for his exemplary service during his tenure with UNAMID.
General Nyamvumba brings to UNAMID extensive leadership and operational experience.
SPOKESPERSON DENIES FALSE MEDIA REPORTS ABOUT U.N. RELIEF WORK IN GAZA
During the noon briefing, the Associate Spokesperson read out the following response to recent incorrect media reports:
I would like to categorically deny reports that Hamas are in control of the aid effort in Gaza and that John Ging, the Director of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), has left his duty station in response to death threats from Hamas. Those reports are entirely false.
At no stage has Mr. Ging ever fled Gaza, and his track record in the face of previous threats and attacks is a matter of public record. Any suggestion that Hamas has any control or influence over UNRWA aid is similarly baseless.
UNRWA emphasizes that it is guided by universal UN principles and values and distributes its aid directly to the refugees on the basis of need and irrespective of the challenges faced. The Hamas de facto Government has no influence whatsoever on who receives assistance from UNRWA, and it has respected the independence of UNRWA.
Id also like to reiterate that the Quartet in its statements has called for unimpeded access for the supplies needed for the recovery and reconstruction of Gaza.
Asked about the continued closure of crossing points into Gaza, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has expressed his concern about such closure, and discussed the matter with the other Quartet principals in Trieste, Italy, last month.
Asked about compensation for damages in Gaza, Haq said that the United Nations continues to pursue the matter with the Israeli authorities.
REFUGEE AGENCY CONCERNED BY RENEWED FIGHTING, DISPLACEMENT IN EASTERN CONGO
A government military campaign against illegal armed groups has
uprooted some 35,000 people in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). That is according to estimates by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which adds that most of the displaced persons are seeking shelter with relatives and at public buildings including churches and schools.
UNHCR says that the sweeping military campaign has brought to more than a half a million the number of civilians fleeing the violence since January. Overall, there are more than 1.8 million civilians displaced by violence in the eastern DRC.
UNHCR is also concerned that continuing fighting will cause delays in its repatriation of refugees from Tanzania. Many of the Congolese refugees volunteering to return home are from South Kivu.
Meanwhile, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) says it has dispatched a fact-finding mission to the eastern DRC to strengthen preventive measures against sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. The fact-finding team will visit UN bases as well as camps for internally displaced persons in North Kivu. It is expected to report to Mission leadership later this month.
HEALTH AGENCY AIMS TO GET H1N1 VACCINES TO POOR COUNTRIES
The World Health Organization (WHO) today
said in Geneva that the spread of the H1N1 flu virus is continuing. The death toll stands at around 800 now, with 160 countries and territories reporting lab-confirmed cases.
WHO said it still does not know how the virus might change over the next weeks. But it does expect its activity to increase during the coming winter. The agency added that the highest percentage of deaths is still being reported among adolescents and young adults.
Regarding vaccines, WHO said it expects the first doses to be available for human use in the northern hemispheres early autumn. It added that it has been promised 150 million doses from two manufacturers. WHOs priority is still to get as many vaccines as possible to the least developed countries especially healthcare workers there, since they are the most exposed, and since, if they fall sick, the whole health system breaks down.
In terms of airport checks and travel restrictions, WHO said today that such practices are not the most efficient way to use public health resources. After all, many people can spread the virus even if theyre not showing symptoms.
Also, people who are coughing or have fever may not have H1N1. WHO maintained that it is better to concentrate public health resources on identifying and treating severe cases that need medical attention.
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES HIT BY CLIMATE CHANGE NEED FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on
Climate Change, today spoke to UN Radio. He said that a number of developing countries, which are already being directly affected by climate change, need financial support in order to adapt.
In that regard, he said he didnt think there would be an agreement at the UN Climate Change
Conference this December in Copenhagen without significant financial resources being allocated for both mitigation and adaptation.
De Boer added that, over time, until the year 2020, the world could need as much as $200 billion a year to limit the growth of emissions, and as much as $100 billion to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
U.N. AGENCY CALLS FOR AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES TO GO GREEN
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is
calling for the widespread adoption of green agricultural practices to benefit the worlds rapidly growing populations in multiple ways. Such practices will help to combat climate change, eradicate poverty, boost food production and provide sustainable sources of timber.
The call was made at the launch of the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry, which will be held in Nairobi from August 23rd to the 28th this year.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner says that addressing the range of current and future challenges requires an accelerated transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy for the 21st Century.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT DOESNT COME AT EXPENSE OF SOVEREIGNTY
Asked about comments made by General Assembly President Miguel dEscoto Brockmann on whether the Responsibility to Protect can interfere with sovereignty, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had made clear that it did not.
speech earlier this week on that concept, the Secretary-General had stressed that the protection of civilians could be done in a manner consistent with national sovereignty, and his Special Adviser, Ed Luck, similarly said sovereignty need not be weakened.
Asked about a reference to Srebrenica in the recent statements on the Responsibility to Protect, Haq noted that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), in its verdicts against several key officials, had ruled that the killings there constituted genocide.
NO IRAN TRIP SCHEDULED: Asked whether the Secretary-General would travel to Iran in response to concerns voiced by Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi and other human rights activists, the Spokesperson said no trip has been scheduled. He added that the Secretary-General, on a number of occasions, has made his position clear on the situation in Iran, including in his last statement. The issue of several hundred detainees is being addressed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Rapporteurs with a specific focus on the need for due process.
U.N. STILL HELPING DISPLACED PAKISTANIS: Asked about the situation of internally displaced persons in Pakistan, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations continues to assist displaced persons, including those who are now seeking to return to their homes.
U.N. EXPECTS SRI LANKA TO ABIDE BY COMMITMENTS: Asked about remarks from Sri Lankan officials on whether displaced persons would be able to move out of camps in that country, the Spokesperson reiterated that the United Nations expects the Government to abide by its commitments.
U.N. ENVOY HAD GONE TO NIGER: Asked about Niger, the Spokesperson noted that Said Djinnit, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for West Africa, had traveled there, along with officials from the African Union and the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS). They had met with a range of actors to stress that differences over the constitutional process be dealt with peacefully through dialogue.
U.N. SUPPORTS EFFORTS ON HONDURAS: Asked about the situation in Honduras, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations continues to support efforts to resolve the dispute there through dialogue, as has happened most recently through the mediation efforts of President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
25 July 31 July 2009
Saturday, 25 July
Today, the Secretary-General is in Xian, China.
Sunday, 26 July
Today, the Secretary-General is on an official visit to Mongolia, which lasts until Tuesday.
The UNs Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and Assistant Secretary-General
for Humanitarian Affairs, Catherine Bragg, will visit the Central African Republic from 26 to 30 July.
Monday, 27 July
Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, travels to Brussels to attend a conference entitled ESDP@10: What lessons for the future? The conference is organized jointly by the Swedish Presidency of the EU, the EU Institute for Security Studies and the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.
Today, the Security Council will hold an open debate on the Middle East.
Senior finance and central bank officials from 17 Asian-Pacific countries are scheduled to meet from 27 to 30 July in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to look at ways to deal with the global financial crisis. The high-level workshop is organized by the UNs Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Tuesday, 28 July
This morning the Security Council will hear a briefing on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT).
There will be a background briefing by senior UN officials on the internal non-paper entitled
A New Partnership Agenda: Charting a New Horizon for UN Peacekeeping at 10 a.m. in the 37th floor conference room.
Wednesday 29 July
The Security Council will hear a briefing on Somalia. It will then hold consultations on the Somalia Sanctions Committee.
The Secretary-General will hold his monthly press conference at 11 a.m. in Room-S226.
Thursday, 30 July
This morning, the Security Council is expected to adopt resolutions on the United Nations Operation in Cote dIvoire (ONUCI) and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
The Cyprus leaders will meet today in Nicosia under UN auspices.
Friday, 31 July
Today is the last day of Ugandas Presidency of the Security Council.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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