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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, 4 NOVEMBER 2010

 

 

LATEST HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT CONTINUES TRADITION OF MEASURING REAL WEALTH OF NATIONS, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS

  • Speaking at the launch of the 2010 Human Development Report, the Secretary-General said that, twenty years ago, the first-ever report stunned the international community with the simple premise that people are the true measure of a nation’s wealth. It was a radical concept at the time. And it overturned conventional thinking.
     

  • This year’s report, the Secretary-General noted, continues the fine tradition of measuring the real wealth of nations and advancing the idea of human development.

 

U.N. PEACEBUILDING FUND MAKING A REAL DIFFERENCE, BAN KI-MOON STRESSES

  • The Secretary-General spoke to donors for the UN Peacebuilding Fund, and he told them that the Peacebuilding Fund helps the United Nations system respond in real-time with fast, focused and flexible resources. Today, he said, it is making a real difference for people through more than 140 projects in 16 countries.
     

  • He also addressed an event to mark World Food Day, noting that the number of hungry people had fallen since it reached more than one billion a year ago.  That is progress, he is to say, but not nearly enough, since there are still 925 million chronically undernourished people in our world.
     

  • The Secretary-General is also scheduled to speak on human trafficking this afternoon to say that almost every country is affected by this crime, whether as a place of origin, transit or destination for victims.

 

U.N. STEPS UP PREPARATIONS TO RESPOND TO TROPICAL STORM IN HAITI

  • In Haiti, preparations to respond to tropical storm Tomas are being stepped up. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that according to working projections, the storm could affect up to half a million people.
     

  • The UN and its humanitarian partners have prepositioned emergency supplies and equipment, including trucks, water and sanitation materials, shelter, food and non-food items in the areas most likely to be hit by the storm. All available stocks of tarpaulins and ropes are being used to help people in camps secure their shelters.
     

  • But even with the existing prepositioned stocks, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti, Nigel Fisher, says that the potential magnitude of this disaster urgently calls for additional emergency supplies and equipment.
     

  • Priorities include emergency shelter kits, hygiene kits, water tanks, water treatment units and 200 field tents to serve as emergency cholera treatment centres, as well as logistics equipment and radios to help provide public information about cholera and hurricane warnings.

 

IRAN: U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONDEMNS ATTACKS AGAINST RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, strongly condemned this week’s attacks targeting religious communities in Iraq, in a statement issued today. She urged the Iraqi Government to do more to protect civilians in an effort to prevent a “deadly” upsurge in sectarian violence.
     

  • Pillay said that the blasts were deliberately targeting locations where civilians congregate, such as markets and banks, and the attacks appear once again to have been sectarian in nature. She urged the Government to take immediate concrete measures to provide better protection for vulnerable groups and minorities.
     

  • In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Iraq in which scores of civilians lost their lives and hundreds more were wounded. He appealed to the people of Iraq to remain steadfast in the wake of such brutal violence and united in their commitment to a path of national reconciliation.
     

  • Asked about the Saudi initiative regarding Iraq’s political process, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has repeatedly called for an inclusive and broadly participatory process in the formation of a new government and continues to encourage developments along these lines.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES EUROPEAN UNION’S READINESS TO FACILITATE DIALOGUE BETWEEN PRISTINA, BELGRADE

  • In his latest report on Kosovo, the Secretary-General welcomes the European Union’s readiness to facilitate a process of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade.
     

  • This dialogue, he notes, is expected to open a new phase and lead to the resolution of issues important for the consolidation of peace, stability and reconciliation in Kosovo and in the region.
     

  • The Secretary-General emphasizes that it is in the interest of both sides to start this process rapidly and take advantage of the positive momentum created in the past months.

 

U.N. MISSION INVESTIGATING NEW VIOLENCE IN DARFUR

  • Asked about reports of new violence in Darfur, the Spokesperson said that we are aware of these reports and are investigating them. The UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is concerned about heightened military tensions on the ground. There have been other incidents recently. UNAMID calls on all parties to refrain from the use of force.
     

  • On 1 November, Nesirky said, unknown gunmen ambushed two civilian vehicles near Tawila (about 14 km west of Tawila), reportedly resulting in two deaths and some 28 injuries.
     

  • UNAMID reacted promptly to reach at the scene and assisted local efforts to evacuate the injuries to the Medicins sans Frontieres clinic in Tawilla. Eight among them were reportedly seriously injured and were later transferred to El Fasher hospital.
     

  • Meanwhile, he added, UNAMID is intensifying patrols in the area.
     

  • Asked about the arrest of a journalist in Darfur, the Spokesperson said that reporters should be allowed to carry out their work without being impeded in any way.

 

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF BEGINS WEEK-LONG VISIT TO SUDAN: The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, has arrived in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. During her week-long visit, she will also visit South Sudan and Darfur, and will meet with representatives from the Government, donors and aid agencies.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL STANDS BY LATEST REPORT ON RESOLUTION 1701: Asked about Hezbollah criticism of the Secretary-General’s report on resolution 1701, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General stands by the report.

 

***The guests at the noon briefing today were Jeni Klugman, author of the 2010 Human Development Report, and Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate in Economics and one of the creators of the Human Development Index 20 years ago.

 

  

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