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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-27
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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
Monday, July 27, 2009
BAN KI-MOON STRESSES NEED TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE DURING VISIT TO MONGOLIA
Speaking in Ulaanbaatar, on the second day of his trip to Mongolia, the Secretary-General
said, We must get very serious about adaptation and we must do so now. There is no time to lose. During a key speech in the presence of the Mongolian President, the Foreign Minister and the Vice Speaker of parliament, the Secretary-General stressed the urgency of climate adaptation measures for the most vulnerable. He urged developed countries to contribute to transitional funding arrangements and to other mechanisms for providing urgent support to the people who are bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change. He added, Ultimately we will all benefit from adaptation. Climate change carries no passport. And no country is immune.
The issue of climate change and its impact on development was also at the center of the meetings the Secretary-General had today with Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia, with Prime Minister Bayar Sanjaa and with Foreign Minister Batbold Sukhbaatar.
The Secretary-General stayed overnight last night in a traditional Ger, the one room dwelling of the semi-nomadic herders at Hustay National Park. He listened to the concerns of the herders community, who face problems of desertification and scarce water resources. When he was invited to name a newborn Takhi, one of the wild horses of Mongolia, he called him Peace, Enkhtaivan in Mongolian.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals recent meetings in China, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had met in Beijing with Chinese President Hu Jintao, with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. He also visited the city of Xian on Saturday.
SECURITY COUNCIL INFORMED OF CONTINUING ISRAELI SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY, EASING OF MOVEMENT IN WEST BANK
The Security Council held an open debate today on the
Middle East. Briefing the Council for his first time as Assistant Secretary-General for
Political Affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco expressed regret that illegal settlement activity is continuing across the West Bank. The situation in East Jerusalem is of particular concern, he said, pointing to indications of new settlement construction and house demolitions.
On the other hand, he added, Israel has implemented a number of measures to ease movement between the West Bank towns of Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah and Jericho. Also, Israel has said it will promote the development of three key industrial zones in Bethlehem, Jenin and Jericho. These welcome steps, if sustained and expanded, would have a significant impact on Palestinian freedom of movement and economic development, he said.
Fernandez-Taranco noted that the fiscal situation of the Palestinian Authority remains dire. In that context, he said donor countries must fulfill all pledges recently made.
On Gaza, he said the situation is unsustainable and not in the interests of any of those concerned. He noted that no significant amounts of reconstruction materials have been allowed into Gaza, leading to a completely unacceptable situation. He also noted that no exports were allowed out of Gaza during the reporting period.
Fernandez-Taranco told Council members that the tunnel economy continues in Gaza, with smuggling providing an increasingly broad range of consumer goods -- of black market petrol in particular. But although the alternative tunnel network has eased some of the shortages, it cannot substitute for a healthy and functioning economy, he stressed.
Regarding South Lebanon, the Assistant Secretary-General said recent incidents have been a stark reminder of how quickly and dangerously the situation can deteriorate. But despite the seriousness of these incidents, he said, we remain hopeful we can move towards the full implementation of resolution 1701 and towards greater security and stability in the Middle East.
Before concluding, Fernandez-Taranco noted that the Quartet will meet in the margins of the General Assembly in New York this September. He also expressed continuing support for the convening of an international conference in Moscow in 2009.
MIDDLE EAST ENVOY CONCERNED AT DEMOLITIONS, EVICTIONS IN EAST JERUSALEM
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, today expressed concern over developments in East Jerusalem. His statement was in response to yesterdays takeover of a Palestinian home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood by Israeli settlers, following an eviction order issued by the Israeli High Court.
The recent upsurge in orders for house demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem is contrary to the Roadmap, Serry said. And any settlement activity in East Jerusalem is contrary to international law and cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations, he added.
Serry appealed for restraint by all sides and urged Israel to refrain from unilateral actions in East Jerusalem that risk inflaming an already tense situation and undermine confidence in a two-State solution.
IRAQ: UNITED NATIONS CONGRATULATES KURDISTAN ON PEACEFUL, ORDERLY ELECTION
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) congratulates the people of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for having turned out in large numbers, especially women, on July 23 and 25 to exercise their right to elect new representatives, in an orderly environment, notably free of violence.
UNAMI also praises the efforts of the Independent High Electoral Commission for having organized and carried out these elections as planned, and for the commitment of the staff involved at each step of the process.
The UN Mission is confident that the people and political entities of the Kurdistan region will show patience until the publication of the final results. It also encourages all observers to continue to follow the special vote count, tabulation and complaint process to ensure full transparency and to increase confidence in the acceptance of the final results.
Also today, Iraqs Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) jointly launched the HABITAT Iraq Country Programme for 2009-2011.
DEPUTY EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR BEGINS VISIT TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Catherine Bragg, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, today
visited Birao in northeastern Central African Republic at the start of a five-day mission to the country. During her visit, Bragg plans to assess the humanitarian situation in the country and ensure that continued humanitarian assistance is being provided to people in need.
Bragg is visiting the Central African Republic just a month after interethnic violence in Birao led to the looting and burning of more than 600 homes and to the displacement of some 3,700 civilians.
SOMALIA SECURITY COMMITTEE HOLDS FIRST MOGADISHU MEETING
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has said that Saturdays meeting in Mogadishu of Somalias Joint Security Committee marks an important step towards reforming and improving security in that country.
That meeting brought together Somali, African Union, European Union, Arab League and UN representatives. It is a follow-up specialized forum to the Djibouti Agreement. It seeks to integrate the governments security work with options presented by the international community in stabilizing and improving the Somali police and army.
The Joint Security Committee will meet on a regular basis and its area of responsibility will expand in time to include security sector reform and the rule of law.
FORMER CHILD SOLDIERS RELEASED, DEMOBILIZED IN DARFUR
Thirty-six children formerly associated with armed groups were demobilized on Sunday in Darfur, says the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). UNICEF and local partners are running this initiative in the town of Tora in North Darfur, with backing from the peacekeeping mission.
A total of 53 children are expected to be released and demobilized when the programme concludes later this week.
Meanwhile, departing Force Commander Gen. Martin Luther Agwai visited UNAMIDs Nigerian, Egyptian and Bangladeshi troops in South Darfur and commended them for their support to the people of Darfur in bringing peace and stability to the region. Gen. Agwai is on a farewell visit to the troops as he prepares to hand over responsibilities to new Force Commander, Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, later in August.
TIMOR-LESTE POLICE ASSUME MORE RESPONSIBILITIES
The Timorese National Police have
assumed more primary law enforcement responsibilities from the United Nations Mission in their country (UNMIT). The latest handover of responsibilities took place Saturday in the northern district of Manatuto in the presence of the Secretary-Generals Special Representative Atul Khare and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão.
Manatuto is the third district where Timorese police have resumed full policing work since the handover process began in May.
UNITED NATIONS HAS IMPROVED COORDINATION IN ADDRESSING SEXUAL VIOLENCE
The Secretary-General has submitted a
progress report to the Security Council on the implementation of resolution 1820, concerning sexual violence. In the report, the Secretary-General details how he has been using his own good offices to advocate for an end to sexual violence, including through the global campaign UNiTE to end violence against women. He has also strengthened coordination throughout the UN system in efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence.
The Secretary-General also stresses the importance of having the United Nations lead by example and increase the participation of women in peacekeeping. To that end, he urges Member States to ensure a sizeable representation of female military and police personnel in deployments to peacekeeping missions.
And he says that he is committed to ensuring that the Deputy Secretary-General and senior UN officials take on a greater global advocacy role on the issue of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.
DELIVERY OF VOTING MATERIALS ON TRACK IN AFGHANISTAN
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says that the distribution of voting materials to thousands of polling locations prior to the countrys 20 August elections is on track, with preparations in place to distribute some 17 million ballot papers and 100,000 ballot boxes.
At the same time, the Mission said it was encouraging that candidates are campaigning across Afghanistan, and it reiterated that the international community will defend the right of the Afghan people to choose their leadership freely, without fear or intimidation.
Asked about reports suggesting that the US and Afghan Governments may try to talk to elements of the Taliban, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Kai Eide, has reportedly spoken of the need to talk to moderate elements of the insurgency, and to that end has called for a diplomatic surge in Afghanistan
ECOSOC GRANTS SIXTY-FOUR NGOs CONSULTATIVE STATUS
This morning in Geneva, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
adopted a number of texts on the status of various non-governmental organizations.
Specifically, ECOSOC granted consultative status to 64 non-governmental organizations, and reclassified the consultative status of three non-governmental organizations from the roster to special consultative status.
Speaking in the general debate before the decisions and resolutions were adopted, speakers said that, as a democratic institution, the UNs effectiveness depended on receiving a wide spectrum of views, including from representatives of civil society.
LEBANON PEACEKEEPERS CELEBRATE THIRTY YEARS OF AIR SUPPORT UNIT: The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today observed the thirtieth anniversary of ITALAIRs operations as part of UNIFIL in southern Lebanon. ITALAIR has been part of UNIFIL since July 1979 serving the UN Mission with day and night air support. This has included medical evacuation, reconnaissance and observation flights, passengers and cargo transport, VIP transport, helipatrol and assistance to the Lebanese authorities in extinguishing fires in the country.
NO DECISION ON APPOINTING AN IRAN ENVOY: Asked whether the Secretary-General would send an envoy to Iran in response to human rights concerns, the Spokesperson said no decision has been made on an envoy. 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.
UNITED NATIONS SUPPORTS DRIVE TO END HONDURAS CRISIS: Asked about the UN position on Honduras, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations continues to support efforts to bring the parties together through dialogue, adding that the most recent such efforts have been through mediation by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.
SECURITY INCIDENT ON U.N PREMISES CONFIRMED: The Spokesperson, in response to questions, confirmed a recent incident in which someone seeking a job at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) was involved in an altercation in which he bit a UN security guard. UN and outside security helped to resolve the matter. He added that UNDP maintained that the job search in question had followed standard procedures.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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New York, NY 10017
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