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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-08-28

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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 THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, August 28, 2009

BAN KI-MOON STRESSES NEED TO SEAL THE DEAL ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Vienna, Austria, today and gave a keynote

speech at a ceremony organized by the Austrian Government to mark the 30th anniversary of the United Nations headquarters in

Vienna, known as the Vienna International Centre.

He spoke of the importance of the work of all the Vienna-based UN organizations, adding: From outer space to the human heart, this Vienna International Centre has done far more than witness history; it has brought great progress to our world.

The Secretary-General added that, from Austria, he will be traveling to the Arctic to spotlight the challenge of climate change. He said, We have about three months until the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December in Copenhagen -- three months to reach an agreement that will determine the future of our planet. We must seal the deal.

The Secretary-General also held a meeting with the Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, Michael Spindelegger and attended a working luncheon hosted by the Foreign Minister. He also

spoke to the press.

Following a private visit to the Austrian Presidents summer residence, the Secretary-General will then go to Tyrol where he will address the Alpbach Retreat 2009, which focuses on the theme, The UN Security Council and the Protection of Civilians: Improving Effectiveness and Accountability.

BAN KI-MOON TO SEE FIRST-HAND EFFECT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON ARCTIC

The Secretary-General will be in Svalbard, Norway, next week, to see firsthand the impact of climate change on the Arctic.

During his two-day visit there, the Secretary-General will first go to Ny-Alesund, in the North of the Svalbard archipelago, to visit polar research stations, before he travels further North. He will make his way to the Norwegian polar research vessel Lance, located at the Polar Ice Rim. There, he will get additional scientific updates and information on ice as a regulator of the Arctic Ocean and the worlds climate.

Also during his trip, the Secretary-General will visit the Global Seed Vault, a secure seed bank which houses duplicates of unique varieties of the worlds most important crops. Finally, he will participate in a panel discussion focusing on the global impact of a melting Arctic.

ONE HUNDRED DAYS LEFT BEFORE SEALING THE DEAL IN COPENHAGEN

There are now only 100 days left before the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen.

To mark this day, the United Nations is

launching Global Climate Week from 21-25 September. The Secretary-General is calling on communities around the world to take advantage of that week to encourage leaders to seal a fair, balanced and effective agreement on climate change. Events are planned in more than 120 countries for this first Global Climate Week, which coincides with the Summit on Climate Change convened by the Secretary-General here, in New York, on 22 September.

The United Nations is also encouraging communities, businesses and individuals to add their voices to the Seal the Deal! campaign during Global Climate Week by signing the online

Climate Petition. The petition will be presented by civil society to the Governments of the world in Copenhagen.

Asked about upcoming climate change events in New York, the Spokeswoman said that some 100 Heads of State or Government have already confirmed their participation.

MORE THAN 125,000 PEOPLE DISPLACED BY L.R.A. IN EASTERN D.R.CONGO

The Ugandan rebel group, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), continues to cause large-scale destruction and displacement in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

says at least 125,000 people are known to have been driven out of their villages by the LRA in the last three weeks alone.

The agency says a staggering 540,000 Congolese have been uprooted in the Orientale Province by deadly LRA assaults since September 2008.

The rebel group is accused of widespread killings, kidnappings of civilians and raping of women. During the same period, the rebels have reportedly killed some 1,270 people and abducted 655 children in the Orientale Province. They have also destroyed hundreds of homesteads and pillaged health centres, schools and other public buildings.

The LRA has also forced an estimated 8,000 Congolese to flee to neighbouring South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR).

YEMEN: HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES CALLS FOR OPENING OF HUMANITARIAN CORRIDORS

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that the situation in Saada city in northern Yemen remains dramatic. The fighting is ongoing, and the town has been practically cut off from the rest of the world for a week now.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has called for opening humanitarian corridors in northern Yemen that would allow civilians to leave the conflict zone and humanitarian workers to deliver much needed humanitarian aid to thousands of displaced people in this remote part of the country.

The residents, as well as those displaced in Saada city, are unable to leave. The state of emergency is still in force. Many people are living on assistance from friends and relatives who had been able to store food.

Together with the authorities, UNHCR has registered 700 families in Saada city and, if security permits, the Agency plans to distribute initial aid to some 370 families tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in Al Mazrak camp in Hajjah governorate, internally displaced persons are slowly settling down. UNHCR has distributed tents, plastic sheets, and other supplies to the displaced people in the camp. It has conducted profiling and verification of 865 displaced families and provided them with much needed assistance.

MANDATE OF U.N. INTERIM FORCE IN LEBANON EXTENDED FOR A YEAR

The

Security Council, acting on the request of the Government of Lebanon, on Thursday unanimously decided to extend the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a period of one year, until 31 August 2010.

This morning, UNIFIL handed over to the Israeli authorities a man who was identified as an Israeli citizen, who apparently suffered from a mental condition, who had crossed the Blue Line from Israel into Lebanon on Tuesday. The hand-over process was done in accordance with the existing liaison and coordination arrangements between UNIFIL and the parties.

Asked why the individual had crossed the border, the Spokeswoman said the individual had apparent mental deficiencies.

U.N. ASSESSMENT TEAMS EVALUATE NEEDS IN AFTERMATH OF TYPHOON MORAKOT

In response to Typhoon

Morakot, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) this week fielded two U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination missions, to Beijing and to Taipei.

The two missions are to assess residual humanitarian needs for which international assistance could be mobilized and ascertain whether OCHA with its partners could support the authorities in preparing for future disasters.

Arriving in Taipei on 24 August, the first UN Disaster Assessment Coordination team visited the seven most affected villages where search and rescue operations are still ongoing.

MYANMAR: REFUGEES FLEE TO CHINA

The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is

concerned about reports that between 10,000 and 30,000 refugees have fled Myanmar's north-eastern Shan State in recent weeks into China's Yunnan Province. UNHCR is currently liaising with the authorities to investigate what their needs are.

The information that the Refugee Agency received is that as many as 30,000 people may have taken shelter in Nansan County since 8 August, and that they were fleeing fighting between Myanmar Government troops and ethnic minority groups.

UNHCR says local authorities in Yunnan Province have already provided emergency shelter, food and medical care to these refugees.

The Refugee Agency reiterates its readiness to provide support to the authorities in responding to the needs of these refugees.

NEPAL: U.N. SAYS PEACE PROCESS SHOULD INCLUDE HUMAN RIGHTS EVALUATION

In Nepal, the United Nations Office of the

High Commissioner for Human Rights once again urged the Government of Nepal to conduct comprehensive human rights vetting as part of its peace process.

In his meeting with the acting Chief of Army Staff, Chhatra Man Singh Gurung, on Thursday, the OHCHR Representative in Nepal, Richard Bennett, reiterated concerns about the lack of progress on accountability for serious human rights and international humanitarian law violations committed by the Nepalese Army during the conflict.

He stressed that until an independent and impartial vetting mechanism is put into place, the promotion, extension, or nomination for UN service of individuals against whom there are credible allegations of involvement in human rights violations should be suspended.

SPECIAL ENVOY FOR MALARIA REPORTS AFTER MISSION TO TANZANIA AND UGANDA

The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, recently returned from a high-level mission to Tanzania and Uganda and updated the Secretary-General on Thursday on malaria control progress so far this year. Chambers expressed confidence that the Secretary-Generals goal of providing universal access to malaria control interventions by the end of 2010 can be reached.

Chambers reported, among other things, that lifesaving long-lasting insecticidal treated mosquito nets are now available to 52 percent of the endemic population in sub-Saharan Africa.

Chambers mission to Tanzania and Uganda was undertaken along with Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, as well as a representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Chambers and Chan met with the President of Tanzania, the President of Zanzibar, the Vice-President of Uganda, and local malaria experts. They also visited urban and rural health centers focused on fighting malaria.

The delegation visited a research and training center where trials of a new malaria vaccine are in progress. They also saw a pediatric ward in Zanzibar where empty beds indicated malarias decline.

Chambers praised the Tanzanian Presidents leadership, which has helped launch the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, an organization of African Heads of State committed to strengthening malaria-control efforts within their own countries and engaging the global community on malaria-related policy priorities.

EX-YUGOSLAVIA TRIBUNAL HAS CONCLUDED PROCEEDINGS AGAINST 120 ACCUSED PERSONS

Available as a document is the sixteenth annual

report on the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The report cites the progress made in expediting the Tribunals work, with 86 cases now fully completed.

So far, the Tribunal has concluded proceedings against 120 accused, out of 161 indicted. Appeals proceedings are ongoing for 12 people, while another 21 are currently on trial and four accused persons are at the pretrial stage. Unfortunately, two suspects Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic remain at large.

NO EVIDENCE OF MURDER IN CASE INVOLVING RWANDA TRIBUNAL PROSECUTOR

The Spokeswoman provided a correction to an answer she had given on Monday concerning the death of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) prosecutor Shyamlal Rajapaksa.

According to ICTR spokesman Roland Amoussouga, the investigation has ruled out any foul play and has concluded that Mr Rajapaksa died of causes linked to his previous health conditions. The police report did not find any evidence of murder.

Toxicology reports are still awaited to determine the exact cause of death.

Asked about the reason for the new information about Rajapaksas death, the Spokeswoman noted that earlier information had come largely from media reports. Since then, she said, an autopsy was performed, which has ruled out foul play. She said she has asked for a copy of the autopsy report.

SPOKESPERSON CLARIFIES COMMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL MALCORRA

The Spokeswoman clarified an errant quote that had been attributed to Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Susana Malcorra about the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). She was misquoted. Ms. Malcorra was answering a question about the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), not about the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).

What she actually said was: Member States with very capable forces are conducting offensive operations against LRA. The UNMIS mandate is primarily focused on supporting the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) implementation and the Mission has limited capacity and resources for such a large territory. However, the mission continues to assist - within means- to facilitate access of the humanitarian community in high threat areas.

In MONUCs case, that mission has a more robust mandate to support the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) efforts to counter LRA activities and it has been, and will continue to do so. The additional forces which have been authorized by Security Council resolution 1843 will help in these efforts, but MONUC still requires helicopters that are the ideal capabilities to support operations against LRA.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNESCAP ORGANIZES GREEN GROWTH SEMINAR: The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is

organizing a green growth capacity seminar to be held in Thailand from 31 August to 5 September. Forty-five government officials from around the region are gathering to learn how to implement low-carbon green growth solutions in response to the current economic, climate, and environmental crises.

NEW PAKISTAN ENVOYS MANDATE INVOLVES RECONSTRUCTION: Asked what new Special Envoy Jean-Maurice Ripert can do in Pakistan at a time when displaced persons are returning to their homes, the Spokeswoman said that Riperts mandate also involves supporting reconstruction efforts.

HOST COUNTRY TO DEAL WITH MOVEMENTS OF DIGNITARIES: Asked about agreements between the United States and Libya on Muammar Qadhafis movements while he attends the General Assembly, the Spokeswoman said that issue does not involve the United Nations. The host country, she noted, is to deal with the matter in accordance to an agreement it has with the United Nations on visiting dignitaries.

U.N. TO REVIEW STAFF MEMBERS RENTAL SUBSIDY DECLARATIONS: Asked about a UN staff member's rental subsidy declarations, the Spokeswoman said that the matter will be reviewed through the UN's internal processes to determine the accuracy and completeness of any statements and claims submitted by the individual concerned.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Saturday, 29 August

No major events are scheduled for today.

Sunday, 30 August

The Secretary-General will deliver the keynote address at the Opening of the Political Symposium of the European Forum Alpbach, in Austria.

Monday, 31 August

The Secretary-General will be in Oslo, Norway where he will meet with, among others, the Norwegian Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.

In Geneva, the World Climate Conference-3, organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) will open today. The conference, which runs until 4 September, focuses on climate prediction and information for decision-making.

Tuesday, 1 September

The Secretary-General will be in Svalbard, Norway, to see firsthand the impact of climate change in the Arctic. He will also make his way to the Polar Ice Rim.

Today, the United States will assume the monthly rotating Presidency of the Security Council.

At 11 a.m. in Room-S226, Rob Vos, Director of Development Policy and Analysis Division from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, will hold a press conference to launch the World Economic and Social Survey 2009. The Survey, which focuses on climate change and development, will also be launched in Geneva, Bangkok, Islamabad, Johannesburg, Moscow and New Delhi.

Wednesday, 2 September

On the second day of his visit to Svalbard, Norway, the Secretary-General will visit the Global Seed Vault, a secure seedbank established to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds. He will also participate in a public seminar at the University of Svalbard.

Thursday, 3 September

The Secretary-General will be in Geneva, Switzerland, to participate in the opening of the High-level segment of the World Meteorological Organization's Third World Climate Conference.

At 11.15 a.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Claude Heller, Permanent Representative of Mexico, Kiyotaka Akasaka, Under-Secretary General for Public Information, Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and Charles Hitchcock, Chair of the 62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference. They will brief on the upcoming DPI/ NGO Conference which will take place next month in Mexico City. The theme of the conference will be For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!

Friday, 4 September

Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will brief the press in Geneva.

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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