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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-01-17

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





Monday, January 17, 2005


Secretary-General Kofi Annan introduced the Millennium Project report entitled, "Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals". He was joined by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the UN Millennium Project; Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico and one of the Project's Task Force leaders; and Jose Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.


Professor Sachs, Jeff, President Zedillo, Ernesto, Geeta, [Rao Gupta], José Antonio [Ocampo], Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed a great pleasure to accept the final report of the Millennium Project.

This is an important and impressive document.

It is the product of an intense effort: wide-ranging consultations on all continents; tens of thousands of hours of work; thousands of pages of detailed analysis; and many, many years of experience on the part of more than 250 of the world's leading development policymakers, practitioners and experts.

The result is a major intellectual achievement a compelling work that offers a large number of concrete, practical proposals for reaching the Millennium Development Goals by the agreed date of 2015.

The Goals are not utopian. They are eminently achievable. Many countries, including some of the poorest and least developed, are making real progress in achieving them. But many others, particularly in Africa, are not moving fast enough. The recommendations in this report offer ideas and strategies to help those who have fallen behind, as well as those looking to build on their gains.

Member States have decided that their leaders will come to New York in September to review progress towards the goals and in implementing all aspects of the Millennium Declaration. In the months ahead, they will engage in very serious in-depth discussions on some of the most important issues and dilemmas facing the international community. This report, along with that of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, are very important contributions to that process. I intend to issue my own report in March.

It is my sincere hope that the September Summit will produce bold and far-reaching decisions, and that we can work together to put in place the building blocks for a safer, more prosperous, and a fairer world.

I would like to thank Jeff Sachs and his team for their commitment to that goal and for all the hard work they have done.

I am also pleased that two members of the team are with us today:

Ernesto Zedillo, the former president of Mexico, who co-chaired the task force on trade;

and Geeta Rao Gupta, the President of the International Center for Research on Women, who co-chaired the task force on gender.

In closing, it is my pleasure to commend this report to the Member States for careful consideration and to the widest possible global audience.

Thank you very much.


Earlier Monday, the Secretary-General

spoke to the press in New York this morning after returning from a trip to the areas worst hit by the

Indian Ocean tsunami, and he said that he was pleased by the UN staffs work in the field in leading and helping to coordinate international relief.

In his opening remarks, he said, "As you know, I have just come back from Asia and the Indian Ocean, visiting some of the hardest hit countries by the tsunami. It was shocking and moving to see the devastation and the destruction of livelihoods. But I was also encouraged by the community spirit of governments, NGOs, international workers, private sector, all coming together to build and pick up the pieces. I was pleased with the work the UN staff are doing in the field, leading and helping coordinate international relief. Of course we are now at the relief stage, the emergency stage, but we are moving very quickly to recovery and reconstruction. You may also know that the Summit in Jakarta asked me to appoint a special envoy to help coordinate and encourage reconstruction, and I will be doing that very shortly, hopefully in the course of this week."

He went on to say, "But while there, of course, I also kept an eye on what was going on here. I saw Mr. Volcker's comments on the audit reports which indicate that we have work to do in the management area and we need clearer transparency which I intend to work on. I will be making some proposals and taking some action very shortly. I have made some changes and more are on the way, and I will inform you in due course."

Asked about Indonesia, the Secretary-General said that operations there are good, and he said that no major problems have been reported with rebel groups.

Asked at the press encounter about new appointments in the UN system, he confirmed that Anne Veneman, the outgoing U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, is his candidate to be the next Executive Director of the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF).

He added that other changes will be made, with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Terje Roed-Larsen having stepped down and the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) also set to leave.

Asked about

Iraq, the Secretary-General said he had spoken on Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who indicated that he is trying to bring as many people into the electoral process as possible. The Secretary-General added that, even at this late stage, he is urging the Iraqis to reach out, and he hailed the really heroic job being done by the United Nations and others in electoral assistance.


The General Assembly will be hold a plenary meeting at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday., in the General Assembly Hall, to consider the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance. The Secretary-General is expected to address the meeting.

According to the latest figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), donors have pledged a total of $738,886,790, or 76 per cent of the amount requested in the recent

flash appeal.

Meanwhile, the agencies are continuing their relief work in tsunami-hit areas.

In Indonesia, for example, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has distributed family and large service tents to internally displaced persons in and around Banda Aceh, through its local partners.

In both Indonesia and the Maldives, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is cooperating with OCHA and the UN Disaster, Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team on the ground to rapidly assess acute environmental problems that have immediate impacts on human lives and welfare.

For its part, the UN Humanitarian Information Centre has developed a

map of affected populations in Aceh and Northern Sumatra.

In the Maldives, the World Food Programme (WFP) is planning to link biscuit distribution to UNICEFs efforts to reopen schools. WFP will soon meet with the countrys Minister of Education to formalize the plan, which will feed some 25,000 school children.

Meanwhile, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is helping to provide psychosocial interventions and counselling in the Maldives.


The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Iraq, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, today said in Amman that the United Nations, through the work of its human rights office in Iraq, would try to support Iraqi efforts in the establishment of a National Center of Missing and Disappeared Persons.

He said the need for such a Center has become evident after listening to thousands of Iraqis who are constantly wondering about the fate of their loved ones. Qazi said that Iraqs recent history needs to be examined, not just to bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, but also to ensure that similar events do not take place again.

On Sunday, Qazi met in Damascus with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara for talks that focused on the current situation in Iraq and efforts to ensure the success of the transitional process.

In remarks to the press afterward, Qazi said that the Secretary-General has emphasized that elections must be as inclusive as possible if they are to contribute positively to Iraqs political transition.



World Conference on Disaster Reduction will open Tuesday in Kobe, Japan, 10 years after the January 17, 1995, earthquake in that city that killed more than 6,000 people and injured 40,000 others.

Salvano Briceño, Director of the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, said that it is relevant that the Conference in taking place in Asia, which he said is the most disaster-prone continent in the world. Half of all casualties resulting from disasters since 1994 have taken place in Asia, he said.

For part of the conference, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is

organizing a special session on the establishment of a tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean. The session will bring together institutional partners, specialized agencies and donors who have offered support to set up such a system.

Over the weekend, Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

said that making operational a tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean must be one of the key outcomes of the Kobeconference.


SUDAN ENVOY MEETS VICE PRIME MINISTER: The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Sudan, Jan Pronk, met Sudanese First Vice Prime Minister Ali Osman Taha on Saturday. They discussed preparations for the deployment of the UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) and its role in supporting the peace agreement, and also spoke about Darfur.


Interim Accord of 13 September 1995, the representatives of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

met on 14 January under the auspices of the Secretary-General. The Greek side was represented by Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was represented by Ambassador Nikola Dimitrov. The Secretary-General was represented by his Special Representative, Matthew Nimetz. The parties continued to exchange views in the context of article 5 of the Interim Accord. They decided to meet again in the second half of February, 2005.

SMALL ISLANDS CONFERENCE TO BE FOLLOWED UP IN NOVEMBER: As a follow-up to the international meeting on

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that ended in Mauritius last Friday, the

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will

convene a special conference in Rome during its governing Conference 19-26 November 2005 to review the Mauritius Strategy to further Implement the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS. The FAO small islands conference will tackle a number of urgent issues highlighted in the strategic document agreed at last week's international meeting.


World Food Programme (WFP) today appealed for immediate food aid for 400,000 people in Mauritania, where locusts and drought have obliterated agricultural production. WFP is appealing for $30.8 million for a 2005-07 operation in Mauritania to cover urgent needs brought about by locust invasions coupled with drought last year. In the Sahel region's worst invasion in 15 years, locusts infested 100% of Mauritania's agricultural production zone. The south - which has been hardest hit - is home to about a quarter of the population; families living in the area have virtually no access to non-agricultural income.

UNITED NATIONS, WORLD BANK OFFICIALS ASSESS DISARMAMENT IN COTE DIVOIRE: A joint delegation of officials from the World Bank and the

UN Mission in Cote dIvoire were in Bouaké over the weekend to assess disarmament progress in areas under the control of the Forces Nouvelles. They heard from Forces Nouvelles representatives who expressed their security concerns and called for the UN Mission to have a peace enforcement mandate.

ANNAN TO PRESENT GENERAL ASSEMBLYS SPECIAL SESSION ON WEDNESDAY: The Secretary-General will hold a press encounter at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday to present the General Assemblys Special Session to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. Those attending will include the President of the General Assembly and the Permanent Representatives of various Member states.

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:

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