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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-05-17
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, May 17, 2010
CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, OF COSTA RICA, IS APPOINTED AS TOP U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE OFFICIAL
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to succeed Yvo de Boer. The appointment has been made after consultations with the Conference of Parties through its Bureau.
The Secretary-General is grateful to Mr. de Boer for his dedicated service and tireless efforts on behalf of the climate change agenda.
Ms. Figueres is an international leader on strategies to address global climate change and brings to this position a passion for the issue, deep knowledge of the stakeholders and valuable hands-on experience with the public sector, non-profit sector and private sector.
Ms. Figueres has been involved in climate change negotiations since 1995, served as a negotiator of both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol, and chaired numerous COP decisions. Ms. Figueres also served as Vice President of Bureau, UNFCCC from 2008-2009, and as a member of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism in 2007.
THAILAND: HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF IS EXTREMELY CONCERNED OVER ESCALATION OF VIOLENCE
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed extreme concern today about the escalation of violence in Thailand that have led to a number of deaths and injuries over the past five days.
Recalling Fridays appeal by the Secretary-General, she urged both sides to avoid further violent confrontation and to continue the search for a peaceful resolution to the current standoff.
Underlining that the risk is high for the situation to spiral out of control as the latest government deadline passes, Pillay appealed to the protestors to step back from the brink, and to security forces to exercise maximum restraint in line with the instructions given by the Government.
Stressing that ultimately this situation can only be resolved by negotiation, she urged leaders to set aside pride and politics for the sake of the people of Thailand.
The High Commissioner said she recognized the efforts the Thai Government has made over the past couple of months to resolve the situation, including the establishment of a road map for national reconciliation. She stressed that any use of force by security forces should be in accordance with universal human rights standards, including the UNs Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
Asked about the United Nations action in the standoff in Thailand, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General remained deeply concerned about the loss of life and mounting tension in the countrys capital. He noted that mediation efforts by the United Nations required a request by all parties to a conflict or crisis, which was not the case with Thailand.
SECRETARY-GENERAL BELIEVES IN CREDIBLE ACCOUNTABILITY PROCESS
FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN SRI LANKA
Asked about a report by the International Crisis Group on Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson said the United Nations was studying the report in detail but that the Secretary-General and the United Nations made energetic efforts in the months before the end of the conflict to protect the lives of civilians trapped in the conflict zone and to facilitate a speedy and humane end to the conflict in order to save lives. Unfortunately, he added, none of the appeals and efforts were heeded and an unacceptably high number of civilians were killed.
Nesirky also said that the Secretary-General believed strongly that there should be a serious and credible accountability process for human rights violations committed on both sides of the conflict and he has been very active in pursuing that, based on the commitment made by President Rajapaksa at the end of the Secretary-Generals visit in May 2009. Durable peace cannot be built in Sri Lanka without addressing the critical issue of accountability, he stressed.
The Spokesperson added that the Secretary-General has been strongly urging a serious national effort by the Sri Lankan authorities and will continue to do so. He will soon be establishing an advisory panel to advise him on what would be the parameters for such a process to meet international standards.
Nesirky noted that an international inquiry would require a decision by Members States, and that no such decision had been taken at this time.
Asked about the Sri Lankan governments announcement of a body to look into the events and seek reconciliation, the Spokesperson said it was premature to offer an assessment of a possible outcome. Any commission set up will need to credible and independent, he said.
The Spokesperson noted that, at the end of the Secretary-Generals visit to Sri Lanka, a year ago, President Rajapaksa had made a commitment to a domestic accountability process.
IRAN: SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS NEED TO BE COMPLIED WITH
Asked about a deal reached by Iran with Turkey and Brazil on a nuclear fuel swap, the Spokesperson said that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was awaiting to receive the letter outlining this proposal before commenting.
He said that any effort to resolve differences on a diplomatic track was encouraging in the sense that it is important for there to be discussions.
He underlined the importance of the UN Security Council resolutions already in place and said these needed to be complied with. Nesirky said that the issue was firmly into the hands of Security Council.
In response to a question on the forthcoming Secretary-Generals visit to Brazil, he said that the Secretary-General would be attending the Alliance of Civilizations Forum and holding bilateral meeting with Brazilian officials.
SECURITY COUNCIL WRAPS UP MISSION TO D.R. CONGO
Security Council delegation returned yesterday from a two-day visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, during which they studied options for the future of a UN peacekeeping presence in the country.
The mission held discussions with President Joseph Kabila, his Prime Minister, and the leaders of the two chambers of Parliament. They also met with the UN Mission leadership, the UN Country Team, and members of the Congolese civil society.
Ambassador Gerard Araud of France, who led the delegation, said that the discussions did not concern an immediate withdrawal of all UN troops. Instead he described the visit as a listening tour ahead of critical Security Council deliberations on the future of the UN Mission,
MONUC, which are planned for later this month. He said that his delegation and the Congolese leadership have agreed to remain open to further discussions on the reconfiguration of the UN presence in the country.
Speaking to reporters before leaving Kinshasa, Araud acknowledged that while substantial progress has been made since MONUCs deployment, the situation remains fragile. In that regard, he cautioned against a precipitated withdrawal of UN troops for fear of renewed instability likely to reverse gains achieved in the protection of civilian populations.
IRAQ: U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES PROPER CONDUCT OF RE-COUNT PROCESS
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Iraq, Ad Melkert, has welcomed the proper conduct of the manual re-count process for votes cast in the countrys March parliamentary polls, followed by the announcement of the recount results.
Melkert said the manual recount represented a legal right to deal with complaints and thus has affirmed the legitimacy of the elections.
And, while acknowledging that the recount results must still be ratified by the Federal Supreme Court, hes called on all parties to engage now in serious interaction so as to give immediate priority to the formation of the new government.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES ROLE OF WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP IN RWANDA VISIT
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro is in Kigali today at the invitation of the Rwandese Government to address an International Forum on the Role of Leadership in Promoting Gender Equality.
She praised the Rwandan leadership for demonstrating to the world that achieving the highest global representation of women in parliament is possible despite past and present challenges.
She also noted that the costs of inequality -- for women and girls, for their communities, for economies at large -- are too high. She cited estimates by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific that that region is losing as much as $47 billion of output each year from a lack of female participation in labour markets.
W.H.O. MARKS 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF SMALLPOX ERADICATION
The World Health Assembly opened its 63rd session today in Geneva. The week-long session will focus on a number of public health issues, including: the implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005); the monitoring of the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals; the strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; and counterfeit medical products.
In her address to the Assembly, Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health organization (WHO), said that as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, and the homestretch for reaching the Millennium Development Goals, we need to draw on every lesson, every approach, instrument, and innovative way of raising funds or collaborating together, from heads of state to civil society.
She also said that 30 years ago, the World Health assembly declared that the world and all its people have won freedom from smallpox. Calling this an unprecedented achievement in the history of public health, she stressed that this was proof of the power of collective action. This is worth remembering at a time when the international community is engaged in the most ambitious attack on human misery in history, with just five years left until 2015, she added.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS TO HARNESS POTENTIAL OF DIGITAL REVOLUTION
Today is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. It marks the marks the establishment of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 17 May, 1865.
In a message to mark this occasion, the Secretary-General says that telecommunications are more than just a basic service they are a means to promote development, improve society and save lives.
He adds that the Internet drives trade, commerce and even education. Telemedicine is improving health care. Earth monitoring satellites are being used to address climate change. And green technologies are promoting cleaner cities.
The Secretary-General says that the theme of this years observance, Better Cities, Better Life with ICTs, is a reminder that communications technologies must be employed and disposed of in a manner that raises living standards while protecting the environment.
He calls to fully harness the great potential of the digital revolution in the service of life-saving relief operations, sustainable development and lasting peace.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET ON U.N. MISSION IN KOSOVO: The Security Council will be holding a debate on the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), this afternoon, at 3 p.m. The head of the Mission, Lamberto Zannier, will be briefing.
SOMALIA ENVOY EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENT: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has declared his full support to Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed following the resignation of the Speaker of Parliament. Ould-Abdallah has also invited the Speaker of Parliament to accept the Presidents invitation to join the new Cabinet.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED OVER LACK OF FUNDING OF SOME APPEAL: In response to a question on the lack of funding of the humanitarian appeal for Pakistan, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General remained concerned by the low level of funding of this appeal, as by other appeals which remained poorly funded.
DARFUR CHIEF MEDIATOR CALLS FOR RETURN TO NEGOTIATING TABLE: Asked about the situation in Jebel Moon, West Darfur, the Spokesperson said that the AU-UN Mission there, UNAMID, was planning to send an assessment mission there this week to obtain further information. On the mediation front, Nesirky said that Michel Bassole, the Joint United Nations-African Union Chief Mediator, had been in touch with both the Government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) over the weekend and had appealed to both parties to de-escalate the situation and return to the negotiating table.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, SA-1B15
New York, NY 10017
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