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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

MONDAY, 3 JUNE 2013
 

U.N. OPENS ARMS TRADE TREATY FOR SIGNATURE

  • The United Nations has opened the landmark Arms Trade Treaty for signature on Monday. The Secretary-General will speak at the ministerial part of the Monday’s event, which begins at 3:00 pm. He is expected to say that, with the Treaty, the world has decided to finally put an end to the “free-for-all” nature of international weapons transfers.
  • He is expected to say that the Arms Trade Treaty will make it harder for weapons to be diverted into the illicit market; to reach warlords, pirates, terrorists and criminals; or to be used to commit grave human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law.

NEW U.N. POLITICAL MISSION IN SOMALIA BEGINS WORK

  • Nicholas Kay, the head of the new United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), arrived in Mogadishu on Monday to assume his duties. Mr. Kay said that the people of Somalia rightly have high expectations, and international community looks forward with hope towards a national election in 2016.
  • UNSOM is a political mission and it started its operations on Monday. It has a mandate to support state building and peace-building, with a focus on good governance, security sector reform, the rule of law, human rights, “good offices” for mediation and political reconciliation and coordination of international assistance.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ALARMED BY SPILLOVER OF VIOLENCE FROM SYRIA TO LEBANON

  • Asked about the spillover of fighting in Syria, the Spokesperson noted that the UN Special Coordinator in Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, has expressed his concerns about the recent fighting in Lebanon. The Secretary-General, he said, is alarmed by the spillover of violence from Syria into Lebanon.
  • The Spokesperson said that on 5 June in Geneva, US, Russian and UN officials will hold a three-way meeting to further the preparations for the international conference on Syria envisioned under the U.S.-Russian initiative. Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, and Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, will be present at that conference.

U.N. MISSION CONDEMNS TWO DEADLY ATTACKS IN AFGHANISTAN

  • The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemned the two deadly attacks which took place in the east of the country on Monday. The attacks killed at least 19 people, including a dozen children.
  • Jan Kubis, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said that any such violence is unacceptable, but especially when it involves civilians and even more so when it involves children.
  • In the past two weeks, conflict-related violence has killed 125 Afghan civilians and wounded 287, about a 24 per cent increase in total civilian casualties compared to the same period last year.
  • The UN Mission stresses once again that the use of suicide attacks and improvised explosive devices against civilians must stop. It notes that the indiscriminate use of such attacks is in contravention of humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes.

ADVANCED ECONOMIES CONTINUE TO FACE HIGH OR RISING UNEMPLOYMENT, SAYS INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) says in a report released on Monday that as the global economy continues a slow recovery, many advanced economies continue to face high or even rising unemployment and increasing inequalities.
  • According to the World of Work report 2013, income inequalities rose between 2010 and 2011 in 14 of the 26 advanced economies surveyed, including France, Denmark, Spain and the United States. The report shows that middle-income groups in many advanced economies are shrinking, fuelled in part by long-term unemployment, weakening job quality and workers dropping out of the labour market altogether.

U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL RETURNS TO RENOVATED CHAMBER

  • The renovation of the United Nations Headquarters under the Capital Master Plan has reached a new stage.
  • On Friday, 31 May the General Assembly building closed down for renovation.
  • As of this week, the General Assembly will meet in the North Lawn Building, where a temporary General Assembly Hall has been set up. The General Assembly is scheduled to return to its renovated Hall in time for the opening of its 69th Session in September 2014.
  • Over the weekend, the Security Council moved back to its renovated chamber and suite of rooms in the Conference Building, after having worked in temporary accommodations since March 2010.

U.N. ENVOY ON YOUTH WELCOMES INCLUSIVE PROCESS OF CONSULTATION FOR REPORT ON DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

  • The Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, said that he welcomes the efforts made to include young people in the consultation process of the Report on the Post 2015 Development Agenda which was submitted to the Secretary-General last week.
  • Mr. Alhendawi noted that the proposed five transformative shifts in the report have the potential to improve the life chances of young women and men.

U.N. MISSION IN D.R.C. REPORTS DEPLOYMENT OF INTERVENTION BRIGADE IS ONGOING

  • Asked about the intervention brigade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission there (MONUSCO) reports that the deployment of its Intervention Brigade is ongoing, with troops deploying every week to the eastern DRC. Nearly 870 intervention brigade troops have been deployed. More are expected to arrive today.
  • He said that the Brigade has started operational activities in Goma, including day and night patrols, jointly with other MONUSCO troops.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS CONFIDENCE IN LEADERSHIP OF ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS: Asked about the Alliance of Civilizations, the Spokesperson said that the Alliance of Civilizations does important work and that the Secretary-General has confidence in the leadership of the Alliance.

NEW ROUND OF U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS BEGINS IN BONN: A new round of UN climate change talks began in Bonn on Monday. This meeting resumes the second session of the "Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action", which is tasked to complete a universal climate agreement by 2015. The meeting also aims to find ways to increase the current inadequate level of global ambition to address climate change.