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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, 03 OCTOBER 2011

SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL WARNS OF COMPLEX GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FOR WORLD’S 43 MILLION REFUGEES

  • The High Commissioner for Refugees warned today that an increasingly complex international environment is making it harder to find solutions for the world’s more than 43 million refugees, internally displaced and stateless people.

  • Speaking at the opening of the UN Refugee Agency’s annual meeting of its Executive Committee, António Guterres said the international community must step up its efforts to prevent conflict, adapt to climate change and to better manage natural disasters.

  • He said that in such challenging circumstances, we must recognize our shared responsibility and we must exercise our shared commitment.

GOVERNMENTS RECOGNIZE NEED TO ENHANCE EFFORTS TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE – U.N. OFFICIAL

  • Governments recognize that they need to speed up and scale up their efforts to combat climate change, according to the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC.

  • Christiana Figueres was speaking in Panama at the last formal negotiation session of the year ahead of the next annual UN Climate Change Conference the South African city of Durban, which starting in November.

  • She said governments know that the best way to have a successful meeting in Durban is to arrive there with draft decisions texts. She also said that she sees a lot of support for that approach.

LIBYA: U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR MEETS WITH UPROOTED POPULATIONS

  • The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Georg Charpentier, met with internally displaced populations from Bani Walid. He said he was impressed by the effective organization that local councils have displayed in mobilizing resources among the local population to support those arriving in their towns.

  • He said the UN will continue to support local efforts on the ground. Further joint assessments in conjunction with national authorities are planned in the coming days for Sirte and subsequently for the Southern region.

  • UN humanitarian organizations have worked closely with national and international partners to respond to requests for support from Libyan authorities and they have rapidly transported relief, particularly water, food and non-food items to populations fleeing conflict areas in Bani Walid, Sirte and Sabha.

  • Asked about reports of alleged torture of detainees by forces of the National Transitional Council (NTC), the Spokesperson reported that the Secretary-General has stated publicly that accountability and reconciliation are very important and accountability means for everyone. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is also monitoring this closely.

JUDGES, PROSECUTORS FOR CAMBODIA COURTS MUST BE ALLOWED TO FUNCTION FREE OF EXTERNAL INTERFERENCE

·        The judges and prosecutors at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) must be allowed to function free from external interference by the Royal Government of Cambodia, the United Nations, donor States and civil society alike. 

·        The independence of the judiciary is a fundamental principle that the United Nations upholds in Cambodia as elsewhere. 

·        There are judicial checks and balances built into the ECCC proceedings.  In particular, the decision of the Co-Investigating Judges in Case 003 is subject to an independent judicial process. 

·        The United Nations will not comment on issues which remain the subject of judicial consideration, nor speculate on actions that should or should not be taken by the judges or prosecutors in any case.

  • The Co-Investigating Judges must ultimately issue a Closing Order in Case 003 which, in relation to each suspect, either sends him or her to trial, or dismisses the case against him or her. The Closing Order must include reasons, which will be available for public scrutiny. Speculating on the content of the Closing Order at this stage does not assist the independent judicial process.

GREEN ECONOMY KEY TO FACILITATING INCLUSIVE GROWTH, SAYS SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL

  • Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, is in India where today he opened the Delhi Ministerial Dialogue on Green Economy and Inclusive Growth today. 

  • The Dialogue, which is organized by the Government of India and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), is addressing the costs and benefits of a green economy transition.

U.N. APPRECIATIVE OF EFFORTS TO CONSLIDATE ITS OFFICES IN NEW YORK CITY

  • The United Nations understands that the State of New York enacted legislation to conditionally allow the Host City to transfer part of the Robert Moses Playground to the United Nations Development Corporation (UNDC) to construct a building for use by the United Nations. The United Nations Development Corporation is a public benefit corporation of the State of New York.

  • The building, which is referred to as DC-5, would be built by UNDC, not the United Nations.  It is our understanding that UNDC would lease the building to the United Nations with the option to own it at the end of the lease term.

  • The United Nations understands that the legislation shall take effect only if a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is negotiated and signed by the Mayor of the Host City, the Speaker of the State Assembly, and the Temporary President of the State Senate, after consultation with local elected officials, by 10 October of this year.

  • The United Nations is kept informed of the discussions about the Memorandum of Understanding by United Nations Development Corporation, but the UN is neither a party in this process, nor are we involved in any detailed planning at this stage. 

  • In the event that a Memorandum of Understanding is reached, the UN would enter lease discussions with United Nations Development Corporation. If the UN and UNDC arrive at a draft lease, we would review it and the General Assembly would have the opportunity to approve or disapprove it.

  • Apart from the current renovation, the UN accommodates about half of its approximately 10,000 staff members in leased office space outside of its Headquarters compound.  A large share of the leased office space is located in the DC-1 and DC-2 buildings, where leases expire in 2023. 

  • The UN is therefore appreciative of the efforts that would enable us to consolidate its offices that are currently spread out in more than half a dozen locations around the City.

AFRICAN UNION-U.N. MISSION TO PROTEST DEADLY INCIDENT IN WEST DARUFR

  • Asked about an incident that took place in Darfur on September 30, the Spokesperson reported that Government of Sudan (GoS) military forces were in pursuit of a Sudanese civilian who ran towards an African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) patrol near Foro Baranga, West Darfur. As the man tried to climb on to a UNAMID armoured personnel carrier (APC), he was shot and killed by the GoS forces, who fired upon the APC, damaging it and risking the lives of UNAMID personnel. The pursuing GoS soldiers numbered about 40 men armed with automatic weapons. UNAMID plans to protest to the Government of Sudan about the incident.

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES REAFFIRMATION OF COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABLE FUTURE ON WORLD HABITAT DAY

  • On the occasion of World Habitat Day today, the Deputy Secretary-General said that the Day falls during the month when it is predicted that the planet’s seven billionth inhabitant will be born.

  • The future that this child and its generation will inherit depends to a great degree on how we handle the competing pressures of population growth, urbanization and climate change, she said in a message delivered on behalf of the Secretary-General.

  • She called for a reaffirmation of our commitment to the important journey to a more sustainable future and for greater attention to be focused on addressing climate change in the world’s cities and beyond.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS: Asked about reports of alleged torture of detainees by NTC forces, the Spokesperson reported that the Secretary-General has stated publicly that accountability and reconciliation are very important and accountability means for everyone. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is also monitoring this closely.

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