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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-02-19

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:


Wednesday, 19 February 1997

This document is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information and is updated every week-day at approximately 6:00 PM.


  • UN Secretary-General expresses condolences at death of paramount leader of China Deng Xiaoping.
  • Security Council endorses peace plan for Great Lakes region proposed by UN/OAU Special Representative.
  • UN Secretary-General welcomes efforts of President Nelson Mandela of South Africa and other regional leaders to establish dialogue between Zairian government and rebels.
  • Promoting Palestinian economic and social development is essential in order to improve living conditions, especially in Gaza, UN Secretary- General says.
  • Conference on Disarmament adopts agenda for 1997 session.
  • Outer Space Scientific and Technical Subcommittee begins thirty- fourth session in Vienna.
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation says on-going reforms have resulted in radically changed Organisation; announces savings of US$25 million per year.
  • United Nations report says full employment is attainable goal.
  • 1997 Report on World Social Situation addresses social issues with emphasis on living conditions.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has expressed condolences at the death of the paramount leader of China, Mr. Deng Xiaoping. In a statement Wednesday, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Fred Eckhard said Mr. Deng Xiaoping had indelibly stamped his mark on "this most recent and vibrant period of China's long history".

"He will be remembered, not just in his own country, which he so faithfully served for so long, but also in the international community at large as a primary architect of China's modernisation and dramatic economic development," the Spokesman said.

The Spokesman said, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, through his dedicated leadership, brought about major reforms that had improved the lives of so many of his fellow citizens immeasurably. "This achievement will undoubtedly be seen by many to be his greatest legacy", he said.

The Secretary-General wishes to extend to the family of Mr. Deng Xiaoping and to the Government and people of China his most profound condolences for the tragic loss, the Spokesman said.

The Security Council on Tuesday endorsed a five-point plan for eastern Zaire which calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of all external forces, including mercenaries, and the reaffirmation of respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Zaire and other States in the Great Lakes region.

Contained in resolution 1097 (1997), which was adopted unanimously by the Council, the plan also calls for protection and security for all refugees and displaced persons and for the rapid and peaceful settlement of the crisis in the region through dialogue, the electoral process and the convening of an international conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region.

The plan was proposed by the joint United Nations/Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Special representative for the Great Lakes region, Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has welcomed the efforts of President Nelson Mandela of South Africa and other regional leaders to try to bring together representatives of the Zairian government and the rebels from eastern Zaire, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Fred Eckhard said. Referring to reports of continued fighting, he said sources in Bukavu have said that there were no further bombing attacks on Bukavu following the attack on Monday.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says promoting Palestinian economic and social development is essential in order to improve living conditions, especially in Gaza, and to create solid foundations for peace.

Addressing the opening of the 1997 Session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in New York, Wednesday, Mr. Annan told delegates that the United Nations system was making an important contribution in that area, with a special emphasis on employment generation and Palestinian institution building.

Mr. Annan underlined the recent appointment of the Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, and said the Special Coordinator would work closely with the Palestinian Authority to identify areas in which the UN could enhance its contribution in the economic and social fields.

Outlining developments regarding peace efforts in the Middle East, the Secretary-General congratulated Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leader, Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the progress they had made together.

The Conference on Disarmament has adopted its agenda for the 1997 session. The agenda, adopted in Geneva lists eight items for consideration by the Conference.

The items include: cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters; prevention of an arms race in outer space; effective international arrangements to ensure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of nuclear weapons; new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons, including radiological weapons; a comprehensive programme of disarmament; transparency in armaments; and consideration and adoption of the annual report and any other report, as appropriate.

A two-week intergovernmental meeting has begun in Vienna, in light of the General Assembly's decision to hold a third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) as a special session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space that will be open to all Member States of the United Nations. The arrangements and agenda for this long-debated event will be a major issue at the two- week session.

The decision to hold a third UNISPACE in 1999 or 2000 is the culmination of nearly four years of discussions by the 61-member Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which furthers international cooperation in technology, research, legal issues and the dissemination of space-related information.

The General Assembly had stressed that UNISPACE III should reflect the significant advances in space activities.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says on-going reforms have resulted in a "radically changed organisation", one that is significantly slimmed-down and refocused. In a report entitled, "Reforming FAO - The Challenge of World Food Security", the agency noted that the reforms are bringing about "the most significant restructuring since FAO's founding to decentralise operations, streamline procedures and reduce costs."

The report stated that FAO cut 456 positions throughout the organisation by mid-1996, down from 4,185. At its Rome Headquarters 563 posts were eliminated as were 63 posts in country offices, while 170 posts were added to strengthen field work.

These and other changes, including a $2.5 million a year reduction in travel costs, fewer and shorter meetings, and cutting the number of publications and the length of meeting documents had already led to efficiency gains saving some $25 million a year, the report stated.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouff, launching the report at a news conference in Rome said there had been considerable talk about the need to reform UN agencies as a result he was releasing the report to the media to make it clear that FAO was in the process of implementing what could only be termed as broad-based, fundamental reform.

Full employment was a goal which could be realised without necessarily overheating national economies, according to a report to be presented to the Commission for Social Development, as it convenes in New York from 25 February to 6 March.

The report, which was prepared by the Secretariat of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), discusses productive employment and sustainable livelihoods, the priority theme of the Commission's upcoming session.

According to the report, the people of the world have paid a price for the overriding concern of policy-makers with controlling inflation and reducing public deficits, and the relative neglect of measures to combat unemployment.

Job creation in developing countries overall was lagging behind an increase in the labour force averaging about 2 per cent per annum, the report noted, adding that unemployment and underemployment remained primary impediments to poverty eradication.

Stating that high and productive levels of employment are fundamental means of combating poverty, of ensuring equity, of meeting people's aspirations for participation in economic and social life, and for preserving social cohesion, the report reviews employment policy issues from countries and regions around the world and presents policy recommendations.

Two years after a ground-breaking United Nations Summit meeting drew international attention to the growing dangers of poverty, unemployment and social disintegration, the Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis (DESIPA) has prepared a far-reaching, meticulously detailed assessment of global social issues and policy options that will be among the documents before the upcoming session of the Commission for Social Development.

The study - 1997 Report on the World Social Situation, is intended as a comprehensive analytical tool for policy makers, experts and citizens involved in developing strategies to implement the agreements reached at the World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen during 1995.

The Summit, the first such global meeting to focus on social development issues, was attended by 117 heads of State and government, who approved a Declaration and Programme of Action.

The report, which is issued every four years, consists of two major parts. Part I provides an overview of social issues, with an emphasis on living conditions, beginning with a presentation of economic patterns at the global and regional levels.

The report further appraises population trends both globally and regionally along with the demographic components of fertility, mortality and international migration that determine those trends.

Part II of the report addresses the core themes of the 1995 Social Summit Programme of Action: eradication of poverty, expansion of productive employment and social integration.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <> - email:

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