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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-07

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES PROGRESS IN ESTABLISHING UNITY GOVERNMENT IN MADAGASCAR

The Secretary-General

welcomes the progress achieved in Madagascar towards the establishment of a Government of National Unity. He urges the Malagasy leaders to quickly conclude the negotiations for the appointment of members of the transitional government and make the necessary concessions to ensure that the transitional process runs smoothly.

The United Nations will remain engaged in the mediation process through the Joint Mediation Team on Madagascar, chaired by former President of Mozambique, H.E. Mr. Joaquim Chissano. It is committed to support the full implementation of the Maputo agreements and a rapid return to constitutional order through credible elections.

On Tuesday in Antananarivo, Tiebile Drame, the UN Special Envoy, read a communiqué from the International Contact Group on Madagascar expressing support for the Government of Madagascars request that sanctions imposed on the country be lifted. The communiqué also endorsed Madagascars request for international financial assistance, support for the political transition, including preparations for agreed-upon elections, as well as support for development and other aid projects.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS LIBYAN REQUEST ON GAZA REPORT

The

Security Council is holding consultations at 4:00 p.m., to discuss a letter from Libyas Permanent Mission to the United Nations. That letter requests an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss the fact-finding commission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone that looked into the violence in Gaza.

Asked what the Secretary-General expects from the Security Council, the Spokeswoman made clear that it is up to the Security Council to decide on how to act in response to the report. She said that the Secretary-General would wait for the process to continue in both the Security Council and in the Human Rights Council, which is the body that authorized the report.

SOME MUCH-NEEDED GOODS ALLOWED INTO GAZA

The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that, on Tuesday, sixty-nine trucks made it into Gaza from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing. More than half of those trucks were carrying fruit, sugar, dairy products and frozen meat.

In addition, more than 4,000 tons of wheat and animal feed made it though the Karni crossing. But the Nahal Oz fuel pipeline remained closed.

The day before that, Monday, eighty trucks passed through Kerem Shalom into Gaza. Two of those trucks carried industrial diesel for Gazas power plant. Karni and Nahal Oz were closed that day.

Asked about the amount of goods getting into Gaza, the Spokeswoman said that it is still insufficient and does not meet the needs of the people.

CYPRIOT LEADERS DISCUSS PRESIDENCY, GOVERNANCE ISSUES

Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met today under UN auspices in Nicosia. The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on

Cyprus, Alexander Downer, spoke to the press afterwards.

He noted that the leaders mainly discussed the issue of governance, the presidency and related items.

He added that the leaders will be meeting again on Thursday to continue the discussion on governance. They will also meet next Wednesday and Thursday as well.

Regarding the climate at todays meeting Downer called it very friendly and very easygoing.

Asked about his personal links to Cyprus, Downer responded, None of us in the United Nations are here to inject ourselves into the process as personalities of the processWe are not local people, and whatever solution Cypriots come up with, it wont affect our personal lives because we will go back to our own countries and live our lives. Weve come here to help. We have moved from our homes and our families to try and help here and help do this job for the United Nations. Its part of the wonderful work that the United Nations does all around the world.

U.N. OFFICIAL JOINS REGIONAL GROUPS MISSION TO HONDURAS

Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco today arrived in the capital of Honduras as part of a high-level mission led by the Organization of American States (OAS). The aim of the mission is to promote dialogue and the restoration of democracy in Honduras. The UN's participation in the mission is at the invitation of the OAS.

In related news, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koïchiro Matsuura, today

welcomed the declaration by the de facto government of Honduras that it is lifting an emergency decree, which restricted freedom of expression. The UNESCO chief added that open and informed debate is an important condition for democracy and good governance.

ENVOY WELCOMES IMPROVED CONDITIONS IN SOUTH LEBANON

The

UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Michael Williams, met today with Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, and he told reporters afterwards that the United Nations is very pleased by the calm that has been restored in south Lebanon and by the statements of commitment to Resolution 1701 from all sides concerned.

However, he said, he and the Foreign Minister agreed that more needs to be done to move towards a longer term cease-fire which would help confirm the calm and stability that now prevails along the Blue Line. Williams also reiterated the hope that the current atmosphere of dialogue in the country will allow for the formation of a national unity government as soon as possible.

BAN KI-MOON CALLS FOR GLOBAL SHIFT TO LOW-CARBON ECONOMY

With only two months remaining until the climate change conference in Copenhagen, the Secretary-General has called on the 2009

Global Renewable Energy Forum to re-affirm the urgent need to shift towards low-carbon and resource-efficient economies.

In a

message delivered by the UN Resident Coordinator in Mexico, where the event is being held, the Secretary-General said that everyone needs to understand the enormous benefits that green growth can bring in the form of new jobs, less pollution, better public health and improved food security.

The pursuit of energy efficiency and the expansion of renewable energy are not an indulgence for wealthy nations. They are a tool for all, he added.

FOUR DECADES ON, EAST SUDAN REFUGEE CRISIS REMAINS UNRESOLVED

Some 40 years after it began operations in eastern Sudan, the

UN Refugee Agency warns that there are still no viable prospects for refugees there to voluntarily return to their countries of origin. In fact, according to UNHCR Sudan Representative Peter De Clercq, some 1,800 refugees continue to arrive there every month from neighboring countries. Most of them are from Eritrea, with smaller numbers from Ethiopia and Somalia.

De Clerq says that unlike other regions of Sudan where a UN peacekeeping presence ensures continued world attention, there exists no forum for deliberation on issues affecting eastern Sudan. In that regard, UNHCR is inviting potential partners to join it in an effort to improve social and economic conditions for refugee and local communities in eastern Sudan.

The UNHCR Representative also called on the Government of Sudan to work with aid agencies in ensuring the safety of humanitarian workers. He appealed for the release of two peacekeepers from the Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and two abducted female workers from the aid group GOAL.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW MEMBERS TO EMERGENCY FUNDS ADVISORY GROUP

The Secretary-General has

announced the appointment of seven new members of the Advisory Group for the $450 million Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

The sixteen-member CERF Advisory Group provides the Secretary-General with expert advice on the use and impact of the Fund through the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes. The members include government officials from countries that have contributed to or received funding from the Response Fund, representatives of humanitarian non-governmental organizations, and academic experts.

CRISIS RECOVERY EXPERT VISITS TSUNAMI-HIT SOUTH PACIFIC

Following last weeks devastating tsunami in the South Pacific, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Director for the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Jordan Ryan, is currently visiting Tonga and Samoa to ascertain additional support required for the recovery efforts.

During his two-day stay in Tonga, Ryan met with Government officials, donors and non-governmental organizations.

He is now en route to Samoa, where he is scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister and Minister of Environment, as well as United Nations staff there. Ryan will also make a field visit to assess the damages.

U.N.D.P. CHIEF DISCUSSES CLIMATE CHANGE IN VISIT TO THAILAND

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark is in Thailand, where she met with the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in Bangkok to discuss issues related to climate change in the run-up to the Copenhagen negotiations in December.

On Tuesday, Clark visited a project aimed at improving the livelihoods of local fisherman by increasing the population of blue swimmer crabs. Since its inception, the project known as the Crab Condominium has increased crab numbers and doubled the income of fishermen in the local area. With UNDPs support, the projects success has been shared throughout Thailand and the region through conferences and capacity-building exercises.

TAJIKISTAN: CHILD IMMUNIZATION DRIVE IS UNDERWAY

In Tajikistan, the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are supporting a nationwide campaign by Tajikistans Ministry of Health to immunize 2.5 million children against measles and rubella.

The two-week campaign, launched 28 September, targets all children between the ages of 1 and 14. Health workers are carrying out the immunization at urban and rural health centers. Mobile vaccination teams are also visiting schools and kindergartens.

Meanwhile, an Early Recovery Appeal launched by UN agencies and NGOs for Tajikistan in August following the destruction by the floods and mudflows of April-May 2009 has attracted $1.2 million in funding. But this is just 16 per cent of the more than $7.7 million it seeks from the international community.

  • * The guests at the noon briefing today were Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet; Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber, the Director of the Asia and Middle East Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations; and Craig Jenness, Director of the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs. They discussed UN assistance to the

    Afghan authorities in holding the elections and responding to complaints of fraud.

    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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