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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-06-10
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES SOMALIA AGREEMENT
The Secretary-General welcomes the agreement between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, reached in Djibouti yesterday. He commends the leadership of both parties for taking this important step towards a durable political settlement for Somalia, and hopes that other Somali groups and individuals will soon adhere to this agreement.
The Secretary-General will remain engaged in this exercise through the efforts of his Special Representative, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah. He calls on the international community to provide strong diplomatic and financial support for the effective implementation of this agreement.
The Secretary-General thanks the Government of Djibouti and the relevant regional organizations for their contributions to this positive outcome.
Asked about comments from some Somali groups rejecting the cease-fire, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General regarded the agreement as a step towards peace and that he hoped other groups would join.
U.N. SECURITY REPORT SUBMITTED TO SECRETARY-GENERAL
The Independent Panel on Safety and Security of United Nations Personnel and Premises Worldwide submitted yesterday its report to the Secretary-General. The Chairman of the Panel, Lakhdar Brahimi handed over the report to the Secretary-General. The Panel was set up on February 5, 2008 by the Secretary-General with a broad mandate to provide recommendations on strategic issues vital to delivery and enhancement of the security of UN personnel and premises and the changing threats and risks faced by it.
Receiving the Report, the Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the work of the Panel and said the Report would be studied in detail before considering appropriate follow-up action. Careful internal deliberations are underway with a view to ensuring the transparency of the process and the efficiency and integrity of any follow-up measures, taking into account the due process rights of individuals.
FIGHT AGAINST A.I.D.S. IMPACTS EFFORTS TO CUT POVERTY
This morning the Secretary-General addressed the General Assemblys High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS and presented the Meeting with his latest
report on efforts to fight the epidemic.
In his remarks, he noted several positive developments, including improvements in providing health services for women and children and the fact that, by the end of last year, three million people had access to anti-retroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries.
At the same time, however, he noted that there were two and a half million new HIV infections last year and more than two million deaths. There were also twice as many people in need of anti-retroviral treatment and going without, as there were receiving it. This is unacceptable, he said.
The Secretary-General added that how we fare in fighting AIDS will impact all our efforts to cut poverty, improve nutrition, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and curb the spread of malaria and tuberculosis.
Before concluding, he thanked Peter Piot, who was attending his last General Assembly High-Level Meeting as Executive Director of UNAIDS.
Dr. Piot also addressed the Meeting, saying that AIDS may be one of the defining issues of our time but it is clearly now a problem with a solution.
Meanwhile, also addressing the Meeting, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund, said, We need to pay more attention to women and young people, especially those who are living with HIV, and engage them as experts in responses to HIV/AIDS.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. ENVOY CALLS FOR NEW DEAL
Prior to an international conference in support of Afghanistan to be held this Thursday in Paris, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Kai Eide, today
called for a new deal to be forged between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community.
Eide said that the conference will be more than just a pledging conference for donors and he praised the Afghanistan National Development Strategy as an Afghan-led and owned blue print for all support efforts.
He called upon the international community to bring much greater coherence in the assistance being provided and to channel efforts towards building state institutions able to protect and serve the Afghan people.
FOOD AND SUPPLY SHORTAGE EXPECTED IN MYANMAR
While key agencies of the United Nations are fully mobilizing resources across Myanmar to support relief efforts in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says overall distribution capacity exceeds the pipeline for the incoming goods, possibly causing shortages of much-needed shelter, food and other relief goods in the coming weeks.
In particular, OCHA says the food cluster is only 21% funded, and the food pipeline will break by mid-July without further funding and it is crucial that an efficient, well-supplied aid pipeline is up and running.
Donors are urged to provide more funding to the Flash Appeal, especially for food and logistics, to ensure that the pipeline of relief items will not be disrupted. There is also an urgent need for skilled personnel such as technicians, hydro-geologists and sanitation engineers in affected areas for prolonged periods to establish systematic operations.
The World Food Programme now has six helicopters fanned out across the Delta, carrying critical supplies and other humanitarian supplies to hard-to-reach, hard-hit areas. Four more helicopters chartered by WFP, which are currently in neighboring Thailand, are expected to fly to Myanmar later this week, raising to 10, the total number of WFP-chartered helicopters in country.
As of today, 11,046 tons of WFP food assistance have been delivered to the affected areas. WFP estimates that it has reached approximately 501,000 beneficiaries with varying rations.
Access for international staff is improving for the 86 UN international and regional teams who have traveled to the Delta. To date, 180 visas have been granted to UN international staff with a 2 to 3 day limitations on duration of stay.
Asked whether the United Nations is understating the problems regarding providing aid to people in Myanmar, the Spokeswoman said that agencies on the ground are painting a mixed picture, not a rosy one. She said that the agencies are working around the clock to provide assistance to people in Myanmar, but added that what is being done is not enough.
Asked whether the Secretary-General intends to visit Myanmar during his next trip to Asia, Okabe said such a visit is not on his schedule.
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONCERNED OVER POSSIBLE EXECUTION OF JUVENILE OFFENDERS IN IRAN
High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today
expressed concern over reports that four juvenile offenders in Iran are at imminent risk of execution.
According to reports, the four have been sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were under 18 years old.
Arbour reminded the Iranian authorities that Iran is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which prohibit the death penalty for juvenile offenders.
She has requested that Iran stay the executions.
U.N. REFUGEE CHIEF CONDEMNS VIOLENCE AGAINST COLOMBIAN REFUGEES IN ECUADOR
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has strongly condemned alleged acts of violence against members of the Colombian refugee community in northern Ecuador.
Three Colombians, including one refugee and one asylum seeker, disappeared late last month from a village just across the border from Colombia, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says. According to eyewitnesses, the three men were taken by an unidentified group of armed, masked men in uniforms who apparently came from Colombia. The men also allegedly tortured members of the local community.
UNHCR is calling for a full and speedy resolution of the investigations into the allegations, which also include attempted rape and death threats. UNHCR is also calling on the Governments of both Colombia and Ecuador to strengthen protection mechanisms, in order to avoid a possible repetition of these alleged events.
WORLD FOOD BODY TO CUT BACK ON HUMANITARIAN AIR SERVICE TO SUDAN
Regarding Sudan, a lack of funding is forcing the World Food Programme (WFP) to cut the frequency of its Humanitarian Air Service. Fourteen thousand aid workers rely on the service to travel to Darfur and other parts of the country.
Effective immediately, the number of helicopters flying to remote parts of Darfur will be reduced from six to five. Two other aircraft that fly to Darfur and South Sudan will be cut from the fleet next week. Fees for using the helicopter flights are going up on July 1st.
WFP says the service needs 20 million dollars within the next five days just to maintain full operations through the coming months. Nearly two thirds of the services 77-million dollar budget for 2008 remains unfunded.
GLOBAL FOOD AID DELIVERY SINKS TO LOWEST LEVEL IN DECADES
Global food aid deliveries have sunk to their lowest levels in nearly five decades, according to the World Food Programme. In its latest Food Aid Flows report which covers the flow of all international food aid, not just that moved by WFP the agency says deliveries declined by 15 per cent last year, to less than six million tons, the lowest level since records began in 1961.
Rising food prices are most strongly affecting deliveries of wheat and maize, the report says. It also notes that donor governments are purchasing record quantities of food in developing countries, providing an important stimulus to agricultural markets and an increase in incomes for small scale farmers in these countries.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO EMBARK ON NORTHEAST ASIA TRIP
Later this month, the Secretary-General will be making official visits to Japan, China, the Republic of Korea and then attend the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit.
The first stop is Japan, where he will deliver a lecture on Climate Change at Kyoto University then proceed to Tokyo for an official visit that will include an audience with the Emperor and Empress of Japan and meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
He then proceeds to Beijing for an official visit, which will include meetings with the Foreign Minister and other Chinese leaders as well as with the UN country team.
The next leg of the trip begins in Seoul, where he will be conferred an honorary degree at Seoul National University and lead a seminar on Climate Change at the National Assembly. He plans to meet with the Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and President.
LABOUR AGENCY CALLS FOR URGENT MEASURES TO ADDRESS SOCIAL JUSTICE: The Director-General of the International Labour Organization has
called for urgent measures to address a globalization without social justice. In his keynote address to the 97th International Labour Conference in Geneva, he said the world is not only facing a subprime financial crisis but also a crisis of subprime work, meaning substandard and vulnerable jobs.
UNMOVIC FINAL REPORT RELEASED TODAY: The final report of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), which dealt with Iraqs weapons programmes, is available today, and details the work that the Commission did prior to its shutdown to transfer its archives and dispose of its property. The report says that UNMOVIC and its predecessor made operational a unique mechanism to monitor weapons of mass destruction and long-range delivery systems. The international community, it adds, could benefit if practical ways were found to preserve for future use the experience and expertise accumulated over the years of its operations.
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