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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-11-20

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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






Friday, November 20, 2009


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

welcomes the appointment of Mr. Herman van Rompuy as first President of the European Union, and Ms. Catherine Ashton as the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The Secretary-General looks forward to working closely with both Mr. van Rompuy and Ms. Ashton in strengthening cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations.

With the Lisbon Treaty soon entering into force, the Secretary-General hopes that the process of EU integration, which has already brought peace, security and prosperity to the continent, will further strengthen the European Unions support for global efforts in the areas of peace, security, human rights and sustainable development.


This morning, the Secretary-General

opened a special commemorative event to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In his remarks, he said that the Convention had recognized -- for the first time -- that children have human rights, and that they need special protection. He added that, over the past twenty years, it had been the guide in protecting and nurturing the youngest and most vulnerable members of society. He noted that the Convention was the most widely accepted international human rights treaty -- with 193 ratifications. The Secretary-General said it had inspired new approaches and advances in child survival and education and had increased awareness of childrens specific problems.

But, he said, realizing the rights in the Convention remains a huge challenge. That is why children should always have the first claim on our attention and resources, he added.

Earlier this morning, the Secretary-General also met with youth activists, including from Brazil, Kenya and Pakistan.


And as you know, yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General

addressed the General Assemblys informal meeting on climate change.

Responding to reports that the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was destined to be a disappointment, he said: To the contrary, we can, and I believe we will, reach a deal in Copenhagen that sets the stage for a binding treaty as soon as possible in 2010.

The Secretary-General added that there were signs of political momentum building almost daily. He put forward the recent examples of the U.S. -Chinese promise to work together toward Copenhagen, the announcement by Indonesia to reduce its emissions by 26 percent and Russias indication that it was ready to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 25 percent by 2020, if other countries do the same.

Taken together, we have ample reason to be positive, he said.

The Secretary-General also emphasized that the end goal must remain a legally binding treaty. The more ambitious the agreement we reach in Copenhagen, the more quickly this can be codified in a treaty as early as possible in 2010, he said.



Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes yesterday concluded the final day of his three-day mission to Sri Lanka.

Holmes met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and other senior government officials including the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Secretary of Defense, as well as the head of Uthuru Wasanthaya -- the 180-day resettlement and reconstruction programme in the North.

He also met with a delegation of members of parliament of the Tamil National Alliance to hear their views on the situation of internally displaced persons, (IDPs), and the political process.

In a press conference, Holmes welcomed the recent releases and returns of IDPs from camps, and in particular, the reduction by half of the population in the main camp in Menik Farm.

While underscoring the fundamental need for full freedom of movement for IDPs who remain in camps, he stressed the need for continued progress in allowing people to leave the camps and restore their normal life and dignity.

Holmes reiterated that the UN remains committed to working with the Government to improve the returns process.

The UN will also help to assure satisfactory conditions in areas of return, especially in the fields of shelter, basic services and livelihoods.

He emphasized the need to build confidence between communities with a view to ensuring a just and sustainable peace and long-term political reconciliation.


Today is Africa Industrialization Day, and the Secretary-General

spoke at a panel discussion this morning to mark the Day. He said that last year was the fifth consecutive year in which Africa registered economic growth of more than 5 per cent, but he warned that the industrial sector has not lived up to its potential.

In a separate

message to mark Africa Industrialization Day, the Secretary-General says that the past few years of economic growth in Africa have been encouraging.

But if the transformation of African economies is to be sustained, increased industrialization is necessary.

He says that the African economy, like the rest of the world economy, continues to feel the impact of the global economic and financial crisis.


The UN refugee agency, (UNHCR), has

condemned the latest xenophobic attacks in South Africa, targeted at some 3,000 foreigners in the Western Cape Province.

The attacks, carried out last Tuesday by some local farmers, have driven the foreigners, including refugees and asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe, from their temporary homes in De Doorns, a grapelands farming community located some 140 kilometres northeast of Cape Town. The local farmers have accused the foreigners of stealing their jobs by accepting cheaper wages in vineyards.

UNHCR has moved quickly to help the displaced who are now staying in a sports field and a community centre in De Doorns, sleeping under three communal tents.

The refugee agency welcomes the rapid humanitarian response of the local authorities and the fact that water, portable toilets and a mobile health clinic were provided within hours. In addition, the South African Red Cross has also been feeding the evicted persons with two hot meals a day.

UNHCR is working with the South African Human Rights Committee and all concerned parties to help bring the situation in De Doorns back to normal and make it safe for foreigners to return there.

This is the first large-scale xenophobic attack affecting refugees and asylum-seekers in South Africa since a similar country-wide violence in May, 2008.

UNHCR notes that though documented refugees and asylum-seekers have the legal right to work in South Africa tensions have often erupt over competition for jobs.


NINE MILLION PEOPLE FALL INTO POVERTY IN LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN: The current global crisis will cause nine million people in Latin America and the Caribbean to fall into poverty this year, according to a new

report by the UNs Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, (ECLAC).

The study shows that there will be 189 million poor people in the region by the end of 2009, compared to 180 million in 2008. The report was launched yesterday by ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, who said the region must urgently develop a new long-term social protection system.

EUROPE FACES AN AGEING CRISIS: According to the UNs Economic Commission for Europe, population ageing is one of the biggest challenges of our century.

The Commission

adds that, while working-age adults currently make up the largest share of Europes population, that situation is changing rapidly. To help its Member States make the appropriate policy responses, the Commission is launching a series of policy briefs on ageing. Among other things, the brief notes that, in order to realize the overarching goal of a society for all ages, countries need to enhance older persons participation in social, political and economic life and improve their access to transport, appropriate housing and cultural activities.

BAN KI-MOONS CALLS FOR SAFER ROADS AND VEHICLES: The Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, yesterday delivered a

message on behalf of the Secretary-General to the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety. In the message, the Secretary-General notes that, each year, more than one million people are killed in traffic accidents. Thats more than the number of people who die from malaria or diabetes.The UN plays a critical role in raising awareness, mobilizing support and fostering cooperation to address what should be regarded as a crisis. But we must do more to limit the economic and emotional devastation caused by poor road safety, while creating sustainable transport systems that protect the environment from climate change, the Secretary-General adds. .N.

PROBING HELICOPTER INCIDENT THAT LEFT ONE HAITIAN INJURED: Asked about a recent incident involving UN peacekeepers in Haiti in which one person was reportedly shot, the Spokeswoman said that the incident began when a helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing, and a crowd gathered as the helicopter was being repaired. Montas said that the peacekeepers fired into the air to disperse the crowd, in accordance with their standard procedure. However, one person inside the helicopter shot a cartridge that hit a person in the shoulder. She added that the incident is being investigated.

UNITED NATIONS LOOKING INTO REPORTS OF HACKING OF FILES OF SPECIAL ADVISER ON CYPRUS: Asked about reports that some of the files of the Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, had been hacked, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations was aware of the reports and was trying to determine what happened.

I.A.E.A. AND SECURITY COUNCIL DEALING WITH IRANS NUCLEAR TALKS: Asked about the talks concerning Irans nuclear programme, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-Generals views on that topic are clear. At the same time, however, she said that the issue is currently in the hands of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the members of the Security Council.


21 27 November 2009

Saturday, 21 November

Starting today, the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Haiti will be in New York and in Haiti, until 1 December.

Sunday, 22 November

There are no major events scheduled for today.

Monday, 23 November

This morning, the Security Council will hold a debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At 11 a.m. in Room-S226, Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark, will brief on the work of the Africa Commission in helping African countries reach the Millennium Development Goals. The Africa Commission is chaired by the President of Tanzania and Prime Minister of Denmark.

The guest at the noon briefing, John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, will brief on his recent trip to Sri Lanka.

At 3 p.m. in Room-S226, there will be a press conference on the need for a new climate deal that will tackle energy poverty. Speakers will include Luiz Augusto Cassanha Galvão from the Pan American Health Organization, Fatih Birol from the International Energy Agency and Olav Krjoven from the UN Development Programme.

At 4 p.m., in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will organize the Twelfth Rafael M. Salas Memorial Lecture to be delivered by Yasuo Fukuda, former Prime Minister of Japan.

In Geneva, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) will launch its Annual Greenhouse Gases Bulletin.

Tuesday, 24 November

The Secretary-General will launch the Network of Men Leaders in support of his UNiTE to end violence against women Campaign, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.

Following the launch, at 10.40 a.m., the Secretary-General will hold a press conference in Room-S226. Other speakers will include Knut Storberget, Minister of Justice and Police of Norway, a member of the Secretary-General's Network of Men Leaders, UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand, and Ghida Anani, UN Trust Fund grantee and Program Coordinator at KAFA (Enough) Violence & Exploitation.

Today, the Security Council will hear a briefing on the situation in the Middle East and hold consultations on the same topic.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will launch a new double report: the UNAIDS Outlook 2010, which explores new ideas and ways to use the data collected in the companion report, the AIDS Epidemic Update.

From 1:15 to 2:45 p.m., Mrs. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, will moderate a panel discussion on Healing in the aftermath of conflict: Mental health and psycho-social support for individuals and communities organized by the Mission of Belgium and Uganda, in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.

Wednesday, 25 November

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

This morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on sanctions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It will also hold a debate on the annual report of the Peacebuilding Commission.

The guest at the noon briefing, Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, will brief on her recent trip to Sudan.

Thursday, 26 November

UN Headquarters will be closed today in observance of US Thanksgiving Day.

Friday, 27 November

UN Headquarters will be closed today in observance of Eid al-Adha.

The Secretary-General will begin his trip to Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

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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