HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO SPEAK AT WORLD FOOD PRIZE EVENT IN IOWA
- The Secretary-General travelled to Des Moines in Iowa on Thursday.
- He was scheduled to speak at the laureate award ceremony for the World Food Prize on Thursday night. He was due to pay tribute to the scientist Daniel Hillel for his work helping millions of farmers grow more crops per drop of water in some of the driest places on earth.
- In his keynote address, the Secretary-General was expected to say that 870 million people are under-nourished – a number lower than previous estimates but still unconscionably high. He was expected to say that the right to food is a matter of fundamental human rights.
- While in Des Moines, the Secretary-General was also due to meet with Senator Tom Harkin and Governor Terry Branstad. And on Friday, he will speak at Drake University.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CELEBRATES PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AT OPENING OF MEMORIAL IN NEW YORK
- The Secretary-General spoke on Thursday morning at an event to celebrate the opening of the Four Freedoms Park, the memorial to American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in New York.
- He said that no single person was more instrumental in the founding of the United Nations than President Roosevelt and that his words guide us every day as we seek to advance peace and security, promote development, and uphold human rights around the world.
The park celebrates the “four freedoms” President Roosevelt articulated in a speech in 1941. He proposed four fundamental freedoms that people everywhere in the world ought to enjoy: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TRAVELS TO MALI TO ATTEND HIGH-LEVEL MEETING
- The Deputy Secretary-General is travelling to Mali, where he will attend the high-level meeting on the country taking place in Bamako on Friday. He will lead a UN delegation that includes the new Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, and the Special Representative for West Africa, Saïd Djinnit.
- The Deputy Secretary-General will meet with attending ministers and civil society, and he is expected to hold a press conference on Friday while in Bamako.
- From Mali, the Deputy Secretary-General will then travel to Geneva, where he will chair a meeting of the Economic Commission for Europe’s Regional Coordination Mechanism. He will meet with Member States and the host country authorities. He will also meet with the heads of the UN system in Geneva and hold a press conference with the media there before returning to New York at the end of next week.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN FOR RATIFIYING COOPERATION AGREEMENTS
- In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Secretary-General congratulated the Parliaments of South Sudan and Sudan for ratifying the cooperation agreements signed by Presidents Salva Kiir and Omar al-Bashir in Addis Ababa on 27 September.
- The Secretary-General urges both countries to implement all the agreements they have signed and to proceed immediately with their operationalisation, particularly of their Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism.
The Secretary-General calls on both parties to continue their constructive engagement with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, and notably to agree on a process to settle the question of remaining disputed and claimed areas and the determination of the final status of Abyei.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS DEADLY ATTACK ON PEACEKEEPERS IN DARFUR
- In a separate statement issued on Wednesday, the Secretary-General, condemned in the strongest possible terms the latest attack on peacekeepers in Darfur. One South African peacekeeper was killed and three were wounded in that attack.
- The Secretary-General urged the Government of Sudan to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.
- And in a separate press statement, the members of the Security Council also called on the Government of Sudan to swiftly investigate the incident. Council members reiterated their full support for the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and called on all parties in Darfur to cooperate with the mission.
U.N. SENIOR OFFICIAL SAYS U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM IS AT A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN ITS HISTORY
- Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a press conference in Geneva on Thursday, said that, as her office approaches its 20th anniversary, the UN human rights system is at a pivotal moment in its history.
- She said that human rights are so wide-ranging and all-encompassing, and, sadly, still so commonly abused, that the human rights system needs to become bigger, better, faster, and stronger.
The High Commissioner said that the situation in Syria is dire, with no end in sight, and no solutions within easy grasp, but she added that we cannot simply shrug and turn away. She said that the memories of what happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be sufficiently fresh to warn us all of the danger of allowing Syria to descend into all-out sectarian conflict.
NEW U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR LIBYA ARRIVES IN TRIPOLI: Tarek Mitri, the Secretary-General’s new Special Representative for Libya, has taken up his post in Tripoli to lead UN efforts to assist Libya’s democratic transition.
U.N. OFFICIALS TO SPEAK AT MORE THAN 60 HIGH SCHOOLS IN NEW YORK: UN officials will visit and speak at more than 60 high schools in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island this week and next week. This is an annual event to mark UN Day which is on 24 October.
Among the senior officials participating in the UN4U programme this year is Michelle Bachelet, the Executive Director of UN Women, who will speak at a school in Manhattan tomorrow at 11:45 in the morning. Any journalists interested in covering Ms. Bachelet's visit are welcome to do so, and they should contact the Department of Public Information’s Visitors Services or my office for more information.