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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-12

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

Monday, October 12, 2009

BAN KI-MOON DISCUSSES GAZA WAR REPORT WITH PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT

In response to questions about whether Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had spoken recently with the President of the Palestinian Authority, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the Secretary-General had a telephone conversation with President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday and discussed issues relating to the Goldstone report and the current situation in Jerusalem.

During the call, Montas clarified later, the Secretary-General affirmed his support for President Abbas and for the Palestinian Authority as a credible partner for peace in the Middle East. He also expressed his support for President Abbass engagement with Member States on a proper process for the consideration of the Goldstone Report.

She added that President Abbas brought to the attention of the Secretary-General a statement by Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, to which the PA President took strong exception.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals opinion of the Goldstone report, the Spokeswoman said that he would not express his views on the report while the relevant bodies, including the Human Rights Council, are seized of the issue. She noted that the Security Council would hold a periodic discussion of the Middle East on Wednesday, during which the Goldstone report may come up.

BAN KI-MOON MEETS WITH U.S. SENATOR BARBARA BOXER

Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting with U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer this morning, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General and Senator Boxer discussed climate change and violence against women.

On the latter, the Secretary-General said he was actively seeking early appointment of a Special Representative who would deal with violence against women and the early establishment of a single entity dealing with the status of women.

On climate change, the Secretary-General listened to the Senator's update on global warming legislation in the US Congress and voiced his hope that progress could be made before the Copenhagen climate change summit.

TOP HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL VISITS STORM-HIT PHILIPPINES

The Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes,

arrived in the Philippines today on a two-day mission to see first-hand the strong emergency response to tropical storm Ketsana and typhoon Parma.

There, he met senior Government representatives, including President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the Humanitarian Country Team. He also visited some of the flood-affected areas in Pasig City, where he was able to meet families living in evacuation centers as well as others still living in flooded areas.

In his meeting with President Arroyo, Holmes expressed sympathy for 6 million-plus people who have been affected by the storms, and conveyed his condolences to the Government and families of the more than 500 people who lost their lives.

Reiterating that UN agencies are glad to be able to help the Governments relief efforts in this major crisis, Holmes commended the excellent response to the disaster by the Government of the Philippines, especially the extensive search and rescue operations and quick release of emergency relief supplies.

The UN

Flash Appeal for US$74 million to support government efforts to address the humanitarian needs of those affected has so far attracted $14.2 million in funding - 19 percent of the total amount requested.

WOMEN AND CHILDREN REMAIN AT HIGH RISK IN YEMEN CONFLICT

Yesterday, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes concluded his three-day mission to

Yemen.

He met with President Ali Abdullah Saleh and other senior officials, and said that he remains particularly concerned about the people whom we are unable to reach, especially those who are trapped in the conflict zones. Thousands of civilians in the Sa'ada Governorate in particular face threats from violence, increasing food and fuel prices, and limited access to health care. The risk of communicable disease outbreaks is rising, since many health facilities are not functioning.

Holmes said, Civilians are at high risk from the conflict and it is women and children, who comprise about 80% of the displaced population, who are most vulnerable. He urged all involved in the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians in line with international humanitarian law, to allow us to reach those who need assistance, rapidly and without hindrance, and to enable civilians to leave insecure areas.

A $23.7 million

Flash Appeal issued in response to this crisis has received approximately $10 million in terms of commitments and pledges since it was launched on 2 September.

U.N. MOURNS PEACEKEEPERS KILLED IN HAITI PLANE CRASH

Concerning the plane crash in Haiti on Friday in which 11 peacekeepers died, the UN Mission in the country will hold a memorial ceremony in their honor tomorrow morning. This weekend all the bodies were recovered from the crash sitewhich remains protected by the United Nations.

The Spokesperson issued a

statement on the plane crash on Friday, and the Security Council also issued one over the weekend.

AFGHANISTAN ELECTIONS MARRED BY WIDESPREAD FRAUD

Kai Eide, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, yesterday spoke to the press about the countrys difficult elections process, which, he said, has been marred by widespread fraud.

He stressed the importance of continuing the process of installing democracy in Afghanistan.

Eide noted that the staff of the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) made great efforts and took great risks to collect information on Election Day. At the same time, he said, the quality of much of the information that was collected had variable reliability and often could not be verified.

He underscored that all Afghans should be given the chance to vote, and the valid votes cast by them, at considerable risk sometimes, should be counted.

Asked whether Eide agreed with his former deputy, Peter Galbraith, that fraud had taken place in Afghanistan, the Spokeswoman recalled that Eide had repeatedly mentioned electoral fraud in Afghanistan, including in his discussions with the Security Council last month. Where Eide and Galbraith differed, she added, was in their approach to how the United Nations would deal with the fraud allegations.

Montas said that Eide believes that the United Nations should support the Afghan electoral institutions, and that he had made it clear that this is an Afghan process.

LACK OF CLARIFY IN IRAQ ELECTION LAW RAISES CONCERNS

Ad Melkert, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, today expressed concern that, with 96 days before the Iraqi election, there remains no clarity on the election law.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) believes that significant changes to the institutional set-up in the Commission would severely disrupt the ongoing electoral preparations to the point that it would not be possible to hold credible elections until a considerably later date.

The UN Mission is optimistic that, with its continued and expanded support, the Elections Commission should be able to deliver credible election results in January 2010 that will be broadly accepted by all political factions and the Iraqi voters. But to achieve this, preparations will need to be accelerated in a number of areas.

At the same time, Melkert once again urged the Council of Representatives to clarify the legal framework for the elections in the coming week.

WOMENS ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES REMAINS MORE A GOAL THAN A REALITY

The Secretary-General delivered

remarks this morning at the General Assemblys commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development.

Highlighting the importance of this Conference which took place in Cairo in 1994, he stressed that it was there that, for the first time, governments acknowledged that every person has the right to sexual and reproductive health. He noted the progress made in womens health but said the Cairo consensus remains more a goal than a reality.

The Secretary-General said that to fully carry out the Cairo Programme of Action means providing women with reproductive health services, including family planning. It means backing poverty-eradication initiatives and it means preventing rape during wartime and ending the culture of impunity, he added.

And tonight, the Secretary-General will participate in the opening of a major exhibition on violence against women around the world, sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which also commemorates the 15th anniversary of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development.

U.N. & INTERPOL SIGN LANDMARK AGREEMENT ON POLICING COOPERATION

The Secretary-General had a video

message this weekend welcoming a new agreement between the United Nations and International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) to enhance policing cooperation in post-conflict areas. Ban Ki-moon called the two organizations natural partners in boosting security and peace.

He said that an action plan on global police peacekeeping is essential. And he appealed for continued support to help victims of conflict and promote greater respect for the rule of law.

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, attended the meeting in Singapore and signed the agreement on behalf of the UN. Representatives from some 60 countries at that meeting are also expected to endorse a special Declaration setting a roadmap for police to play its full role in meeting today's peacekeeping challenges.

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES THAW IN TURKEY/ARMENIA RELATIONS

Over the weekend, we issued a

statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the Armenian-Turkish normalization process.

In that statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the signing today in Zürich of the two protocols aimed at normalizing the relations between Armenia and Turkey. This historic decision constitutes a milestone toward the establishment of good neighbourly relations and the development of bilateral cooperation between both countries. The Secretary-General is confident that this development will also contribute to peace, security and stability in the South Caucasus.

The Secretary-General hopes that both protocols will be swiftly ratified by the Parliaments of Armenia and Turkey to ensure full normalization of their bilateral relations.

TRAFFICKING IN COUNTERFEIT MEDICINES A THREAT TO WORLD PUBLIC HEALTH

The Secretary-General had a

message to the Call of Cotonou meeting on the trafficking of counterfeit medicines. The message was delivered by Abdoulie Janneh, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

In it, the Secretary-General described the trafficking in counterfeit medicines a global crime and a threat to international public health.

He said that counterfeit medical products undermine the credibility of health systems, waste resources and diminish confidence in the authorities responsible for public safety.

He noted that developing countries are hit hardest and pledged UN support to international agencies, drug and law enforcement bodies, among others, to address this problem.

SOMALIA JOINT SECURITY COMMITTEE MEETS IN NAIROBI

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, addressed the opening of the Somali Joint Security Committee this morning in Nairobi. He urged Somali leaders to continue their commitment to dialogue and working together more closely to achieve peace and stability.

He stressed the need for a professional and well-organized security force to be established by August 2011, the end of the transitional governments mandate.

He also urged the International Community working in Nairobi to remain focused on key priorities including security, humanitarian assistance, human rights as well as development, particularly job creation. He also paid special tribute to the African Union Mission in Somalia for his courageous work under adverse conditions. The courage of the AMISOM troops and their heroic conduct will never be fully appreciated at their true value, he said.

TIMOR-LESTES PROGRESS AND STABILITY STILL FRAGILE

The Secretary-Generals report to the Security Council on the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste is out on the racks today.

The Secretary-General stressed that progress and stability in the country remain fragile. He commended the efforts of President José Ramos-Horta to promote continued dialogue across the political spectrum and among all segments of society. And he reiterated that his good offices will continue efforts to promote constructive political dialogue and a united effort among all political actors on important national issues.

The Secretary-General said he believed that the present strength and composition of

UNMIT formed police units should be maintained, especially given that the national police special units are undergoing the organizational reforms required under the new national police organic law.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION MUST IMPROVE TO FEED GROWING WORLD POPULATION: Agriculture production must improve to feed a much larger world population while responding to the daunting environmental challenges ahead. That was the message delivered today by Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the

opening of a two-day High-Level Expert Forum on How to Feed the World in 2050. He noted that the combined effect of population growth, strong income growth and urbanization is expected to result in almost the doubling of demand for food, feed and fibre. According to the FAO, world population is projected to rise to 9.1 billion in 2050 from a current 6.7 billion, requiring a 70-percent increase in farm production. The two-day Forum starting today will contribute to the debate and outcome of the World Summit on Food Security scheduled at FAO headquarters in Rome, on November 16-18.

INFORMAL EMPLOYMENT CURBS TRADE BENEFITS FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: Informal employment in the developing world curbs countries ability to benefit from trade. Thats according to a new joint study from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It

notes that although trade has contributed to growth and development worldwide, this has not automatically translated in an improvement in the quality of employment. The study says that trade opening needs proper domestic policies to create good jobs. It adds that the high incidence of informal employment in the developing world suppresses countries' ability to benefit from trade opening by creating poverty traps for workers in job transition.

UNICEF APPOINTS ACTOR ORLANDO BLOOM GOODWILL AMBASSADOR: Actor Orlando Bloom was

appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador today, in recognition of his commitment to the rights of children around the world. Bloom has already seen the work UNICEF is doing in Nepal, Russia, and Sarajevo. He has said he wants to be an active Ambassador for the childrens organization. The actor follows in the footsteps of other actors and celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn, Roger Moore, David Beckham and Mia Farrow.

U.N. IS MONITORING REPORTS OF NEW NORTH KOREAN MISSILE LAUNCH: Asked about reported missile tests by the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations is aware of the media reports and is closely monitoring the situation. She expressed the hope that all countries, including the DPRK, would refrain from actions that might contribute to heightening security tensions in the region.

  • *The guest at the noon briefing today was Janos Pasztor, Director of the Secretary-General's Climate Change Support Team.

    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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