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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-08-17

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

During August, the Spokesperson's noon briefings will take place on Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's.

Developments within the UN system will be posted on the website daily during this time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

UNITED NATIONS STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACK ON COMPOUND IN SOUTHERN SOMALIA

According to the Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, on Sunday, 16 August at around midnight the United Nations-World Food Programme (WFP) compound in Wajiid, Southern Somalia, was attacked by armed militia.

This is the fourth UN compound deliberately targeted in Somalia within two months.

The United Nations strongly condemns the attack. This direct, deliberate and sustained attack on aid organizations and aid workers is intolerable, says UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Graham Farmer.

Mr. Farmer urged all parties to allow unhindered humanitarian access wherever assistance is required by populations in need as such actions put at higher risk people who are already vulnerable. Nearly 3.2 million people in Somalia need humanitarian assistance.

SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY CONCERNED AT VIOLENCE BEFORE AFGHAN ELECTIONS

In a statement issued over the weekend, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has

condemned in the strongest possible terms Saturdays suicide car bomb attack in a central area of Kabul, in which seven people were reportedly killed and a large number of civilians were injured including one UN staff member. He expressed deep concern at this indiscriminate violence days before the Presidential and Provincial Elections scheduled for 20 August.

The Secretary-General extends his condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims. He also sends his wishes for a speedy recovery to those injured by this despicable act.

Asked to comment on the reported signing by President Karzai of a law including provisions that discriminate against women, the Spokeswoman reiterated the UN's principled stand against gender discrimination. She recalled that High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay had strongly criticized the initial text of the bill when it was made public a few months ago.

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES RELEASE OF U.S. NATIONAL IN MYANMAR

In response to questions about the visit of U.S. Senator Webb to Myanmar, the Spokeswoman later said: "The Secretary-General notes the visit of U.S. Senator Webb to Myanmar over the weekend and welcomes his engagement with Myanmar leaders as well as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi towards a peaceful, united, democratic Myanmar with full respect for the human rights of all its people."

"The Secretary-General also welcomes the release of [U.S. national] Mr. Yettaw on humanitarian grounds," Okabe said.

BAN KI-MOON SAYS SCIENTISTS AND INTELLECTUALS KEY TO CREATING NEW GREEN ECONOMY

Today, at Korea University in Seoul, the Secretary-General addressed the University Presidents Forum on Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Asia and Africa.

He told the gathered college officials that the best young minds need to be put to work to come up with solutions to climate change. He added that scientific and intellectual leadership is the key to creating the new green economy of the 21st century.

Also today in the Republic of Korea, the Secretary-General visited his hometown, Chungju. In a meeting with the mayor there, he continued to stress the importance of addressing climate change.

Meanwhile, yesterday, in Seoul, the Secretary-General met with the Republic of Koreas Unification Minister. They discussed inter-Korean relations. They also touched on the UNs humanitarian work in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

LARGEST YOUTH GATHERING TO ASK LEADERS TO SEAL THE DEAL IN COPENHAGEN

The largest ever youth gathering on climate change has kicked off today in the Republic of Korea. More than 800 young people from over 100 countries have gathered in the city of Daejeon for a week-long meeting, hosted by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).

According to UNEP, the 2009

Tunza International Children and Youth Conference is a key opportunity for young people to demand that their governments reach a scientifically-credible and far-reaching new climate agreement in Copenhagen, in December. A global town hall meeting will allow hundreds of other youth to link to the Daejeon meeting to agree on a message to send to world leaders, while a social networking platform for youth on climate change will also be launched.

The Children and Youth Conference is part of the global UN-wide

'Seal the Deal!' campaign being spearheaded by the Secretary-General to galvanize political will and public support for reaching a comprehensive global climate agreement.

GAZA: NEW REPORT LOOKS AT HUMANITARIAN IMPACT OF ONGOING BLOCKADE

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today released a new

report on Gaza, titled Locked In: The Humanitarian Impact of Two Years of Blockade on the Gaza Strip. The report says that the ongoing blockade on one of the most densely population areas on earth has triggered a protracted human dignity crisis with negative humanitarian consequences.

It adds that, as a result of the blockade, 120,000 private sector jobs have been lost. Also, 80 million liters of raw or partially-treated sewage are discharged daily into the environment. In addition, there has been a gradual shift in the diet of Gazans from high-cost and protein-rich foods to low-cost foods that are high in carbohydrates.

Meanwhile, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today launched an appeal for $181 million to maintain its support to refugees in Gaza. The appeal coincides with the eve of Ramadan.

Okabe, in response to a question, said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, his envoys to the Middle East and humanitarian agencies are all working to find a solution to restrictions of humanitarian and other access to Gaza.

LIBERIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL RECOMMENDS ONE YEAR EXTENSION OF U.N. MISSIONS MANDATE

The latest

report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Liberia, (UNMIL), is out on the racks today.

In it, the Secretary-General notes that despite significant progress in consolidating peace and stability, the situation in Liberia remains fragile. In particular, building institutions of security and rule of law and creating employment opportunities, remain key challenges.

The report notes the recent release of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, (TRC), which should provide an important opportunity for Liberians to move the reconciliation agenda forward. But the Secretary-General is concerned by recent threats made against some the members of the TRC.

He further warns that weak institutional capacity remains a serious constraint at both local and national levels in achieving the targets set in the governments Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The Secretary-General recommends a one year extension of the mandate of UNMIL till September 2010, especially in view of elections scheduled for the year 2011.

DARFUR: SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE AND EGYPTIAN TROOPS JOIN A.U.-U.N. MISSION

Seventy-nine police officers from the South Africa and 95 Egyptian troops have joined the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) this past weekend.

The Mission says the South African additions bring its police personnel to half the required strength, while its military strength is already well above the 70 percent mark. The Mission says it expects additional Egyptian troops to join their 2200 compatriots already serving under the Missions flag.

FLOODS IN PAKISTAN AFFECT 80,000 PEOPLE, 27 REPORTED DEATHS

The Office for the Coordination of humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that last weeks heavy rainfall has caused flash floods in

Pakistans North West Frontier Province. The floods have caused the reported deaths of 27 people, with 9 people reported missing. Up to 450 homes were also destroyed, along with a massive loss of crops and livestock.

OCHA says local officials are reporting that some 80,000 people have been affected by the floods in the Swabi District, with officials declaring a state of emergency for a number of towns.

The United Nations is currently conducting an assessment of the damage and UN experts are warning of a possibility of food shortage. Current humanitarian needs include medicine, tents, drinking water and aqua tabs.

Asked how long the Bhutto Commission would stay in Pakistan, and whether it would keep shuttling back and forth between New York and Islamabad, the Deputy Spokesperson said she could not provide additional details because of security concerns. She did reiterate, however, that the Commission had a six-month mandate

NEPAL: RULE OF LAW CRITICAL TO PEACE

Today in Kathmandu, the UN Development Programme (UNDP)

launched the 2009 Nepal Human Development Report.

According to the report, deepening democracy and strengthening the rule of law in Nepal are critical in order to give peace a chance of success.

The report also notes that the underlying causes and consequences of Nepals conflict including ethnic and caste-based poverty and discrimination have not yet been tackled.

JUDY CHENG-HOPKINS OF MALAYSIA IS NEW HEAD OF PEACEBUILDING SUPPORT OFFICE

The Secretary-General has appointed Ms. Judy Cheng-Hopkins of Malaysia as Assistant Secretary-General for

Peacebuilding Support. Ms. Cheng-Hopkins will replace Ms. Jane Holl Lute of the United States.

The Secretary-General is grateful for Ms. Holl Lutes exemplary service with the Organization since 2003.

With over 30 years experience in key UN organizations, working on humanitarian, post-conflict, peacebuilding and development issues, Ms. Cheng-Hopkins is particularly well positioned to move the Secretary-Generals peacebuilding agenda forward. She also brings the necessary blend of managerial acumen and energetic leadership required.

Ms. Cheng-Hopkins most recently served as the Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, in charge of operations in over 118 countries around the world.

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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