HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT BRUNEI
- The Secretary-General left Budapest earlier on Wednesday.
- He is on his way to Brunei Darussalam, where he will arrive on Thursday morning to attend a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO DELIVER SORENSEN LECTURE AT COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
- The Deputy Secretary-General will deliver the Sorensen Lecture at the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday afternoon, and he intends to talk about the recent plenary session of the General Assembly and what was achieved there, including on Syria, as well as other challenges to international peace and security.
- He is to discuss how the events of recent weeks show that good international solutions are in the national interest of the Member States. That lecture will be webcast on the Council of Foreign Relations website.
HEAD OF U.N. MISSION IN D.R.CONGO WRAPS UP FIRST VISIT TO BUKAVU
- The Head of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Martin Kobler, wrapped up his first working visit to Bukavu, in South Kivu.
- During his two-day trip, he met members of the provincial government in Bukavu to discuss political, security and humanitarian developments in South Kivu. Mr. Kobler also visited the Panzi hospital to underline the priority given by the UN Mission to the fight against sexual violence.
- Meanwhile, the Mission says that intermittent fighting is taking place between the Congolese army and the Front de Résistance Patriotique de l’Ituri, south of the Irumu territory in Ituri district of Province Orientale. The Mission is on high alert to ensure the protection of civilians.
SPOKESPERSON: U.N. COMMITTED TO HELP HAITIAN PEOPLE OVERCOME CHOLERA EPIDEMIC
- Asked about a legal claim filed in the United States concerning cholera in Haiti, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations remains committed to do all that the Organization can do to help the people of Haiti overcome the cholera epidemic.
The United Nations is working on the ground with the Government and people of Haiti both to provide immediate and practical assistance to those affected, and to put in place better infrastructure and services for all, Haq said.
He added that, with regard to possible claims against the Organization, as has been stated with regard to other cases that are subject to litigation, it is not the United Nations’ practice to discuss in public claims filed against the Organization.
- Asked further about the legal case, Haq declined further comment since there are legal processes under way.
U.N. PEACEKEEPERS WORKING TO MAINTAIN CALM IN GOLAN
- Asked about fighting in the Golan Heights, the Spokesperson said that the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has been working to maintain calm in the region as much as possible. He noted that the Secretary-General and the Security Council had expressed concern about tensions in the area.
- Asked further about reports that some fighting forces were seen wearing UN blue helmets, he said that the Disengagement Observer Force was aware of reports of looted UNDOF protective gear being used by some armed members of the opposition in the area of separation and had tried to get all parties to stop such activity.
NO PROGRESS MADE BETWEEN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN TOWARDS CONDUCT OF REFERENDUM
- Without progress made between Sudan and South Sudan on the establishment of the Abyei Area Referendum Commission, there has not been tangible progress towards the conduct of the referendum.
- A large number of Ngok Dinka – estimated to be around a few thousands since last month – have returned to Abyei recently.
- The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei, UNISFA, and humanitarian agencies are trying to respond to the influx of the population in the area.
- We continue to support the efforts led by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel to assist Sudan and South Sudan in resolving the final status of the Abyei Area, and echo the African Union’s call for the two countries not to undertake any unilateral actions that could lead to tensions.
U.N. FOOD AGENCIES SAY 4 MILLION PEOPLE FOOD INSECURE IN MADAGASCAR
- As many as 4 million people in rural areas of Madagascar are food insecure following this year's reduced harvest, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). Production of rice – the Indian Ocean island's staple – and maize has been badly hit by erratic weather and a locust invasion. A further 9.6 million people are at risk of food insecurity.
- The extent of the island's food crisis is revealed in a report from the joint Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission conducted in June and July by the two agencies. The report blamed the poor agricultural season on a combination of factors: erratic weather conditions last year, cyclones early this year, followed by a period of poor rains.
- Also cited by the report was the devastation caused by a locust plague. This has both damaged crops and discouraged farmers from planting. The south of the island has been particularly badly affected.
** The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Yukio Takasu, the Under-Secretary-General for Management. Mr. Takasu briefed journalists on the financial situation of the Organization.