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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-06-03
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
WORLD NEEDS TO PRODUCE MORE FOOD
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the High-Level Conference on World Food Security in Rome this morning, and he warned the gathered leaders about the severity and scale of the crisis.
The threats are obvious to us all, he said, but the crisis also presents us with an opportunity to revisit past policies. While we must respond immediately to high food prices, he said, it is important that our longer term focus is on improving world food security - and remains so for some years.
The Secretary-General warned, The world needs to produce more food. Food production needs to rise by 50% by the year 2030 to meet the rising demand, he said. We have an historic opportunity to revitalize agriculture - especially in countries where productivity gains have been low in recent years.
The Secretary-General presented the recommendations of the high-level task force that he had formed on the global food crisis, which said that, first, we must improve vulnerable people's access to food and take immediate steps to increase food availability in their communities; and second, we must act for longer term resilience and contribute to global food security.
The task force report, which is available upstairs, proposes a menu of actions, including expanding food assistance through food aid, vouchers of cash; scaling up nutritional support; improving safety nets and social protection programmes to help the most vulnerable.
Also, the report says, trade and taxation policies can be adjusted to minimize export restrictions and import tariffs.
In the longer term, the task force proposes, among other things, the reduction of agricultural trade distortions in higher-income countries and the development of greater international consensus on sustainable biofuels.
While he is in Rome for the High-level Conference, the Secretary-General has also been meeting with many of the world leaders who are attending, including, this morning, the Presidents of Mauritania, Slovenia, Zimbabwe and Iran, and the Prime Minister of Spain. He expects to meet with the Prime Minister of Italy this evening.
Asked about the impact of the recent Saudi contribution of $500 million on the UN system to deal with food costs, the Spokeswoman noted the recent donation by Saudi Arabia to the World Food Programme (WFP). The Secretary-General, she said, had welcomed the Saudi donation and had said that WFP could meet its appeal as a result.
SECURITY COUNCILS PROGRAM IN JUNE TO INCLUDE MEETING
ON RAPE AND OTHER FORMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT
The Security Council met this morning in consultations and approved its programme of work for June.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the Council President for this month, told reporters afterward that the Councils meetings this month will include a formal meeting on rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, scheduled for 19 June.
Yesterday, in its first meetings under the US Presidency of the Security Council, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the International Independent Investigation Commission dealing with Lebanon until the end of the year.
It also adopted a resolution deciding that States cooperating with Somalias Transitional Federal Government be allowed, for a period of six months, to enter the territorial waters of Somalia and use all necessary means to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, in a manner consistent with relevant provisions of international law.
And the Council also issued a Presidential Statement condemning in the strongest terms the terrorist attack that occurred outside the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, yesterday.
SECURITY COUNCIL MISSION IS CONCERNED BY VIOLENCE IN SUDAN
The Security Council mission that is visiting Africa today wrapped up its work in Djibouti by meeting with Somali civil society groups, including womens groups and traditional Somali elders.
The Council delegation then traveled to Juba, in southern
Sudan, where it met with Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir, with whom the Council team discussed the recent violence in Abyei and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Northern and Southern Sudan. The Council delegation expressed its concern at the violence in Abyei.
The Security Council mission has since moved on to Khartoum, where, tomorrow, it will meet with the UN country team in Sudan and representatives of the international community who are based there.
DARFUR POLITICAL PROCESS MEETING TO BE HELD THIS WEEK
UN Special Envoy for Darfur Jan Eliasson is completing today a three-day visit to
Sudan. He met in Khartoum with Government of Sudan's officials, civil society and representatives of the international community.
Following an attack by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on Omdurman in early May, the deteriorating relations between Sudan and Chad, and the crisis between the North and the South in Abyei, the Special Envoy's visit underscored the regional and national dimensions to the crisis in Darfur and further highlighted the urgent need for a political settlement between the Government and the non-signatory movements.
The Special Envoy is proceeding to Geneva today where, together with African Union Special Envoy Salim Ahmed Salim, he will convene informal consultations with regional and international partners to the Darfur political process on 4th and 5th June.
The objective of these consultations, which will be attended by a delegation from the Government of Sudan, is to take stock of the situation and discuss the way forward with a view to bring the parties to the negotiating table as soon as practical.
In related news, on June 5, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will be in New York to deliver his report to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur. The Prosecutor will update the Council on the progress of his second and third cases in Darfur, and explore with the Council possible reactions to the Sudans non cooperation with the Court, and non compliance with Security Council resolution 1593.
ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING MUST BE FREED
The Deputy Secretary-General addressed the General Assemblys Thematic Debate on Human Trafficking this morning. In her remarks, she noted that up to two million women are trafficked across borders each year. To respond, we need universal ratification of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, she added.
In terms of fighting human trafficking, she said that we know what works the combined efforts of prevention, prosecution and protection. But she said she would also add the concept of partnership. Because we can only beat back this deadly illegal trade with a strong and broad coalition, she added.
We cannot stop until we have freed all victims of human trafficking, for the sake of these millions of individuals and for our shared humanity, she said.
COMING MONTHS CRITICAL FOR EFFORTS
TO RESTORE HOPE TO PALESTINIANS
The Secretary-General today sent a message to the International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, which is being held in Malta by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
In that message, the Secretary-General said that, to succeed, current efforts to achieve a peace deal need to be underpinned by visible progress on the ground. Both sides must seize the current window of opportunity to push the peace process forward, especially by acting on their obligations under the Road Map. He added that the coming months will be critical to our collective efforts to restore hope to the Palestinians.
The message was delivered by Max Gaylard, Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL FOCUSES ON NATURAL DISASTER SURVIVORS
The Human Rights Council this morning continued its interactive dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Walter Kalin, as well as the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.
Kalin put particular emphasis on persons displaced as a result of natural disasters, and noted that over the past 20 years some 200 million people had been affected by natural disasters. The recent disastrous cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and the earthquake in the Sichuan region of China are terrible tragedies that remind us of the vulnerabilities of populations with regard to natural disasters, he stated.
This afternoon, the Council heard presentations of reports by the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations, John Ruggie.
In his presentation, Ruggie said there was a need to push the human rights policies of States in relation to business beyond their narrow institutional confines.
MYANMAR: MORE THAN 1 MILLION SURVIVORS HAVE GOTTEN AID FROM INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that, as of today, 1.3 million cyclone survivors have been reached with some aid by the international community. In terms of contributions to the Myanmar
flash appeal, the appeal remains 40 percent funded, according to OCHA.
Meanwhile, UNICEF reports that, one month after the destruction wrought by the cyclone in Myanmar, many children in the Delta region have now returned to school. UNICEF had worked side by side with the Ministry of Education to repair schools and distribute school materials so that could happen.
In response to a question about reports that some one million people in Myanmar still have not received international assistance following Cyclone Nargis, the Spokeswoman noted that, according to OCHA, it would be safe to say that, more than one month since the cyclone, close to 1 million people have still not been reached by the international community. However, they could be getting aid from national authorities or bilaterally.
A large number of villages have not received any support at all, Okabe added. This is causing displacement, as people search for food and clean drinking water.
Asked what the United Nations is doing to rectify that, she said that, since the Secretary-General visited Myanmar last month, the United Nations has been trying to assist cyclone survivors and has been working around the clock to provide aid to affected people.
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