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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-04
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, May 4, 2007
IRAQ: COMMITMENTS MADE MUST BE TRANSLATED
INTO DEEDS AND ACTIONS
On his last day in Egypt, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this morning attended a meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh of the foreign ministers of the countries neighbouring Iraq, and he told them that he is strongly committed to having the United Nations do more for Iraq, particularly in areas where the Organization has a comparative advantage, such as political facilitation and humanitarian assistance.
The Secretary-General told the foreign ministers, Security in Iraq will not be achieved through military means alone. He called for national reconciliation in Iraq, and urged the neighbouring countries to do their part in denouncing sectarian violence, strengthening bilateral exchange in the region, and encouraging national dialogue within Iraq.
In the afternoon, the Secretary-General took part in a working group meeting on the Arab Peace Initiative concerning the Israelis and Palestinians, which brought together Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Jordan, as well as the League of Arab States, with principal members of the Middle East Quartet. This was a briefing on the Arabs initiative, and not a formal meeting of the Quartet; a Quartet meeting may take place in the region shortly.
In comments to reporters afterward, the Secretary-General said that he had been very much encouraged by the candid dialogue with the Arab partners. Now, he said, it was important to seize the momentum to realize the two-state vision.
He also said he was encouraged by the meetings both of the International Compact and of the neighbouring countries of Iraq. He said that the important thing now is to translate the commitments made in Sharm el-Sheikh into deeds and actions.
The Secretary-General is scheduled to be back at work at UN Headquarters on Monday.
Asked when and where the next Quartet meeting will take place, the Spokeswoman said that the time and venue were still to be determined, but noted that the Quartet members had agreed in their last session to hold their next meeting in the Middle East.
BAN KI-MOON APPEALS FOR STRONG AND DECISIVE
FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE BY 2010
The Secretary-General welcomes the report on the mitigation of climate change by the Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in Bangkok today.
The report highlights response options to address the findings of the first two IPCC reports released earlier this year. The Secretary General notes with concern the third reports findings that greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 70% since 1970. Even with present mitigation and sustainable development initiatives, annual greenhouse gas emissions are expected to increase by 25 to 90% in 2030 relative to 2000.
The continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions needs to be effectively stemmed. The IPCC report confirms that mitigation options, including changes in lifestyle and consumption, are available for all sectors, but enhanced action on the part of governments and the private sector is urgently needed. Mitigating in a cost-effective manner can only be achieved through an enhanced international climate change regime. Large-scale development, deployment and commercialization of existing and new clean technologies, as well as stringent end-use efficiency standards are essential part of a package that can lead to significant emission reductions.
A strong framework needs to be agreed by 2010 to ensure that there is no gap between the end of the Kyoto Protocols first commitment period in 2012 and the entry into force of a future regime. A comprehensive package on the way forward needs to be urgently launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali in December this year.
The Secretary-General calls on all Parties to the Convention on Climate Change to work towards this aim with the political will to decisively abate climate change and its impacts on our planet and its peoples.
SPECIAL ENVOYS ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN NEW YORK NEXT WEEK
All three of the Secretary-Generals recently appointed Special Envoys on Climate Change are expected to be at UN Headquarters on May 8th for meetings with the Secretary-General and other UN officials.
THIRD REPORT OF INTERNATIONAL PANEL
PROPOSES SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE CHANGE
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report today in Bangkok. The assessment, which focuses on mitigating climate change, concludes that, unless action is taken, emissions of the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol will rise by between 25 and 90 percent over 2000 levels by 2030.
Those emissions can be slowed and eventually reversed through cost-effective policies and the use of current and emerging technologies, at a cost of less than 0.12 per cent of annual GDP, the report estimates.
Specific recommendations contained in the report include encouraging the use of natural gas and renewable energy in place of more carbon-intensive fossil fuels; reducing emissions from buildings through more energy-efficient design; using cleaner industrial emission technologies; and arresting the high levels of deforestation around the world.
It adds that Governments can play a major role in motivating the private sector to invest in innovative technologies by providing clear, predictable and long-term incentives.
The Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), Yvo de Boer, noted that more than two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy supply sector. He said that market-based flexible mechanisms, such as the international carbon market created by the Clean Development Mechanism, must be at the heart of any new international agreement to address climate change.
In response to questions, the Spokeswoman said that the report was the third of a series of reports by a panel of scientists looking at various aspects of climate change.
ARMS MONITORING REGIME STILL WANTING IN NEPAL
The Security Council is holding consultations today on the UN Mission in Nepal, with a briefing by the head of that Mission, Ian Martin.
He briefed the Council on the Secretary-Generals latest report on Nepal, which said that important progress had been made there, although much remains to be done in terms of the monitoring of arms and armed personnel.
FORCE COMMANDER BEGINS CONSULTATIONS
WITH SOUTHERN LEBANON COMMUNITIES
The Force Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Maj.-Gen. Claudio Graziano, today began the first in a series of meetings with local authorities in southern Lebanon, meeting with officials representing the municipal authorities in Tyre.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, Graziano said that he considers the relationship between UNIFIL and the local communities a high priority. UNIFIL, he said, remains committed to maintaining these relations and protecting and supporting the population in the south.
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF COMPLETES VISIT TO CENTRAL ASIA
High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today
wrapped up a two-day visit to Turkmenistan, thereby ending her mission to Central Asia, which included stops in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.
Arbour and the Government of Turkmenistan agreed to embark on developing, in close collaboration with the UN Development Programme, a concrete and extensive technical assistance programme in the area of human rights.
Arbour welcomed Turkmenistans recent educational reforms, which have increased the number of years of school education offered to students. She also stressed the importance of empowering civil society and giving it the democratic space for its activities.
SOMALIAS HUMANITARIAN NEEDS REMAIN UNDERFUNDED
The UN refugee agencys Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, just ended a trip to south-central Somalia. She said she was shocked by the living conditions of people who have been displaced after fleeing recent heavy fighting in Mogadishu.
Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that the UNs consolidated appeal for Somalia remains only 37% funded. While food needs have generally been covered, funding is still urgently needed for the areas of health, water, shelter and protection.OCHA also reports that, as of today, of the 394,000 Somalis who were displaced in the recent fighting, 250,000 have received humanitarian assistance.
VOLUNTARY REPATRIATION DRIVE IS UNDERWAY
FOR CONGOLESE REFUGEES IN ZAMBIA
The UN refugee agency has launched a three-year voluntary repatriation programme for to help Congolese refugees in Zambia return home to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The agency plans to help up to 20,000 of the 61,000 Congolese in Zambia to return to their country before the end of this year.
An initial convoy of some 414 refugees left northern Zambia yesterday and is expected to reach the DRC's Katanga province Saturday morning. And this repatriation programme is organized jointly with the DRC and Zambian governments and with the International Organization for Migration.
CANCER A LOOMING PUBLIC HEALTH MENACE TO AFRICA
With Africa on the brink of a cancer epidemic likely to affect more than a million people each year by 2020, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the University of Oxford, UK, are bringing together some among the world's top cancer experts and policymakers in London for consultations and discussions next week under the banner Cancer Control in Africa.
Tthe IAEA says that cancer care services in Africa are desperately limited, with life-saving radiotherapy available in only 21 countries, that is to less than 20% of the population. The lack of resources, access to screening, early diagnosis and treatment has exposed millions of people to the disease, with 45% of cancer deaths in Africa due to viral infection, poor nutrition and widespread tobacco use.
Next weeks meeting will seek to develop strategies for national cancer control programmes and serve as a forum for experts and health policymakers to evaluate priorities and the need for resources.
APPOINTMENT OF CHIEF OF AU-UN DARFUR MISSION IS IMMINENT: The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, could not confirm the appointment of the United Nations-African Union Joint Representative for Darfur. She said that an announcement was expected on Monday, jointly by the United Nations and the African Union, on the joint leadership for UN-AU operations in Darfur.
UPCOMING REPORT TO ADDRESS ARMS SMUGGLING BETWEEN LEBANON AND SYRIA: Asked about reports of weapons smuggling between Lebanon and Syria, the Spokeswoman said that the matter would be one of those addressed in the Secretary-Generals next report on the implementation of resolution 1559, which would go to the Security Council soon.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
[This document is for planning purposes only and is subject to change.]
Saturday, May 5
Through May 14th, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Juan Miguel Petit, is on an official visit to Mexico.
Monday, May 7
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, informal consultations are scheduled on the General Assembly draft resolution entitled Commemorative high-level plenary meeting devoted to the follow-up to the outcome of the twenty-seventh special session on children.
From 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at UNICEF House in New York, the first preparatory meeting on the International Year of Sanitation 2008 to address the global sanitation crisis will take place.
From 11 to 11:45 a.m. in Conference Room 8, there will be a presentation by the President of the World Federation of United Nations Associations on Partnership with Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
The UN Development Programme is scheduled to launch its report on Expanding access to energy services for the rural poor: Priorities, Processes, and innovations from the field".
In Geneva, the 15th Congress of the World Meteorological Organization, the quadrennial meeting of the Organizations supreme body, gets underway.
From today through Thursday in Geneva, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs will hold its annual Humanitarian Coordinators Retreat. Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes is scheduled to attend.
In Geneva, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, will brief the media about her recent official trip to four countries in Central Asia.
In Geneva, the Human Rights Councils working group on arbitrary detention begins its weeklong forty-eighth session.
Beginning today and for the next two weeks, the subsidiary bodies of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are scheduled to meet in Bonn.
In Rome, the 33rd session of the Committee on World Food Security begins its four-day meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organizations Headquarters.
In Brasilia, a weeklong conference to launch a Global Initiative on Commodities gets underway.
Tuesday, May 8
This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on Eritrea and Ethiopia.
The guests at todays noon briefing, Room 226, will be Mats Karlsson, Chair of UN-Energy, and Gustavo Best, Vice Chair of UN-Energy, who will launch a report on bio-energy.
Wednesday, May 9
The Secretary-General is scheduled to open the three-day high-level segment of the 15th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which will include five ministerial meetings on the theme of Turning commitments into action, working together in partnership.
At 11 a.m. in Room 226, there will be a press conference by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, one of the Secretary-Generals new Special Envoys on Climate Change and the current chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development, on the Commissions new report, Our Common Future.
The guest at the noon briefing will be Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, who will brief journalists on the effect of climate change on the worlds cities.
From 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. in Conference Room 8, there will be a special event on Developing resilience to natural disasters in Small Island Developing States.
In Pretoria, the three-day United Nations African Meeting on the Question of Palestine gets underway.
Thursday, May 10
This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a private debate on Sierra Leone.
Today and tomorrow in the Trusteeship Council chamber, the General Assembly will hold its third informal thematic debate on "Civilizations and the Challenge for Peace: Obstacles and Opportunities." Panel discussions are planned today on Respect for Cultural Diversity as a Prerequisite for Dialogue and Religion in Contemporary Society.
From 6:15 to 7:40 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall, there will be a piano recital by Lebanese pianist and composer Abdel Rahman El Bacha.
Friday, May 11
In the Trusteeship Council chamber, the General Assembly continues its informal thematic debate on "Civilizations and the Challenge for Peace", with panel discussions on The Responsibility of the Media and Civilizations and the Challenge for Global Peace and Security.
From 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. in Conference Room 6, there will be a roundtable discussion on Arts and Culture: The role the arts can play in bridging cultural divides.
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