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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
 
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
 
THURSDAY, 8 MARCH 2012
 
 
SECRETARY-GENERAL ANNOUNCES NEW AFRICA SPECIAL ADVISER, HEAD OF DISARMAMENT AND OF EUROPE ECONOMIC COMMISSION
  • The Secretary-General announced on Thursday his appointments of three senior officials.
  • For the position of Special Adviser on Africa, the Secretary-General has selected Mr. Maged Abdelaziz of Egypt, who since 2005 has been the Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations in New York.
  • For the position of High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, the Secretary-General has selected Ms. Angela Kane of Germany who since 2008 has been Under-Secretary-General for Management.
  • For the position of Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Secretary-General has selected Mr. Sven Alkalaj, a national of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of his country and Ambassador in Washington and Brussels. 
  • The Secretary-General is grateful to the outgoing senior officials who have served with distinction and true commitment to the ideals of the United Nations.
  • At the Assistant Secretary-General level, the Secretary-General has also decided to appoint Ms. Jacqueline Carol Badcock, a national of the United Kingdom and current UNDP Resident Representative and Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).
  • Mr. Nicholas Haysom of South Africa will move to the post of Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
  • Finally, Mr. Yoon Yeocheol of the Republic of Korea will move to the post of Chief of Protocol.
  • In response to question on the selection process of senior appointments, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had launched an open call for applications since last December through diplomatic notes to all the missions and website advertisement, and received nominations not only from governments but also from interested individuals or groups.
  • Nesirky said that each selection process was subject to a transparent and rigorous competition run by a panel composed of senior-most officials of the Organization with relevant background. 
  • He also said that the final selection by the Secretary-General was based on the recommendations received from the panels.
  • Asked when Jan Eliasson would take up his functions as Deputy Secretary-General, the Spokesperson said he would start on 1 July. Asked about the selection of an Egyptian national for the post of Special Adviser on Africa, Nesirky noted that Mr. Abdelaziz came from the African continent.
  • Asked about the role of Maurice Strong, he said that he was a senior advisor to the Secretary-General of Rio+20, a role without a contractual arrangement.
SYRIA SPECIAL ENVOY MEETS WITH HEAD OF ARAB LEAGUE AHEAD OF DAMASCUS VISIT
  • On Thursday, Mr. Kofi Annan, the Joint Special Envoy on the Syrian crisis, met with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Nabil ElAraby, in Cairo.
  • Mr. Annan told reporters afterwards that he comes to the region with the full support of the entire international community and that there should be one process for mediation – one process that would ensure that we work together with the Syrian Government in the interest of the Syrian people.
  • Mr. Annan said that people throughout the region and the world are deeply troubled by what is taking place. The level of violence is excessive and unacceptable by any standards. This cannot continue, he added.
  • For her part, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, continues her visit to Syria on Thursday. She’s been meeting with Government officials, members of the diplomatic community and non-governmental organizations.

HAITI: U.N. ENVOY STRESSES NEED FOR NEW GOVERNMENT TO BE IN PLACE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

  • On Thursday morning, the Security Council held a debate on Haiti.
  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Mariano Fernández Amunátegui, briefed the Council members on the latest developments in the country.
  • He said that in his eight months as head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), he had seen an overall process of stabilization in the country.
  • He noted however that the recent resignation of the Prime Minister had been a worrying sign. He stressed the need to ensure that a new government will be in place as soon as possible.
  • Concerning the rule of law and security, the Special Representative said that institutions were being established and developed. He underlined the full establishment of the Supreme Court as a particularly important step.
  • He also noted the work of the Mission to strengthen the Haitian National Police. He said that the new five-year plan jointly drafted by the Mission and the Haitian National Police would allow further training and development of the police.
  • Asked about accountability in Haiti and particularly the case of Jean-Claude Duvalier, the Spokesperson said that accountability is something for national authorities to handle. He added that the Secretary-General believes as a principle that there should be no impunity and that there should be accountability for wrongdoings in any country.
U.N. MISSION IN HAITI CONTINUES EFFORTS TO STEM CHOLERA EPIDEMIC
  • In response to questions on the cholera epidemic in Haiti, Nesirky said that in January 2011, the Secretary-General appointed a panel of independent scientific experts to study all available evidence in order to determine the cause of the outbreak.
  • He added that in May 2011, the four-member panel concluded in a final report that it was not possible to be conclusive about how cholera was introduced into Haiti, that the outbreak was caused by a confluence of factors, and was not the fault of, or deliberate action of a group or individual.
  • Nevertheless, United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is and will continue to be in close coordination with the entire UN family in its efforts to stem the epidemic, said the Spokesperson. 
  • He also said that in relation to former US President Clinton's reported remarks to the press on Wednesday in Haiti, the United Nations had noted that he emphasized the importance of focusing on improving Haiti's sanitation system and the fact that the United Nations and others are working hard to do this.
  • Asked about the establishment of a standing commission to address a claims filed by a group of Haitian regarding cholera, Nesirky said that the United Nations had received claims related to cholera in Haiti, and was studying the claims.
SECRETARY-GENERAL AND PRESIDENT OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONVENE GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON WOMEN
  • The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations would like to jointly propose the convening of a Global Conference on Women by the United Nations in 2015, 20 years after the last women’s summit in Beijing.
  • Given that women make up half of humanity and given the importance and relevance of women’s issues for global progress, it is high time that such a world conference is convened. It is all the more important because of the enormous changes the world is going through, with both positive and other implications for women.
  • The President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General feel confident the international community will welcome this joint initiative. They also hope that the Member States, who have the final authority to convene the proposed conference, could take the necessary steps during this 66th session of the General Assembly.
  • They believe that the high point that the United Nations reached with the establishment of UN Women in 2011 can be meaningfully substantiated with a global programme focusing on women that can be articulated at the Fifth Conference.
  • The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, in 1995, adopted the current Forward-Looking Platform of Action. The Beijing summit was preceded by three world conferences, beginning in 1975 in Mexico City, and followed by Copenhagen in 1980 and Nairobi in 1985.
  • The enthusiasm of civil society, particularly women’s organizations, for such a conference has added extra strength to the general support expected for today’s proposal.
  • The President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General believe that a world conference on women could review the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. They also believe it could tackle emerging issues, in particular those relating to women and political participation, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 that deals with women and peace and security, equal access to decent work and to decision-making and the involvement of rural women and girls. It could also cover aid effectiveness, food security, trafficking, drugs, migration, environment, climate change and information technology, all of which make an impact on women, and on nations and societies as a whole.
  • In all these matters, the role and involvement of young people, particularly women, would add an important dimension that was not properly reflected at earlier conferences.
U.N. BODY MARKS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is sponsoring a quilt exhibition to mark the 101st anniversary of International Women’s Day at UN Headquarters in New York.
  • The exhibition, entitled “Women are the Fabric”, pays tribute to the strength of women and is a plea for the support and protection they need to take care of themselves and their families. It is also a testimony to their role in weaving the social fabric of their communities.