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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-01

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

Thursday, October 1, 2009

U.N. TEAMS PROVIDE EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOLLOWING STORMS, EARTHQUAKES IN PACIFIC REGION

UN teams have arrived in Indonesia and Samoa to help those countries cope with recent devastating natural disasters. Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) says it is rapidly expanding its relief operation in the Philippines in the aftermath of last Saturdays crippling tropical storm.

In a

statement today, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said, When nature strikes with such force, the world must come together. And the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ko´chiro Matsuura, has

stressed that national authorities must maintain and constantly improve their communications and warning systems to help protect vulnerable coastal populations.

For its part, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is deploying a waste management team to Sumatra, Indonesia, to help with rubble and debris clearance efforts. It is also helping the Indonesian authorities with geographic information system (GIS) mapping of the disaster areas.

In Samoa, UNDP has made available an initial emergency sum of $100,000 to support coordination efforts, a needs assessment and an early recovery plan.

DURING VISIT TO SWEDEN, SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON HIGHLIGHTS CLIMATE CHANGE

The Secretary-General is in Stockholm, Sweden, today, where this afternoon he visited the grave of former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskj÷ld and spoke at Uppsala University, where Hammarskj÷ld spent his earliest years and received his education.

At the university, the Secretary-General

said that Hammarskj÷lds concerns and his ambitions remain ours. He said that he was 17 when Hammarskj÷ld died, and was just beginning to think about how to help build a better world. Today, he said, his hope is to create that kind of solidarity at all times, in good times and bad, so that we can fight common threats, and seize common opportunities.

The Secretary-General met earlier today with former General Assembly President Jan Eliasson.

After that, the Secretary-General had a tete-a-tete meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. That was followed by a working luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister, during which they discussed climate change, Afghanistan, Cyprus and Myanmar.

The Secretary-General and the Prime Minister then had a

joint press encounter, during which he applauded Sweden's leadership, on its own and as European Union President, on climate change.

The Secretary-General also had an audience today with the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf.

VIET NAM ASSUMES SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

With the start of a new month, Viet Nam has replaced the United States in the rotating Presidency of the

Security Council. Ambassador Le Luong Minh, the new Council President, is talking with other Council members bilaterally on the programme of work for this month, and Council members expect to hold consultations Friday to discuss that programme.

Then, Ambassador Le will talk to reporters at 12:30 on Friday about the Councils work over the coming month.

GUINEAS DEADLY VIOLENCE CONDEMNED BY SECURITY COUNCIL

The

Security Council issued a press statement following consultations yesterday on Guinea, in which they had received a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios.

The Council expressed its utmost concern at the killings that took place on 28 September when members of the Army opened fire on civilians attending a rally. The members of the Council condemned the violence, which reportedly killed at least 150 people and wounded hundreds of others, and included rapes in the streets in broad daylight. Council members urged the authorities to put an end to the violence, bring the perpetrators to justice and release all political prisoners.

In response to a question at the Wednesday briefing, the Spokeswoman said that, as a member of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Guinea, the Special Representative for West Africa and head of UNOWA, Said Djinnit, represents the United Nations in the Group. He has undertaken a number of visits to Guinea, both in his capacity as Special Representative for West Africa and as a member of the Contact Group.

The ICG has been insisting on the early return to constitutional order in Guinea and the non-participation of members of the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) in the forthcoming elections, consistent with an earlier commitment that the military junta had given to the international community.

Asked about reports that the coup leader in Guinea would ask the United Nations to investigate the killings, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations had been very concerned about the killings and, if called upon to do so, would try to address the issue.

COTE DIVOIRE: U.N. ENVOY NOTES TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES WITH ELECTIONS BUT SAYS MOMENTUM IS STRONG

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in

Cote dIvoire, Young-Jin Choi, has warned that delays caused by technical difficulties may adversely affect the electoral timeline.

In an interview with UN Radio, Choi said that two months have already been lost, but he noted some successful political developments, such as the establishment of mobile court hearings across the country and the end of voter registration.

The election is just around the corner and you can even feel it, he added. Choi further noted that there is now a very optimistic atmosphere in Cote dIvoire, with a very strong electoral momentum that would be difficult to break.

THOUSANDS TRAPPED IN YEMEN AS INSECURITY AND FIGHTING IMPEDE HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (OCHA), says that insecurity and sporadic clashes in Yemens Saada town and its suburbs are impeding the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Thousands of trapped civilians and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have not received any aid since the conflict escalated six weeks ago.

Over the past week, registration efforts have continued in relatively secure areas that are accessible to the United Nations and NGO partners. The total number of registered internally displaced persons in the Governorates of Al-Jawf, Amran, Hajjah and Saada is more than 78,000.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has helped to distribute a total of 481 metric tons of food to 32,172 beneficiaries in the Hajjah and Sa'ada Governorates as of 27 September.

UNICEF has set up water, sanitation and hygiene services at Al-Mazrak camp, and provided support to some 420 displaced persons outside the camp. UNICEF is also taking part in a joint mission with the UN Refugee Agency, WFP and the World Health Organization, led by the Minister of Health, to Amran governorate. The mission is intended to conclude negotiations for a planned IDP camp in Amran that will host an estimated 3,500 displaced persons currently awaiting the delivery of basic services.

The $23.7 million Flash Appeal for Yemen, launched on 2 September, is just under 2 percent funded. Several pledges towards the appeal have also been received, amounting to some $2.6 million, which still need to be confirmed.

ZIMBABWE: CALL TO ACTION INITIATIVE LAUNCHED TO ADDRESS H1N1 PANDEMIC

Four major UN and international humanitarian agencies have launched an important initiative that aims to strengthen the countrys capacities to respond effectively to a H1N1 pandemic.

The

Call to Action initiative is being undertaken by the World Health Organisation, (WHO), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UNICEF and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (OCHA). It will prepare Zimbabwes health system to deal with any public health and socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic and all other health threats.

According to WHO, Zimbabwe is the first country in the world to apply the Call to Action principles to its own health system. A key aspect of the initiative involves the application of valuable lessons learned during the unprecedented 2008-2009 cholera outbreak.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has officially presented hundreds of bicycles and motorcycles to the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health to strengthen health care and disease surveillance activities throughout the country. The 300 black bicycles and 124 bright red motorcycles were purchased with $500,000 acquired by WHO via the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund. These items strengthen Zimbabwe's ability to prepare for and respond to potential health concerns, including cholera outbreaks and the pandemic H1N1 2009.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA

The Secretary-Generals

report on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) expresses serious concern about continuing reports that the situation of human rights remains grave and that the Government has not taken significant steps to address persistent reports of systematic and widespread human rights violations and to provide safeguards for human rights.

The Secretary-General expressed deep concern at the continued decline of food assistance made available by the international community, despite the worsening shortage of food reported by humanitarian agencies.

The Secretary-General urges the DPRK to provide safeguards for human rights and ensure domestic legal reforms in order to comply with its international treaty obligations.

DEBRIS IN OUTER SPACE STILL A THREAT TO SPACECRAFT AND SATELLITES

Orbiting debris remains a threat to a sustainable use of outer space, the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) said, adding that the issue will feature prominently next week when the world celebrates Outer Space Week.

The Office recalls that 300,000 pieces of debris orbit the Earth at several thousands miles an hour, with potential impact force likely to down, damage or destroy a spacecraft. Meanwhile, close to 1,000 satellites are also orbiting the planet, providing weather, mapping, communications and other basic services.

As World Space Week approaches, Mazlan Othman, Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, is calling on Member States to promptly implement space debris mitigation measures in humanitys common interest. She said we must do so to preserve the outer space environment for future generations.

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES NEW RESOLUTION TO COMBAT SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN ARMED CONFLICT

In a

statement, the Secretary-General welcomed the unanimous adoption on Thursday by the Security Council of Resolution 1888. That text aims to further strengthen the international communitys efforts to combat sexual violence in armed conflict.

The Secretary-General reiterated his full commitment to ensuring that the provisions of the resolution -- together with the earlier Resolution 1820 -- are implemented. He also called for the Security Councils continued engagement to eradicate sexual violence.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has also

welcomed the resolution, adding that sexual violence is a horrific violation of human rights and a despicable weapon of war used against women and children.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

I.M.F. URGES DONORS TO HELP LOW-INCOME COUNTRIES: The global economic crisis is hitting low-income countries harder than expected,

according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF is urging the donor community to do more, although debt reduction and increase in aid are currently helping to address the impact of the global food, fuel and financial crisis.

DISARMAMENT FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM LAUNCHED: The third segment of the 2009 Disarmament Fellowship Programme was launched today at United Nations Headquarters, with the participation of young diplomats from 24 Member States.The three-and-a-half week programme aims to expose the Fellows to the work of the First Committee on Disarmament and International Security of the General Assembly, including attendance of the meetings of the Committee.

SECRETARY-GENERAL MARKS OLDER PERSONS DAY: Today is the International Day of Older Persons. In a

message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General calls for an end to age discrimination as well as abuse, neglect and violence against older persons.

  • ** The guest at the noon briefing was Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes. He briefed on UN assistance following the earthquakes, tsunamis and storms that have recently hit Asia and the Pacific.

    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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