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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-11-30
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, November 30, 2009
BAN KI-MOON HIGHLIGHTS STRUGGLE OF PALESTINIAN PEOPLE FOR RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION
Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is being observed today at UN Headquarters.
Addressing an event this morning, the Secretary-General
said that it is vital that a sovereign State of Palestine is achieved. He added that the Palestinian people continue to struggle for their inalienable right to se style='position:absolute;margin-left:303.75pt;margin-top:1in;width:39.75pt; height:63.75pt;z-index:-1;mso-position-horizontal-relative:page;
height=89 src="hilites_files/image001.gif" alt="Text Box: " lf-determination -- a fundamental, universal human right enjoyed by so many others across the world.
The Secretary-General also said that, now more than ever, politics must be made credible. Those who try to undermine moves toward peace through violence or by changing facts on the ground must not be allowed to set the agenda, he added.
Also in connection with International Day, tonight at six, in the Visitors Lobby, a new photo exhibit by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will open.
And at seven, there will be a concert by Maqamat, an orchestra of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.
In response to a question, the Spokeswoman reiterated that the United Nations supports a vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side. She added it would be up to the people of those states to determine the nature of those states.
SECURITY COUNCIL TAKES UP SUDAN, DR CONGO AND PIRACY OFF SOMALI COAST
Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet this morning
briefed the Security Council on Darfur, saying that the security situation there remains unstable. He warned that the UN-African Union Mission,
UNAMID, has been facing some serious challenged related to its freedom of movement. Mulet said that the United Nations is committed to resolving the issue in collaboration with the Sudanese authorities.
He said that, regarding the peace process, considerable progress needs to be made on key issues like power-sharing, wealth-sharing, security and compensation in the coming months in order for elections to be meaningful in Darfur. We have his briefing notes upstairs, and the Security Council also heard an update from the Joint Chief Mediator, Djibril Bassolé before going into consultations.
Earlier, the Security Council unanimously adopted two resolutions.
On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Council renewed arms sanctions until November 30, 2010, and to extend the mandate of the Group of Experts dealing with the DRC for the same period.
And the Council renewed for twelve months its authorization to Member States and regional organizations cooperating with Somalias Transitional Federal Government in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea of Somalias coast.
Today was the last day of Austrias Security Council Presidency.
Tomorrow, Burkina Faso takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council.
MORE THAN $7 BILLION NEEDED TO HELP 48 MILLION PEOPLE IN 25 COUNTRIES
The United Nations is calling for $7.1 billion to provide urgent humanitarian aid to 48 million people in 25 countries worldwide in 2010.
2010 Humanitarian Appeal is the biggest Appeal ever launched since the creation of the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) in 1991, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
In the foreword to the Appeal, the Secretary-General says that the aim is to help people survive the coming year, and start working their way out of vulnerability towards the dignity, safety and self-sufficiency to which every human being has a right.
The 2010 Appeal comprises twelve consolidated appeals, for Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, the occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, the West Africa region, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.
Launching the Appeal earlier in Geneva, John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that humanitarian aid should be insulated from the current budget pressures faced by many governments. If not, the people desperately affected by the severest natural disasters and conflicts will pay the price for a recession not of their making, he added.
Holmes also noted that the amount of humanitarian funding requested for 2010 was far less than one percent of the amount spent on financial bailouts and economic stimulus.
MOMENTUM IS GROWING FOR SUCCESS AT COPENHAGEN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon returned to New York yesterday after attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.
At the conclusion of the summit, the Secretary-General
said that momentum has been growing for success at the Climate Change Summit starting in Copenhagen next week. He urged the leaders, not only to come to Copenhagen but, to express their full political will by staying focused and committed to seal a deal in Copenhagen.
We will be able to seal a deal that is ambitious, comprehensive and binding, the Secretary-General said. A deal that satisfies the demands of science and will have an immediate operational effect, together with short-term financial support to the most vulnerable countries, he added.
We are united in purpose but we are not yet united in action, the Secretary-General stated. Now is the time for world leaders to show that they are united and committed in action, he stressed.
The Secretary-General was particularly encouraged by the shared desire of Commonwealth Heads of State and Government to achieve a successful outcome in Copenhagen. He strongly welcomed a statement by the Commonwealth committing their leaders to the crucial global effort for consensus and results in Copenhagen.
BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES PROPOSAL FOR AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON AFGHANISTAN
While he attended the Commonwealth meeting in Trinidad, the Secretary-General spoke at a
joint press conference with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and expressed his appreciation for the Prime Ministers proposal to host an international conference on Afghanistan on 28 January 2010 in London.
He said that the London Conference, as well as a further high level Conference to be convened in Kabul within a few months after that, would outline the framework for an increased lead role for the Afghans in the shaping of their destiny. The Secretary-General underlined the readiness of the United Nations to contribute to the success of these conferences.
UNITED NATIONS LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN
The UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) has kicked off a 16-day campaign to press for an end to violence against women in that country.
In a press conference in Kabul today, Norah Niland, the head of the human rights office for the Mission, says that UNAMAs field research found that the political space for women, including for those who wish to advocate for their rights, is shrinking.
She added that the field research also found that rape is under-reported and concealed and is a huge problem in Afghanistan. It affects all parts of the country, all communities, and all social groups.
HONDURAS: BAN KI-MOON ENCOURAGES ALL POLITICAL ACTORS TO WORK FOR BETTER FUTURE
Asked about the Sunday elections in Honduras, the Spokeswoman recalled that the United Nations did not have a role in the election and that therefore it is not for the Secretary-General to recognize or not recognize yesterdays electoral process.
Montas said that the vote appears to have taken place in relative tranquility, although the United Nations has heard reports of heavy deployment of public security forces and some instances of intimidation.
The Secretary-General, she said, is aware of persistent divisions in the region regarding yesterdays elections. He continues to encourage all political actors to commit to a resolution of their differences and to work for a better future for Honduras.
The Spokeswoman added that the Secretary-General understands that a new Government is scheduled to take office on 27 January and hopes that a solution will be reached by then.
BAN KI-MOON HAS CONSISTENTLY CALLED FOR UNDERSTANDING AMONG RELIGIONS
Asked about a vote in Switzerland to ban the construction of minarets, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has consistently been calling for understanding among different religions.
On this specific issue, she expected that the High Commissioner for Human Rights would issue a statement shortly.
The Secretary-General would address the issue of tolerance in his upcoming message on Human Rights Day on December 10.
In addition, Montas said, as recently as earlier this month, the Secretary-General told a gathering of religious and secular leaders that the values of tolerance and the equal worth of every human being are found in all the great faiths, in the UN Charter and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are truly universal, she said.
W.H.O. RELEASES NEW HIV RECOMMENDATIONS ON EVE OF WORLD AIDS DAY
On the eve of World AIDS Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) is
releasing new recommendations on treatment, prevention and infant feeding in the context of HIV -- based on the latest scientific evidence.
For the first time, WHO is recommending that HIV-positive mothers or their infants take antiretroviral drugs while breastfeeding to prevent HIV transmission.
SECRETARY-GENERAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO SPOKESPERSON MICHELE MONTAS
At the briefing, the Secretary-General paid tribute to Michèle Montas, who is retiring today as Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
He said, "For the past three years, I have had the pleasure to work day in and day out with a great professional and such a dedicated and wonderful person like Michèle Montas as Spokesperson of the United Nations."
Noting that Michèle Montas was his first appointment and that
she was "someone who believed in the United Nations as much as I do," the Secretary-General said, Ms. Montas is "someone who embodied the highest standards of personal integrity and journalistic credibility."
"I found that Michèle Montas has all the qualities one could hope for in a Spokesperson," he said. "She is tough but kind. Calm and collected as you will agree."
"Michèle Montas, you are a tough act to follow. I will miss your grace under fire, your willingness to shoulder large burdens, your way with people -- friends and critics alike," he said.
U.N. LAUNCHES ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT IN NIGER DELTA: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
launched today an assessment of the impacts of oil production in the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta. Oil exploration and production in the oil-rich Niger Delta region started in the 1950s, but operations were suspended in the early 1990s due to local public unrest, according to UNEP. It adds that environmental contamination from these operations has not been remediated to date and that further spills have resulted from lack of maintenance. The assessment, which was requested by the Government of Nigeria, will last approximately one year.
ASIA-PACIFIC LEADS ECONOMIC RECOVERY BUT UNCERTAINTIES REMAIN: A United Nations report released today
says that while the Asia-Pacific region is leading the global economic recovery with the 2010 growth rate forecast at 6.3 per cent, the highest in the world considerable uncertainties remain about its extent and durability. The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2009: Year-end Update states that recovery to pre-crisis levels in Asia and the Pacific is largely dependant on developments that are outside the region. Examining the progress and changes to the regions economic performance, the report says recovery of consumption demand in developed countries will be key to the regions exports. Among the regions major economies, China is forecast to see a 9 per cent growth, the fastest in 2010, driven by public and private investment. Domestic-demand led economies of India and Indonesia are also forecast to grow fast, at 7.5 per cent and 5 per cent respectively, driven by domestic consumption and investment.
LEBANON MARITIME FORCE TRANSFERS COMMAND: The UN Interim Force in Lebanons (UNIFIL) Maritime Task Force (MTF) today underwent a transfer of command from Germany to Italy. In a ceremony, the UNIFIL Force Commander, Major-General Claudio Graziano, paid special tribute to Germany for it competent leadership of MTF over the past months.
PANEL WILL DISCUSS RISE OF NEW MEDIA: The Department of Public Information will host a half-day discussion forum on the state of news media and the rise of new media, on 2 December 2009, from 3:00 6:00 pm in the Trusteeship Council Chamber. DPI says the discussion forum will explore the declining state of the print media, showcase new media and their application, and demonstrate new public outreach tools being used by Member States.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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