HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS EUROPEAN UNION RECEIVED ‘RICHLY-DESERVED RECOGNITION’ WITH NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
- The Secretary-General, on behalf of the entire United Nations family, extended sincere congratulations to the European Union on its receipt of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. Today, an indispensable partner to the United Nations has been given a richly-deserved recognition of its accomplishments and its importance in Europe and around the world.
- The European Union has more than lived up to its founding dream of forging a united and peaceful continent out of the devastation of two world wars. It has become an engine of integration, weaving together nations and cultures. Its achievement of peace within its borders, building on innovative mechanisms for dialogue and the rule of law, is a model to be emulated the world over. Its unifying potential is all the more important in today’s economic climate.
- Today, the European Union plays a central role in helping to build peace, save lives, promote human rights and support economic and social development across the world. At the United Nations, we count every day on the EU’s involvement, its leadership and its contributions as we work to meet the most pressing challenges of our time. These range from lifting billions out of poverty, extending life-saving development and humanitarian assistance, promoting human rights, to preventing conflict and building peace across the globe.
- The Secretary-General celebrates and looks forward to deepening this enduring partnership.
- Asked further about the Secretary-General’s views on this year’s prize, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has stated quite clearly why he believes it was appropriate for the European Union to receive the prize.
JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SYRIA MEETS KING
OF SAUDI ARABIA
- The Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, held talks with The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Abdallah Bin Abdelaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia in Jeddah today.
- They discussed the crisis in Syria, which, they agreed was deteriorating with each passing day, with untold suffering for the Syrian people. They agreed on the dire need to stop the bloodshed and provide humanitarian aid to the more than 2.5 million Syrians inside the country, who were affected by the fighting, and the over 348,000 refugees registered in neighbouring countries.
- Mr. Brahimi reviewed the consultations he had conducted so far with both the Syrian government and the opposition, and stressed his belief that this deplorable situation would not be resolved through military means, but rather through a political process that would meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.
- The Joint Special representative for Syria yesterday met the Deputy Foreign Minister, His Royal Highness Prince Abdelaziz Bin Abdallah, with whom he had a comprehensive review of the Syrian crisis.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY PREPARES TO ASSIST SYRIAN REFUGEES DURING WINTER MONTHS
- The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says that, with the numbers of Syrian refugees still rising in neighbouring states, it is stepping up efforts to prepare for the onset of cold weather over the winter months.
- In Jordan for example, the agency will focus both on the refugees in camps and those living in the local communities. With its partners, UNHCR will help at least 10,000 refugee families living in cities with an extra monthly cash allowance for the most vulnerable. The agency will also increase the provision of one-time emergency grants and issue vouchers for basic needs such as winter clothing and fuel for heating.
- In the Za’atri camp, the agency will distribute a winter package that will include stoves and fuel, warm clothing and high thermal blankets. Tent modifications are also planned for better insulation and protection.
- In Lebanon, where Syrian refuges live in local communities, UNHCR is providing cash rental assistance as well as collective and transitional shelters and is helping with renovations to the homes of host families.
- The refugee agency is also preparing to assist Syrians refugees in Turkey and Iraq during the winter months.
U.N. MISSION CONDUCTS REGULAR VISITS IN JONGLEI STATE, SOUTH SUDAN
- In response to questions from yesterday on fighting in Jonglei state in South Sudan, the Spokesperson said that following the attack on 23 August by the David Yau Yau group on the SPLA troops, which resulted in the deaths of 24 SPLA members, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) had received additional unconfirmed reports of sporadic fighting between the David Yau Yau group and the SPLA in other areas of Jonglei state.
- Reported sporadic clashes between the SPLA and David Yau Yau took place last week near Gurmuk, where the SPLA has now deployed just over one battalion.
- The Mission has received some reports from the local authorities about some civilian casualties. The Mission has not been able to access the affected area due to rains and flooding and has therefore not been able to confirm the casualties figures.
- UNMISS is conducting regular visits to various areas in Jonglei to assess the situation.
- UNMISS protects civilians through implementation of an early warning system, by supporting the Government of South Sudan to fulfill its responsibility to protect civilians, and by fostering dialogue and political engagement at the community, state and national levels in an effort to reach an enduring peace in Jonglei state.
- The UN Mission in South Sudan has approximately 850 troops deployed throughout Jonglei state which is about the size of Bangladesh.
PAKISTAN: U.N. SAYS FLOODS HAVE TRIGGERED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the flash floods in Pakistan’s Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan provinces in early last month had triggered a humanitarian crisis which continues to unfold.
- Nearly 270,000 people have been displaced, with nearly half a million houses having been damaged and huge amounts of crops lost.
- The Office has established a humanitarian coordination centre for operations in Sindh province and has deployed staff to support the response in Balochistan.
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 3,200 schools have been damaged, disrupting schooling for half a million children.
- UNICEF says that it is reaching tens of thousands of children and families with safe water, hygiene supplies, malnutrition screening and treatment.
- Asked whether Pakistan’s Government has asked for UN assistance, the Spokesperson said that there is already relief work underway in Pakistan, both by the national authorities and by UN and other relief agencies.
HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS OFFICIAL TO VISIT BOTSWANA, SOUTH AFRICA AND ZIMBABWE
- Catherine Bragg, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, will begin a visit to Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe on Monday.
- The aim of her visit is to take stock of the humanitarian challenges in the region and to support efforts to promote disaster risk reduction including resilience and preparedness.
- More than 5.5 million face food insecurity due to the impact of recurrent natural disasters such as droughts and floods, and rising food prices across the region.
- During her visit, Ms. Bragg will meet with Government officials and humanitarian partners to discuss ways to strengthen partnerships to mitigate the impact of disasters on vulnerable communities.
DISASTER RISK REDUCTION ENVOY HIGHLIGHTS THAILAND’S LEADING ROLE
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, is in Thailand, where today she honoured the country’s Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, as a leading woman figure in disaster risk management. Ms. Wahlström praised the Prime Minister for her leadership in responding to Thailand’s severe flooding last year and her commitment to gender equality.
- The Special Representative also took part in a ceremony in Bangkok to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction, which is tomorrow. The theme of this year’s Day is "Women and Girls - the [in]Visible Force of Resilience."
IMPACT OF TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME TO BE DISCUSSED IN VIENNA NEXT WEEK
- The Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime will begin on Monday in Vienna.
- During the five-day conference, participants will discuss the impact of transnational organized crime and a resolution on a review mechanism for the convention.
- There will also be more than 20 side events which will examine crime-related issues, ranging from organized crime threat assessments to trafficking in people and firearms.
- More information on the meeting can be found on the website of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET ON HAITI, MALI: This afternoon at 3:00, the Security Council will hold formal meetings to vote on two resolutions. First, the Council will consider a draft resolution on the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The Council will also then vote on a draft resolution concerning the situation in Mali.
CHOLERA CLAIM WAS RECEIVED AND IS BEING STUDIED: Asked about a legal claim concerning cholera in Haiti, the Spokesperson reiterated that a claim has been received and is being studied.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
13 – 19 OCTOBER 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 13 October
Today is the International Day for Disaster Reduction. The theme of this year’s Day is “Women and Girls - the [in]Visible Force of Resilience.”
Sunday, 14 October
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 15 October
Today is the International Day of Rural Women.
Today, Catherine Bragg, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, will begin a visit to Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Her mission ends on 20 October.
This morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on the Middle East.
Tuesday, 16 October
Today is World Food Day.
This morning, the Security Council will hold a debate on Somalia. In the afternoon, the Council will hold closed consultations on Sudan/South Sudan.
At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 6 (NLB), the Planning and Coordinating Agency of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa will launch three publications on Africa’s development.
At 12:30 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference organized by the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), along with the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), to mark “Africa Week” on the margins of the General Assembly Debate on Africa.
At 1:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference by the Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Pinheiro, and a member of the commission, Karen AbuZayd, to discuss their latest findings on the human rights situation in Syria.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 6 (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on protecting women from violence. It will be co-organized by the Permanent Missions of France and the Netherlands.
Wednesday, 17 October
Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. At 1:15 p.m., there will be an observance of the Day co-organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the International Movement ATD Fourth World and the NGO Subcommittee for the Eradication of Poverty, with the support of the Permanent Missions of Burkina Faso and France. It will be held in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (NLB).
This morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security.
Thursday, 18 October
In the General Assembly, Member States will vote to decide on new non-permanent members of the Security Council.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room A (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on the future of space security, organized by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).
Friday, 19 October
There are no major events scheduled for today.