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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-03-31

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 NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, March 31, 2006

SECRETARY-GENERAL BIDS FAREWELL TO LOUISE FRÉCHETTE

Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued the following statement on the departure of Deputy Secretary-General.

"For the past eight years,

Louise Fréchette has played a pioneering role as the first Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. She has been crucial in ensuring coordination across the entire United Nations system -- from economic and social issues to the strengthening of our peace operations. She has worked tirelessly for a more coherent and effective UN, on subjects ranging from HIV/AIDS to our relationship with civil society. And she has helped advance understanding everywhere of what it takes to equip the United Nations to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

As the most senior woman in the history of the Organization, Louise Fréchette has been an inspiration to women both inside the United Nations and around the world. As my right-hand woman, she has been a constant source of support and strength to me personally. Her indefatigable efforts for reform of the Organization, and her unstinting faith in its ability to keep changing for the better, have contributed immeasurably to the renewal we are experiencing today. We owe her a profound debt of gratitude for that legacy of reform and renewal -- a legacy that is hers as much as it is mine."

Asked when Mark Malloch Brown would assume the Deputy Secretary-Generals functions, the Spokeswoman said that would take place starting tomorrow.

UNITED NATIONS WILL HELP ASSESS DAMAGE IN IRAN QUAKE

The

Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the loss of life, the hundreds of injuries and the destruction suffered by the people of Iran after the earthquakes that struck Lorestan Province on the evening of 30 March and the morning of 31 March. He extends his deepest condolences to the families of those who have been killed or injured in the earthquakes.

The United Nations will send an inter-agency assessment team to the affected region immediately, and stands ready to lend its assistance to efforts to respond to humanitarian needs created by the disaster and to mobilize international support for that response.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT THE HAGUE AND SPAIN

Next week, the Secretary-General will begin a week of travel to Spain and the Netherlands.

While in Spain, the Secretary-General will chair the twice-yearly meeting of the

Chief Executives Board, which brings together the heads of the UN agencies, funds and programmes. Next weeks session is being hosted by the World Tourism Organization.

He will also meet in Madrid with Spains Prime Minister, José Luis Zapatero Rodriguez, and with King Juan Carlos.

Then, in the following week, the Secretary-General will travel to The Hague, where he will speak at the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the International Court of Justice. While in The Hague, he also expects to meet with officials from the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

He plans to depart in the latter part of next week, returning to New York a week later.

SIERRA LEONE COURT SAYS TAYLOR MET WITH HIS DEFENSE LAWYERS

In Freetown, the

Special Court for Sierra Leone says it is expected to announce before the end of the day a date for an initial court appearance by former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

In a

press release, the Court today reports lawyers from the defense met with Taylor yesterday. They described him as being in fairly good health and in good spirits. It says he cooperated with the lawyers who explained his rights and addressed personal matters as well as detention-related issues.

At UN headquarters, the Security Council discussed the proposed transfer of Charles Taylor to a facility outside Sierra Leone, while remaining under the Special Courts responsibility. The Secretary-General responded to questions from reporters about the transfer earlier today.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES EX-YUGOSLAV TRIBUNAL, TAYLOR, LIBERIA, GEORGIA

The

Security Council this morning held consultations on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Council members spoke by videoconference with Judge Fausto Pocar, the Tribunals President, and John Hocking, its Deputy Registrar, on detention conditions and other aspects of the Tribunals work.

Under other matters, Council members discussed the proposed transfer of Charles Taylor to a facility outside Sierra Leone, while remaining under the Special Courts responsibility.

The Security Council voted on a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Georgia by six months.

It scheduled further consultations at 5 p.m.on the UN mission in Liberia whose mandate is expiring today.

FORCED RECRUITMENT OF SUDANESE REFUGEES IN CHAD IS CONDEMNED

The Office of the

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is strongly

condemning the forced recruitment of Sudanese refugees from Darfur by various armed groups in UNHCR-run camps in eastern Chad.

The recruitment, UNHCR says, breaches the civilian character of asylum and of its camps.

It went on to say that this activity is further evidence of the growing insecurity that has now spread to both sides of the Chad-Sudan border something High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has been warning about for months.

UNHCR says there are also reports of clashes yesterday in eastern Chad.

ANNAN AND AU COMMISSION CHAIR DISCUSS DARFUR, DR/CONGO, CHAD/SUDAN

Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting today with Alpha Oumar Konaré, Chairman of the African Union Commission, the Spokeswoman later said they discussed Darfur, in particular the Abuja peace talks and Konare reported on steps taken to accelerate progress at those talks.

They also discussed support for the African Union force in Darfur, including the possibility of a donors conference.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was also discussed, and in particular, how to ensure an inclusive electoral progress, in advance of Konares visit to the DRC next week. They discussed the situation on Chad-Sudan border, and steps being taken to defuse the tension there and the implementation of the Tripoli agreement.

ANNAN AND SOLANA DISCUSS DARFUR AND DRC

Asked about the Secretary-General's meeting with Javier Solana, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Spokeswoman later said they had discussed Darfur and the DRC.

On Darfur, support to the AU force by the European Union was discussed.

On DRC, the EU rapid reaction force and support for electoral process were discussed.

This meeting was followed by a one-on-one working luncheon

ANNAN SAYS MANDATE REVIEW IS A TOOL FOR MEMBER STATES

The Secretary-General presented his

report Thursday afternoon on the review of UN mandates to the

General Assembly, calling the review a unique opportunity to strengthen and adapt the United Nations to the priorities of today.

In presenting the report, the Secretary-General made clear that it is the Member States review, adding, I am only giving you the tools to conduct it.

Those tools he mentions, include a registry of all mandates, which will be available to the public on the UN webstite

www.un.org/mandatereview, after 12:30 today.

U.N. EMERGENCY FUND TO HELP DROUGHT VICTIMS IN AFRICA

The UN has granted nearly $2 million from the

Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to the

World Health Organization (WHO) for urgent, life-saving programmes in the drought-hit Horn of Africa.

With these funds, WHO will work to strengthen immunization campaigns, disease surveillance and the training of health professionals in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, in order to reduce suffering and death from the drought crisis.

UNITED NATIONS HELPS KENYA DESTROY ILLEGAL DRUGS

The UN Office in Nairobi reports that the Kenyan government, with help from the

UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), destroyed more than one ton of cocaine today in a Nairobi medical facility.

The street value of the cocaine exceeded $90 million.

The UN agency assisted the government in ensuring that the planning, testing and destruction were carried out in accordance with international legal standards.

The drugs had been seized in a raid in 2004.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE TO VISIT TURKS AND CAICOS: A special UN mission led by Ambassador Julian Hunte of St. Lucia, the Chairman of the Special Committee on Decolonization, will be visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands next week, starting on Sunday. The objective of the mission is to gather information to assess the type of assistance the UN system could provide in the self-determination process of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Well have a press release on the racks with more details.

ETHIOPIAN CHILDREN FACE LETHAL DISEASE OUTBREAK: UNICEF today reports that Ethiopian children are facing an outbreak of lethal diseases from diarrhea to malaria - after short rain showers hit parts of the country's drought-stricken Oromia region. The showers have not been enough to undo the damage of two failed rainy seasons in the parched and remote lowland region on the border with Kenya. Child malnutrition levels are still at alarming levels and livestock deaths have continues to climb. But the rain in some limited areas has been enough to form shallow pools near villages pools that are potential breeding grounds for malaria and diarrhea.

NEW ENVIRONMENTAL WEBCAST IS LAUNCHED: The UN Environment Programme today announced the launch of what they called the worlds first broadband TV channel dedicated to environmental issues. Known as green.tv, it is available at

www.green.tv, and is being podcast on iTunes. It will carry films from around the world produced by NGOs, community filmmakers, public sector bodies and companies with a firm interest in protecting our environment.

FOREST LOSSES CONTINUE: The net rate of forest loss in Africa is the second highest in the world, while the continent leads the globe in the frequency of forest fires, UN Food and Agriculture Organization told the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission at its meeting this week (29 March 1 April) in Maputo, Mozambique. Globally, Africa suffered a net loss of forests exceeding 9 million acres per year between 2000 and 2005, according to FAO. This was mainly due to conversion of forest lands to agriculture. Forest cover went from 1.6 billion acres to 1.5 billion acres during this period. South America is the world region with the highest net loss of forests.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Sunday, April 2

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland is continuing his mission to East Africa. Today he will travel to southern Sudan.

Monday, April 3

At 10:30 a.m., there will be a press conference at the UNICEF House to announce the appointment of tennis player Roger Federer as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Also present will be UNICEF head Ann Veneman, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Adolf Ogi, and singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira.

At 10:30 a.m., the Permanent Mission of Spain will be sponsoring a press conference by international model Karolina Kurkova, microcredit expert Ela Bhatt, and the non-governmental organization Women Together on Fashion for Development, a programme created to foster development through the introduction of fabrics from traditional weavers in less developed countries to the western world. The Fashion for Development Fashion Show will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Delegates Dining Room.

At 4:00 in the ECOSOC Chamber, the Secretary-General will receive the Final Report of the International Year of Sport and Physical Education from Adolf Ogi. Roger Federer and others are expected to participate.

Max Gaylard, Director of the UN Mine Action Service, will be the guest at the noon briefing, in advance of the first International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland is continuing his mission to East Africa. Today he will travel to Darfur, Sudan.

Tuesday, April 4

Today is the first International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

In the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at 11:45 a.m., a documentary on landmines will be screened. Then at noon, there will be remarks by: UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover; Ismael Abraăo Gaspar Martins of Angola, co-chair of the Forum of Mine Affected States; Kathleen Cravero of the UN Development Programme; and others.

At 2:15, the keynote speakers at the 39th session of the Commission on Population and Development will hold a press conference on the sessions theme: international migration and development. The Commission will be meeting this whole week on international migration and development.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland is continuing his mission to East Africa. Today he will travel to Chad.

Wednesday, April 5

The inaugural meeting of the Secretary-Generals High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence in the Areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance, and the Environment will be held at UNHQ, on 5-6 April. The High-level Panel will be opened by the Secretary-General, and the meeting will be co-chaired by Prime Ministers Luisa Dias Diogo of Mozambique, Jens Stoltenberg of Norway and Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan.

Thursday, April 6

At 2:30 p.m. Prime Ministers Luisa Dias Diogo of Mozambique, Jens Stoltenberg of Norway and Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan, co-chairs of the Secretary-Generals High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence in the Areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance, and the Environment, will hold a press conference.

Friday, April 7

In Spain, the Secretary-General will chair a meeting of the Chief Executives Board, which brings together the heads of UN agencies, funds and programmes.

Today is World Health Day. The 2006 World Health Report, which will focus on "Human Resources for Health, will be launched by World Health Organization head Lee Jong-wook in Lusaka, Zambia.

Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland is expected to launch a UN consolidated appeal for emergency assistance to the drought-stricken East African region.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 100178

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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