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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-12-01

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Monday, 1 December 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.


  • Secretary-General says Security Council should consider expanding "oil for food programme" to help Iraqi people.
  • Senior officials of some 170 Governments meet in Kyoto, Japan to discuss climate change.
  • Secretary-General's investigative team in Congo-Kinshasa prepares to go to northern town of Mbandaka.
  • High Commissioner for Refugees expresses shock and sorrow at death of an aid worker.
  • Secretary-General expresses serious concern at economic decline in the West Bank and Gaza.
  • On World AIDS Day, Secretary-General calls for attention to children affected by the epidemic.
  • Secretary-General stresses importance of solidarity in international development.
  • United Nations publishes 1995 Energy Statistics Yearbook.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is recommending that the Security Council consider expanding the "oil-for-food" programme to help alleviate the "serious nutritional and health situation" faced by the people of Iraq.

The oil-for-food programme, elaborated in Security Council resolution 986 (1995) and later extended under resolution 1111 (1997) allows Iraq to sell up to $1 billion worth of oil to purchase humanitarian goods. In a new report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General says that "Given the scale of urgent humanitarian requirements in Iraq, the Security Council may wish to re-examine the adequacy of the revenues as envisaged by the resolutions 986 (1995) and 1111 (1997) would be insufficient to address, even as a temporary measure, all the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people."

The Secretary-General also calls for a "systematic review of the whole process of contracting, processing of applications, approvals, procurement and shipment and distribution of the items concerned".

The report notes that a recent study by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) found that in Iraq, the rate of acute malnutrition or wasting in children up to five years old is 11 per cent, while chronic malnutrition, which results in stunting, affected 31 per cent.

The current food ration falls far short of meeting the country's nutritional needs, according to the report. "This is particularly valid since nutritional security is contingent upon a host of interrelated factors, such as safe water and available medicine, which are grossly inadequate at the moment. The Secretary-General stresses that the current ration cannot address the chronic malnutrition and energy deficiency in adults. "In order to improve the current serious situation, an enhanced ration is required."

Concerning health, the report states that Iraq faces high infant mortality rate, and high rates of morbidity and mortality in general, as well as other signs of a deteriorating health infrastructure. "Inputs under the resolution in the health sector will remain of limited impact if other related areas, such as proper treatment of water supply and sewage, electricity, improved quality of food rations and critical environmental problems, are not adequately addressed."

Senior officials of some 170 Governments have converged on Kyoto, Japan to discuss climate change at the Third World Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which opened on Monday.

Climate change is related to carbon dioxide, chlorofluourocarbons and other gas emissions. By thickening the atmospheric "blanket" of greenhouse gases, mankind's emissions are upsetting the natural flow of energy that drives the climate system.

The Conference aims to negotiate new commitments in the form of a protocol to compel developed countries to reduce their emissions after the year 2000 according to specific, legally binding targets.

In an opening statement, Conference President Hiroshi Ohki, who is also Japan's Minister of State and Director General of the Environment Agency, said that only a fully worldwide strategy can effectively address the problem of climate change.

Mr. Ohki called on developed countries to take the lead now in committing themselves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below the 1990 levels. Developing countries should also take actions to address the climate change problems in promoting their sustainable development, taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities under the Convention. He also stressed that developed countries should strengthen their partnership with developing countries by providing financial and technological support for mitigating global greenhouse gas emissions.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's investigative team in the Democratic Republic of Congo is preparing to go to the northern town of Mbandaka to start its field work.

According to a United Nations Spokesman, the team, which has been sent to probe allegations of human rights violations in the country, met with President Laurent Kabila on Sunday and received assurances from him that its members could soon begin their work.

In a related development, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that the controversy over the human rights investigation, which has suffered a long series of delays, should not obscure the broader economic and social contribution the United Nations ought to make to the country.

In a letter to the United Nations Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), the Secretary-General reiterated the importance of a concerted and coordinated approach to the problems of the Great Lakes Region.

The Secretary-General said that reconciliation and democratization will be central to the long-term stability of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He added that the United Nations system needs to engage the country's Government in a comprehensive dialogue on the potential for cooperation with the United Nations.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed shock and deep sorrow at the death of a French female aid worker who had been kidnapped in Tajikistan.

High Commissioner Sadako Ogata said on Sunday she was saddened by the loss of Kareen Mane, who had been employed by a local Tajik non- governmental organization assisting Afghan refugees and asylum seekers under a UNHCR funded programme.

Ms. Mane was kidnapped in Dunshanbe on 18 November. According to UNHCR, she was injured in a grenade explosion and died at a Dushanbe hospital early on Sunday.

Mrs. Ogata said it was simply unacceptable that humanitarian aid workers become deliberate targets of violence. She added that her agency will continue to strongly condemn these "cowardly acts".

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has expressed serious concern at the economic decline in the West Bank and Gaza particularly in the light of prolonged closures and other punitive measures. "We now need real progress in the fields of employment, health, education and development", he said.

In his statement on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Secretary-General says that the vast majority of Palestinians and Israelis want a just peace that would enable them to live normally side by side. He stresses the urgent need to make tangible progress towards a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement based on the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

The promotion of social and economic development and of cooperative relationships throughout the region is essential to create an environment favourable to a lasting peace, the Secretary-General says, adding that the United Nations continues to attach the utmost importance to improving the living conditions in the Palestinian territories as an essential accompaniment to the peace negotiations.

At the United Nations, a solemn meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was held in commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer for Palestine, read out a message from Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority. He said the peace process was facing a genuine crisis, with various obstacles threatening to bring about a complete breakdown. He cited the Israeli Government's continuing a policy of ignoring agreements concluded with the Palestinian side, its failure to meet the obligations and deadlines entailed by those agreements, and its rejection of the terms of reference for the peace process. "This is a policy of imposing dictates and faits accomplis and of the arrogance of power", he said.

He urged those committed to the success of the Middle East peace process, and primarily the United Nations, to bring pressure to bear on the Israeli Government to comply with the will of the international community, the relevant United Nations resolutions, and the Fourth Geneva Convention. They must also prevail upon Israel to desist entirely from unilateral measures, particularly settlement activities, with a view to resuming the final status negotiations in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect, he added.

"AIDS has changed the world for children. We must now change the world for them", Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message marking World AIDS Day. He noted that AIDS is the most publicized disease in the world, "but its impact on children has received an inadequate response, and AIDS programmes for children have lagged behind those for adults".

Every day, 1,600 children become infected with HIV, according to the message. By the end of this year, 1 million children under the age of 15 are expected to be living with HIV, more than 95 per cent of them in developing countries. An additional 8 million children have lost their mothers to AIDS, and millions more are living with an HIV-positive parent.

"Children may be vulnerable, but they are neither helpless nor beyond help. Children themselves are effective communicators, not only among their peers but within their families. Indeed, education and information are among our most powerful weapons in the fight against HIV/AIDS."

The President of the General Assembly, Hennadiy Udovenko of Ukraine, called for united international action to fight HIV/AIDS. "To match the expanding epidemic, we need the expanded financial resources, as well as a political will to do more about the underlying social and economic conditions that leave the majority of people few real options for protection and treatment", he said.

"If we do not act quickly to find and support appropriate ways and means to respond to this epidemic, the lives of many future generations will be bleak, anguished and often brutal", said James Gustave Speth, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He said that the challenge ahead is to mount practical operational programmes on a scale commensurate with the problem.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stressed the importance of solidarity in international development.

In his statement to the Economic and Financial (Second) Committee on the implementation of the Agenda for Development, the Secretary- General said that the Agenda recognized that international development is based on partnership rather than on competing interests. Although individual countries were ultimately responsible for their own development, Mr. Annan said, their efforts could only succeed within an effective multilateral framework that spread the benefits of globalization.

According to the Secretary-General, global forces continue to impact humankind and institutions and thereby redefine the framework for international cooperation. "Globalization is bringing both positive and negative consequences on a scale never experienced before", said Mr. Annan, adding that "the boons of expanded trade and investment, and of higher standards of living for millions of people, contrast with the ills of widening income gaps, environmental degradation and illegal drug trafficking".

From 1990 to 1995 worldwide primary energy demand increased approximately 9 per cent, reaching over 8 billion metric tons of oil, according to the thirty-ninth issue of the United Nations Energy Statistics Yearbook, which was issued on Monday. The Yearbook provides statistics for more than 215 countries and areas in the world, including data on production, trade and consumption of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels and electricity.

Covering production, consumption and trade, the Yearbook reveals that global production of commercial energy increased approximately 8 per cent from 1990, reaching 8.7 billion metric tons of oil equivalent in 1995. Among primary energy sources, natural gas showed a marked increase of 17 per cent between 1990 and 1995. The United States lead individual countries in global energy production, with 21 per cent, while the Russian Federation accounted for 12 per cent and China 10 per cent. The United States, France and Japan together accounted for almost 60 per cent of global nuclear energy production in 1995.

World consumption of crude petroleum exceeded production by more than 40 million tons in 1995, according to the Yearbook. Saudi Arabia was the largest exporter of crude petroleum in 1995 with 351 million metric tons. That same year, Australia was the leading exporter of coal with 136 million metric tons or 29 per cent of worldwide exports, while Japan was the leading importer with 122 million metric tons or 25 per cent of world imports.

The 1995 Energy Statistics Yearbook may be ordered from the Sales Section of the United Nations in New York and Geneva, or from major book stores throughout the world.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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