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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-04-14
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, April 14, 2008
WORLDWIDE FOOD CRISIS HAS REACHED EMERGENCY PROPORTIONS
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the high-level meeting today, convened by the Economic and Social Council, that brings together the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and he told them that the rapidly escalating crisis of food availability around the world has reached emergency proportions.
The Secretary-General said that we need not only short-term emergency measures to meet urgent critical needs and avert starvation in many regions across the world, but also a significant increase in long-term productivity in food grain production.
He noted that World Bank President Robert Zoellick
said last week that the crisis could mean seven lost years in the fight against worldwide poverty.
The United Nations needs to examine ways to lead a process for the immediate and longer term responses to this global problem, the Secretary-General said.
He added that, in less than eight months from now, world leaders and decision makers will gather in Doha, Qatar, to take stock of the Monterrey Consensus. What the senior officials decide at todays meeting will help guide and inform world leaders when they meet in November.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON PARLIAMENTARIANS
TO TAKE URGENT ACTION ON RISING FOOD PRICES
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro expressed concern over the negative impact of soaring food prices on the livelihood of millions of people in developing countries, particularly in Africa. She called for urgent action in that regard.
She did so in Cape Town, South Africa, where she is attending the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, whose theme is Pushing the Frontiers of Poverty. In remarks to the Assembly, she also called on Parliaments to translate political will into legislation and budget allocations so that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) could be reached.
HAITI: BAN KI-MOON URGES REFRAIN FROM FURTHER VIOLENCE
In a statement issued after the noon briefing, the Secretary-General learned with shock of the violent killing of one member of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) on Saturday, 12 April 2008.
The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences to the officers family, the Nigerian contingent and the Government of Nigeria.
The Secretary-General reiterates his appeal for calm and urges all demonstrators to refrain from any further acts of violence.
He emphasizes that peace and stability constitute essential conditions for social and economic development, as well as to promote investments and job creation, which, together with the immediate measures announced by the Haitian authorities, constitute the best ways, in the medium-term, to fight against the increase in the cost of living.
In a press statement, members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the murder of the Nigerian police officer of (MINUSTAH), and reiterated their condemnation of the recent violence in Port au Prince and other cities, and once again expressed their deep regret about the loss of lives and injuries. They stressed the need to maintain public order.
The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) had also strongly
condemned the execution-style killing on Saturday of the plainclothes UN Peacekeeper in the capital Port-au-Prince. The peacekeeper was driving through the Bel-Air neighborhood with three colleagues when unidentified individuals stopped his vehicle, dragged him out and shot him to death.
The tragic incident came hours after Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis was deposed by the Senate in a vote of no-confidence amid violent street protests over rising food prices. Haitian police and the Mission have launched an investigation into the killing of the 36-year-old peacekeeper. The Mission has also
called on Haitian authorities to quickly appoint a new Prime Minister and cabinet in order to address the grave situation now facing the country.
The World Bank
announced a $10 million grant to help the Government of Haiti respond to the impact of rising food prices on poor families. The grant will be used to provide food for poor children and other vulnerable groups, partly through expanding the Banks existing school feeding program. A team of bank experts will be traveling to Haiti in the coming days to help put the emergency assistance in place.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES AGREEMENT IN KENYA
ON GRAND COALITION GOVERNMENT
The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement by President Mwai Kibaki on the agreement on the composition of the Grand Coalition Government, bringing both parties to the Kenyan crisis together.
The Secretary-General encourages both parties to urgently address agenda item 4 of the Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation in order to find a solution to the root causes of the crisis.
SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS NOTED IN LIBERIA
Ellen Margrethe Løj, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Liberia, told the Security Council in an open meeting this morning that significant progress has been made in that country in recent months.
On the basis of the progress achieved, she said, benchmarks for the drawdown phase of the UN Mission in Liberia have been developed in close consultation with the Liberian Government and international partners.
She went on discuss Liberia further with Council members in closed consultations.
Starting at 3:00 this afternoon, the Security Council has scheduled a closed meeting, followed by consultations, on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia.
U.N. AND AFRICAN UNION PEACE ENVOYS TO VISIT SUDAN TOMORROW
The United Nations and African Union envoys heading international efforts to resolve the Darfur conflict will start a four-day visit to Sudan tomorrow to consult with the non-signatory movements in Darfur.
The visit by the UNs Jan Eliasson and the AUs Salim Ahmed Salim follows consultations last week in Khartoum and Juba with the Government, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) and one of the movements present in Juba (URF).
The purpose of these consultations is two-fold: to brief the parties on the issues discussed during the informal consultations held in Geneva with regional and international partners last month, and seek their views on the way forward.
In particular they will focus on the serious need to improve the security situation which affects not only the peacekeeping and humanitarian operations but also the political process.
The Special Envoys reiterate their call for the urgent need for the parties to cease all violence and prepare for the substantive talks. The parties cannot fight and prepare for peace talks at the same time. A reduction of violence is absolutely necessary if we are to make progress on the peace process, the Envoys say.
CÔTE D'IVOIRE EXPERT GROUP CONCERNED
ABOUT U.N. MISSIONS INABILITY TO CONDUCT ARMS INSPECTIONS
In the mid-term report to the Security Council of the Group of Experts on Côte d'Ivoire, the Group expresses deep concern, that sites held by the Garde Républicaine have yet to be inspected by the UN Mission (UNOCI) and that the Ivorian authorities routinely deny access to these sites on the claim that such inspections are outside of the Missions mandate.
The Group says it has gathered credible information that members of the defense and security forces on both the government and the rebel sides are being trained on the territories of other UN Member States, in violation of Security Council
In the area of customs, the Group of Experts considers that the embargos major weakness stems from the Ivorian authorities failure to sensitize customs staff to be vigilant and not to allow the export and import of goods prohibited by the embargo.
On the diamond embargo, the Group of Experts notes that Mali thwarted a December 2007 attempt to export 31 rough diamonds of Ivorian origin through the Bamako airport. Since Mali is not a member of the Kimberley Process, the Group recommends Kimberley Process experts visit Mali to examine the gems.
NORTHERN UGANDA: UNITED NATIONS SUPPORTS PEACE PROCESS
Asked about the UN response following the failure to sign a peace agreement between the Ugandan Government and the Lords Resistance Army, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations has been doing its best to support the peace process in Northern Uganda and the work of the chief Mediator from the government of Southern Sudan, and it will continue to do so.
Okabe said that the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy, Joachim Chissano, will be making contact with the key parties to assess the situation and see what can be done.
"We were obviously expecting a different outcome," the Spokeswoman added, adding that the United Nations does not yet have a full assessment of the situation. "In the best of cases, this will be only a temporary setback to the process, but we cannot say at this point."
CLEAN DEVELOPMENT MECHANISM REGISTERS ITS 1,000TH PROJECT
Only two and a half years into its existence, the Kyoto Protocols Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has just
registered its one thousandth project.
Its an energy efficiency project in Andhra Pradesh, India, that is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 34,000 tons annually.
So far CDM projects have generated certified emission reductions equivalent to 135 million tons of carbon dioxide.
AFGHAN FOOD APPEAL IS NEARLY FUNDED: The World Food Programme (WFP) today said that, as of now, the appeal it launched in late January for food for poor Afghans has essentially been fully resourced, with donors providing some $70 million out of the $78 million that the agency had asked for food. WFP said that the appeal was intended to provide some 88,000 tonnes of food that would go to 2.5 million people in Afghanistan, and it expects the first round of food distributions to be completed in Kabul by next Sunday. While it welcomes the contributions to its appeal, WFP remains concerned that the high price levels for wheat in Afghanistan are not going to drop anytime soon.
RE-POLLING FOLLOWING NEPAL ELECTIONS TO BE COMPLETE WITHIN A WEEK: Nepals Election Commission has updated its list of polling stations where re-polling will be required to 98. The re-polling will be completed within a week. Meanwhile, ballot counting is
underway in 132 constituencies, mostly focusing on the results for the first-past-the-post ballots.
U.N. ENVOY TO HOLD MORE TALKS ON THE GREECE/FYROM NAME ISSUE: The Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Matthew Nimetz, will be flying to the region later this week to reactivate the process of settling the name issue. His present plans are to be in Skopje on Thursday and Athens on Friday. A follow-up round of discussions will then take place, probably in New York.
NO REQUEST FROM PAKISTANI GOVERNMENT RECEIVED: Asked how the United Nations would respond to a request from the Pakistani Government for an investigation into the killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the Spokeswoman said that a request has not yet been formally received.
NO LETTER RECEIVED FROM CONCERNING INVESTIGATION INTO POPE BENEDICT: Asked whether the United Nations has received a letter from Catholic priests concerning an investigation into Pope Benedict, the Spokeswoman said that the letter has not been received.
CHALLENGES IN DR CONGO DETAILED IN LATEST REPORT TO SECURITY COUNCIL: Asked about comments made by former UN envoy Stephen Lewis about the UNs work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokeswoman noted that Lewis was entitled to express his views as a private citizen. She added that the Secretary-General had detailed the challenges the United Nations faces in the DRC in his recent report to the Security Council.
PEACE PARK COMMISSIONED TO HONOR FORMER U.N. LIBERIA ENVOY: The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Liberia Ellen Margrethe Løj and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have jointly commissioned a Peace Park in a suburb of the capital, Monrovia. The park in the town of Paynesville honors the former UN Envoy to Liberia, Alan Doss, who recently concluded his mission there.
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