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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, 17 OCTOBER 2011

IN SWITZERLAND, SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS SENIOR OFFICIALS, ADDRESSES PARLIAMENTARY GROUP

  • The Secretary-General met today with the Swiss President, Micheline Calmy-Rey, and members of her cabinet, and held a press conference with President.

  • On Sunday, in Bern, the Secretary-General also met with President Calmy-Rey and members of the Swiss government, and flew over a glacier to observe the effects of climate change.

  • In an address to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Bern on Sunday evening, the Secretary-General noted that Governments everywhere are confronting huge budget deficits. But the biggest challenge is not a deficit in budget; it is a deficit of trust. People are losing faith in governments and institutions to do the right things.

  • In an era of fiscal austerity, we must be sure our solutions make a measurable difference in the daily lives of people, and we must do that with the most efficient and effective use of our scarce resources. That means connecting the dots between climate change, food crises, water scarcity, global health issues, women’s empowerment and energy shortages.

  • The Secretary-General also met with a number of parliamentarians and with five young Arab leaders to review developments in the Arab world and to underscore the role youth is playing in the Arab Spring.

  • The Secretary-General returns to New York on Tuesday.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET ON D.R. CONGO, LIBERIA

  • The Security Council will meet on Monday afternoon for consultations on the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

  • Separately, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Liberia is expected to brief the Council via video link on the situation there in a closed session.

PROGRESS IN COMBATING POVERTY IN JEOPARDY, BAN KI-MOON WARNS ON INTERNATIONAL DAY

  • He says that we can overcome challenges – including the economic crisis, climate change and the rising costs of food and energy – by putting people at the centre of our work.

  • As we work to avoid a global financial meltdown, the Secretary-General says we must also work to avoid a global development meltdown.

  • In the name of fiscal austerity, we cannot cut back on common-sense investments in people. Now is the time to push harder to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

  • In conjunction with the International Day, the annual “Stand Up and Take Action against Poverty” campaign wrapped up on Monday.

  • As part of that campaign, schoolchildren, the private sector, and others took part in public events in nearly two dozen locations around the globe to highlight the plight of the more than 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty around the world.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL CHIEF TO TAKE PART IN LUXEMBOURG EVENT

  • On Tuesday, the Deputy Secretary-General and the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will be in Luxembourg, where they will participate in the high-level Symposium of the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum and they will also take part in a press conference afterwards.

  • The event will centre on the theme, “Working together to increase the development impact of aid.”

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

THE SITUATION IN SYRIA: Asked about the Secretary-General’s reaction to the League of Arab States meeting on Syria this weekend, Nesirky said that the Secretary-General had repeatedly called for immediate action, including inclusive dialogue, to end the bloodshed in that country. He has also stressed the need for the commission of inquiry mandated by the Human Rights Council to have access to Syria, he added.

ALLEGED PLOT TO ASSASSINATE THE SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: In answer to a question on the alleged assassination plot against the Saudi Ambassador to Washington, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had received letter from the Iranian authorities, the US authorities and the Saudi Government and had transmitted them to the Security Council.

CURRENT GLOBAL ECONOMIC PROTESTS: Asked about the Secretary-General’s view of current global economic protests, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General said, this morning in Bern, that people were showing their frustrations by trying to send a clear and unambiguous message to the world. He added that the Secretary-General does not believe violent protests are a solution but that people are hoping to see that issues are addressed with a sense of flexibility and compromise. Nesirky said the Secretary-General made these remarks in the context of the forthcoming G20 summit in Cannes and had called on G20 leaders to go beyond business as usual.

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