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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 FARHAN HAQ, ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON

FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

TUESDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2013

WATER KEY TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS BUDAPEST SUMMIT

  • The Secretary-General arrived in Budapest earlier today to attend the Budapest Water Summit and to meet Hungarian leaders. The Secretary-General delivered a lecture at Budapesti Corvinus University, where he received an honorary doctorate on behalf of the United Nations.
  • At the Water Summit, the Secretary-General said that water holds the key to sustainable development.  He said we need it for health, food security and economic progress.  Yet each year brings new pressures, and by 2030 nearly half the world's population could be facing water scarcity.  The Secretary-General said water is wasted and poorly used by all sectors in all countries.  We must use what we have more equitably and wisely, and we cannot expect governments to do this alone. He said guaranteeing a water secure world will require the full engagement of all actors, not least the world of business.
  • The Secretary-General met with the President, Prime Minister of Hungary and is also scheduled to meet with the Foreign Minister.
  • The Secretary-General also spoke to reporters together with the Hungarian President.
  • Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will fly from Budapest to Brunei, where he will arrive on Thursday morning to attend a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations.

SECURITY COUNCIL WRAPS UP LAST LEG OF AFRICAN GREAT LAKES VISIT

  • The 15 Members of the Security Council were today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the last leg of their visit to the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
  • While in Addis Ababa, the Security Council delegation held a joint meeting with the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. They exchanged views on the situations in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, in Sudan and South Sudan, in Somalia, in the Central African Republic and in the Sahel region. They also exchanged views on the enhancement of the partnership between the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council. They adopted a joint communiqué.
  • The Security Council delegation also met the President of the African Union Commission, Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
  • The also delegation met the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn.
  • The delegation is on its way back to New York.

SYRIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL PROPOSES JOINT O.P.C.W.-U.N. MISSION FOR ELIMINATION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS

  • The Secretary-General sent a letter to the Security Council yesterday afternoon, proposing the establishment of a joint mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations in order to achieve the timely elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme in the safest and most secure manner possible.
  • The Secretary-General says that the joint mission will be headed by a civilian Special Coordinator, whom he would appoint in close consultation with the Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He writes that the joint mission will build upon the deployment of the advance team currently in Syria and will expand to a staff of approximately 100 personnel.
  • He notes that, given the operating environment, the joint mission will establish a “light footprint” in Syria, only deploying to Syria those personnel whose presence is necessary in the country to perform their tasks. The letter will be available as a document.
  • Asked about the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s letter, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General would await the Security Council’s consideration of the letter.
  • Asked about the third phase of the joint mission’s work, which is to last from 1 November 2013 until 30 June 2014, Haq said that the Secretary-General had said that, given the complex nature of that phase, additional analysis and consultation is required, involving the OPCW, the United Nations and Member States which may be in a position to contribute to the associated activities, in order to develop a viable operational concept and conduct the necessary planning.
  • Asked about the work of the advance team, he noted that more than 30 personnel from the OPCW and the United Nations had been deployed to Syria within four days of the adoption of resolution 2118. If the Council approved the Secretary-General’s recommendations, that team would be following by a mission of some 100 personnel.
  • Asked about security, Haq noted that the advance team had reported good cooperation on the ground thus far as it has gone about its work.
  • Asked when the Security Council might reply to the letter, the Spokesperson said that was a matter for the Council members to decide. He noted the recent unity displayed by Council members on Syria as they adopted resolution 2118 and later adopted a Presidential Statement on the humanitarian situation in the country.

CONSTRUCTIVE PROCESS UNDER WAY IN DESTROYING SYRIAN WEAPONS, SAYS O.P.C.W. CHIEF

  • Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü spoke at the opening of the new session of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon’s Executive Council and he reported on the progress of the OPCW-UN mission in Syria.
  • He noted that, on 4 October, Syria submitted additional information updating its initial disclosure, and on 6 October, Syrian officials commenced destroying certain Category 3 chemical weapons and destroying or disabling a range of items. The goal of those efforts is to render unusable all production facilities and mixing and filling equipment by 1 November of this year.
  • Mr. Üzümcü said that these developments present a constructive beginning for what will nonetheless be a long and difficult process.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS RECENT VIOLENCE IN EGYPT

  • The Secretary-General, in a statement, strongly condemned the violence on Sunday in Egypt, where more than 50 people were killed in clashes. The Secretary-General once again stresses the importance of peaceful protest, respect for freedom of assembly and commitment to non-violence. The Secretary-General continues to underscore the need for political inclusion, full respect for human rights, including of those detained in prison, and the rule of law as the basis for a peaceful, democratic transition in Egypt. These are the same principles to which the Egyptian authorities themselves have committed in the roadmap they have set forth.
  • The Secretary-General also strongly condemns the attacks on Monday against military personnel and facilities, which reportedly killed eight persons and wounded many more.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has provided $3 million to assist the people of Zamboanga, Philippines, to recover from the recent conflict there. This funding will address immediate needs, including the management of camps, water, and child protection. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country said that an additional $21 million is being requested for the overall humanitarian operation. More than 120,000 people have been uprooted in the area.
  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s recent remarks on Financing for Development, the Spokesperson noted that, while acknowledging the economic difficulties that Member States have been facing, the Secretary-General has continued to stress the importance of having developed states provide 0.7 percent of their GDPs for official development assistance (ODA) to the developing world.