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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-11-09
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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
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, November 9, 2009
BAN KI-MOON TO DISCUSS CLIMATE CHANGE WITH U.S. OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
The Secretary-General will be in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, 10 November, for meetings with senior administration officials and Congressional leaders to discuss the status of international
climate change negotiations.
A press encounter is being arranged by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday afternoon.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SALUTES THOSE WHO MADE BERLIN WALL FALL
statement, the Spokesperson said that, twenty years ago today, the fall of the Berlin Wall changed the course of history and came to symbolize the triumph of ordinary people in their quest for freedom. We owe it to all of those who fought for their fundamental rights and freedoms to never forget their struggle. Their story still inspires today.
It is a reminder of the difference people can make for the greater good, whether it is fighting for human rights in 1989 or working in the 21st century to end poverty, feed the hungry and combat climate change. The United Nations salutes them today.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES GREAT LAKES REGION AS OBASANJO PREPARES TO WRAP UP WORK AS SPECIAL ENVOY
Security Council this morning received a briefing in an open meeting from Olusegun Obasanjo, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region. He noted that he has informed President Joseph Kabila of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo of his intention to step back from an active role in the peace process in the eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region.
Obasanjo said that in about a month, his Senior Special Adviser will lead a team to the DRC to make a further assessment of progress. Then, at the end of January, Obasanjo and his African Union counterpart, Benjamin Mkapa, will submit a final report to African Union leaders.
The Special Envoy is now working to retool his existing support office in Nairobi as a small, dedicated listening post that would continue to assess the implementation of the 23 March agreements and regional rapprochement.
He added that there has been substantial, if intermittent, progress in implementing the 23 March agreements, and he said that the rapprochement between the DRC and Rwanda gives him hope for the future.
Last Friday, after the Secretary-General briefed the Security Council on his visit to
Afghanistan, the Council President read a
statement to the press, acknowledging the conclusion of the electoral process. He said that Council members stressed the need for a renewed, inclusive political process led by the Afghan Government.
U.N. AND D.R. CONGO GOVERNMENT LAUNCH NEW FUND FOR DEVELOPMENT
The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the Government of that country today launched a national stabilization and rehabilitation fund.
Speaking at the event in Kinshasa today, the Special Representative of Secretary General for the DRC, Alan Doss, said that the stabilization fund represents an example of how the UN and its international partners can support the Congolese Government. He also said that UN development assistance work in the field will intensify.
So far, donors have pledged some $30 million, some of it through UN programmes such as UNICEF. Generally, the fund will allow for a faster and flexible financing of Government priority projects in the countrys recovery.
SUDAN-DARFUR: REBEL FACTION WARNED TO STOP IMPEDING PEACEKEEPING WORK
In a strongly-worded statement earlier today, the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has called on the Sudan Liberation Movement/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) rebel organization to desist from impeding the work of the Mission.
Deploring the continued harassment and detention of its personnel, the Mission says it will not tolerate any further attempts at intimidation or attacks on its staff.
This comes in response to an incident last week, in which armed SLA/AW members prevented a UN helicopter carrying Mission staff from taking off from a town in South Darfur. The aircraft was held up for three hours in an act that the Mission has called unacceptable.
It says that such deliberate attempts to interfere with the Missions work go counter to the overall effort to secure peace and stability in Darfur. They also have an adverse effect on the humanitarian situation in the region, it says.
SENIOR U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL CALLS ON ISRAEL TO OPEN CROSSINGS INTO GAZA
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the
Occupied Palestinian Territory, Maxwell Gaylard, today called for the immediate opening of crossings into Gaza so that Palestinians can prepare for the coming winter. He was joined by a group of non-governmental organizations.
Gaylard noted that, with winter rains and cold weather on their way, the people of Gaza are even more desperately in need of materials to build and repair homes destroyed and damaged in Israels Operation Cast Lead. He added that the rigors of a cold wet winter will be particularly hard on Gazas children.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Gaza is currently experiencing electricity cuts of twelve to eighteen hours per week. But it is expected that the cuts will rise to nearly 40 hours per week when the cold weather hits.
OCHA also notes that, in the winter, Gaza requires more than a thousand tonnes of cooking gas per week, which is also used for heating. But currently, the average supply of cooking gas to Gaza is only half that.
IRAQ: BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES AGREEMENT ON ELECTORAL LAW
statement issued on Sunday, the Secretary-General welcomed the agreement reached in Iraqs Council of Representatives on amendments to that countrys electoral law. These elections will be a crucial opportunity to advance national reconciliation and contribute to Iraqs political progress.
The Secretary-General appeals to all political blocs and their leaders to demonstrate true statesmanship during the election campaign and participate in a spirit of national unity.
The Secretary-General reaffirms the United Nations commitment to support and assist the Independent High Electoral Commission during the electoral process. He encourages the Iraqi people and all political parties to participate in a process that will shape their countrys future.
BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES MADAGASCAR POWER-SHARING ACCORD
statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General welcomed the agreement reached by the four Malagasy leaders in Addis Ababa for the establishment of a power-sharing administration. He urges the Malagasy leaders to speedily inaugurate the Government of National Unity and to put in place the transitional institutions foreseen in the Maputo agreements.
The United Nations will continue to support Madagascar throughout the transition and beyond, and to work closely with the Joint Mediation Team on Madagascar, chaired by former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano.
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME APPLAUDS CHINA-AFRICA DEAL FOR AFRICAS FOOD SECURITY
The Executive Director of the UNs World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, has
applauded the weekends declaration by the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation underlining the important role that investment in food security, agriculture and infrastructure plays in meeting the food needs of Africas people.
WFP notes that by strengthening infrastructure it has helped to cut the cost of transporting people and goods over the long term. In Southern Sudan, for example, the repair of 2,500 km of roads by WFP has led to a significant cut in local food costs. In the process, lives have been improved and saved.
WFP further notes that China's own success in addressing malnutrition and bolstering food security stands as an example to the world that hunger can be beaten in a generation, especially when small farmers are given access to credit and markets.
U.N. FOOD ASSISTANCE REACHES THOUSANDS AFFECTED BY YEMEN FIGHTING
The World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners have reached almost 100,000 displaced people in northern Yemen with food assistance since the latest round of new fighting erupted in August.
In spite of better access to some of the areas affected by fighting, however, WFP says that the situation remains volatile and supply routes are unreliable. The situation is particularly dramatic in the town of Saada, where access has been extremely difficult for the past three months.
U.N. HEALTH CHIEF CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION TO IMPROVE WOMENS HEALTH
Despite considerable progress, societies are still failing to meet the health care needs of women at key moments of their lives -- particularly during adolescence and older age. Thats according to a new report on women and health, which was
launched today in Geneva by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan.
In light of todays report, Chan called for urgent action, both within the health sector and beyond, to improve the health and lives of girls and women around the world, from birth to older age.
POOR NATIONS FACE MAJOR BURDEN IN SERVICING DEBT
Developing countries will be spending an additional 17 percent of their revenues servicing their debt. Thats what Supachai Panitchpakdi, the Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, said earlier today at the opening of UNs Seventh Debt Management Conference in Geneva.
He said that while poor countries need to fund social and health programmes and build infrastructure for long-term economic progress, borrowing heavily to do so will only slow their growth. However, not making such investments also leads to slow growth and will keep these countries from the
Millennium Development Goals.
He also renewed UNCTADs call for a temporary moratorium on official debt for low-income countries.
U.N. ANTI-CORRUPTION MEASURES CAN HELP BOOST GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM, SAYS COSTA
Over 1,000 delegates from 125 countries are
meeting this week in Doha, Qatar to review implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
Opening the conference today, Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) said that corruption was "the cause and consequence" of the financial crisis. But he urged all states to recognize a silver lining to the crisis by using the UN anti-corruption Convention as "a blueprint for restoring confidence in markets, businesses, and governments." Corruption is preventable, not a fact of life, or part of business, he said.
Costa also urged participants to agree on a review mechanism which would, for the first time, enable states to see how effectively they are fighting corruption, and identify where more progress is needed.
BAN KI-MOON TO TRANSMIT GOLDSTONE REPORT SHORTLY: Asked when the Secretary-General will transmit Justice Richard Goldstones report on Gaza to the Security Council, the Spokeswoman said it has not happened today, but is expected to take place shortly.
SOME U.N. STAFF IN AFGHANISTAN BEGIN RELOCATION: Asked about the temporary relocation of UN staff in
Afghanistan, the Spokeswoman noted that some staff have already arrived in Dubai. She said that some 200 people, mainly administrative staff, will be briefly moved out of the country, while other staff will be relocated inside the country. The United Nations will not stop its work on behalf of the Afghan people, she stressed.
U.N. CANNOT CONFIRM REPORTED SAUDI ATTACKS IN YEMEN: Asked about reported attacks by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations did not have a presence on the ground that could confirm those reports independently. She said that the Secretary-General is monitoring the situation regularly.
U.N. NOT PRESENT AT VENEZUELA-COLOMBIA BORDER: Asked about tensions between Venezuela and Colombia, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations has not received a request so far for its involvement. She said that the United Nations is not present at the border region between the two nations.
SPOKESWOMAN CLARIFIES RULES AT MEDIA STAKEOUT: Asked about the rules that govern who can speak at media stakeout positions at UN Headquarters, the Spokeswoman said that any speakers at the stakeouts have to be from the United Nations or sponsored by, or accompanied by, representatives of UN Member States.
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