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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-01-21

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 MARTIN

NESIRKY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, January 21, 2010

HUMANITARIAN CORRIDOR ESTABLISHED BETWEEN HAITI AND DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The

UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) welcomes the establishment of a humanitarian corridor between the Dominican Republic and the

Republic of Haiti between Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince. This will allow the speedy delivery of aid to the areas most affected by the earthquake.

MINUSTAH, as well as the

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the security situation remains under control in the capital as well as in the rest of the country, despite isolated cases of looting. These localized incidents are mostly in areas considered high risk prior to the disaster.

OCHA tells us that the cluster system is now up and running and working well, bringing together NGOs, UN agencies and all other humanitarian organizations.

OCHA also tells us that 150 flights a day are coming in and the first ship has now arrived in Port-au-Princes with 123 metric tons of aid. Other ships are expected in due course. This was allowed because part of the port has been made operational.

Yesterday, the acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General,

Edmond Mulet, met with representatives of the private sector to discuss ways for the Mission to help to secure the business sector in the resumption of their activities, mainly by protecting certain roads and streets, and patrol fuel stations and banks.

Asked whether Haiti had rejected an offer of troops from the Dominican Republic, the Spokesperson said that, to the contrary, Haiti had accepted an offer by the Dominican Republic to provide a team of 150 military personnel to help protect a humanitarian corridor stretching from the Dominican-Haitian border to Port au Prince. Those troops, he said, will accompany MINUSTAHs Peruvian contingent. They will be deployed soon.

Asked about the meeting taking place in Montreal next week on aid to Haiti, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations welcomes the initiative as an important first step toward helping Haiti. The Secretary-General has asked Emergency Relief Coordinator

John Holmes to attend that meeting, and other senior UN officials will also be present.

Asked whether UN peacekeepers had driven by armed looters without stopping, the Spokesperson made clear that UN peacekeepers have other tasks beyond dealing with looters. He added that there had only been localized, isolated incidents of looting.

Asked about the provision of psychological counseling following the earthquake, Nesirky said that, as part of the crisis management response, trauma counselors had been put in place immediately.

UNITED NATIONS HAS CONFIRMED 61 PERSONNEL DEAD IN HAITI

In response to a question on UN casualties in

Haiti, the Spokesperson said that the confirmed number of deceased for UN peacekeeping and civilian staff is now 61. He added that fewer than 180 personnel remain unaccounted for.

The number of those unaccounted for has decreased as communications have improved on the ground, Nesirky added.

Asked how long it would be before it is concluded that staff have died, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations was not putting a timeframe on when those unaccounted for at present would be categorized differently. He said the United Nations continues to work around the clock to find people alive and to recover bodies.

U.N. HAS PROVIDED SOME THREE MILLION MEALS TO HAITIANS SO FAR

Asked about funding for the UN

flash appeal for

Haiti, the Spokesperson said that so far, about $195 million have been received, and another $112 million pledged, in response to the $575 million UN flash appeal. That appeal is now 34 percent funded, as of this morning. He added that the

UN Central Emergency Response Fund had allocated an immediate $25 million dollars.

[An update after the briefing said that about $207 million have been received, and another $106 million pledged, in response to the $575 million UN flash appeal. That appeal is now 36 percent funded, as of this morning.]

Asked about the amount of food provided, Nesirky said that the

World Food Programme (WFP) has already reached 200,000 people who are receiving an amount that is good for three meals a day.

It has already distributed more than one million food rations, amounting to three million meals. More is on the way, he added.

The Spokesperson said that WFP is carrying out vital distributions of ready-to-eat high energy biscuits inside and outside of

Port-au-Prince and aims to feed up to 2 million people. Water is also increasingly available.

Although conditions on the ground still hamper aid operations, Nesirky said that the United Nations is working around the clock, even in difficult conditions, to provide as much aid as possible. The United Nations continues to improve aid delivery and distribution efforts.

In an updated on its appeal to business to direct contributions and offers for Haiti to the new UN-Business Partnership Gateway (business.un.org), the

UN Global Compact said that Gateway has quickly shown to be a useful mechanism to receive strategic donations from the private sector. To date, Global Compact participants have pledged over $9.5 million in both cash and in-kind contributions to support relief and redevelopment efforts. These funds have been allocated both directly to the United Nations and to agencies supporting efforts on the ground (such as the International Red Cross). Many participants have also offered resources such as medical supplies, logistics support, water and solar powered communications equipment.

SPOKESPERSON: RESPONSE TO HAITI CRISIS BY SECRETARY-GENERAL, TOP OFFICIALS WAS IMMEDIATE

Asked about the

Secretary-Generals response, and the overall UN response, once the earthquake hit

Haiti on 12 January, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had been on his way back from a retreat with major regional organizations when news of the earthquake first came out. He immediately ordered his advisers to activate a Crisis Management Group.

He and his senior advisers then met through the night, trying to get contact with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which was initially unreachable after the earthquake. The Secretary-General quickly issued a statement voicing his concerns, as did Under-Secretary-General for

Peacekeeping Operations

Alain Le Roy.

Nesirky said that the Secretary-General remained in contact with his advisers and also reached out to his Special Envoy to Haiti, former US President

Bill Clinton, and to the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, with whom he discussed coordination with the United States in response to the unfolding crisis.

Because of the vacuum in leadership in Haiti, the Secretary-General appointed Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations

Edmond Mulet to become the acting head of MINUSTAH. And he made that announcement when he briefed the press on Haiti the following morning, at 8:00 a.m.

SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES SUPPORT FOR EFFORTS TO RESTART ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN TALKS

The

Secretary-General

spoke at the meeting this morning of the

Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, telling them that he supports US-led efforts to restart the long-stalled

Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

He warned that, in the absence of talks, confidence between the parties has diminished. If we do not move forward on the political process soon, he said, we risk sliding backwards.

The Secretary-General added that in East Jerusalem, a series of worrisome events has not only stoked tensions in the City but also has the potential to endanger stability in the region.

And he said that he deeply regrets that the United Nations proposal to kick-start civilian reconstruction activity has not been approved. The Secretary-General repeated his call on Israel to end its unacceptable and counterproductive blockade and to fully respect international law.

SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD OF PROGRESS IN IVORIAN ELECTORAL PROCESS

Choi Yong-jin, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Côte dIvoire, briefed the

Security Council this morning, telling Council members that the Ivorian electoral process has made remarkable progress in a peaceful environment.

But he also said that a contentious problem emerged when the Independent Electoral Commission cross-checked one list of one million non-traced people and produced a second list of 429,000 traced people. The dispute surrounding the second list has yet to be resolved, and it may be several weeks before the electoral process gains speed again.

The Council meeting on Côte dIvoire was followed by closed consultations on the same topic.

Earlier today, the Security Council adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the

UN Mission in Nepal until 15 May.

NEW JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR DARFUR MISSION TO ARRIVE IN SUDAN TOMORROW

The new Joint Special Representative (JSR) of the

African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID),

Ibrahim Gambari, will arrive in

Khartoum on Friday 22 January.

Mr. Gambari will deliver a brief statement immediately thereafter at 19:00 local time.

SECRETARY-GENERAL FOLLOWING CASE OF U.S. NATIONAL IN NORTH KOREAN PRISON

In response to a question earlier this week about an American Christian missionary who walked into the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) in protest of that countrys prison system, the Spokesperson said that the

Secretary-General is aware of this and has been following this particular case.

We are aware that he is a U.S. national and that the United States government working for his release, the Spokesperson said.

The Secretary-General hopes that the DPRK will release Mr. Park on humanitarian considerations, responding to the repeated calls by his family and the international community.

UN OFFICE OF INTERNAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES CAN INVESTIGATE CONTRACTORS

In response to a question asked yesterday, about a comment, or memo, attributed to an official at the

Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on whether third party employees would continue to be investigated by OIOS, the Spokesperson noted that OIOS said that the comments about investigations into employees of third parties seem to have been misinterpreted or misquoted. The comment actually relates to a short administrative entry in the OIOS electronic case management system.

According to its mandate, established by the

General Assembly, OIOS investigates reports of violations of United Nations regulations, rules and pertinent administrative issuances. This includes UN staff members, who are obliged to cooperate with OIOS in accordance with the Organization's rules. But OIOS investigations may also extend to UN contractors; those contractors in turn are obliged to cooperate with OIOS, in accordance with the standard contract terms and conditions for doing business with the United Nations. It is not accurate to say that such contractors cannot be investigated, the Spokesperson added.

BAN KI-MOON TO ATTEND CONFERENCE ON AFGHANISTAN AND AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is planning to travel to the United Kingdom next week to attend the London Conference on

Afghanistan.

After a day in London, he will then head to Addis Ababa, to attend the summit of the African Union. While in Addis, the Secretary-General will also hold bilateral meetings with Heads of State and Government.

The Secretary-General plans to tell you more about this trip prior to his departure.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UN MISSION WELCOMES START OF BALLOT PRINTING IN IRAQ: The

United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) today

extended its warm congratulations to the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission for starting the ballot printing process for the

countrys upcoming parliamentary elections. Overall, more than 26 million ballots of 19 different types will be printed and distributed to approximately 50,000 polling stations.

UN ENVOY FOR MALARIA WELCOMES GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLAN: The

Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Malaria,

Raymond Chambers, has

welcomed the decision by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to publicly release exclusive data on over 13,500 compounds with

malaria fighting capabilities. Chambers said the companys plan is an invaluable gift to the scientific community and malaria victims at large. Allowing broad-based access to this important data will undoubtedly catalyze research and development and ensure a competitive marketplace that will ultimately make more interventions accessible to people who need them most, Chambers said.

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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