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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-04-21

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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

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MARK INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF RAPPROCHEMENT OF CULTURES

This afternoon, the Secretary-General will speak at a UN event to mark the International Year on the Rapprochement of Cultures, which is intended to highlight dialogue and understanding among peoples and faiths.

He will say that dialogue among cultures, civilizations and religions is crucial to fulfilling the central objectives of the United Nations Charter, upholding human rights and advancing development. And he will note recent initiatives to foster understanding, like the

Alliance of Civilizations, which will built on at a major Forum next month in Rio de Janeiro.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SADDENED BY DEATH OF FORMER OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENT

The Secretary-General was greatly saddened to hear the news of the death of Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Secretary-General is writing letters of condolence to the IOC President and to the family of Mr. Samaranch.

BOARD OF INQUIRY REPORT ON AFGHANISTAN TO BE FINALISED

In answer to questions, in recent days, on the Board of Inquiry concerning the October 2009 attack on a UN guest house in Kabul,

Afghanistan, the Spokesperson said that there is a standard operational procedure for such Boards, and that procedure was followed with this Board.

The Board of Inquiry is confidential, in that it is an investigative report that includes the names of witnesses, representation of evidence and other such information. Making this information public could compromise the integrity of the process and put people who spoke with the investigators at risk. However, the UN frequently briefs on the findings of major Boards of Inquiry and we will certainly ask for a senior official to do so in this case.

Once the report is finalised, it will be shared with the Secretary-General and his Executive Office. The findings of the report will also be shared with the Government of Afghanistan, and we will work closely with any competent requesting judicial authority and investigative body. The United Nations has also been, and will continue to be, in constant contact with Mr. Maxwell's family, both in person and by telephone.

In response to questions about Maxwells death, the Spokesperson said that the Board of Inquiry is currently finalizing its report, and he declined to comment until the report has been finalized.

He added that the United Nations had sought to establish the facts behind Maxwells death as soon as it became aware of information concerning his death, and the Board had been looking into the matter carefully, in accordance with due process. If warranted, the United Nations will take up the Boards findings with the Afghan authorities.

GUYANA-VENEZUELA: SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE ON BORDER CONTROVERSY

The Secretary-General has appointed Norman Girvan of Jamaica as his Personal Representative on the Border Controversy between Guyana and Venezuela.

Girvans role will be to assist Guyana and Venezuela in resolving this long-standing controversy. His appointment responds to a request from the parties to resume the Secretary-Generals good offices, which were suspended in 2007 due to the death of the Secretary-Generals last Personal Representative, Oliver Jackman.

The Secretary-General commends the parties for seeking to resolve their differences through dialogue, and looks forward to learning of the progress that they make with Girvans assistance.

POOR RAINS IMPEDE FOOD PRODUCTION IN NIGER, CHAD, BURKINA FASO AND MALI

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is

stepping up aid to herders and pastoralists in Niger and Chad amid a growing food crisis caused by last years poor rains, which have resulted in a steep decline in agricultural production and dried out livestock pastures.

According to the FAO, an estimated 9.8 million people are now vulnerable to severe hunger in the two countries, with thousands more under threat in the north of Burkina Faso and northeast Mali.

UN and government surveys in most of the east Sahelian countries indicate a prevalence of global acute malnutrition higher than 16 percent -- exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) critical threshold. In addition, food prices remain high, making it even harder for poor farmers and pastoralists to buy food.

FAO says that its priority is to get feed to animals and to supply farmers with the seeds for the June planting season.

COUNTRIES FORGE AHEAD WITH LOW-CARBON GROWTH STRATEGIES IN FIRST QUARTER OF 2010

The 2010 Climate Competitiveness Index, the most comprehensive study to date of national progress to create green jobs and economic growth through low-carbon products and services,

shows that, in spite of uncertainty surrounding international climate negotiations, countries have forged ahead with low-carbon growth strategies in the first quarter of 2010.

The Index, produced in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), analyzed 95 countries responsible for 97 per cent of global economic activity and 96 per cent of global carbon emissions.

It concludes that despite gaps in performance and accountability, 46 per cent of countries have demonstrated some improvement in climate accountability since the Copenhagen conference in December 2009. Thirty-two countries have made significant improvements, with Germany, China and the Republic of Korea being the outstanding examples. India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Rwanda have also enhanced their climate accountability, according to the Index.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

AMERICAN IDOL TO HIGHLIGHT WORK OF U.N. FOUNDATION: Tonight at 8:00 p.m., the TV show American Idol will broadcast an Idol


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