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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-11-11
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
BAN KI-MOON HIGHLIGHTS CHALLENGES IN PROTECTING CIVILIANS IN ARMED CONFLICT
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this morning
spoke at the
Security Councils open meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict and reflected on how the issue has risen in prominence on the Councils agenda.
Not so long ago, he said, many Member States questioned whether internal armed conflict posed a threat to international peace and security.
Today, the regional dimensions and destabilizing effects of internal conflicts have been firmly recognized.
The Secretary-General pointed to five core challenges that remain in addressing the protection of civilians. He said the challenges include: the need to strengthen compliance by all parties to conflict with international law; more consistent engagement with non-State armed groups; the ability of peacekeeping missions to discharge their protection mandates more effectively; better and safer access to civilians in need of assistance by humanitarian actors; and enhanced accountability.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in a statement delivered by her deputy, highlighted the particular challenges faced in ensuring accountability in four conflicts: in the occupied Palestinian territory, the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur and Afghanistan. She emphasized that all parties must be held to a single standard.
And Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes told the Council that the effective application of international humanitarian and human rights law is an achievable reality. For it to happen, the Security Council must call States to account when they do not apply the law.
The meeting started with the Security Councils unanimous adoption of resolution 1894, which demands that parties to armed conflict comply strictly with their obligations under international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.
The resolution requests that the Secretary-General ensure that all relevant peacekeeping missions with protection mandates incorporate protection strategies in their work. It also requests the Secretary-General to ensure that UN missions provide local communities with adequate information about the missions role and ensure coordination between UN missions and relevant humanitarian agencies.
Asked about actions by non-State actors, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General had pointed to engagement with non-State groups as one of the key challenges that need to be faced.
IN WASHINGTON D.C., SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES IMPORTANCE
OF REACHING GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AGREEMENT
The Secretary-General wrapped up his one-day visit to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday by
speaking to reporters in a joint press encounter with Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Richard Lugar and Senator Joe Lieberman, following a meeting with key U.S. senators to discuss
He once more emphasized the need to conclude a robust, global agreement in Copenhagen next month that can serve as a foundation for a climate treaty.
He acknowledged that there will be costs associated with tackling climate change. But these costs pale in comparison with the cost of not taking action.
The Secretary-General stressed the importance of a global agreement, which is comprehensive, equitable, fair and balanced. And to make this possible, he said, the developed countries should provide a substantial amount of financial support and technological support to developing countries so that they can mitigate and adapt.
LEBANON: BAN KI-MOON SPEAKS WITH LEBANESE PRESIDENT
The Secretary-General spoke by phone this morning with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and congratulated him on the appointment of a new Cabinet.
He expressed his hope that the new Lebanese Government will be committed to the full implementation of resolution 1701, and reiterated the readiness of the United Nations to work with the new Government in tackling the challenges that face Lebanon.
BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES JAPANS CONTRIBUTION TO AFGHANISTAN, HOPES OTHERS WILL FOLLOW SUIT
The Secretary-General has been
informed of the Government of Japan's intention to increase their assistance for Afghanistan to a total of up to US$5 billion over the next five years.
The Secretary-General welcomes this very positive development and hopes that other members of the international community will follow suit.
The Secretary-General appreciates Japans generous and continued contributions to the efforts and commitment of the international community to promote reconstruction and stability in Afghanistan.
UNITED NATIONS STARTS TRANSPORT OF PROVISIONAL VOTERS LIST IN CÔTE DIVOIRE
The UN Operation in Cote dIvoire (ONUCI) has
started to transport the provisional voters list throughout the country today.
The list was handed over to the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in the country, Choi Young-Jin, yesterday, by the Independent Electoral Commission. Choi said the handover was an important step toward reaching the end of the crisis in Côte dIvoire. He also hoped that the remaining task in the electoral process including printing and handing out of voter cards -- would be done quickly.
The list will now be distributed to polling stations around the country in order to launch the five-week appeals process that will precede the finalization of the voters list.
UNOCI, the transport of the list to polling stations around the country should end early next week. The provisional list will be officially published when it has reached all polling stations.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY REGRETS REPATRIATION OF SOMALIS FROM DJIBOUTI
The UN refugee agency,
UNHCR has expressed regret over the Djibouti governments forced repatriation of 40 Somali nationals to Mogadishu on Monday and Tuesday this week.
The group, most of whom are from Mogadishu, were rescued on the Red Sea by a ship on 22 October and were authorized to disembark in Djibouti on 4 November. They were then given medical and security screening by a joint team of officials from UNHCR and the National Refugee Agency of Djibouti. This was followed by registration and protection interviews to asses their eventual protection needs.
UNHCR says it has evidence showing that 40 persons did not wish to return to Mogadishu due to the ongoing conflict there.
PHILIPPINES: RELIEF EFFORTS HAMPERED BY LACK OF FUNDING
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the humanitarian response following the typhoons that hit the
Philippines is being hampered by funding shortages.
A $74 million Flash Appeal, which was issued in early October, is only 36 percent funded, having received $26 million as of 10 November. The Flash Appeal is being revised and is expected to be finalized in the coming week.
One particular concern is that 1.7 million people are still displaced or living in areas that remain under water or flooded.
The World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization have revised estimates of emergency and early recovery needs, taking into account new assessment data. These additional needs will be reflected in the revised Flash Appeal.
CONCERN RAISED OVER DETENTIONS AT GENEVA DISCUSSIONS
The eighth round of discussions which were established following the 2008 conflict in Georgia and are co-chaired by the UN, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were held today in Geneva.
Participants include representatives from the Russian Federation and Georgia.
The co-chairs including the UNs Johan Verbeke issued a press communiqué following todays discussions. In that document, the co-chairs expressed concern over a number of recent detentions, although they noted that the overall security situation on the ground remained relatively stable.
CHRONIC MATERNAL AND CHILDHOOD UNDER-NUTRITION RESULTS IN STUNTED GROWTH
Some 200 million children under the age of five in the developing world suffer from stunted growth as a result of chronic maternal and childhood undernutrition, according to a new UNICEF
report released today.
UNICEF says that undernutrition contributes to more than a third of all deaths in children under five. The Funds Executive Director, Ann Veneman, says that undernutrition steals a childs strength and makes illnesses that the body might otherwise fight off far more dangerous. She adds that those who survive undernutrition often suffer poorer physical health throughout their lives, and damaged cognitive abilities.
Unless attention is paid to addressing the causes of child and maternal undernutrition today, the costs will be considerably higher tomorrow, warns Veneman.
REPORT PUTS FORWARD EXAMPLES OF COUNTRIES THAT SAW DECLINE OF HUNGRY PEOPLE
Political will and investments can eradicate hunger. Thats according to a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which analyzes the
progress made by countries it monitored and which have registered a significant decline in the number of undernourished people.
The report highlights the example of 16 countries that have already achieved the target of halving the number of hungry by 2015 or are on track to do so including Armenia, Brazil, Nigeria and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, FAOs Director General, Jacques Diouf, launched an online anti-hunger campaign today. The
petition will be presented to world leaders at next weeks World Summit on Food Security, to be held in Rome from 16 to 18 November.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO ROME FOR WORLD SUMMIT ON FOOD SECURITY
The Secretary-General will travel to Rome, Italy, from 15 to 17 November.
The Secretary-General will open the Food Security
Summit to promote broad-based action on food security. This is an important opportunity following significant advances under the LAquila Initiative on Global Food Security, chaired by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Given the close inter-relationship between food security and climate change, the Secretary-General will engage world leaders to advance both agendas together.
The Secretary-General plans to visit the Headquarters for the World Food Programme (WFP), where he will participate in a commemoration for the staff recently killed in the attack against the WFP office in Pakistan. The Secretary-General will also meet with the staff of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
SECRETARY-GENERAL TRANSMITS GOLDSTONE REPORT TO SECURITY COUNCIL: In response to a question, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the Secretary-General today transmitted the report of the fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, to the Security Council. Okabe said that the Secretary-General has expressed his support for the missions work and awaited the Councils response.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR MORE SIGNATORIES TO THE CONVENTION ON CERTAIN CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS: In a
message to the 11th Eleventh Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Secretary-General calls for more effort to expand the number of signatories, especially among developing countries and States affected by landmines or in conflict.
He congratulates the 93 States that have consented to be bound by the Protocol and calls upon those countries that have not yet done so to ratify the Protocol as soon as possible.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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