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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-11-25

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 FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE

SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

U.N. Headquarters will be closed Thursday 26 November and Friday 27 November in observance of Thanksgiving and Eid al-Adha.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO URGE COMMONWEALTH LEADERS TO REACH AGREEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

The Secretary-General is traveling tomorrow to Trinidad and Tobago, for this years Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

During his three-day trip, the Secretary-General is expected to urge the leaders to attend next months Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen and seal a deal. He is also expected to urge the leaders to stay focused and committed to reach agreement in Copenhagen that is ambitious, equitable, and satisfies the demands of science.

The world cannot afford to fail in Copenhagen because the costs are simply too great, the Secretary-General will urge the leaders. Failure to seal a deal could result in increased human suffering, higher economic losses, opportunities squandered in terms of productivity, global competitiveness and political stability.

The Secretary-General will also engage in bilateral talks with a number of leaders on matters of mutual interest. He and his delegation are expected back in New York on Sunday.

AS U.S. PRESIDENT CONFIRMS PRESENCE IN COPENHAGEN, SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES BUILDING OF MOMENTUM

In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General welcomes the announcement that President Barack Obama of the United States will attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December.

As more and more heads of State and Government confirm their attendance, momentum is building for a successful conclusion to this crucial world gathering, he added. At Copenhagen, an agreement can and must be reached to set the world on a new course that will ensure a healthy planet, a robust and sustainable economy, and a brighter future for all.

Haq noted that the Secretary-General would also encourage world leaders to attend the Copenhagen Conference during his visit to the Commonwealth meeting in Trinidad in the coming days.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES WORK OF ITS D.R. CONGO SANCTIONS COMMITTEE

The

Security Council this morning discussed the work of its

sanctions committee dealing with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was briefed on the committees work by its chairman, Ambassador Fazli Corman of Turkey.

The Council then went on to an open meeting to discuss the work of the Peacebuilding Commission.

U.N. SUPPORTS DISCHARGE PROGRAMME FOR FORMER COMBATANTS IN DARFUR

More than 300 former combatants in Darfur, including women and disabled persons, have participated in a three-day discharge programme organized in El Fasher, by the Government of Sudan with some support from the African Union United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur, (UNAMID).

The programme is expected to be extended to other parts of Darfur, targeting a total of 5,000 former combatants affiliated with signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) who were disarmed in July 2008 when they formally surrendered their weapons to the Government of Sudan.

The Government of Sudan is providing cash payments of 400 Sudanese Pounds (USD 150) for each participant, to be followed by food vouchers and other services after two months.

UNAMID is offering logistical support to the exercise, including security, transport and health services.

The Missions contribution will help the government in its efforts to strengthen the peace process and improve the overall security situation across the region.

Beneficiaries of the just-ended programme in El Fasher include members of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Peoples Defence Forces, and the Sudan Liberation Army/Mother Wing.

U.N. WARNS OF EFFECT OF CYCLONE SEASON IN MADAGASCAR

United Nations agencies in Madagascar are

raising concern over the approaching cyclone season that could seriously affect the lives of up to 600,000 people.

Weather forecasts indicate that the country could be hit by at least four intense cyclones during the coming season, with potential risks to the lives and livelihoods of many people and possible large scale damage to infrastructure.

The humanitarian community in Madagascar is therefore urgently appealing for $6 million dollars to prepare assistance for people in the most vulnerable regions of the country. Agencies want to pre-position urgent supplies such as tarpaulins, medicines, water purification tablets and health, school and recreational kits.

WOMEN AND CHILDREN FACE WORSENING SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE

UNICEF together with the Government of Zimbabwe today

released new social development data which revealed a worsening situation for women and children in Zimbabwe.

The Multiple Indicator and Monitoring Survey (MIMS), which was conducted in May 2009, reported a deterioration in access to many key social services for women and children, particularly for the poorest populations and in rural areas.

According to the UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe, Dr Peter Salama, everyday in Zimbabwe, 100 children below five years of age are dying of mostly preventable diseases. Major causes of death of children under 5 are HIV/AIDS, newborn disorders, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

The survey also showed startling data that 1 in 2 pregnant women in rural areas were now delivering at home. The new findings confirm the result of previous research indicating that user fees and other financial barriers are limiting womens access to life-saving obstetric services.

PHILIPPINES: HUMANITARIAN SITUATION STILL CRITICAL AFTER TYPHOONS

In the

Philippines, humanitarian situation is still critical for people displaced by the typhoons and those who are still living in submerged villages and in areas made inaccessible by landslides.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the total number of completely destroyed homes is at 46,000, while 261,000 homes are partially damaged.

As of 16 November, nearly 79,000 families, or more than 382,000 individuals, were still living in flooded areas in 871 villages.

The key humanitarian concern is access to safe water, sanitation facilities and hygiene items in the relocation camps and in residential areas affected by the floods.

The final report from the World Food Programmes Emergency Food Security Assessment, which was concluded on 20 November, will be available by the end of this month. The preliminary results are currently being incorporated into the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment led by the World Bank.

Meanwhile, WFP plans to distribute rice and high-energy biscuits in six regions for the month of November and preparation for WFPs supplementary feeding programme is underway. From January, some 50,000 children between 6 and 24 months will receive a monthly take-home ration of fortified blended food, sugar and oil.

According to OCHAs Financial Tracking Service, as of 24 November the Revised Philippines Flash Appeal 2009 is 22 percent funded, having received US $30.95 million of the revised request for $143.77 million.

FOOD ASSISTANCE IS SCALED UP AFTER VIOLENT CLASHES IN D.R. CONGO

The World Food Programme is

scaling up its deliveries of food assistance to northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to the neighbouring Republic of Congo. WFP aims to feed tens of thousands of Congolese people displaced by a recent upsurge of violence in and around Dongo village in the DRCs Equateur province.

WFP says that more than 38,000 Congolese fled the violent clashes in the DRC last month and crossed the river into the Republic of Congo. Some 14,000 people are also estimated to be internally displaced inside the DRC.

United Nations assessment missions on both sides of the river underline the need for food assistance for people, mainly women and children, who have been on the run for several weeks now.

In the DRC, WFP is currently assessing exact needs in localities around Dongo and is planning to start food distributions in the second week of December with stocks already in country.

In the Republic of Congo, a total of 23 trucks carrying 455 metric tons of WFP food have arrived, as well as 8,000 litres of fuel to facilitate humanitarian assistance.

U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO TAKES ALL ALLEGATIONS OF RIGHTS VIOLATIONS SERIOUSLY

Asked about allegations of human rights violations by the Congolese Armed Forces in a forthcoming report by the group of experts dealing with sanctions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Spokesperson said declined to comment on the specific contents of a report by an independent group of experts that has yet to be published.

He reiterated that Operation Kimia II's objective is to rid the DRC of the threat posed by the FDLR and in that, it has achieved significant advances. The FDLR has not yet been completely neutralized or defeated, Haq said, but its strike capacity has been severely weakened. The operations are continuing and are expected to move into a new phase in December.

Asked about support by the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) in light of the alleged violations by the Congolese Armed Forces, the Spokesperson stated unequivocally that human rights abuses committed by elements of those forces are unacceptable. The United Nations takes the matter very seriously.

That is why, he said, on 1 November, during his visit to the country, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy announced the suspension of MONUCs support to a unit of the 213th brigade of the Congolese Armed Forces, following a joint investigation by MONUC and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that implicated the unit in targeted killings. MONUC and the Armed Forces are now launching a joint investigation into that incident.

Haq said that this measure sends a clear message that, consistent with its mandate, and in keeping with the Secretary-Generals policy, MONUC will not support operations by the Congolese Armed Forces if the units involved in those operations commit violations of international humanitarian law, human rights or refugee law.

NEW INTERNATIONAL TREATY WILL CLOSE PORTS TO SHIPS INVOLVED IN ILLEGAL FISHING

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has

approved a new treaty that aims to close ports to ships involved in illegal fishing.

According to FAO, this will be the first ever legally binding international treaty focused specifically on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The agreement will enter into force once 25 countries have ratified it. Eleven FAO membersAngola, Brazil, Chile, the European Commission, Indonesia, Iceland, Norway, Samoa, Sierra Leone, the United States and Uruguay signed the treaty immediately following its approval.

SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Today is the official observance of the International

Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the Secretary-General, in a message, said that more work lies ahead in the effort to end sexual violence. Our goal is clear, he said: an end to these inexcusable crimes -- whether it is the use of rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence, sex trafficking, so-called honour crimes or female genital mutilation/cutting.

He said that the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign that he launched last year is galvanizing action across the United Nations system, and he has also just launched a Network of Men Leaders to strengthen our advocacy.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres

stressed today that his agency was fully committed to the prevention of sexual violence, which he said needed a personal as well as a collective response. He pledged that UNHCR will, along with other UN agencies, increasingly assist states in their efforts to prevent sexual violence, protect individuals and provide remedy to victims.

And UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi said that, despite achievements in the fight against sexual violence, it is shocking that up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

TRIAL OF HEAD OF SERBIAN RADICAL PARTY TO RESUME MID-JANUARY: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) yesterday ordered that the trial of Vojislav Seselj, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party, resume on 12 January 2010. The trial had been adjourned in February on the request of the Prosecution amid allegations that witnesses had been intimidated. The Trial Chamber yesterday decided to reconsider its decision for adjournment, because of what it said were new facts that had emerged.

MIDDLE EAST QUARTET HAS DISCUSSED SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY: Asked about a reported statement by the Israeli Prime Minister concerning a proposed freeze on settlement activity, the Spokesperson said that the Quartet (comprising the United Nations, European Union, Russia and the United States) had been recently discussing settlement activity and could possibly respond to a formal announcement of a freeze.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS CALLED FOR DOMESTIC INVESTIGATIONS INTO GAZA VIOLENCE: Asked about possible Israeli and Palestinian investigations into the conflict in Gaza earlier this year, the Spokesperson recalled that the Secretary-General had called for credible domestic investigations into the violence. For his part, the Secretary-General intends to respond to the request, in a General Assembly resolution, to report on implementation by the parties following the issuance of the Goldstone report on Gaza.

U.N. NOT INVOLVED IN HONDURAS ELECTIONS: Asked about the elections scheduled for this weekend in Honduras, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations was not involved in those elections.

  • ** The guest at the noon briefing today was Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, who briefed on her recent trip to Sudan.

    THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

    28 November-4 December 2009

    Saturday, 28 November

    The Secretary-General will be in Trinidad and Tobago until tomorrow.

    Starting today and until 4 December, Childrens Climate Forum, organized by UNICEF and the City of Copenhagen, will gather160 children, between 14 and 17 years of age.

    Sunday, 29 November

    There are no major events scheduled for today.

    Monday, 30 November

    The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People will be observed at UN Headquarters. At 10:00 a.m., there will be a special meeting in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, during which the Secretary-General is scheduled to speak. That will be followed by a film called Jerusalem The East Side Story at 1:00 p.m., also in the Trusteeship Council Chamber. Then, at 3:00 p.m., the General Assembly will consider the Question of Palestine in the General Assembly Hall. At 6:00 p.m., in the Visitors Lobby, there will be an opening for an UNRWA exhibit, The United Nations and the Palestine Refugees, 60 Years Later. At 7:00 p.m., there will be a concert by Maqamat, an orchestra of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, in the ECOSOC Chamber.

    The Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution on the DRC panel of experts and on Somalia. It will also hear a briefing and hold consultations on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

    On Monday at 11 a.m. in Room-S226, there will be press conference to launch UNICEFs 4th Children and AIDS Stocktaking Report and introduce the Children Left Behind Symposium. Speakers will include Ann Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF; Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator; Virginia Fields, President of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS; Jimmy Kolker, Chief of the HIV/AIDS Section at UNICEF; Nathan Shaffer from the World Health Organization; and Reshma Pattni, Program Director at Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS.

    The guest at the noon briefing will be Michael Adlerstein, Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan.

    Tuesday, 1 December

    Burkina Faso will assume the monthly rotating presidency of the Security Council.

    Today is World Aids Day.

    At 11 a.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference on the unveiling of a digital art exhibit called CO2 CUBES Visualize a Tonne of Change.

    In Nairobi, the High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation will start today and end on Thursday.

    Wednesday, 2 December

    Today is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

    At 10.15 a.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference on the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (3 December).

    At 11 a.m. in Room-S226, Rob Vos from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) will hold a press conference to launch the latest

    World Economic Situation and Prospects.

    At 12.30 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Michel Kafando, Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso and President of the Security Council for December, on the Councils programme of work for the month.

    At 2 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference to launch the report of the Commission on AIDS in the Pacific. Speakers will include Misa Telefoni, Chairman of the Commission and Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa; Maire Bopp, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation (PIAF), a Commission Member who is a person who is living with HIV; and Nafis Sadik, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific.

    Thursday, 3 December

    Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Special events for the day will start with an opening ceremony and the announcement of a new United Nations Messenger of Peace, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., in Conference Room 4.

    The Secretary-general will make opening remarks at a special event on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, at 3 p.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber.

    Friday, 4 December

    At 1 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference by Luis Moreno Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

    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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