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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-11-16

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:







Monday, November 16, 2009


Ad Melkert, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, today briefed the

Security Council about the work of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Ad Melkert told the Council, in an open meeting this morning, that Iraqs forthcoming January elections will mark the end of the first full term of a freely elected parliament in the countrys history. Success is far from guaranteed, as inside and outside forces continue their efforts to impose an agenda of division and destruction, he said.

At the same time, he said that, by many, the United Nations is seen and approached as trusted partner. It remains of utmost importance to continue to count on the Council to enable UNAMI to live up to the expectations. This will have to be a commitment over a long period of time, Melkert added.

Also on Iraq, the World Food Programme (WFP) today launched a pilot programme to provide 172,000 Iraqi primary school children with a free daily snack at school, to help boost school attendance and learning and improve food security in eight of the countrys poorest districts.


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

opened the World Food Security Summit in Rome today, telling delegates, This day, more than 17 thousand children will die of hunger. One every five seconds.

The Secretary-General stressed the heavy human costs of the food crisis, the need for a comprehensive approach and the deep interconnection between food security and climate change. There can be no food security without climate security, he said. He said that we will need to grow 70 percent more food by 2050, at a time when weather is becoming more extreme and unpredictable.

The Secretary-General added that he had joined Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Executive Director Jacques Dioufs call for a day-long fast, by fasting yesterday. It was not easy, he acknowledged. And he asserted, Our job is not just to feed the hungry, but to empower the hungry to feed themselves. To do this, we need a comprehensive approach.

Later, during a press encounter at the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Secretary-General said that he remains positive about next months

climate change conference in Copenhagen said. There is much convergence, he added, on a shared vision and in the areas of adaptation, technology and capacity building. He asserted, I am fighting for a real deal in Copenhagen. A deal that paves the way for a binding global climate treaty.

This evening, the Secretary-General and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini will host an informal meeting for Heads of State and Government and Senior Ministers in the margins of the Summit. They will have in-depth discussions on the link between food security and climate change and the necessity of forging a meaningful deal in Copenhagen.

Earlier today, the Secretary-General visited World Food Programme (WFP) headquarters in Rome to pay tribute to the five WFP colleagues recently killed in Pakistan. He thanked the staff for their extraordinary dedication to the worlds people. He said that the World Food Programme does more than feed people; it gives them hope.

In the margins of the Summit, the Secretary-General held bilateral meetings with a number of leaders. He met with the Egyptian, Libyan and Tanzanian Presidents yesterday, and today he met with the Presidents of Brazil, Italy and Chile and the Vice Premier of the State Council of China.


The Secretary-Generals latest

report on the situation of piracy and armed robbery in territorial waters and high seas off the coast of Somalia has been released today.

In the report based on Security Council Resolution 1846 - the Secretary-General notes that an expanding maritime presence by Member States is playing a critical role in stabilizing the situation at sea. But he stresses the need for an integrated approach that involves a concerted effort to stabilize the situation on land.

This approach should include the further development of law and security institutions to complement the peace process. To this end, the capacities of the Transitional Federal Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia must be strengthened on land, the report states.

There must also be the investigation and prosecution of those suspected of acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, the report states. In this regard the Secretary-General welcomes the initiative by INTERPOL and Member States to look into the financial mechanisms that provide funding for piracy activities.

Following the conclusion of its consultations on Iraq, the

Security Council also held consultations to receive an update on the implementation of sanctions concerning Somalia. Ambassador Claude Heller of Mexico, who chairs the sanctions committee for Somalia, briefed.

Today, representatives of the five Member States that will join the Security Council next January began to sit in on Council consultations, in preparation for their 2010-2011 terms on the Council.


Available today is a

report by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

In it, the Secretary-General says that Israel should end the blockade of Gaza; facilitate freedom of movement for Palestinians in the West Bank; and ensure that the rights of Palestinian children are respected, including in relation to their arrest and detention.

He adds that all parties to the conflict should abide scrupulously by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. In that regard, he notes that it is crucial to uphold the right of victims to reparation.

Regarding the wall that Israel is building in the West Bank, the Secretary-General says that construction should be stopped. He also says that evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes should cease.

Asked about reports that Palestinians may request UN recognition of Palestine as a Member State, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has not received a formal request on that matter. Decisions on recognizing Member States, he added, are taken by other Member States.


Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy, accompanied by the Secretary-Generals Military Adviser, General Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor, and Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support Anthony Banbury, is travelling to China this week to attend a symposium on UN peacekeeping operations. While in Beijing, Le Roy will meet with members from the Chinese Defense Ministry and Foreign Affairs to discuss China's contributions to peacekeeping.

Meanwhile, Susana Malcorra, Under Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support, is in Sudan this week, where today in Khartoum, she attended the seventh meeting of the Tripartite Mechanism for Darfur. Also present at this meeting were the Undersecretary of the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mutrif Siddiq, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union (AU), Ramtane Lamamra, and the acting Joint Special Representative the AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Henry Anyidoho.

All delegations expressed concern about the prolonged hostage situation involving the two UNAMID personnel who have been in captivity for 80 days since 29 August 2009. They stressed the importance of continuing efforts to ensure their safe release.

Furthermore, Dr. Siddiq reiterated the full commitment of his Government to the protection of UNAMID personnel. This remained a top priority, he said.

The meeting also reviewed ongoing issues related to the Missions deployment, including the final preparations for the impending arrival of the five Ethiopian tactical helicopters, which will be based at Nyala airport in South Darfur. They also addressed the status of the implementation of a bridging solution to permit immediate broadcasting of Radio UNAMID. The Government of Sudan gave assurances that action will be taken in the next week to allow broadcasts of radio programmes by UNAMID.

Additional issues, such as staff security as well as water supply for Darfur local communities, were also raised during the meeting.

The next meeting of the Tripartite Mechanism is scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa in February 2010.


Asked about reports that the UN might be considering an exit strategy for its Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), the Spokesperson said that developing an exit strategy for any peacekeeping operation is an established practice, one which the Department for Peacekeeping Operations starts planning for upon the establishment of any new mission. The exit strategy is adjusted and refined throughout the lifespan of the mission.

In this case, Haq said, MONUC has consistently been engaging the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on a range of issues of mutual concern, including the future direction and configuration of MONUC.

He recalled that MONUCs current mandate expires in December.

The Secretariat intends to discuss with the Security Council the options for an extension of MONUCs mandate, to allow more time to agree on priority tasks in light of the evolving situation in eastern DRC with the deployment of the additional military capabilities already approved by the Security Council.


The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) officially opened yesterday in Sharm el-Sheikh, where it will meet until Wednesday.

At the opening ceremony, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang drew attention to the decision that will need to be made about the future of the IGF as it approaches the end of its 5 year mandate next year. Several speakers, including high ranking government officials, supported the continuation of the IGF beyond 2010.

Today's activities featured two main sessions dedicated to the issues of security, openness and privacy, and managing critical internet resources. Several workshops and other events took place in parallel on issues such as internet access for persons with disabilities, combating cybercrime, the impact of internet governance on sustainable development, and balancing between online freedom of expression and privacy, among many others.

As of today, over 1,800 registrations were recorded for the IGF meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, out of which some 600 were from government, 500 from civil society, 200 from the private sector, 120 from international organizations, 120 from the media.

Asked whether an incident that took place at the Forum today went against the principle of freedom of expression, the Spokesperson said that the IGF Secretariat approved the request by the Open Net Initiative (ONI) for a room on the first day of the Forum to promote a book, and a room was allocated for that purpose.

Subsequently, he said, UN officials were alerted to a flyer being distributed at the event promoting a film on Tibet, which was not mentioned in the original request for the room. Officials from the Forum's Secretariat requested the organizers not to distribute the flyer or show the film, as this is not what the room was requested for and concerned a political issue not related to the Internet Governance Forum. The IGF Secretariat requested the organizers of the event not to distribute the flyers and they agreed.

Subsequently, Haq said, other delegates complained to the Forum's Secretariat about a large poster displayed outside the room, which again, was not pre-approved for posting outside the allocated room. In response to this complaint, officials from the Forum's Secretariat went to the room to discuss the issue with the organizers and found that the poster was already on the floor of the room lying face-up.

Following repeated requests from the IGF Secretariat to remove the poster from the floor, UN Security removed it from the floor and folded it undamaged, he added. The organizers were told that they could pick it up anytime later that evening.


SECRETARY-GENERAL MARKS DAY OF TOLERANCE: Today is the International Day for Tolerance. In a

message marking this occasion, the Secretary-General says that tolerance is a way of life based on the belief that global diversity is to be embraced, not feared. The Secretary-General also says the United Nations promotes tolerance on many frontsin its work for peace, conflict prevention, democratization and human rights, for example.


Special Court for Sierra Leone today handed over its detention facility to the Sierra Leone Prison Service, at a ceremony that marks a significant milestone in the completion of the Courts mandate in Freetown.The facility will now be used to house female prisoners. In August 2003, the Special Court for Sierra Leone transferred indictees into the detention site after the Court took it over from the Prisons Services and refurbished the two existing prison blocks.

DEATH OF U.N. EMPLOYEE BEING INVESTIGATED: Asked about the death of a UN staff member in Vienna last month, the Spokesperson noted that the staff member had been providing data input for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, and was not involved with the nuclear talks concerning Iran, which were under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency. His death is being investigated by the authorities in Vienna.

U.N. STILL PROVIDING AID TO DISPLACED PAKISTANIS: In response to questions about bombings and humanitarian displacement in Pakistan, the Spokesperson recalled that the Secretary-General has condemned terrorist attacks in Pakistan and has offered his sympathies to the people and Government of that country. The United Nations, he added, continues to provide humanitarian assistance to people displaced by the fighting in northwestern Pakistan.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS REPEATEDLY STRESSED NEED TO BALANCE FREE SPEECH WITH RESPECT: Asked about a possible resolution concerning respect for religions, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General would not comment on resolutions being considered by Member States. He noted that the Secretary-General has repeatedly focused on the need to balance respect for all religions with the need to uphold the freedom of expression.

  • ** The guest at the noon briefing was Ad Melkert, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq. He briefed about the work of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

    Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

    United Nations, S-378

    New York, NY 10017

    Tel. 212-963-7162

    Fax. 212-963-7055

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