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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-10-30

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 30, 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

  • UN Secretary-General appoints Special Envoy for Great Lakes Region.
  • UN Secretary-General says empowerment of women is essential to achieving sustainable development.
  • General Assembly hears of frustration at lack of progress in three-year effort towards reform of Security Council.
  • General Assembly stresses need for Iraq to cooperate with International Atomic Energy Agency.
  • Centre for Human Settlements should be endowed with financial and human resources to carry out its work in conformity with decisions of second UN Conference on Human Settlements - Economic and Financial Committee is told.
  • Large number of reservations to Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is of concern - Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee is told.
  • Functions of UN subsidiary bodies responsible for coordination and budgetary matters should be consolidated - Administrative and Budgetary Committee hears.
  • Universality of proposed International Criminal Court can only be ensured through participation of all States - Legal Committee is told.


UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has informed the Security Council that he has decided to appoint a Special Envoy who would travel to the Great Lakes Region in the first days of November and remain there for about one month, the Spokesman to the Secretary-General, Sylvana Foa announced today.

She said the Government of Canada had offered to make available the services of the Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Raymond Chretien, and had also agreed to provide an aircraft to facilitate Mr. Chretien's travel in the region. The United Nations would provide the staff and other resources required.

"The Special Envoy's tasks will be to consult with all concerned in order to establish the facts relating to the present conflicts and develop urgent plans for defusing the tension and establishing a ceasefire and a process of negotiations, and to explore the possibilities for the early convening of a regional conference", she said.

The Spokesman added that the Special Envoy would present the Secretary- General with advice on the mandate to be given to the Special Representative for the Secretary-General and on the size and structure of the UN political presence which, in consultation with the Governments concerned, would be established in the Great Lakes region.


UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said that the empowerment of women was essential to achieving sustainable development and stable, peaceful, prosperous societies. Addressing a ceremony on Tuesday during which three grass-roots women's organisations received awards from the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Dr. Boutros-Ghali commended UNIFEM for its work and commitment to the world's women.

"UNIFEM helps women lift themselves out of poverty and reach their full potential...It promotes dialogue between governments and women's organisations to bring more women's voices and leadership into policy and decision-making process," he said. Dr. Boutros-Ghali said the award recipients exemplified the hard work, dedication and courage that women everywhere were displaying in the quest to improve not only their lives but the lives of their families.

The award recipients were a women's group in Somalia, a group of 10 women in Peru, and the Centre for Social Research in India.


Concern over the inability of the General Assembly to develop a package to guide Security Council reform, including means of enlarging the Council, was expressed by many speakers, as the Assembly began its review of the progress of the Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters.

The representative of Germany said that while the report of the Working Group included all elements necessary for a reform package, real progress would be possible only through concrete political negotiations of member States. He called upon Governments to undertake serious negotiations to that end, concurrent with the continued efforts of the Working Group on Security Council Reform.

The representative of Brazil said that while the Assembly must keep in mind the risks involved with a failure to act, it must take care not to mistake the need for equitable representation on the Council with forms of expansion which would make it less representative and less equitable. He said the informal regional groupings of the UN system must not be confused with regional bodies.


The General Assembly has stressed the need for Iraq to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to resolve the remaining inconsistency concerning the full, final and complete declaration about its nuclear weapons capability in order to achieve implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions.

The Assembly took that action by adopting a resolution on the work of the IAEA by a recorded vote of 141 in favour to 2 against (Iraq and Lebanon), with 8 abstentions (Cuba, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Chile, Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Sudan and Syria).

While noting that Iraq had adopted a more constructive approach over the past year, the Assembly expressed concern regarding that country's failure to provide immediate access to an IAEA team in July and that it had previously withheld information about its nuclear weapons programme in violation of its obligations under relevant Council resolutions.

By other terms of the draft, the Assembly welcomed measures taken by the Agency to maintain and strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of its safeguards system. It, in particular, urged the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea to cooperate fully with the Agency in the implementation of the safeguards agreement.


The Centre for Human Settlements should be endowed with the financial and human resources to carry out its work in conformity with the decisions of the second UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), held in Istanbul, Turkey this year, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) was told.

Speaking as the Committee began its consideration of human settlements questions, the representative of Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the group of 77 developing countries and China, called for strengthening the Centre as well as the Commission on Human Settlements. Moreover, non- governmental organisations, civil society and the private sector must be involved in the follow-up to the Conference, she said.

Several other speakers also focussed on support for the Centre and Commission. The Minister for Public Works and Housing of Kenya, Jonathan Ng'Eno said a strengthened Centre and Commission could effectively carry out their mandates at the international, regional and national levels.

Other speakers called for an increase in the contributions to the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation, and said the partnership between the Centre and the private sector should be enlarged and enforced.

Earlier, draft resolutions on protection of the global climate and the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction were introduced. The draft text on the protection of the global climate for present and future generations of mankind would have the General Assembly urge member States and parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to pay promptly and in full for 1996 and 1997 the contributions required for the trust fund for the core budget of the Convention.

The draft resolution on the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction would have the General Assembly call upon member States, relevant intergovernmental bodies and all others involved in the Decade to extend financial and technical support for Decade activities.


Expressing concern at the large number of reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, representatives told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), that the Convention was an indispensable tool for ensuring human rights for women worldwide.

The United States representative said ratification of the women's anti- discrimination Convention was a priority for his government. Although her country was not yet a State party to the Convention, it would continue to make a positive contribution in drafting the optional protocol.

She said the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan required urgent attention, adding that directives which kept women out of the work place and young girls out of school were morally wrong, economically counterproductive and politically unwise.


The functions of the UN subsidiary bodies responsible for coordination, administrative question and budgetary matters should be consolidated to reduce duplication of efforts and administrative costs, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) was told as it continued discussing review of efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the UN.

The Committee also discussed the proposed $154 million savings from the 1996-1997 budget, pattern of conferences and the funding of the UN Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR). Suggesting the consolidation of subsidiary bodies, Canada's representative, also speaking for Australia and new Zealand, said there might be a case for merging the mandates of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and the Board of Auditors to give one external audit body system-wide competence.

Speaking on the pattern of conferences, the representative of Viet Nam said that the meetings of regional and major groups of member States should be provided with interpretation services. he said the chairmen of various intergovernmental bodies should consult with Member States on the strict observance of a time limit for speakers, since reducing speeches to 10 or 15 minutes would save cost.


The universality of the proposed International Criminal Court could only be ensured through the participation of all States at all stages of the preparatory process, speakers told the Sixth Committee (Legal) as it continued its consideration of the report of the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court.

Expressing his government's disappointment that not enough developing countries were represented in the Preparatory Committee, the representative of Canada said it was in the interest of all nations, particularly those most likely to be subjected to unrest and conflict, to support the court.

The representative of Kenya said the continued absence of a large number of delegations represented a significant problem, which the Assembly should take steps to address. Malawi said the Assembly must find ways to help developing countries send their experts to future sessions of the Preparatory Committee.


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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