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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-30

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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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS PEACEKEEPERS MANDATES IN DARFUR AND CÔTE DIVOIRE

The

Security Council today voted unanimously to extend the mandates of two UN peacekeeping missions.

The Council extended the mandate of the UN Operation in Côte dIvoire (UNOCI) by six months.

For the UN-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), the Council approved a twelve-month extension, until the end of July 2010, and asked the Secretary-General to submit a strategic work plan containing benchmarks to measure and track progress by that Mission in implementing its mandate.

W.F.P. FACES UNPRECEDENTED FUNDING SHORTFALL FOR 2009

The World Food Programme (WFP) is

facing a dangerous and unprecedented funding shortfall, according to its Executive Director, Josette Sheeran.

While in Washington D.C., Sheeran said the agency was only expecting to receive $3.7 billion of the $6.7 billion annual budget it needs in 2009 to feed 108 million people in 74 of the world's poorest countries.

More than halfway through the year, the confirmed contributions stand at $1.8 billion, says

WFP, adding that the lack of funds is leading to ration reductions and - in some cases- the complete suspension of food assistance programmes. For example, WFP was aiming to feed 5 million hungry people in Bangladesh this year but due to lack of funds, can reach only 1.4 million.

WFPs Executive Director will be in Washington through Friday, meeting with officials involved in the Food Security Initiative and relevant members of Congress.

DEPUTY EMERGENCY COORDINATOR ENDS FIVE-DAY VISIT TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

On the last day of her five-day mission to the

Central African Republic, Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg told a news conference in Bangui that that countrys humanitarian crisis is not entirely the result of a spillover from the conflicts in neighbouring countries. Bragg said that although there has been an overall improvement in humanitarian conditions in the country, conditions remain very volatile, while displaced civilians continue to show signs of trauma.

She said she asked the national authorities and their partners to assume their responsibility to protect civilians. She also urged the authorities to guarantee unhindered access by humanitarian workers to those in need.

Bragg also noted the continued lack of funding for humanitarian work in the Central African Republic, which has decreased significantly this year. Forty-eight million dollars out of the required $116 million remain outstanding, she said.

SOMALIA: U.N. PROVIDING HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE ACCORDING TO ASSESSED NEEDS

Asked about the response to a letter sent by humanitarian groups to Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes on Somalia, the Spokeswoman noted that the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that it does not use humanitarian aid to advance a political agenda.

The United Nations, she said, is providing humanitarian assistance on the basis of assessed needs regardless of where the vulnerable people are. Political criteria do not apply, she stressed.

Montas underscored that, while humanitarian needs are increasing in Somalia, the environment for operations continues to deteriorate, as violence has dramatically reduced humanitarian access. Between May and July, three UN compounds in South/Central Somalia have been targeted and taken over by armed militia.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS IRAQ AND KUWAIT SHOULD CONSIDER INNOVATIVE STEPS TO RESOLVE OUTSTANDING ISSUES

The Secretary-Generals

report to the Security Council concerning the review of Council resolutions pertaining to Iraq is out as a document. In it, the Secretary-General details a number of outstanding issues regarding Iraq, including its relations with Kuwait.

He says that Iraq is gradually emerging from a period including two major wars, and he understands the desire of Iraqs people for their country to regain its rightful place in the community of nations.

The Secretary-General is pleased to note that the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait have been making progress toward the resolution of some key issues, despite the painful legacy of the past. He says that they should consider innovative steps for resolving the outstanding issues between them in a spirit of generous compromise and understanding for each others concerns.

CYPRUS LEADERS CONTINUE TALKS ON IMMIGRATION, ASYLUM AND CITIZENSHIP

Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met today under UN auspices in Nicosia.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Cyprus, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, spoke to the press afterwards. He noted that the leaders had continued talks on the issue of immigration, asylum and citizenship.

The leaders have agreed to meet again next week, on 6 August.

UNESCO ADDS NEW ITEMS TO MEMORY OF THE WORLD REGISTER

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has inscribed 35 new items on the Memory of the World

Register.

The Register features documentary heritage identified by UNESCOs International Advisory Committee and then endorsed by its Director-General for their world significance.

The Diaries of Anne Frank, the royal archives of Thailand and those of Madagascar are among the items that have just been added to the Register. The total number of inscriptions since 1997 is now 193.

GAZA: CHILDREN FLY KITES TO BREAK WORLD RECORD IN U.N.-RUN SUMMER GAMES

Today, on a beach in northern Gaza, thousands of children flew kites. They were trying to break the record, as listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, for the most kites in the sky at the same time.

The event was part of the

Summer Games programme run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The Games, which are taking place for the third consecutive year, feature sports, handicrafts, theatrical events and remedial education for some 240,000 children.

According to UNRWA, giving a sense of normality and dignity to the next generation in Gaza is an invaluable contribution to peace.

SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS STAFF RELOCATED AS PART OF RENOVATION PLAN

The Secretary-General on Wednesday visited the UN staff members who just moved from the Secretariat Building to the Albano Building on 305 East 46th Street as part of the Capital Master Plan.

This past weekend, almost 750 staff from the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management completed the first wave of relocations to offsite swing space.

In the course of his visit, the Secretary-General received a first-hand impression of the working conditions in the building, which was leased and renovated by the UN.

Asked whether the Secretary-General was pleased by what he saw during his visit, the Spokeswoman said that he was. She added that, in his conversations with the staff who had moved, staff members seemed pleased with the new space that they occupied.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SHOOTING INCIDENT AMMUNITION NOT USED BY U.N. MISSION IN HAITI: Asked about a shooting incident in Haiti in which one person died, the Spokeswoman noted that, according to a Haitian National Police investigation, the one fatality was caused by a gunshot wound from a 9mm bullet. The Brazilian troops of the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), who were present at that incident, have said that they did not use such ammunition.

SECRETARY-GENERAL REQUESTED MEETING WITH MYANMAR REPRESENTATIVE: Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting this afternoon with the Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the Secretary-General had asked for the meeting.

U.N. OFFICE IN GENEVA INSTALLS SOLAR PANELS, USES SHEEPS AS LAWNMOWERS: The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) is reiterating its commitment to renewable energies by participating in the Geneva-Lake-Nations project. The Palais des Nations already regulates its temperature with water pumps from Lake Geneva. But now it is also using sheep to reduce the need for lawnmowers, and have installed solar panels and lamps on its grounds.

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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