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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-05
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS,
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, October 5, 2009
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS ATTACK ON W.F.P. OFFICES IN PAKISTAN IS UNJUSTIFIABLE
Five people working for the World Food Programme (WFP) have been confirmed dead after what local police are describing as a suicide bomb attack at the WFP offices in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The attack took place at 12:15 local time. A number of injured some of whom are in a critical condition are being treated in hospital.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, the Secretary-General
condemned the attack in the strongest terms, calling it a terrible tragedy for the UN and for the whole humanitarian community in Pakistan. Such an attack is unjustifiable. He said, This is a heinous crime committed against those who have been working tirelessly to assist the poor and the vulnerable on the frontlines of hunger and other human suffering in Pakistan. He sent his deepest condolences to the colleagues fallen in the line of duty for noble causes and their families and friends.
Also, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said, All of the victims were humanitarian heroes working on the frontlines of hunger in a country where WFP food assistance is providing a lifeline to millions.
In light of this incident, all UN offices in Pakistan have been closed until further notice.
Asked about the level of security at the WFP compound, the Spokeswoman said that the site had been thought of as one of the best-protected UN compounds in Pakistan. She said that police were investigating how an attacker entered the site.
Asked about the decision to temporarily close UN offices in Pakistan, she called it a reasonable act in light of the attack, and said that the United Nations needed time to re-assess security in Pakistan. She said the offices were only temporarily closed and that critical UN staff were continuing with their activities, including coordination with non-governmental organizations in the distribution of humanitarian assistance.
Montas noted that one of the five WFP personnel who died today was an Iraqi who had escaped an earlier bombing in Peshawar, in the northwest of the country, and had worked for WFP for more than six years. She said that, despite the risks, UN staff on the ground are determined to go about their work.
Asked whether it is believed that this attack was related to UN activity in Afghanistan, she said that the motive for the attack has not been determined, adding that she doubted there was any connection.
BAN KI-MOON HIGHLIGHTS ROLE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE
The Secretary-General today
addressed the Telecom 2009 conference hosted by the International Telecommunications Union, and he told the delegates that information and communications technology (ICT) is vital to confronting one of the greatest problems we face as a planet: the threat of climate change. He urged participants to share ideas on creative ways to use ICTs to usher in a new green economy. He said, Let us work together to find new ways to cut waste, reduce emissions, create jobs, protect against disasters and promote better standards of living.
Later today, he introduced former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who spoke on Resetting the Nuclear Disarmament Agenda. The Secretary-General is scheduled to return to New York on Tuesday, after attending a roundtable of Heads of State and chief executive officers attending the ITU Telecom World.
Also from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the agency
reports that it is encouraging its Member States to bring information and communications technology (ICT) access to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. The initiative aims to facilitate public-private partnerships that will help Member States establish school-based ICT centres.
ITU also says it has
launched a new edition of a report, which shows that the financial crisis has failed to make a major dent in demand for ICT services.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, SPORTS LEADERS TO HELP SEAL THE DEAL ON CLIMATE CHANGE
The Secretary-General and Mrs. Ban arrived in Geneva on Sunday afternoon after spending the weekend in Denmark. On Saturday morning in Copenhagen, the Secretary-General gave the
keynote speech to the 13th Olympic Congress. He appealed to the International Olympic Committee and other sports leaders on Saturday to do their part to seal the deal on climate change.
If you asked me to jog around this conference hall, I would probably run out of breath, he said. But when it comes to fighting for our shared global goals for a world that is cleaner, healthier, more peaceful, more sustainable and more prosperous I will sprint like an Olympian.
The Secretary-General also met that day with Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein and discussed the creation of a fund for the benefit of relatives of local UN staff members that were killed while working for the UN ideals. And he delivered a lecture at the University of Copenhagen, entitled The Road to Copenhagen: Meeting the Climate Challenge.
U.N. WORKING CLOSELY WITH ELECTORAL COMPLAINTS COMMISSION IN AFGHANISTAN
Asked about the Secretary-Generals response to charges by former Deputy Special Representative for
Afghanistan Peter Galbraith that the United Nations is complicit in fraudulent elections in that country, the Spokeswoman denied any such allegations.
The United Nations, Montas said, is working very closely with the Electoral Complaints Commission, the body mandated to investigate fraud, giving guidance, technical assistance and support. Indeed, she noted, three of the five members of that Commission are international personnel who have been appointed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.
She added that it would be irresponsible for the United Nations to pronounce itself on evidence and cases of alleged fraud before the appropriate Afghan bodies have concluded their investigations and have made a determination on this matter.
The Spokeswoman said that there are over 2,584 cases which the Commission has received and which it is investigating, and which, if proven valid, will lead to the invalidation of votes.
Montas also clarified that it was not the United Nations role to investigate fraud. Rather, where the United Nations received hard evidence of fraud, its role was to refer the people bringing these complaints to the appropriate national bodies, in this case the Electoral Complaints Commission. The existing processes and Afghan bodies need to be given a fair chance to work, she added, noting that these elections are their elections.
Asked whether the Secretary-General still has faith in his Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has full confidence in Eide. She reiterated that the UN role in the elections is to support Afghan electoral institutions and not to run the elections itself.
SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS CONDEMNS ALL VIOLATIONS AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS DURING CONFLICTS
Security Council today is holding a meeting on women, peace and security, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam, and it unanimously approved a resolution strongly condemning all violations of applicable international law committed against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations.
The resolution, among other things, calls upon the Secretary-General to develop a strategy to increase the number of women appointed to pursue good offices on his behalf. It requests him to ensure that all country reports to the Security Council provide information on the impact of situations of armed conflict on women and girls.
statement read by the Deputy Secretary-General, the Secretary-General said that bringing women to the peace table improves the quality of agreements reached and increases the chances of successful implementation.
The Secretary-General said that he is committed to the full implementation of the landmark Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security. He added that he will continue to do his part, including by appointing more women to positions of leadership.
Rachel Mayanja, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, told the Security Council that it is critical for it to continue to play a strong advocacy role to root out sexual violence in conflict and end its use as a tactic and weapon of war.
The Councils open meeting is scheduled to go into the afternoon, with 55 speakers inscribed so far.
U.N. RADIPLY RESPONDS TO ASSIST COUNTRIES HIT BY NATURAL DISASTERS IN ASIA AND PACIFIC
The United Nations has being responding to the series of natural disasters across Asia and the Pacific last week.
While in Bangkok today, UN Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark
said that the UN is responding with rapid support teams in Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Samoa and Tonga to support government efforts. She added that UN agencies and non-governmental organizations began working within hours after the catastrophes hit and that UNDP was now preparing to support countries plans for longer-term recovery.
A nine-member UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team was deployed to Sumatra, Indonesia after it was hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake last week. Food, tents and emergency shelter, medical supplies, hygiene kits, petrol, generators, heavy equipment, water and sanitation assistance, education and post-traumatic counseling have been identified as priority needs.
Meanwhile, UNICEF says that nearly 70,000 children have
returned to school today in the Indonesian city of Padang, where it has erected the first of 250 planned classrooms tents.
UNICEF adds that more students are expected to return to school across the region in the coming days.
In the Philippines, the World Food Programme (WFP) has
established a three-month emergency operation to provide food assistance to one million people affected by the severe flooding there.
In Samoa, hit by a tsunami wave last week, a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team is also on the ground and UNDP has made available an initial emergency grant of $100,000 to support coordination efforts, a needs assessment and an early recovery plan.
Finally, according to
UNDP, senior UN experts are arriving in Tonga to propose early recovery plans as humanitarian assistance is being deployed.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS U.N. ROLE IN KOSOVO HAS MOVED TO FACILITATING PRACTICAL COOPERATION BETWEEN COMMUNITIES
In his latest
report on Kosovo, the Secretary-General notes that, with the completion of its reconfiguration on 1 July, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has moved into a new phase. That phase is characterized by a focus on facilitating practical cooperation between communities, as well as between the authorities in Pristina and Belgrade.
Such cooperation is necessary for the normalization of the situation in Kosovo and for the stabilization and development of the western Balkans as a whole, the Secretary-General says. He calls on all stakeholders to acknowledge and continue supporting UNMIKs contribution in that regard.
As the security situation in northern Kosovo remains tense, the Secretary-General urges all sides to show pragmatism and restraint, and to adopt constructive policies in dealing with sensitive inter-ethnic issues. He specifically appeals to political parties that will run in the November elections organized by the Kosovo authorities to avoid inflammatory language that could increase the possibility of violence, particularly in the north.
SUDAN: U.N.-AFRICAN UNION MISSION TRAINS NATIONAL POLICE AHEAD OF 2010 ELECTIONS
The first batch of Sudanese Government police, who are to provide security during Sudans April 2010 national elections, participated in a training workshop conducted by the AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in El Fasher. The 70 Sudanese police officers are the first of 200 who will then train more than 7,000 of their colleagues over the next four months.
Speaking at the opening of the opening of the workshop, UNAMID Police Commissioner Michael Fryer said, The primary role of the police in Darfur during elections will be to provide security for Darfurians in accordance with the requirements of the rule of law.
In that light, UNAMID Police Advisors will provide training, as well as technical support and assistance, in the run up to and conduct of the elections. The police officers will be trained in a number of areas, including planning and implementation of elections security policies as well as maintaining security during and after elections.
U.N. NUCLEAR INSPECTORS TO VISIT IRANIAN FACILITY ON 25 OCTOBER
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed ElBaradei, met Iranian authorities in Tehran, on Sunday and discussed arrangements for the Agency's access to a newly disclosed uranium enrichment facility, under construction in Qom, Iran. IAEA inspectors will visit the facility on 25 October. On 24 September 2009, the Iranian Government declared the facility to the IAEA.
Earlier, a nuclear fuel supply concept for the Tehran Research Reactor was agreed during talks held in Geneva on 1 October between Iranian officials and representatives from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The concept will be discussed further at a technical meeting, hosted by the IAEA, on 19 October.
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT HIGHLIGHTS POTENTIAL OF MIGRATION
Migration has the potential to increase peoples freedom and improve the lives of millions around the world. Thats according to the 2009 Human Development
Report, which was
The new study challenges widely-held perceptions about where migrants move as well as their impact on their places of origin and destination. The report puts forward a package of measures, from opening existing entry channels for workers and ensuring migrants rights to adding migration as a component for origin countries development strategies. Also released with todays report was the latest Human Development Index, a summary indicator of peoples well-being, calculated for 182 countries and territories.
The Human Development Report, issued every year, is an independent study commissioned by the UN Development Programme.
ON WORLD HABITAT DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR BETTER, MORE EQUITABLE URBAN PLANNING
Today is World Habitat Day. The theme of this years observance is Planning our Urban Future. In a
message, the Secretary-General says that evidence from around the world suggests that governments at all levels are largely failing to address the challenges of a rapidly urbanizing world. He stresses that better, more equitable urban planning is essential.
At the dawn of this new urban age, we recognize the problems and we know how to tackle them, he adds, asking everyone to do their part for a better, greener, more sustainable future for an increasingly urban planet.
The celebration of World Habitat Day in cities around the world was spearheaded from Washington D.C. today.
UNHabitat says that this is the first time that the United States has hosted the Days celebration.
Also today, UN-Habitat has awarded its
Scroll of Honour -- the highest tribute of the UN system for achievements by individuals, cities or institutions in the cause of human settlements.
MORE THAN 10 MILLION TEACHERS MUST BE RECRUITED BY 2015 TO ENSURE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) says that 10.3 million teachers need to be recruited over the next eight years around the world to ensure universal primary education by 2015.
The new figures were
released on the occasion of World Teachers Day, celebrated today, which this year highlights the global teacher shortage.
UNESCOs Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said that the financial and economic crisis should not lead to cuts into education budgets. He added that lower spending on education will have dramatic short and long-term consequences on the quality of education.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT GENEVA AND BRUSSELS
On Tuesday, the Deputy Secretary-General will travel to Geneva where she will chair the meeting of the Regional Coordination Mechanism of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) region. The meeting will address, among other things, coherent UN system support for climate change and the Global Impact Vulnerability Alert System (GIVAS).
She will also hold a meeting with a group of Geneva based members of UN+ -- the system-wide advocacy group of staff living with HIV -- and bilateral meetings with UN organizations based in Geneva.
The Deputy Secretary-General will then be in Brussels from 10 to 13 October, for the launch of the 2008 EU-UN Partnership Report. During her visit there, she will also address the European Parliament and is expected to meet with the European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy.
CONSTRUCTION AND RELOCATIONS CONTINUE AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS: Construction work continued throughout the weekend on the Temporary North Lawn Building and in the basement, primarily in the switchgear room, 2B garage, print shop, and 3B swing space. On Saturday, fit-out work was done at 380 Madison Avenue. Asbestos-containing floor tiles were abated in the 2B Tech Center. More relocations occurred this past weekend, with 45 UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services staff moved from the Secretariat Building to 380 Madison Avenue.
BRAIN GAIN INITIATIVE EXPANDS TO AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Hewlett-Packard (HP) today
announced the expansion of the Brain Gain Initiative throughout Africa and the Middle East. This project will enable five universities that are now in the pilot phase to 15 additional higher education institutions. Their goal is to reach 100 universities by the end of 2011.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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New York, NY 10017
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