|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
Good afternoon, everybody.
**Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
The Secretary-General chaired the Third Global Fund Replenishment Conference this morning, telling participants that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has been one of the major success stories of the twenty-first century.
He said the programmes supported by the Global Fund have saved an estimated 5.7 million lives. They have provided AIDS treatment for 2.8 million people, TB treatment for 7 million people and they’ve also distributed 122 million bed nets to help prevent malaria.
The Secretary-General also said that we are within sight of ending deaths from malaria by 2015, which would be a great victory, on the order of eliminating smallpox, or polio. The Secretary-General added that we must defeat all these three diseases, completely. We have his remarks in my Office.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that the situation remains critically difficult in some areas and for some populations in Pakistan following the floods there.
In Sindh Province, in the south, flooding is still happening. Since mid-August, floods there have to varying degrees affected almost a third of the province’s 30.4 million residents, and around 1.6 million people are still displaced. The refugee agency has assisted nearly 200,000 displaced persons in Sindh with tents, plastic sheeting and other relief items.
Meanwhile, UNICEF says that, during September, more schools have opened up as families returned to their villages. As of the end of the month, 2,800 schools were still serving as temporary shelters for more than 660,000 people. This is in addition to the almost 10,000 schools that had been damaged by the flooding. We have details in the briefing notes from Geneva.
**Democratic Republic of the Congo/Burundi
A convoy carrying 240 Burundian refugees drove back to Burundi earlier today, from the South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 240 people are the first out of a Burundian refugee population of 10,000 that the UN refugee agency has scheduled for repatriation over the coming months.
The refugee agency says this marks a welcome resumption of its work in South Kivu, where widespread insecurity had until now prevented any large-scale repatriation of refugees.
In a report released in Dili today, the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) said that the country has made progress in key human rights areas, including strengthening of the security and justice sectors, and enacting important legislation.
The Mission’s annual human rights report also documents continuing human rights problems, including violations by members of the security forces, limited access to justice for victims and challenges to addressing past violations.
**Secretary-General’s Press Conference Tomorrow
As we’ve mentioned, the Secretary-General will hold his regular press conference tomorrow, at 11 a.m., here in the Library Auditorium.
**Press Conference Today
And at 3:30 p.m., also here, the Secretary-General will announce the results of the Global Fund’s replenishment for the years 2011-2013, and that is following the pledging conference that I mentioned earlier.
Also participating in that press conference will be Michael Kazatchkine, the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and Richard Manning, who is Vice-Chair in charge of the Replenishment of the Global Fund.
So, questions, please? Any questions?
**Questions and Answers
Question: Thank you, Martin. In the fight against malaria, does the Secretary-General note the special role that is being played by the Gates Foundation?
Spokesperson: The Secretary-General welcomes the involvement of various players in this battle, not least the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is a global effort that requires global funding. And this can come in various shapes and forms, and obviously in a coordinated fashion. As I just mentioned, the Secretary-General believes — and it’s not just him — that we really are within sight of ending deaths by malaria. That requires a real push, and that’s why this replenishment conference is so important, to ensure that there is the funding to enable us to be able to carry on with that. Other questions?
Question: Is there any update on this Pakistani situation, as far as the floods and recovery and relief efforts are concerned? Did I miss what you gave earlier?
Spokesperson: Well, you missed a little bit, but that’s okay. There is information from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that I think you should probably want to check out. The Geneva briefing had quite a lot of detail about the flooding and I would certainly encourage you to look at the information that they have been putting out from various agencies that are based in Geneva. Yes?
Question: The Secretary-General is receiving a delegation of youth this morning, if I understand. What is the subject under discussion?
Spokesperson: Let me check on that. I am not sure what that is. I don’t remember seeing that on his agenda. I need to check it out.
[The Spokesperson later said that the Secretary-General would have a photo opportunity in the afternoon with youth delegates to the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly.]
Question: On the mosque desecration that we talked about yesterday, what is the latest update, because it seems that it was burnt also, besides being painted with the Israeli language, slogans and so forth?
Spokesperson: Hebrew, you mean?
Correspondent: Hebrew, Hebrew.
Spokesperson: I don’t have anything further to add beyond what I said yesterday, which was obviously that the Special Coordinator, Robert Serry, has made clear that he is extremely concerned about this.
Question: So there is no further development other than that?
Spokesperson: No, not to my knowledge. If there is anything further then I’ll certainly let you know.
Question: Has anyone been arrested by the Israeli authorities, or where does it stand?
Spokesperson: Well, I don’t have any further update beyond what we said yesterday, which was that clearly this is something where the Israeli Government has to act to bring those responsible to justice. Other questions? Okay, thank you very much.
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