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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-04-20

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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

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BAN KI-MOON RENEWS MANDATES OF UNHCR AND UNEP CHIEFS

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has transmitted to the General Assembly his nominations for the posts of UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

In both cases, he has re-nominated the incumbents for a further term.

Mr. António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres of Portugal as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for a further period of five years; and Mr. Achim Steiner of Germany, as Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, for a further four-year term of office. Both appointments would become effective 15 June 2010.

NO IMMEDIATE NEGATIVE HEALTH EFFECTS FROM ICELAND VOLCANIC ASH

The World Health Organization (WHO)

says that at the moment there are no effects on health from the spread of volcanic ash, except for people in the vicinity of the volcano in Iceland.

There, says WHO, the very coarse particles are causing a lot of irritation and people have to take precautions including using goggles and masks and remaining indoors as much as possible. WHO adds that in the rest of Europe, the pollution has not arrived at ground level and, so far, air quality in European cities is within normal range.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has also issued a question and answer press release on the spread of the volcanic ash and you can find that in my office.

And this afternoon, the Secretary-General will meet with the Secretary-General and the President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Organization has 9 Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers across the world.

U.N. EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR TO VISIT NIGER, DR CONGO, SENEGAL

The

Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes will on Friday begin a visit to Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Senegal.

The Emergency Relief Coordinator is expected during his visit to Niger to gain first-hand impressions of the poverty, food insecurity, and population growth that are affecting millions of households in the region. He will also meet government officials, UN and NGO staff involved in the relief effort.

In Democratic Republic of Congo, Holmes will visit a number of the towns most affected by the instability there and its attendant problems. He will also assess the UN and other aid agencies humanitarian work. Holmes also has meetings planned with both government and humanitarian officials.

UNITED NATIONS IS CONDUCTING A DAMAGE ASSESSMENT AFTER AFGHANISTAN EARTHQUAKE

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is carrying out assessments of the damage caused by the earthquake, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, which hit

Afghanistans Samangan province on Sunday. The Office says that it has received reports so far of seven deaths and more than 30 injuries, with an estimated 2,000 houses damaged or destroyed.

OCHA adds that emergency shelter is required. Other key needs include water and sanitation, food, veterinary support for injured animals and transport and warehousing.

SPOKESPERSON DETAILS CONDITIONS FOR SETTING UP BOARDS OF INQUIRY

FOR INCIDENTS INVOLVING U.N. STAFF

The Spokesperson was asked some questions yesterday concerning the way that the United Nations sets up Boards of Inquiry, such as the one that we established in January concerning the October 2009 attack on a UN guest house in Kabul, Afghanistan.

It is standard procedure to convene a Board of Inquiry in cases such as this. This particular board was convened under the authority of the Under Secretary-General of the Department of Field Support (DFS) and was comprised of external and internal senior personnel with relevant backgrounds and Afghanistan expertise --including in security; investigations; and agencies, funds and programmes. It was led by a former senior Australian Federal Police Officer.

The procedure for the conclusion of the Board of Inquiry is as follows: the Board finishes and submits the draft report for legal comment. The report is then given back to the Board for further action as required. Once the report is signed off on by Board members, it is considered finalized and it is presented to the convening authority, in this case the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, for further action as warranted. The actual Board of Inquiry reports are not made public in order to protect the confidentiality of the investigation.

Asked whether the report would be shared with the Afghan Government, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has been in contact with the Afghan authorities and the findings will be shared if they warrant it. He noted that, even if the report is not made public that does not mean that key findings would not be shared.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. COURT ISSUES RULING IN URUGUAY/ARGENTINA DISPUTE: Today in The Hague, the International Court of Justice

delivered its final and binding judgment in the case concerning the dispute between Argentina and Uruguay over pulp mills on the River Uruguay between the countries.

IRAQ MUST INVEST MORE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION TO MEET DEVELOPMENT GOALS: The United Nations system in Iraq

says if the effort to provide Education for All and the

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are to be met in the country, more public spending is needed and additional sources of funding must be channelled. Christine McNab, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said that Iraq faces considerable challenges to improve access to education and guarantee that girls and boys have equal opportunities. More financial resources are needed to ensure that the constitutional right to education is met by the Government.

U.N. ENVOY TO CHAIR CONTACT GROUP MEETING ON SOMALIA: The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah will chair the 17th meeting of the International Contact Group for Somalia in Cairo on 21-22 April. Issues to be discussed include strengthening the Somali forces, reconciliation and outreach, the constitution process, among others challenges to security and stability in Somalia.

BAN KI-MOON DISCUSSED HUMANITARIAN AID TO DPRK WITH JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER: Asked about a reported discussion between the Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister of Japan on aid to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has raised the issue of the DPRKs humanitarian requirements with many leaders. Nesirky noted that the United Nations has a team in place to ensure that aid sent to the DPRK gets to the people who need it.

  • **The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Carlos Castresana, Commissioner of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). He was accompanied by Rigoberta Menchu, Nobel Peace Laureate, Eduardo Stein, former Vice-President of Guatemala, and Gonzalo Marroquin, Director of Prensa Libre newspaper and Vice-President of the Inter-American Press Association.

    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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