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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-01-06
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
ASSOCIATE SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, January 6, 2005
ANNAN APPEALS FOR $977 MILLION TO MEET NEEDS OF TSUNAMI VICTIMS
Secretary-General Kofi Annan
launched a flash appeal of $977 million in Jakarta, as he spoke at the Special ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Leaders Meeting on the Aftermath of the
Earthquake and Tsunami.
We have started the new year with a singular chance to prove our humanity, he told the leaders gathered for the meeting. He called for a generous response to stop the tsunami from being followed by a second wave of death from preventable causes.
Together, we will restore strength and faith, he concluded. Together, we will rebuild. Together we will recover.
press conference in Jakarta at midday, after the launch of the flash appeal, the Secretary-General urged the international community to stay with us for the longer term.
In response to a question, he commented that for the moment the world has come together and we are going to really make a difference here.
He said he would encourage an early warning system for South Asia and pledged to work for its establishment.
Asked about pledges of support that are never honored, he replied that the United Nations was going to be vigilant and urged governments to transform their pledges into cash as quickly as possible.
A journalist asked if the United Nations had taken over from the four-nation core group that pledged military assets to the relief effort.
The Secretary-General responded by clarifying what he said was a misunderstanding, and said that without those military assets, it would have been extremely difficult for us to get to those in need.
Following the press conference, the Secretary-General attended a luncheon for the participants in the meeting, hosted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
In the margins of the meeting, the Secretary-General held bilateral discussions with the leaders of 10 countries. The recurrent themes in these meetings were the coordination efforts for the tsunami victims, elections in Iraq and UN reform.
U.N. AGENCIES MAKING PROGRESS IN REACHING VICTIMS
BUT ACCESS PROBLEMS REMAIN
The UN Under-Secretary-General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief,
Jan Egeland, said that the $977 million flash appeal is the largest of its kind for a natural disaster by the United Nations since the $153 million appeal to respond to Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Since that appeal, he noted, flash appeals have become more of a precision instrument.
Egeland said that progress was being made in reaching people at the epicenter of the disaster, in Aceh and Sumatra, but added that enormous problems remain in gaining access to people there, given the destruction and lack of usable roads.
Aside from those areas, he said, aid groups will be able to reach nearly all those in need with water, food, tents and sanitation.
As part of the overall flash appeal launched today by the UN, the
World Food Programme
announced a $256 million appeal to provide food assistance over six months for two million earthquake and tsunami victims. Some 169,000 metric tons of food, costing $185 million, will be needed. The remaining $71 million will be used to boost logistics, transport and communications across the region for the entire humanitarian community.
The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) is
seeking $144.5 million to support urgent humanitarian aid for the estimated 1.5 million affected children, many of whom have been orphaned or separated from their families and are in critical need of basic care and support. Among other things, the appeal will address emergency immunizations, basic sanitation needs, special feeding for malnourished children and pregnant women, care for traumatized children, protecting orphans and separated children, and educational concerns.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has
requested $75 million to provide shelter, basic supplies and logistical support for hundreds of thousands of tsunami victims. In addition to fortifying its strong presence in Sri Lanka, UNHCR will be sending blankets and plastic sheets to Somalia this weekend. Those supplies will soon be followed by cooking sets, mattresses and jerry cans.
The World Health Organization (WHO)
announced that it needs $66 million to address urgent public health needs, most importantly in preventing outbreaks of water-borne and other infectious diseases. Among its main objectives is ensuring adequate supplies of basic medical care through key hospitals -- including temporary field hospitals and health centres.
Also making an appeal is the
United Nations Population Fund, which is
requesting approximately $28 million from donors to help meet urgent health, hygiene and protection needs for women and youth in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Activities covered by the appeal will include reestablishing maternal health services, as well as providing and distributing equipment, medicines and supplies to ensure safe childbirth and emergency obstetric care. Prevention of HIV transmission will also be covered.
Food and Agriculture Organization has
appealed for $26 million for farmers and fishermen hit by the disaster. That sum includes around $10 million for agricultural and fisheries emergency projects in Indonesia.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AND DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
ON SECURITY COUNCIL PROGRAM TODAY
Security Council held consultations on the
Central African Republic this morning, and the Secretary-Generals Representative, General Lamine CissÚ, briefed the Council on the Secretary-Generals recent
report on that country.
In that report, the Secretary-General says that the general situation in the Central African Republic is gradually improving in spite of well-known shortcomings in governance and human rights. In the political field, the situation is developing under acceptable conditions, as was evident in the successful holding of a constitutional referendum last month.
In a statement to the press following consultations, the Council
President, Ambassador CÚsar Mayoral of Argentina, said that Council members noted with satisfaction the progress made until now by the Central Africans in the transitional process that will allow the restoration of constitutional legality and rule of law. The Council President added that Council members encouraged the international partners of the Central African Republic to continue to support this process, in particular concerning the funding of the forthcoming elections.
This afternoon, at 3:00 p.m., the Council will hold consultations on the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. It will be briefed on the latest
report on the
UN Mission in that country by the head of that mission, Special Representative
ANNAN CALLS FOR GOVERNMENTS OF DR CONGO AND RWANDA TO WORK TOGETHER
report on the
UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) was issued today, and in it, he calls for the governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda to work together to restore peace to the eastern DRC.
He adds that the DRCs neighbours have yet to provide the support necessary to establish peaceful conditions in the countrys east.
He also notes that the human rights situation remains deeply disturbing, and that the difficulties encountered in reforming the DRCs security sector remain daunting.
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the DRC,
William Swing, along with
Jean-Marie Guehenno, the Under-Secretary-General for
Peacekeeping Operations, will brief the press tomorrow on MONUC.
CONFERENCE OF IRAQ'S NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES RECOGNIZES
LEADING U.N. ROLE IN SUPPORTING IRAQS POLITICAL PROCESS
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Ashraf Qazi, today represented the United Nations at the Conference of Foreign Ministers of Iraq's Neighboring Countries, which ended in Amman, Jordan, with a call for all segments of the Iraqi people to participate in the upcoming elections.
The conference, in its final statement, also recognized the leading role of the United Nations in supporting the political process in Iraq and expressed appreciation for its role in promoting national dialogue and consensus building regarding the constitution that is to be decided by the people of Iraq in 2005.
In an address to the conference, Qazi reiterated the readiness of the United Nations to continue to support the Iraqis during the transitional process and to do whatever possible to help Iraq.
Earlier in the day, Qazi held bilateral talks with senior officials from neighboring countries participating in the Conference, meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Kuwait and Turkey and the head of Irans delegation to the Conference.
Talks focused on the situation in Iraq and efforts made to advance the political process, as well as the role the United Nations is playing in this regard.
U.N. NUCLEAR WATCHDOG TO SEND INSPECTORS TO IRANIAN MILITARY SITE
International Atomic Energy Agency reported that it will be sending inspectors in the coming days to the Parchin military site in Iran. The inspectors will take environmental samples, to determine whether nuclear activity has taken place there.
Iran agreed to the Agencys request for access to the site, on the basis of transparency, following allegations that the site was linked to nuclear weapons testing.
FRESHWATER SHORTAGES AND GLOBAL WARMING
AMONG TOP THREATS TO SMALL ISLANDS
Freshwater shortages and global warming are among the top threats to the small islands of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, according to
reports released today by the
UN Envrionment Programme (UNEP).
The reports come in advance of next weeks
International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, taking place in Mauritius from 10 to 14 January 2005.
The conference is expected to discuss the creation of an early-warning system, to alert small islands and low-lying coastal areas in the Indian Ocean to tidal waves or tsunamis. Several countries in the region have asked UNEP to start looking into how such a system could be launched.
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator,
Jan Egeland, who provided an update on assistance to the tsunami victims.
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