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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-03-01
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, March 1, 2007
SIERRA LEONE TO RECEIVE $35 MILLION TO HELP BUILD PEACE
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will allocate $35 million will be made from the Peacebuilding Fund in support of Sierra Leone.
The Peacebuilding Fund is funded through voluntary contributions and seeks to address critical peacebuilding priorities identified jointly by the Government and the United Nations and was created in late 2006 as part of the new peacebuilding architecture.
It will benefit countries before the Peacebuilding Commission as well as others in similar circumstances, as designated by the Secretary-General.
This is the second such allocation made under the Peacebuilding Fund following an earlier one in support of Burundi, the other country currently under consideration by the Peacebuilding Commission.
The allocation will now be used in Sierra Leone to fund projects in the areas of youth employment, democracy and good governance, justice and security, as well as public service delivery.
In response to a question, the Spokesperson later said that $35 million was also allocated to Burundi, bringing the total committed to $70 million.
BAN KI-MOON ADDRESSES STUDENT CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE
The 31st annual UN International SchoolUN Conference is being held today and tomorrow in the General Assembly Hall. The theme this year is global warming. Addressing the gathering this morning, the Secretary-General said that the success of the documentary An Inconvenient Truth suggested that, even amongst the broader public, climate change was no longer an inconvenient issue. Rather, it was an inescapable reality.
The Secretary-General also said that, although the phenomenon had largely been viewed in isolation as an environmental issue, it was fast becoming increasingly clear, in North and South alike, that there was an inextricable, mutually dependent relationship between environmental sustainability and economic development. Because the issue transcended borders, the natural arena for action was the UN, he added.
And also on climate change, the UN Global Compact, together with the City of San Francisco and a wide array of Bay Area businesses is today expecting to launch a partnership designed to provide steps that businesses and cities around the world can take to combat global warming.
PROGRESS REPORTED ON CLEARING MINES IN SUDAN
The UN Mine Action Office in Sudan reports progress made together with its NGO partners in the field of mine action.
These include: clearance of some 600 dangerous areas, covering some 10 million square meters, destruction of 1,150 anti-tank mines, nearly 2,600 anti-personnel mines, more than 300,000 Unexploded Ordinances (UXO) and more than 220,000 small arms ammunition.
SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SOMALIA BRIEFS ON SAUDI TRIP
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Francois Lonseny Fall, today in Nairobi briefed the international community on his trip to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he met with members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
Fall told his audience that he has encouraged the OIC to actively support Somalia's Transitional Federal Government. He also urged OIC members to use their good offices to engage the Union of Islamic Courts and help persuade it to accept the Transitional Federal Charter and join the national reconciliation process.
Fall also sought financial support for the Somali government, relaying the latters request for $544 million for immediate expenditures.
U.N. PEACEKEEPERS COMPLETE ANOTHER SECURITY OPERATIONS IN HAITI
The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti reports that UN peacekeepers yesterday completed another security operation in the Cite-Soleil neighborhood of the capital Port-au-prince.
The operation, planned and carried out in cooperation with the Haitian national police, led to the arrest of 7 presumed members of the Belony criminal gang.
And the Mission notes that no shots were fired and no casualties were reported.
Asked to confirm press reports of a trend among gang members fleeing the UN security operation in Port-au-Prince to relocate in the countryside, Montas said the trend was apparently affecting many regions of the country but that the United Nations could not yet determine the precise extent of it.
Asked if the UN Mission in Haiti had any plans or means to pursue the fugitives into the countryside, Montas recalled that UN peacekeepers have always had a presence all over Haiti. She noted that many peacekeepers had been redeployed to the capital to conduct the sweeping security operations of the past few months, but now that they had pacified most of the capital they would certainly turn their attention to gang activity in the smaller towns.
UN AGENCY ASSISTING PALESTINIAN REFUGEES WELCOMES FUNDING PLEDGE
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the European Union yesterday signed a joint declaration on community support to UNRWA, with the European Community pledging to contribute some 264 million Euros over the next four years to UNRWAs general fund.
UNRWA Commissioner-General, Karen AbuZayd thanked the European Commission for its support, saying, "We are especially grateful for the promised increase in funding, which is critical for UNRWA to be able to address the severe hardship of many of the Palestine refugees."
ADEQUATE HEALTH COVERAGE IN QUAKE-AFFECTED PAKISTAN
The UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, Jan Vandemoortele, today said health coverage has been adequate during the winter months in the earthquake affected areas of Pakistan.
Responding to the anticipated medical needs of the population, he said necessary medicines were pre-positioned in remote areas that were at risk of being cut off due to heavy snowfall.
In the recovery period since April 2006, the Disease Early Warning System received 273 alerts, and only 27 outbreaks actually occurred. These outbreaks were quickly responded and controlled by the UN and health partners.
SITUATION RETURNS TO NORMAL IN FLOODED INDONESIAN CAPITAL
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that one month after floods hit Jakarta, Indonesia, the general situation has returned to normal.
OCHA also says that flood recovery efforts, which are still continuing, just got a major boost from a private individual, Saudi Arabias Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, who donated nearly $300,000.
The donation will help fund clean-up activities, as well as the provision of food, basic supplies and health services in hard-hit areas.
U.N. HEALTH ORGANIZATION HELPS CONTROL
OUTBREAK OF DENGUE FEVER IN PARAGUAY
Experts from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which is a regional office of the World Health Organization, are working with health authorities in Paraguay to help control an outbreak of dengue fever.
The PAHO experts are currently working to provide technical assistance in areas including medical treatment, social communication, and health services organization.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 2.5 billion people worldwide are at risk of dengue.
ON-LINE GAME IS LAUNCHED TO TEACH KIDS ON DISASTER PREVENTION
The secretariat of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) is launching today, an on-line game aimed at teaching children how to build safer villages and cities against disasters.
In the game, as part of its current campaign on education dubbed Disaster risk reduction starts at school, children will learn how the location and construction materials can make a difference when disaster strikes and how early warning systems, evacuation plans and education can save lives and livelihoods.
It is a free on-line game aimed at children aged 9 to 16 and can be downloaded from Internet in less than three minutes. You can find it on: www.stopdisastersgame.org.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND ARAB SUMMIT IN JUNE: Asked if the Secretary-General would attend the Arab summit in Saudi Arabia on 28 March in the context of his trip to the region now under consideration, the Spokeswoman said that Ban Ki-moon intends to attend the summit but that details of the trip were far from firm at this time.
INTERIM FORCES IN LEBANON YET TO RECEIVE REPORTS ON HEZBOLLAH WEAPONS BUILDUP: Asked if the United Nations had confirmation of a press report that a Hezbollah weapon build-up was underway north of the Litani River, the Spokeswoman said that the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, which has a monitoring mandate for the region south of the Litani, had not received reports on this alleged build-up.
WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS SENDS LETTER TO BAN KI-MOON: Asked if the Secretary-General had received a letter from the leader of the World Jewish Congress and if he had any reaction to the Congress' request for a meeting to discuss the Secretary-General's recent private meeting in Vienna with former UN Secretary-General and Austrian head of state Kurt Waldheim, Montas confirmed that the Secretary-General had only received the letter yesterday.
FIFTY MEMBER STATES SETTLE REGULAR DUES IN FULL: As of the end of February, a total of 50 Member States have paid in full their assessments to the UN regular budget for 2007.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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