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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-22

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 MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, June 22, 2007

BAN KI-MOON TO ATTEND DARFUR MEETING IN PARIS MONDAY

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to attend the High-level Meeting of the Enlarged International Contact Group on Sudan in Paris on Monday.

Also attending that meeting from the United Nations are the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for

Darfur, Jan Eliasson, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno and Margareta Wahlstrom, Assistant Secretary-General for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora while in Paris, the Spokeswoman said that they were not scheduled to meet. His meetings, she said, would focus on Darfur and would include one with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

NEW REPORT LINKS CLIMATE CHANGE AND CONFLICT IN SUDAN

Sudan is unlikely to see a lasting peace unless widespread and rapidly increasing environmental degradation is urgently addressed. Thats according to an

assessment, issued today, by the UN Environment Programme.

Among the most serious concerns are land degradation and desertification, the report said. It noted that deserts have spread southwards by an average of 100 kilometers over the past four decades.

The report noted a clearly marked decline in rainfall, especially in Darfur, adding that the scale of climate change as recorded in Northern Darfur is almost unprecedented. Those impacts are closely linked to conflict in the region, as desertification has added significantly to the stress on traditional agricultural and pastoral livelihoods, the report says.

With declining rainfall, crop yields are expected to fall by as much as 70 percent in the most vulnerable areas.

HUMANITARIAN SITUATION FOR PALESTINIANS IN GAZA REMAINS DIRE

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said that the main crossing points into Gaza remain closed, and it stressed that a reopening of the Karni crossing was crucial to prevent a general food shortage in two weeks time.

The Agency said that the refugee poverty rate has now risen to 88 percent, with UNRWA now providing food aid to 860,000 refugees in Gaza alone.

The World Food Programme said it had been able to use one crossing point, at Kerem Shalom, today to transport some 400 tonnes of food aid to Gaza, and added that more food aid needs to come in, with commercial stocks running low.

UNICEF said it is delivering emergency medical supplies and vaccines to help prevent outbreaks of measles, tuberculosis and other diseases among children in Gaza.

Tomorrow, UNRWA will start a 10-week programme of games for 192,000 children and youth in Gaza.

Asked about new dates for a Quartet meeting, the Spokeswoman said that Quartet members were consulting with each other on that. She said that the Quartets envoys would meet next week.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to the scheduled meeting next week between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Montas said that the Secretary-General has always encouraged and supports meetings between them. She noted his participation last May in the Sharm El Sheikh consultations on the Arab peace initiative and his many exchanges with regional players in recent days.

UN HUMANITARIAN CHIEF CALLS FOR AN END OF TARGETING

CIVILIANS IN ARMED CONFLICT

John Holmes, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, this morning addressed the Security Councils open meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict and said that he had seen in his travels how hundreds of thousands of civilians have been uprooted from their ordinary lives by conflict.

He highlighted particular concerns about the targeting of civilians, citing recent fighting in Somalia, the occupied Palestinian territory, Afghanistan and Iraq, among other places. Holmes also discussed the continuing displacement of civilians, including in Darfur and Sri Lanka, and the need for access and security for humanitarian workers.

If there is one thing we need to do above all, Holmes said, it is to end the culture of impunity which underlines so many abuses.

In a press statement read after the meeting, Security Council President, Ambassador Johan C. Verbeke of Belgium, said Council members welcomed progress in, and increased awareness of, the issues surrounding protection of civilians, but expressed their grave concern that civilians continue to account for the majority of casualties in situations of armed conflict. They reaffirmed that parties to armed conflict bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of affected civilians.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS KOSOVO THIS AFTERNOON

In the afternoon at 4 p.m., the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations to discuss a draft resolution on Kosovo.

DETERMINATION OF KOSOVOS FUTURE STATUS

SHOULD REMAIN A SECURITY COUNCIL PRIORITY

Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to the presentation at the Security Council of a new draft resolution on Kosovo, the Spokeswoman said that there is a need to bring forward the process to define Kosovos future status.

The forward momentum in the future status process should be kept up, she said. Maintaining the current status quo is not a viable solution.

The Secretary-Generals view is that the determination of Kosovos future status should therefore remain a priority for the Security Council and for the international community as a whole.

The proposal for a settlement of Kosovos status prepared by the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy has the Secretary-Generals full support, Montas said. It includes all the right elements for a fair and sustainable solution to Kosovos status.

Sustaining and consolidating the progress made by Kosovo under the interim administration of the United Nations will require concrete prospects for the conclusion of the future status process and the active and constructive cooperation of all involved, the Spokeswoman added.

UNITED NATIONS IS READY TO SUPPORT

DEMOCRATIC INITIATIVES IN BOLIVIA

The Secretary-General is following with interest the process of change underway in Bolivia.

His Special Adviser, Jan Egeland, visited Bolivia from 29 May to 2 June 2007.

The Secretary-General underscores the exceptional opportunity that Bolivias Constituent Assembly represents to establish, through broad national agreement, a democratic society based on ethnic and cultural diversity, inclusion, equal opportunities and social justice.

The Secretary-General notes that resources of the United Nations system are available to support these efforts to strengthen Bolivias democracy.

PLAN TO FIGHT DRUG-RESISTANT TUBERCULOSIS LAUNCHED

Today in Geneva, the World Health Organization and the Stop TB Partnership

launched a two-year, $2.15 billion dollar plan to combat drug-resistant tuberculosis.

The plan aims to achieve a tenfold increase in detection and treatment of such strains of TB, including by increasing the number of fully equipped TB labs in countries with high levels of the disease.

The plan is part of an effort to reach a 2015 goal of providing access to drugs and diagnostic tests to all patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis, thereby saving potentially more than a million lives.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME APPEALS TO KENYA

TO ALLOW TRUCKS TO CROSS INTO SOMALIA

The World Food Programme appealed today to Kenyan authorities to allow 140 trucks of food assistance to cross into Somalia. The trucks have been stopped at a Northeastern border crossing since May 25.

WFP says that the delays in distributing food this month in the Gedo district, which borders Kenya, risk aggravating the already alarming malnutrition rate.

In all, 290 trucks carrying 8,500 metric tonnes of food and non-food supplies are presently stuck at the Kenya/Somalia border, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

UNICEF URGES IRAQI GOVERNMENT TO ASSESS ALL ORPHANAGES

UNICEF expressed its concern over the welfare of orphans and vulnerable children in Iraq after the discovery of children in a Baghdad orphanage suffering horrific neglect and abuse. According to the agency, the ongoing conflict in the country is now a serious threat to their welfare.

UNICEF is urging the Iraqi Government to assess all the countrys orphanages and juvenile centres as soon as possible and to improve the skills of caregivers.

SECURITY PROBLEMS HAMPER RELIEF EFFORTS IN AFGHANISTAN

The World Food Programme today warned that continuing security problems are hampering operations in some parts of Afghanistan, especially in the west of the country where food stocks are running short and thousands of the most vulnerable people may soon see critical food supplies curtailed or interrupted.

Asked about a reaction to the NATO strikes in Afghanistan, the Spokeswoman recalled that the Secretary-General had expressed his concerns over the situation in Afghanistan in a statement earlier this week.

ONE FIFTH OF TIMOR-LESTES POPULATION IN NEED OF FOOD ASSISTANCE

One-fifth of Timor-Lestes population is in need of food assistance, according to a report issued today by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme.

The two UN agencies say persistent drought and plagues of locusts have ravaged the countrys harvest this year. They say 15,000 tons of emergency food assistance will be required in the coming months.

U.N. OFFICIAL RESIGNS TO TAKE UP ELECTED POST

WITHIN HIS NATIONAL GOVERNMENT

The Secretary-General has accepted the resignation of Mr. Hama Arba Diallo as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) effective 19 June 2007.

Mr. Diallo was recently elected as a member of the National Assembly of Burkina Faso and, accordingly, had tendered his resignation effective that date, in accordance with applicable UN Rules and regulations.

The Secretary-General has accepted Mr. Diallos resignation effective 19 June 2007 and, pending the selection of his successor, has designated his Deputy, Mr. Grégoire de Kalbermatten, as Officer-in-Charge.

The Secretary-General has expressed to Mr. Diallo his appreciation for the valuable service he has rendered to the Organization and for his leadership role in steering the Convention process. The Secretary-General intends to initiate the search process in order to identify a suitable successor shortly. This will be done in consultation with the Bureau of the Conference of Parties (COP) through its President with a view to completing the process before the next COP, which will be held in Madrid from 3 to 14 September 2007.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL IS SATISFIED WITH MEETING WITH U.S. LAWMAKERS: Asked about the Secretary-Generals visit on Wednesday to Washington, D.C., the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General was satisfied with his meetings. She said, in response to a question, that different aspects of the United Nations' work were raised during his meetings with bipartisan members of Congress .

INFORMATION ON DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERALS RESPONSIBILITIES PROVIDED TO BUDGET COMMITTEE: Asked whether the Secretary-General had responded to a request from the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on the role of the Deputy Secretary-General, the Spokeswoman said that specific information about the responsibilities of the Deputy was provided to the ACABQ.

U.N. POLICY IS TO ACCREDIT ONLY JOURNALISTS FROM MEMBER STATES: Asked about a letter from the Committee to Protect Journalists concerning the accreditation of journalists at the United Nations, the Spokeswoman noted that, as an organization of Member States, UN policy is to give accreditation only to journalists from Member States. She also noted in that regard the UN General Assemblys one-China policy.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT LATEST TALKS ON DOHA ROUND: Asked about the Secretary-Generals concerns that the Group of Fours talks on the Doha trade round were not successful, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General was very concerned. The failure of those negotiations is disappointing, she said, but it is hoped that there will be further talks on the issues.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

[This document is for planning purposes only and is subject to change.]

Saturday, June 23

Today is United Nations Public Service Day.

Through July 2 in Christchurch, New Zealand, the World Heritage Committee will consider requests for the inscription of 45 new sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

Monday, June 25

The Secretary-General will be in Paris to attend the High-level Meeting of the Enlarged International Contact Group on Sudan.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on natural resources and conflict. The General Assembly President is among those scheduled to speak.

At 3 p.m. in Room. 226, Mr. Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, will hold a press conference to preview the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit to be held from 5-6 July in Geneva.

All this week in Conference Room 1, the eighth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea will take place.

All this week in Conference Room 2, the first substantive session of the Open-ended Working Group to consider the objectives and agenda, including the possible establishment of the preparatory committee for the fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament, takes place.

All this week in Conference Room A, the Expert Group Meeting on Tourism Statistics will review, amend and endorse the provisional draft of International Recommendations on Tourism Statistics, which is expected to be submitted to the UN Statistical Commission in February 2008.

From today through 12 July in Vienna, the UN Commission on International Trade Law will hold its 40th session.

From today through 29 June, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, will be visiting Myanmar at the invitation of the Government.

Tuesday, June 26

In Jerusalem, envoys of the Quartet will meet to discuss the current situation in the Middle East.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission.

From today through Friday in Vienna, the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Governance is scheduled to take place, with a focus on the theme of Building Trust in Government. UN Public Service Day will be observed in a ceremony during the Forums plenary session, at which time the UN Public Service Awards for 2007 will be presented.

Today is the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, as well as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

In Vienna, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime will release its 2007 World Drug Report.

Wednesday, June 27

This morning, the Security is scheduled to hold a private meeting with Troop Contributing Countries to the UN Mission in Côte dIvoire, as well as consultations on Côte dIvoire.

The guests at the noon briefing will be Ms. Ann Erb Leoncavallo, Speechwriter in the Office of the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and Ms. Anika Rahman, President of Americans for UNFPA, who will launch the State of the World Population 2007 report.

The Peacebuilding Commission will meet to review its first year of work, endorse its first annual report and elect a new chairperson.

At 1.30 p.m. in Room. 226, Ms. Carolyn McAskie, Assistant Secretary-General, Peacebuilding Support Office; Ambassador Gaspar Martins (Angola), outgoing chair of the Peacebuilding Commission; Ambassador Johan L. Løvald (Norway), Vice-Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission and Coordinator of Burundi Country-specific Meeting; and the Commissions newly-elected chairperson will brief on the first year of work of the Peace-building Commission, as well as provide a look ahead at the Commissions next steps and challenges.

Thursday, June 28

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a private debate on Somalia.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Mr. Anwarul Chowdhury, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, who will launch the Climate Change Report 2007.

Friday, June 29

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on the UN Mission in Côte dIvoire.

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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