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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-07

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, June 7, 2007

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES G-8 AGREEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wholeheartedly welcomes that G-8 leaders have agreed on a strong and early action to combat climate change.

He is greatly encouraged by their commitment to a multilateral process within the UN framework.

The Secretary-General has placed great diplomatic efforts in getting the G-8 leaders to acknowledge the central role of the United Nations and its Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the forum for climate change negotiations.

The acceptance by the leaders of their responsibility to act on emission reductions and eventual cuts is to be commended, as is their stated intention to conclude the negotiations on a post-2012 agreement by 2009.

SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN BERLIN, MEETS LEADERS OF G-8 SUMMIT

The Secretary-General is in Berlin today, where he has been meeting with a number of the leaders who will attend the outreach session of the G-8 summit scheduled to take place tomorrow in Heiligendamm, Germany.

The Secretary-General met separately with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, South African President Thabo Mbeki and Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, to discuss the issues being addressed at the G8 summit and outreach session.

He also emphasized to all the leaders that we have the technology and resources needed to deal with climate change, and now must find the necessary political will.

The Secretary-General also spoke with the Indian Prime Minister about the situations in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Nepal; with the South African President about Darfur and the joint UN-AU proposal sent to President Bashir of Sudan, as well as about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Kosovo; and with the Brazilian President about Haiti.

He also met with the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Alpha Oumar Konaré, and they discussed

Darfur at length.

He also is scheduled to meet with the Nigerian and Mexican Presidents, and to attend a dinner hosted by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

ICC PROSECUTOR CALLS FOR ARREST

OF TWO SUSPECTS IN DARFUR CRIMES

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), today told the Security Council in an open briefing that the Council and regional organizations must take the lead in calling on Sudan to arrest two people suspected of crimes in Darfur: Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb.

He said that the Court counts on every state to execute the arrest warrants against the two men and hopes that the Security Council can address the issue of Sudanese cooperation with the ICC during its mission to Khartoum.

Moreno-Ocampo laid out the case against Harun and Hushayb, saying that now, the key is their arrest and surrender.

That open briefing was followed by consultations on Darfur, in which the Prosecutor continued his discussions with Council members.

SPECIAL ENVOY FOR DARFUR TO BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL FRIDAY

Jan Eliasson, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Darfur, is scheduled to brief the Security Council tomorrow on his joint efforts with the African Union to reinvigorate the peace process.

UNITED NATIONS AND AFRICAN UNION TO MEET NEXT WEEK

WITH SUDANESE GOVERNMENT ON PROPOSED FORCE FOR DARFUR

The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reports that the situation in Darfur during the month of May can be characterized by the forced movement of civilians due to increased insecurity, swelling populations of displaced persons, rising tensions in camps, and ever-increasing targeted violence against humanitarian operations.

Nearly 140,000 people have been identified as newly displaced since the beginning of the year, with at least 10,000 on the move during the month of May alone, according to the mission.

The mission also notes there also continues to be a very high rate of attacks on NGO compounds and staff. It says the increasing use of physical and mental violence used during hijackings is of serious concern.

The United Nations and the African Union are expected to meet with the Government of Sudan on the proposed hybrid operation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 11 and 12 June.

A briefing to the Security Council on the outcome of that meeting is expected to take place before the Security Council mission heads to the region at the end of next week.

WFP TO ASSIST EMERGENCY AID OPERATION IN LEBANON

The World Food Programme (WFP) today announced that it will provide technical assistance to support an emergency operation in Lebanon mounted by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The operation will assist people displaced by the ongoing clashes in two of the largest Palestinian refugee camps, al-Hilwah and Nahr al-Bared.

Since fighting broke out in the Nahr al-Bared camp near the northern city of Tripoli on 20 May, thousands of civilians have fled the camp with only the belongings that they could carry.

ISRAEL-SYRIA SECTOR REMAINS GENERALLY QUIET

The Secretary-General, in his latest report to the Security Council on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights, says that the situation in the Israel-Syria sector remains generally quiet.

He adds that he considers UNDOFs continued presence in the area to be crucial, and he recommends that the Council extend the missions mandate by six months.

BAN KI-MOON URGES PROGRESS ON CYPRUS ISSUE

In the Secretary-Generals latest report on Cyprus he says that the situation along the ceasefire line has remained generally calm, but he noted safety concerns regarding civilians seeking to exercise their property rights in the buffer zone.

He said that the UN Mission in its current form should not be taken for granted, as the international community is increasingly questioning the lack of significant political progress on the Cyprus issue. He called for implementation of the 8 July agreement and for Cypriots themselves to take the lead in finding a solution.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL APPEALS TO

ACCELERATE COMMITMENTS TO HELP WORLD'S POOREST

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro delivered a message on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) last night to the 20th meeting of the Academic Council on the United Nations System at the Ralph Bunche Institute in New York.

In her message, the Deputy Secretary-General noted that this year marks the midpoint between the adoption of the Goals and the target date of 2015 and appealed to world leaders to accelerate implementation of the existing commitments as time is running out.

She also said that, with climate change now a major challenge, the role of research and academia is critical to addressing its adverse effects and their impact on development.

Later today, the Deputy Secretary-General will take part in a ceremony for this years recipients of the United Nations Population Award.

U.N. ENVOYS ATTEND INTERNATIONAL CONTACT GROUP ON SOMALIA

The International Contact Group on Somalia met in London yesterday to discuss mechanisms for advancing the political process and stabilising the security situation in Somalia. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe and Francois Lonseny Fall, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, attended that meeting.

In a communiqué issued afterward, the Contact Group noted the recent improvement in the security situation but expressed its serious concern at the continued sporadic violence in Mogadishu and the deaths and injuries caused by it.

The Contact Group added that it believes that the National Reconciliation Congress is the primary vehicle to demonstrate an inclusive approach to governance, help deliver security for the Transitional Government and the people of Somalia, and advance political reconciliation.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN AGENCY CALLS FOR

PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN DR CONGO

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is calling on all parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to respect humanitarian principles and protect civilian populations caught in the conflict.

Speaking at a conference of religious leaders in South Kivu, the Secretary-Generals Deputy Special Representative for the DRC, Ross Mountain, said that access to vulnerable populations has been impeded in recent months by armed groups and ongoing military operations.

CLARIFICATIONS FROM BANGLADESH SOUGHT ON CHARGES

AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS RAPPORTEUR

Asked about news that the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Sigma Huda, has been prevented from leaving Bangladesh, the Spokeswoman said that the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has been advised that she has reportedly been charged under provisions of anti-corruption legislation in that country.

The human rights office has requested clarification from the Bangladeshi authorities regarding the legal proceedings and charges against Huda and how, in light of the convention on privileges and immunities of the United Nations and the regulations on the status, rights and duties of UN experts on mission, such proceedings allow for keeping her from attending to her duties as special rapporteur, including addressing the Human Rights Council on 11 June, as she is scheduled to do.

NEW APPROACH TO COMBATTING SEVERE MALNUTRITION ANNOUNCED

According to the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme and UNICEF, twenty million children under the age of five worldwide stand to benefit from a new

approach to combating severe malnutrition.

The three agencies have put forward new evidence that about three-quarters of children suffering from acute malnutrition can be treated at home through highly fortified, ready-to-use therapeutic foods. These are soft and crushable nutrient and energy-rich foods that can be eaten without adding water.

The three partnering UN agencies say the approach could prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children each year.

CAPITAL MASTER PLAN HAS BEEN HEAVILY SCRUTINIZED

Asked about an article that called for outside oversight of the Capital Master Plan (CMP), the Spokeswoman said that the Plan was one of the most heavily audited and scrutinized programmes in the UN system.

She later said the budget of the Capital Master Plan of $1,876.7 million was passed unanimously by the 192 Member States in the GA in December 2006 after six years of discussions by the Member States in the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), the Administrative and Budgetary Committee of the General Assembly, internal auditing by the UN Office on Internal Oversight (OIOS), the UN Board of Auditors on the CMP, and externally by the U.S. Government Accounting Office.

All the respective documents on the CMP have been published and are accessible, for example, through the website of the CMP. Data on procurement contracts, since the beginning of the CMP are open to the public and have been posted on the website of the UN Procurement Service. The data is also accessible with a link from the CMP website.

MORE THAN 600 MILLION PEOPLE WORK EXCESSIVELY LONG HOURS

An estimated one in five workers around the world are working excessively long hours.

Thats according to a new International Labour Organization

study. It found that more than 600 million people are working at least 48 hours a week, often merely to make ends meet.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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