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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-01-12

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S BRIEFING

BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC

ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

ANNAN WELCOMES GENEROUS PLEDGES TO TSUNAMI FLASH APPEAL

Secretary General Kofi Annan

welcomes the generous pledges and, more importantly, the firm commitments announced yesterday in Geneva in response to the UN Flash Appeal for the countries affected by the

tsunami.

Having had the opportunity this week to visit the affected region and witness the immense human suffering, he is acutely aware of the enormous needs, both in terms of immediate relief and longer term recovery.

Given the unprecedented needs, the Secretary-General appeals to the international community to rapidly deliver on their pledges and urges all donors to sustain their support throughout the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase. He also urges the international community to establish a regional early warning mechanism.

The Secretary General appreciates this expression of confidence by the international community in the United Nations coordination of relief efforts, and reiterates his intention to urgently establish a financial tracking system to ensure transparency, accountability and efficient management of relief and reconstruction funds.

The Secretary-General looks forward to continued international cooperation, building on the encouraging efforts made during the initial response to the crisis. He hopes that the global outpouring of solidarity and generosity will become a model for the response to other humanitarian crises.

MONEY RECEIVED FOR TSUNAMI SURVIVOR ASSISTANCE TOPS $730 MILLION

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that the amount of money received by the United Nations at yesterdays pledging conference in Geneva -- $738 million -- is greater than the total amount requested for 2004s biggest appeal.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has

transported 190 tons of building materials to the island of Naalaafushi, in the Maldives. With the help of a local partner which has provided carpenters, plumbers and other construction workers UNDP aims to have all 291 inhabitants in new houses before the monsoon season begins in June. UNDP is also helping to rebuild homes on the island of Muli.

Newly appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham will speak out for the tsunami-affected children in a UNICEF TV campaign urging support for the organization's work to meet their immediate and long term needs.

UNICEF has also

delivered emergency kits to children and families in tsunami-affected areas of Myanmars Ayeyarwaddy District. The kits are packed with blankets, clothing, utensils, soap, mosquito nets and other essential items to help families contend with the after-effects of the recent disaster. UNICEF is also providing drinking water and household sanitation systems to hard-hit communities in Ayeyarwaddy, and has a one-year stock of essential drugs and thousands of mosquito nets ready for distribution to the most affected families and communities.

The World Health Organization (WHO)

reports that, along the Sumatran coast between Banda Aceh and the town of Meulaboh, many roads and bridges have been destroyed, making access extremely difficult. WHO says that cases of diarrhoeal disease are being reported in displacement camps throughout the region, although no outbreaks have been reported so far. To minimize the risk of outbreaks, access to safe drinking water, as well as adequate hygiene and sanitation, remains a WHO priority.

ANNAN PRAISES SMALL ISLAND COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES

FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS

The Secretary-General is currently in Mauritius, where he will deliver an address Thursday morning to the 2,000 participants of the

International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.

Today, the Secretary-General and Nane Annan visited a major parallel activity of the Mauritius conference, called the Community Vilaj, which is a showcase of sustainable development efforts in small islands worldwide.

The Secretary-General told the community representatives who had gathered there, You represent an adaptive, resilient group that is necessary for any society to move forward. Later, the Secretary-General opened the final session of the parallel youth forum of the conference.

At the end of the afternoon, the Secretary-General addressed island leaders taking part in a summit meeting of the Alliance of Small Island States. He referred to the recent earthquake and tsunami, saying, as a result of the terrible catastrophe, we can see more clearly not only the challenges facing small islands, but also their relevance for the entire world.

HAITI: U.N. MISSION HAS TAKEN STEPS TO STABILIZE SECURITY SITUATION

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Haiti,

Juan Valdes, briefed the

Security Council this morning in an open meeting.

In his address, Valdes said the

UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti has entered a new phase, and had taken decisive steps to stabilize the security situation there. He outlined some recent security operations, adding that the Mission has almost reached its mandated level of man-power, which in turn, has increased the Missions ability to deal with the security situation and the political transition.

Valdes also reiterated the need for international support for Haiti.

Todays meeting was chaired by Argentinas Minister for Foreign Affairs, and it was also attended by seven other foreign affairs ministers from the Americas.

SECURITY COUNCIL INFORMED THAT SITUATION IN DARFUR IS STILL BAD

Tuesday afternoon, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Sudan, Jan Pronk, told the Security Council that, "It is hard to imagine that the peace dividend promised by the Nairobi agreement will be reaped without an end to the suffering in Darfur.

Pronk focused much of his briefing on Darfur, where he said the security situation is still bad and the humanitarian situation is poor. And politically, Darfur finds itself in a stalemate, he said.

He noted that large quantities of arms had been carried into Darfur in defiance of the Security Council decision taken in July, and he flagged the emergence of new rebel movements that were launching attacks in the area of oil facilities in Western Kordofan.

He also warned of a possible period of intense violence unless swift action is taken and new approaches are considered. He outlined a number of suggestions.

Also yesterday, the Security Council issued a

press statement on the killing and wounding of UN military observers along the Blue Line in Southern Lebanon in the statement, Council members called on all parties involved to exercise restraint.

IRAQ: ALL KNOWN ASSETS FROM OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAMME

ACCOUNTED FOR IN DEVELOPMENT FUND

The Secretary-General, in a

letter, transmitted to the Security Council the review written by his representative on the International Advisory and Monitoring Board of the Boards work over the past year.

The representative, Jean-Pierre Halbwachs, said that an external auditor has concluded that all known oil proceeds, reported frozen assets and transfers from the oil-for-food program have been properly and transparently accounted for in the Development Fund for Iraq.

But the Board believes the auditors controls were insufficient to provide reasonable assurance on petroleum exports, and whether all the Development Funds disbursements were made for the purposes intended.

The Board also agreed to the terms of reference for a special audit of sole-sources contracts, proposed by the U.S. Government, to be completed by an independent auditor. That audit is expected to be completed by this April, and to be made public.

SRI LANKA, INDONESIA AND MALDIVES WERE CHOSEN FOR ANNANS VISIT

Responding to yesterdays questions, asking whether the Secretary-General had been prevented during his recent travels from seeing India or parts of Sri Lanka, the Spokesman said his office does not discuss the details of the planning phases of the Secretary-General's trips.

He added that, in planning this trip, the United Nations looked at the entire area hit by the tsunami, and chose two of the worst-hit Aceh in Indonesia, and Sri Lanka and a small island state that proportionately was badly hit, the Maldives. The Secretary-General did not visit India this time around.

As for Sri Lanka, the Secretary-General made clear that he saw a lot of the country in 48 hours, including a refugee camp for Tamils in the northeast. Before his departure, he

told reporters, I am hoping to be able to come back and someday be able to visit all parts of the country, which I hope will be rebuilt, but also to celebrate peace.

In response to a further question on whether India blocked the Secretary-Generals travels to that country, the Spokesman noted comments made by Indian officials denying that they had prevented the Secretary-General from visiting.

Asked whether the Secretary-General was kept away from parts of Sri Lanka, the Spokesman said he was unaware of the Secretary-General being blocked, adding that he visited all the areas that were in his final travel plans.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

PEACEKEEPING MISSION IN LIBERIA GETS NEW FORCE COMMANDER: The Secretary-General has appointed Lieutenant-General Joseph Olorungbon Owonibi of Nigeria as Force Commander of the

United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Lieutenant-General Owonibi replaces Lieutenant-General Daniel Opande of Kenya.

W.H.O. TACKLES MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS IN EUROPE: Mental health problems exact high costs to society in both human suffering and economic terms. The

WHO European Ministerial Conference on Mental Health -- being held in Helsinki from 12-15 January -- is part of WHO/Europe's response to Member States' concerns about this growing problem. At the Conference, representatives of Member States will discuss the status of mental health in the WHO European Region and agree on a declaration and action plan with measures for improvement.

SPOKESMAN NOTES ANNANS INITIATIVE TO OVERHAUL U.N. MANAGEMENT: Asked about recent comments by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell concerning the Secretary-Generals responsibility for problems in the oil-for-food program, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is accountable to the Member States for the management of the Secretariat. As Powell pointed out, responsibility on this matter also rests with the Security Council. The Secretary-General, the Spokesman added, has created the Independent Inquiry Committee and stated that he will take whatever actions are appropriate based on the findings. The Secretary-General has also initiated a management overhaul designed to increase accountability and improve the performance of the Secretariat.

SPOKESMAN SAYS ISRAELS COOPERATION WITH REGISTER IS IMPORTANT: Asked whether Israel has agreed to the establishment of a UN register for damages caused by the barrier in the West Bank, the Spokesman said that Israels cooperation would be important, and added that the United Nations has not received a reaction from Israel so far.

  • The guest at the noon briefing was Kevin Kennedy, Director of the Coordination and Response Division in the Office for the Coordination of

    UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, who provided an update on assistance to the tsunami victims.

    Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

    United Nations, S-378

    New York, NY 10017

    Tel. 212-963-7162 -

    press/media only

    Fax. 212-963-7055

    All other inquiries to be addressed to (212)

    963-4475 or by e-mail to: inquiries@un.org


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