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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

THURSDAY, 06 OCTOBER 2011

U.N. FORCE IN ABYEI YET TO SEE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS ON ARMED FORCES WITHDRAWAL, SAYS TOP U.N. OFFICIAL

  • The new Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed the Security Council on Thursday morning on the situation in Abyei.

  • Mr. Ladsous noted that the United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNIFSA) has not observed significant progress on the withdrawal of armed forces from the area.

  • He went on to note that the lack of progress towards implementing the 20 June Agreement is of particular concern. As we approach the seasonal nomadic migration of the Misseriya people, and given the violence of May this year, he was concerned that this year the Misseriya will be traversing an international border.

  • He encouraged the Council to authorise the Mission’s support for the establishment of a border monitoring mechanism, as recommended by the Secretary-General in his latest report on the situation in Abyei. He also urged the Council to engage the parties on the withdrawal of their forces from Abyei to enable internally displaced people to return and to ensure a peaceful migration, in order to prevent a serious deterioration of the situation in the coming months.

  • He thanked the Government of Ethiopia for its commitment to the Mission and to its troops for their efforts to deploy and to start implementing the mandate in very challenging circumstances.

U.N. AGENCY REPORTS LOWER GLOBAL FOOD PRICES

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that global food prices fell 2 per cent in September compared to August.

  • This was largely due to lower international prices of grains, sugar and oils.

  • The Organization also announced today that world cereal production will be 3 per cent higher this marketing season than in 2010/2011.

  • However, despite the expected production gains, it warns that because of the slowdown in the global economic recovery and increased risks of recession, the impact of the higher forecast on world food security is uncertain.

HOMICIDE RATES HIGHEST IN PARTS OF THE AMERICAS, AFRICA, FINDS U.N. STUDY

  • In its first Global Study on Homicide, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that young men – particularly in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and south and central Africa – are most at risk from homicide.

  • It also found that women are at highest risk from murder due to domestic violence.

  • The study says that there is evidence that rising homicide rates in Central America and the Caribbean are near crisis point.

SOMALIA: FOUR MILLION REMAIN IN CRISIS, U.N. REPORTS

  • In Somalia, four million people remain in crisis nationwide, three-quarters of whom are in the south. Despite concerned efforts, significant humanitarian needs remain throughout the country.

  • Tensions have reportedly increased between humanitarian agencies and the local Al Shabaab administration in Baidoa, in the Bay region. Some aid agencies have reportedly been suspended and Al Shabaab says that there is no need for them in that region as there are no people in need.

  • Tuesday's bomb attack in Mogadishu, which reportedly killed more than 100 people is a stark reminder of the prevailing insecurity in the country and that is hampering delivery of humanitarian aid

  • At the end of September, the World Health Organization (WHO) set up a new field hospital to help Somali refugees arriving in Dollo, Ethiopia.

  • An emergency measles and polio vaccination programme is ongoing in south and central Somalia, targeting 2.3 million children.

  • Food agencies have now reached about 2 million people in crisis since famine was declared.

U.N. EMERGENCY FUND RELEASES NEARLY $18 MILLION FOR PAKISTAN

  • In Pakistan, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated US$ 17.6 million for urgent help to thousands of the most vulnerable families affected by the Pakistan floods.

  • The money will be used to provide packages of assistance including healthcare, safe water, sanitation, food, shelter materials, blankets, and other life-saving support.

  • The Pakistan Floods 2011 Rapid Response Plan, which has asked for US$357 million, is currently only 15% funded; the allocation from the is in fact the single largest donation so far.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

PROPOSED NEW U.N. BUILDING NOT FUNDED BY UNITED NATIONS: Asked about the proposed construction of a building referred to as DC-5, the Spokesperson reiterated that it would be built by the UN Development Corporation, not the United Nations.  The United Nations is looking forward to receiving an invitation to enter into lease discussions. If the United Nations and the UN Development Corporation, which is a public benefit corporation of the State of New York, arrive at a draft lease, it would be reviewed and it would be up to the General Assembly to approve it or not.

PHILIPPINES: U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND SENDS EMERGENCY SUPPLIES FLOODED AREAS: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has delivered 3,000 hygiene kits and 3,000 water kits to flood-stricken families in the Philippines. UNICEF Country Representative Vanessa Tobin noted that supplies are getting through but that we need to be vigilant in monitoring childhood diseases as well as getting schools reopened and getting children back to learning.

***The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Michael Williams, Special Coordinator for Lebanon.

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