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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-10-23

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Wednesday, October 23, 1996


This document is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information and is updated every week-day at approximately 6:00 PM.

HEADLINES

  • United Nations represents keystone of long historic effort for international cooperation in service of humanity, UN Secretary-General says on eve of UN Day.
  • UN Secretary-General says fifth anniversary of signing of Paris Agreements on Cambodia serve as testimony to unity of will of international community.
  • Disarmament and International Security Committee says it will ask General Assembly to call on States to ratify Convention on Prohibition of Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons.
  • Developing countries are subjected to restrictive trade and investment policies, Economic and Financial Committee hears.
  • World Health Organisation says some 15 million people worldwide risk their health by using psychoactive substances.
  • General Assembly is to ask UN Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiation to continue work on increasing knowledge of levels and effects of ionising radiation.
  • National competitive examinations should be maintained as instrument for recruiting qualified personnel, Administrative and Budgetary Committee is told.
  • World Food Programme warns that intensified fighting in eastern Zaire has led to cut-off in humanitarian supplies.


UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on Wednesday said that the UN represents the keystone of the long historic effort for structures of international cooperation in the service of humanity.

In a message for the observance of United Nations Day on 24 October, Dr. Boutros-Ghali said the process of reform and renewal already under way at the United Nations had produced a vision of the future to guide that Organisation's efforts in the period ahead.

"It is, in essence, a simple vision, a vision of a United Nations that works. The will of Member States can be mobilised to fulfil this vision of the United Nations," he noted.

He said the entire family of nations could demonstrate courage worthy of that vision, adding that the UN provided a unique instrument to translate global consensus into concrete commitments and joint action.

Meanwhile, the President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Razali Ismail of Malaysia said the observance of United Nations Day would take place in the General Assembly hall on Thursday, 24 October. The event would feature several activities including video conference with links to Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, London, Sydney and Vienna.

Children from around the world would read messages conveying their appreciation of the UN and their hopes for the future.

The annual Inter-Agency Information fair will also coincide with the observance of the UN Day. The fair is taking place in the General Assembly Public Lobby, and highlights the work of thirty UN Programmes, specialised agencies, offices and departments.


UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said that the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreements, presents a valuable opportunity to congratulate the Royal Government and the People of Cambodia on the remarkable progress they have made in the last five years.

In a message on the fifth anniversary of the Agreements on the Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict signed in Paris on 23 October 1991, Dr. Boutros-Ghali said those agreements further served as eloquent testimony to what the international community could achieve when there was unity of will.

He said the Agreements offered a framework for a comprehensive solution to the Cambodian conflict, primarily through the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), the second largest peace-keeping operation ever mounted. "The international community continues to help Cambodia build upon the gains made during UNTAC. The emphasis in our role has rightly shifted from that of being Cambodia's guardians to that of being Cambodia's friends," the Secretary-General noted.

He said the future would depend upon Cambodia's ability to build upon the achievements of the past half decade, adding that the country's greatest asset was its people.


The General Assembly would call on all States, which had not yet done so, to ratify the Convention on Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention) without delay, under a draft resolution introduced in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

The representative of Hungary, Tibor Toth, who introduced the 44- Power text, said it would also have the Assembly call on States, not parties to the Convention, to sign it at an early date, thus contributing to its achievement of universality. He said there were now 139 States parties to the Convention, including the five permanent members of the Security Council.


Developing countries were being subjected to restrictive trade and investment policies, while developed countries had not yet met their commitments to provide adequate financial resources and environmentally sound technologies, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) was told.

Speaking as the Committee discussed implementation of recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the representative of Costa Rica said the huge responsibilities that Agenda 21 imposed on developing countries had gained acceptance in light of assurances of full support by developed countries. However, those commitments had not been met, he added.

The main thrust of the review of the implementation of Agenda 21 should be to assess how far matters agreed to in Rio de Janeiro had been implemented, the representative of Ireland said, adding that the special session of the General Assembly on Agenda 21 should suggest improvement where necessary, but should not attempt to renegotiate the agenda.


An estimated 15 million people worldwide risked their health by using psychoactive substances, a representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Leanne Riley has told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).

She said all psychoactive substances should be included in any demand- reduction programme, irrespective of the legal status of individual drugs. Ms. Riley told the Committee that attention must also be given to alcohol, tobacco and medicinal drugs to ensure that a reduction in health problems, due to illicit drug use, would not be offset by a rise in the use of other substances.

Several speakers stressed that treatment programmes and demand- reduction policies should respect the rights and dignity of drug users. The representative of Brazil said the socio-political dimension of the drug problem should be recognised, adding that drug control policies should include both prevention and rehabilitation.

During discussions on crime prevention and criminal justice, the representative of the Philippines, Ruth Limjuco told the Committee that new ways must be found to help the victims of crime. She said crime victims needed restitution to restore their dignity and honour; compensation for the closure of trauma; and rehabilitation so that they could return to their homes and communities with measure of self- worth.

The representative of Iran said that any convention against organised transnational crime should be based upon existing instruments, particularly the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs which was essential for promoting stability and development in those countries.


The General Assembly, by the terms of a 34-Power draft resolution approved by the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonisation), would ask the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation to continue its work aimed at increasing knowledge of the levels, effects and risks of ionising radiation.

By the terms of the text, the Assembly would invite Member States, the UN System and concerned non-governmental organisations to provide further data about doses, effects and risks for various sources of radiation. The Assembly would also ask the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to continue its support for the Scientific Committee's work.


National competitive examinations should be maintained as an instrument for recruiting qualified personnel, correcting inequities in the geographical distribution of posts and introducing fresh blood into the United Nations, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) was told as it continued consideration of human resources management and of efforts to save some $154 million from the regular budget.

The representative of Japan, Hideki Goda said the Secretariat should further shorten the time it took to hire successful candidates and consider promoting entry level professional staff after two years, "if they did their work very well".

The principle of merit in recruitment and promotions should be strengthened, Australia's representative, Bruce Reid said. He said an effective network of global recruitment sources and contacts was essential in increasing the efficiency and quality of output of the recruitment process. Welcoming progress made in the performance appraisal system (PAS), he expressed hope that it would be implemented throughout the organisation without delay.

The representative of the Sudan, Shahira Hassan Wahbi said that there were areas in which the Organisation could hire personnel locally in the field since the recruitment of staff at the local level would reduce the Organisation's costs. She said the Secretariats efforts to improve gender balance should be increased to place women on an equal footing with men.


The World Food Programme on Wednesday warned that intensified armed fighting and the worsening security situation in Eastern Zaire had led to a cut-off in humanitarian supplies which could result in a major hunger crisis affecting over one million Rwandan and Burundian refugees.

"Unless supply lines to the refugee camps are opened immediately, the humanitarian consequences in coming weeks could be devastating", said Trevor Rowe, WFP Chief Spokesman. "Our window of opportunity is quickly diminishing as vents spiral out of control", Rowe added. "We appeal to the international community to exert maximum pressure to ensure the free movement of humanitarian relief," he said.

The Agency said it has the capability to deliver food stocks from neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania for the refugees in eastern Zaire for the next two months, adding that delivering the food to the camps had become virtually impossible because of worsening security conditions.

As part of efforts to prevent a major crisis in Goma, the Agency said it intended to cut rations in half in order to extend supplies by an additional week.


For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org


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