Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

 

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

 

 

BY FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2010

 

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO STRESS CENTRALITY OF DEVELOPMENT

AT G-20 SUMMIT

  • The Secretary-General this evening is attending a working dinner for the leaders of the Group of 20, who are convening in Seoul. On Friday, the Secretary-General will address the G-20 leaders, to make the case that development is not a side issue, and that investing in development is investing in everyone's recovery.
     

  • Today, the Secretary-General attended an event on the Millennium Development Goals at the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, and he appealed to the leadership of the Korean Government to push forward on the implementation of those Goals. By doing so, he said, the Republic of Korea can show its commitment to protect the human rights of the vulnerable.
     

  • The Secretary-General also met today with President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, whom he thanked for South Africa’s role in co-chairing the G20 development working group. This would help to coordinate the work by the G20 and the United Nations to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. They agreed that it was highly significant that development would figure prominently on the agenda of the G20 summit for the first time.
     

  • Asked about the Republic of Korea’s level of official development assistance (ODA), the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had encouraged the Government to raise its level of assistance.
     

  • Asked about G20 differences over currency and trade issues, Haq said that the Secretary-General had made clear in his press remarks that the G20 should show unity of purpose in dealing with those challenges.

 

HAITI: U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICE SAYS AID EFFORT NEEDS TO BE SUSTAINED TO FIGHT CHOLERA

  • In Haiti, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the Government is focusing its efforts on areas of the country which do not have access to potable water sources, particularly in the central departments and in the greater Port-au-Prince area, and on purifying water supplies in all departments.
     

  • It adds that a crisis cell has been established, and a major nationwide cholera sensitization and information campaign is being prepared.
     

  • The humanitarian community is assisting these efforts by deploying water and sanitation experts to support Government teams verifying water quality around the country. Nearly half a million water tablets, soap and oral rehydration salts are being distributed, targeting areas where cholera has already been detected. A large scale public information campaign to educate people on how to avoid cholera infection is also underway, says OCHA.
     

  • OCHA stresses that the aid effort will have to keep moving with at least the same momentum in the days and weeks ahead. National and international resources are now stretched to the limit, it adds.
     

  • Urgent needs include additional medical personnel and equipment, water purification equipment and tablets, water tankers, water treatment units, family water kits, hygiene kits and soap.

 

U.N. PEACEKEEPERS SUPPORTING EFFORTS TO DEAL WITH ATROCITES BY LORD’S RESISTANCE ARMY

  • Asked about a Human Rights Watch report on the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the Spokesperson said that the United Nations fully shares the concerns expressed by Human Rights Watch. The LRA continues to perpetrate horrendous human rights violations against civilians, and there should be an end to their atrocities, he said.
     

  • Haq said that the United Nations is doing its best with the limited resources at its disposal. He noted that it supports the humanitarian efforts in the LRA’s vast zone of influence.
     

  • The extreme difficulty to gain access to their areas of operation makes it very challenging for all, including for UN troops, he added.
     

  • Although the United Nations has a protection mandate, the Spokesperson said, this is not a problem that it can solve alone. As has been mentioned many times in the past, it is an issue that requires a broader approach, which means engaging more partners and evidently more resources.
     

  • In this regard, he said, the United Nations salutes the recent meeting convened in Bangui by the African Union, where all the countries that are affected by the LRA decided on new joint mechanisms aimed at reinforcing the fight against this group.

 

U.N. MISSION CHECKING WHY RADIO STATION WAS BLOCKED IN SUDAN

  • In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the Radio Miraya website was blocked on Wednesday afternoon for a few hours by the National Telecommunications Corporation in Sudan. There was no access for those using local internet service providers, though UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) network access and access through international service providers were not affected.
     

  • The site was blocked from 4pm to about 8pm local time. There was no pre-warning or reasons given for the blocking.
     

  • Haq said that UNMIS will raise the issue with the Sudanese authorities to seek clarification as to why the blocking occurred.

 

W.H.O. CALLS ON GOVERNMENTS TO STEP UP EFFORTS TO TACKLE TUBERCULOSIS

  • Since 1995, more than 40 million people have been cured of tuberculosis and six million lives have been saved.
     

  • That’s according to the World Health Organization, which issued its most comprehensive report ever on the progress being made in combating the tuberculosis epidemic. The publication contains the very latest data, and for the first time also includes online profiles from 212 countries and territories.
     

  • With nearly 2 million people dying from tuberculosis last year, these successes are far too fragile, the WHO warned. It called on governments to step up efforts to tackle the epidemic.
     

  • WHO says that the findings of the report confirm that, when WHO's best practices are put in place, and with the right amount of funding and commitments from governments, it is possible to turn the tide on the TB epidemic.

 

NEW U.N.-WORLD BANK REPORT SAYS PREVENTION OF NATURAL HAZARDS PAYS OFF

  • A new joint report from the United Nations and the World Bank says that annual global losses from natural disasters could triple to $185 billion by the end of this century, even without calculating the impact of climate change.  Climate change could then add between $28 and $68 billion more in damages each year from tropical cyclones alone.  The report also says that the number of people exposed to storms and earthquakes in large cities could double to 1.5 billion by 2050.
     

  • The 250-page report, Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention, was released in Washington.  Targeted directly at the world's finance ministers, it stresses that “prevention pays but you do not always have to pay more for prevention”.
     

  • The report outlines a number of measures to prevent death and destruction from natural hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding. 

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET ON BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: The Security Council will meet at 3:00 p.m., Thursday afternoon, to discuss Bosnia and Herzegovina. Council members will receive a briefing from the High Representative for Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, on his latest report about his office’s work.

 

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF TO VISIT BOLIVIA: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is to pay her first visit to Bolivia from 12-16 November, where she will meet with President Evo Morales Ayma. Pillay’s visit takes place in the context of a recent agreement with the Government which extends the presence of the Human Rights Office in Bolivia for a further three years, until 2013.

 

PAKISTAN APPEAL IS 45 PERCENT FUNDED: Asked about the funding of the humanitarian appeal for Pakistan, the Spokesperson said it is currently 45 percent funded. He noted the work being done by the UN system to provide assistance to families returning to their homes as floodwaters recede, including some 200,000 families who returned to their homes in Sindh in recent weeks.

 

 

  

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, SA-1B15
New York, NY 10017
Tel. 212-963-7162
Fax. 212-963-7055