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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-01-19

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

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

  • There was a briefing at noon by Edmond Mulet, acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti, and David Wimhurst, Communications Director for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Former spokesperson Michele Montas also participated in the briefing. Other highlights from the U.N. system follow:

    SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES EXPANDED U.N. PEACEKEEPING MISSION IN HAITI

    The

    Security Council this morning unanimously adopted a resolution that endorses the recommendation made by the Secretary-General to increase the overall force levels of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Accordingly, the Council expanded the size of MINUSTAHs military component to a ceiling of 8,940 troops of all ranks, and its police component to up to 3,711 police.

    The Secretary-General

    said after the vote that he was grateful for the Councils swift action. He said, By approving my proposal, today, to send an additional 2,000 soldiers and 1,500 police officers to Haiti, the Council sends a clear signal: The world is with Haiti.

    He said that search and rescue operations continue, and that ninety people have been saved by 43 international teams made up of 1,700 people.

    The Secretary-General added that UN relief operations are gearing up quickly. The good news, he added, is that we are making rapid progress, despite the extremely difficult logistical challenges.

    He said that the United Nations distributed daily food rations on Monday for nearly 200,000 people and expects to reach approximately 1 million people within a week.

    Meanwhile, on Monday, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Haiti, former US President Bill Clinton, traveled to Haiti, bringing along with him 5,000 bottles of water, 1 pallet of food, medical supplies (including syringes, anesthetics, pain-killers, first aid and surgical supplies), 32 generators, 72 work lights, and 150 solar flash lights.

    The Special Envoy visited the University Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where he helped unload the aid he brought with him. Clinton also met with Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, UN Resident Coordinator Kim Bolduc and the Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Anthony Banbury.

    SECRETARY-GENERAL TO LAY WREATH IN HONOUR OF HAITI QUAKE VICTIMS

    The Secretary-General will lay a wreath in honour of the victims of the earthquake in Haiti this afternoon, at 4:53 p.m. He will call for a moment of silence throughout the UN system at that time, to coincide with the one-week anniversary of the earthquake. The ceremony will take place in the General Assembly Lobby near the Meditation Room.

    Immediately following the wreath laying ceremony, there will be a candlelight vigil in the plaza outside of the Visitors Entrance. This will begin at 4:55 p.m.

    The United Nations Singers will perform at the wreath laying ceremony and during the candlelight vigil.

    IN HAITI, U.N. AND OTHER HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES ASSIST MORE QUAKE SURVIVORS

    The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

    reports that over 90 persons had been rescued by international Urban Search and Rescue Teams in Haiti. At the peak of the search and rescue work, there have been a total number of 52 teams with 1,820 rescue workers and 175 dogs. As of Monday, 18 January, there were 48 international rescue teams on the ground and live rescues were still being made. Haitians had also been able to save scores of their fellow Haitians.

    OCHA adds that the working conditions remain very difficult but humanitarian workers are now increasingly reaching out to affected areas outside of Port au Prince. It was feared that 60 per cent of Jacmel had been destroyed.

    According to OCHA, immediate priorities for the wider humanitarian response continued to be medical assistance, corpse management, shelter, water and food and sanitation. Engineers are needed to reconstruct the roads and bridges in Port au Prince, and heavy equipment is needed to remove the huge piles of rubble.

    The United Nations is in the lead on the humanitarian coordination at the airport, and logistics at the airport is being managed by the United States forces. The United Nations is cooperating and coordinating with the American forces that have come in with their logistics and expertise which, among other things, has allowed the airport control tower to work again. United States forces were also working on repairing the Port au Prince port.

    On security, OCHA reports that the situation remains tense but calm, despite some sporadic and isolated looting. About 3,000 troops from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) are providing help, including escort for humanitarian distributions and convoys. MUNISTAH is also coordinating with the Haitian police, with back-up from United States forces.

    U.N. AGENCIES DELIVERING MORE FOOD, HEALTH EQUIPMENT IN HAITI

    The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that

    progress is being made and 270,000 people had received emergency food assistance as of Monday. WFP workers aim to reach 95,000 or 100,000 persons today alone. In the coming week, WFP workers aim to distribute 10 million ready to eat rations and they have been coordinating very well with the Government and with local mayors and authorities.

    UNICEF is leading efforts to address issues of water, sanitation and the protection of children, plus their feeding and their education. UNICEF has helped to distribute water to 80,000 persons and continues to provide hospitals with 120,000 litres of water a day.

    Concerning children who are separated from their families or those orphaned, UNICEF believes the priority should be reuniting these children with members of their families, so that they could remain in the country where they were born. Adoption should be the very last option, according to UNICEF.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than 20 health partners are now working together in support of Haitis Ministry of Health. The main health priorities are to provide trauma treatment and to open more operating theatres around the affected areas.

    There are also great fears about the mental health and anguish that people may be suffering from and WHO is focusing on that, as well.

    The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has

    reiterated its strong commitment to back up and support the broader humanitarian effort in Haiti. Two aircraft carrying 2,130 lightweight tents and 18,550 plastic sheets for more than 90,000 people will arrive in Haiti at the beginning of next week from UNHCR's logistics and supplies hub in Dubai. A small team will arrive in the Dominican Republic imminently, at the request of the UN's resident coordinator there.

    SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES PROGRESS TOWARDS RESTORING CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER IN GUINEA

    The Secretary-General

    welcomes the recent progress towards the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea. He spoke today with President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso and commended him and all those who facilitated the signing late last week of the Ouagadougou agreement, which provides for the establishment of a government of national unity, led by a Consensus Prime Minister, and the holding of elections within six months.

    The Secretary-General welcomes the decision by the Guinean Head of State, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, to support the transitional programme initiated by the Interim Head of State, General Sekouba Konaté, and the commitment by himself, the members of the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) and the Government, not to stand in the forthcoming elections. It is important that these commitments are now faithfully carried out to ensure a democratic process and the establishment of a government that fully reflects the will of the Guinean people. In addition, the Secretary-General reminds the Government of Guinea of the need to expeditiously implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry.

    The Secretary General calls on Guinea's regional and international partners to provide the necessary support to help the country through the transition and urges all Guinean political stakeholders to work together to resolve the current crisis. The United Nations stands ready to do its part, including by assisting with elections and through the continued efforts of the Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, who is working closely with regional partners to help resolve the crisis.

    SUDAN: SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE TO STEP DOWN IN LATE FEBRUARY

    The Secretary Generals Special Representative in Sudan, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, has announced his intention to step down as head of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) at the end of February.

    Qazi, a national of Pakistan, has been leading UNMIS, one of the UNs largest peacekeeping operations, since late 2007, after serving as special representative for Iraq. A search has begun for his replacement.

    GUINEA-BISSAU RECOVERY HAMPERED BY POLITICAL AND STRUCTURAL CHALLENGES

    In its latest

    report on Guinea-Bissau, the UN Peacebuilding Office notes that the country continues to face challenges, not least of which is the overall volatility in West Africa.

    Threats to peacebuilding in Guinea-Bissau include the rekindling of separatist activities in the Senegalese region of Casamance, north of Guinea-Bissau; political and social instability in Guinea; and trafficking in the sub-region of persons, small arms and drugs.

    In attempting to strengthen the foundations of the state, priorities should include the areas of elections, security and justice sectors reform and the economy, among others. Equally urgent is the drive to foster national reconciliation.

    MORE THAN 60,000 SOMALIS DISPLACED BY FIGHTING SINCE START OF THE YEAR

    The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

    says that an estimated 63,000 Somalis have been displaced since the start of this year as a result of fighting and general insecurity in the country.

    UNHCR says the number of Somali casualties and displaced civilians continues to grow as fighting rages on in central Somalia.

    In the capital, Mogadishu, fighting has continued over the past three weeks, with local sources saying that at least 10 people including children were killed during the street battles between Government forces and insurgent groups on 13 January. Some 14,000 people were newly displaced from and within the capital.

    Somalia continues to be one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with some 1.5 million internally displaced and over 560,000 people living as refugees in neighbouring countries, mainly in Kenya, Yemen, and Ethiopia.

    SECRETARY-GENERAL LAUNCHES REPORT ON EDUCATION FOR ALL

    This morning, the Secretary-General joined the new Director-General of

    UNESCO, Irina Bokova, at the launch of the 2010 Global Monitoring Report. In his remarks, the Secretary-General said the report

    documented encouraging progress on many fronts, as more children are getting into school, and staying in school, than ever before.

    However, he added, the hard truth is that this progress is not fast enough. Seventy-two million children are still out of school. If current trends continue, there will still be 50 million out of school by 2015, he said.

    The Secretary-General stressed the need for countries to strengthen their efforts to reach those who are being left behind. He also said a scaled-up and more effective aid effort was needed, calling on all countries to meet their longstanding international aid commitments.

    AFGHANS SAY CORRUPTION IS BIGGEST PROBLEM IN COUNTRY, ACCORDING TO U.N. REPORT

    A new report on Corruption in Afghanistan,

    released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), shows that the Afghan people regard corruption as their biggest problem. An overwhelming 59 per cent of the population said that their daily experience of public dishonesty is a bigger concern than insecurity (54 per cent) or unemployment (52 per cent).

    The Afghans say that it is impossible to obtain a public service without paying a bribe, says UNODC Executive Director, Antonio Maria Costa.

    The report shows that graft is part of everyday life in Afghanistan. During the survey period, one Afghan out of two had to pay at least one kickback to a public official, says UNODC. It adds that Afghans paid out $2.5 billion in bribes over the past 12 months; thats equivalent to almost one quarter (23 per cent) of Afghanistans GDP.

    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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