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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-01-25
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
U.N. ENVOY PRAISES EFFORTS MADE BY IRAQS ELECTORAL COMMISSION
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Ashraf Qazi, today visited the headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, and reviewed with its chairman and other members the steps that have been taken to ensure the holding of fair and transparent elections in Iraq.
Qazi praised the efforts made by the commission to prepare for the polls, saying the United Nations is proud to have been able to assist the commission in providing technical support and strategic advice.
The Commission has the sole authority in organizing and conducting the elections, scheduled for 30 January, and a team of UN experts has played a leading role in ensuring that it gets all the technical support and training it needs.
Qazi also met with the Iraqi Interim Vice President, Ibrahim Jafari, for talks that focused on the political and security conditions and efforts that are being taken to ensure an environment conducive for holding elections next week.
Earlier, Qazi held talks with the President of the Iraqi Council for Peace and Solidarity, Fakhri Kareem, and discussed efforts to ensure the participation of all Iraqis in the political process.
Qazi also met with former Iraqi Prime Minister Naji Taleb. He stressed that the United Nations will continue to stand by the Iraqi people and provide them with every possible support to ensure the success of the political and reconstruction processes.
Asked whether Qazi believes a conducive environment has been established for elections in Iraq, the Spokesman said that the Special Representative has candidly discussed security conditions in the country, which remains problematic. He added that it is the Independent Electoral Commissions decision to hold the elections, and the United Nations is supporting the Commission in its work.
U.N. ASSESSMENTS REVEAL MASSIVE LOSS OF LIVELIHOODS IN INDONESIA
UN assessments in Indonesia, in the wake of the
tsunami, show that there has been a massive loss of livelihoods, following the destruction of about 40,000 hectares of rice paddies and 70% of the fishing industry.
But fortunately, local residents, the Indonesian government, the United Nations, and other partners have staved off a feared second wave of mortality due to hunger and disease.
In Aceh, emergency food distribution is now reaching about 330,000 beneficiaries. Also, emergency medical and relief supplies, along with hygiene and reproductive health kits, have been delivered to more than 200,000 people. A measles campaign has reached around 52,000 children, and school materials are flowing in, in anticipation of the reopening of schools for up to 70,000 children this week.
For its part, the
UN Development Programme has begun helping to move hundreds of tons of tsunami-strewn rubble and debris from key public facilities in Banda Aceh.
UN Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) remains
concerned that conditions in camps for displaced people and temporary relocation centers remain below international standards. UNHCR and its partners are therefore setting up a new camp in the town of Meulaboh. It will have around 170 family-sized tents, for some 1,000 displaced people.
In Sri Lanka, UNHCR is set to finish an airlift of 2,000 tents from Jordan. A further 5,500 tents are being shipped by sea to Colombo.
UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund,
warned today that hundreds of thousands of tsunami survivors living in temporary camps face a growing risk of water-borne disease due to flooding of toilets and inadequate numbers of toilets and bathing facilities. The situation is particularly worrying in Indonesia, where in some areas of Aceh, only one in 1,000 people has access to a toilet. UNICEF is therefore building emergency toilets for camps and tent schools and supplying sanitation and water kits.
U.N. ENVOY TO VISIT DARFUR BEFORE ATTENDING AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT
UN Mission in Sudan reports that Special Representative
Jan Pronk will conduct a routine working visit to
Darfur from January 26 to 28. He will be visiting Al Fashir, in North Darfur, and Nyala, in South Darfur, and will meet with the local Sudanese authorities, the UN agencies and NGOs.
Pronk will then be heading to Abuja, Nigeria on 29 January to attend the Summit of the African Union.
Meanwhile, the UN mission reports that last weeks military activity caused population displacements of nearly 10,000 people in Darfur.
Asked when the
Secretary-General would receive the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, the Spokesman said that the Commission was expected to conclude work on that report today. They are then expected to transmit the report from Geneva on Wednesday.
The United Nations would give the report to the Sudanese Government for comment, allowing three days for that process. After that, the Spokesman said, the report should go to the Security Council, in English only, next week, and would be made available to the press once the Council members have received it.
The Spokesman added that it would take longer to translate the report into all six UN working languages, so the report would not become an official UN document available in all those languages until later in February.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON U.N. MISSION IN GEORGIA, COTE DIVOIRE
Security Council is holding consultations this morning on the
UN Observer Mission in Georgia and on Cote d'Ivoire.
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative Heidi Tagliavini briefed Council members on Georgia, and spoke to the press at the Council stakeout area after her briefing.
Assistant Secretary-General for
Peacekeeping Operations, Hedi Annabi, briefed the Council on the latest developments in Cote dIvoire.
ANNAN CALLS FOR STRENGTHENED MULTILATERALISM
congratulated Qatar for its wise leadership of the
Group of 77 coalition of developing nations over the past year, and wished Jamaica luck in its efforts to lead the Group in 2005.
He told the Group of 77, which consists of 132 countries, that we are at a defining moment in the history of the United Nations.
We must seize the occasion, he said, to strengthen multilateralism and take decisive steps towards the vision of a world free from fear and want.
The Secretary-General said that its now clearer than ever what steps are needed, following the release last week of the
Millennium Projects report,
Investing in Development. That report, he said, shows clearly that, with political will on all sides, we have the practical means to ensure that every country reaches the Millennium Development Goals.
ANNAN EXTENDS APPOINTMENT OF UNAIDS CHIEF FOR FOUR MORE YEARS
Dr. Peter Piots appointment as the Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS or
UNAIDS, for short for an additional four years.
Dr. Piot said that he is pleased and honored to have the opportunity to continue serving UNAIDS. He said, As we enter a new era of implementation, we must focus our efforts on translating the commitments of recent years into improved prevention, care and support services for the people who need them.
WOMEN AND MEN IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ARE HAVING FEWER CHILDREN
Women and men in developing countries are marrying later, having fewer children, and having them later. As a result, average fertility in the developing countries has declined to under three children per woman.
That is one of the findings from the World Fertility Report 2003, issued by the
Population Division of the
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The report shows that there has been a tremendous increase in the use of family planning since the 1970s.
Median contraceptive prevalence among the 192 countries that were studied rose from 38% of women in the 1970s to 52% in the 1990s. Meanwhile, fertility in developing countries today averages around 2.9 children per woman.
U.N.S GOOD OFFICES IN COLOMBIA WOULD BE REVIVED WHEN CONDITIONS ALLOW
Asked about reports that the President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, has asked for the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Colombia,
James LeMoyne, to be dismissed, the Spokesman said that he had issued a statement on Monday, following discussions with senior Colombian officials, that expressed the United Nations views.
Asked about that statement, the Spokesman said that the United Nations did not want to suggest that its good offices in
Colombia are being shut down, but he acknowledged that the heat has been turned down to very low.
Eckhard said that neither the Government nor the United Nations wanted to end the good offices, which would be revived once conditions permit.
He added that the question of whether LeMoyne would have a successor remains an open one, which may be clarified by a further announcement later. Meanwhile, the United Nations will continue to work with the Colombian Government on humanitarian and development issues through the
UN Development Programme resident representative in the country.
The Spokesman, in response to a further question about cooperation from the Colombian Government, said that the United Nations had set up its office in Colombia five years ago, to help the Government and the rebel movements achieve reconciliation. That goal has not been possible to date, he said, but the United Nations is not ready to give up on it, either.
ENDORSEMENT LETTERS FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLYS
SPECIAL SESSION ARE CONFIDENTIAL
Asked why the list of the 150 countries that had endorsed Mondays
Special Session on the liberation of the Nazi death camps was kept confidential, the Spokesman said that the standard procedure in the
General Assembly is that endorsement letters are considered confidential.
He added that the
Secretary-General had thought it would be good to make the letters public, but his office could not override the General Assemblys decision.
Instead, the Spokesman said, the UN Secretariat would raise with the General Assembly President the issue, in future cases, of informing Member States in advance that their endorsement letters could be made public.
Asked for the Secretary-Generals reaction to the empty seats at the Special Session, the Spokesman replied, I dont think he did a head count.
The Spokesman, in response to complaints about differing speakers lists for the Session, said that he would try to make sure that one list is put out. He noted that some countries switch speakers at the last minute, however.
U.N. MISSION IN COTE DIVOIRE DIDNT APPROVE AIRCRAFT REPAIR: Asked whether the
UN Operation in Cote dIvoire gave a green light for the Ivorian Government to repair its planes, the Spokesman said that reports suggesting that the mission had approved such plane repair were not accurate, and that the mission would issue a statement today clarifying the matter.
ANNAN HAS MET OIL-FOR-FOOD INVESTIGATORS MORE THAN ONCE: Asked whether the
Secretary-General has been interviewed by the
Independent Inquiry Committee on the
oil-for-food program, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General has met more than once, for an extended period of time, with Paul Volcker and his investigators. Those meetings, he said, took place in the Secretary-Generals conference room at UN Headquarters, on November 9, for an hour and 45 minutes; on December 3, for 25 minutes; and today, for an hour and 35 minutes. The Secretary-General may continue to be questioned as the investigation proceeds, he added.
CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT STILL FACES OBSTACLES: The
Conference on Disarmament still faces the demanding task of finding ways to overcome the impasse that has impeded its work for so long. That remark is part of the
Secretary-Generals message to the Conference, which opened today in Geneva. The Secretary-General also calls upon Conference Members to seriously consider the recommendations of the
High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
FORESTS CONTRIBUTE DIRECTLY TO REDUCING EXTREME POVERTY: Forests contribute directly to reducing extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability, two of the
Millennium Development Goals, a panel of forestry experts invited to the
Food and Agriculture Organization has
concluded. The panel added that sustainable forest management and sustainable development are closely linked, as recognized at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
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