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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

TUESDAY, 08 NOVEMBER 2011

ROCK BAND LINKIN PARK SUPPORTS SECRETARY-GENERAL’S ‘SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL’ INITIATIVE

  • The Secretary-General held a media stakeout this morning with the rock band Linkin Park. The band came to the United Nations Headquarters in support of the “Sustainable Energy for All” Initiative, recently launched by the Secretary-General.

  • The Secretary-General said that as a child growing up during the Korean War, he knew poverty and studied by candlelight. Hundreds of millions of children still do at this time, he added.   

  • He said that the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative would help reduce poverty, drive economic dynamism, reduce the risks of climate change and protect the planet -- all at the same time.

  • He said that bands such as Linkin Park, who have a global reach, can help spread the message and mobilize efforts to bring sustainable energy to all.

  • The band will utilize its extensive social media presence, including more than 36 million Facebook fans, and draw on its significant public profile to mobilize support for the Secretary-General’s Initiative and sustainable energy projects worldwide.

  • Linkin Park began working with the UN in support of relief efforts in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in January 2010.  The band’s first project on behalf of the Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative will continue to support the people of Haiti through the Haiti Regeneration Initiative (HRI), a project of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT SITUATION IN SYRIA WHERE DEATH TOLL EXCEEDS 3,500

  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said today that the death toll in Syria now exceeds 3,500.

  • The Office said that High Commissioner Navi Pillay is deeply concerned about the situation and by the Syrian Government's failure to take heed of international and regional calls for an end to the bloodshed.

  • More than 60 people are reported to have been killed by military and security forces in recent days, including at least 19 on Sunday, the Office said.

  • In addition, Syrian troops continue to use tanks and heavy weaponry to mount attacks on residential areas in the city of Homs.

  • Asked about the death toll in Syria, the Spokesperson said that the international community had made repeated appeals on stopping the bloodshed. That has not happened, and needs to happen, as the Secretary-General has repeatedly made clear.

  • He added that, from whatever quarter, the violence in Syria must stop. The Syrian authorities must follow up on reforms that they have promised to the people, Nesirky said.

  • He noted the plan offered by the League of Arab States and the importance of regional engagement on the issue, as well as the importance of implementing the plan that had already been agreed.

  • In answer to further questions concerning Syrian demonstrators, the Spokesperson noted that all people have the right to demonstrate peacefully outside the United Nations.

LIBERIA: U.N. MISSION DEPLORES LOSS OF LIFE, CALLS FOR RESTRAINT

  • The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has confirmed two deaths after an outbreak of violence yesterday at the party headquarters of the Congress for Democratic Change.

  • UN Police were sent on location and a helicopter from the UN Mission had been dispatched to patrol the area

  • At this time, the investigations are still ongoing to ascertain the circumstances of the incident.

  • The UN Mission deplores the loss of life and calls on all parties, supporters and all Liberians to exercise maximum restraint and not resort to violent acts.

  • The Mission is in contact with the relevant authorities in order to prevent any escalation of the situation.

SECRETARY-GENERAL RECEIVES LETTER ON CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN HAITI; LETTER BEING REVIEWED BY U.N. SYSTEM

 

  • Asked about the complaint filed by cholera victims in Haiti, the Spokesperson confirmed that the Secretary-General has received a letter from the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, also received a letter last Friday.

  • Nesirky said that the United Nations - the peacekeeping mission as well as humanitarian and development agencies -  is working with Haitian authorities to do everything possible to bring the spread of cholera under control, to treat and support those affected by cholera, and ultimately to eradicate cholera from Haiti.

  • The Spokesperson added that the Secretary-General has taken this matter very seriously and in January 2011 appointed a panel of independent scientific experts to study all available evidence to determine the cause of the cholera outbreak and epidemic. The panel determined that it was not possible to be conclusive about how cholera was introduced into Haiti.

  • The panel, he noted, said that cholera had been caused by a confluence of factors and was not the fault of an individual.

  • The focus now, he said, must be to stop the spread of cholera and assist those affected by cholera.

  • The Spokesperson noted that the letter that had been received is still being studied, and he declined to comment further. He said the letter would be reviewed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and other relevant parts of the UN system.

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SECRETARY-GENERAL TO HIGHLIGHT “GLOBAL PULSE” INITIATIVE

  • This afternoon, the Secretary-General will give the keynote address at a high-level briefing for Member States on the Global Pulse initiative.

  • He is expected to say that the initiative seeks to take the pulse of vulnerable communities and help us to understand where people and communities are in trouble.

  • The Secretary-General will say that with the strong support of Member States, we will pioneer a 21st-century approach that will help us keep up with fast-moving crises and keep international development on track.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL TO HEAR BRIEFING ON D.R.CONGO: This afternoon, at 3 p.m., the Secretary-General Special Representative, Roger Meece, will brief the Security Council on the U.N. Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to the Security Council. Afterwards, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallström will brief the Security Council in closed consultations.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE SYSTEM ENSURES THAT SENIOR OFFICIALS DISCLOSE ASSETS TO U.N.: Asked about financial disclosures by UN officials, the Spokesperson said that the UN system of disclosures is intended to ensure that senior officials disclose their assets to the United Nations. There is also a separate disclosure that is made to the public, he added.

UNAIDS WELCOMES CONITNUED COMMITMENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO AIDS RESPONSE: The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) commended the United States Government on its continued leadership in the AIDS response following the call by the US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for global solidarity to “change the course of the epidemic and usher in an AIDS-free generation”. UNAIDS hopes that her call will galvanize leadership from around the globe to accelerate efforts to end the AIDS epidemic.

*** The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Catherine Bragg, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs, who briefed on her recent visit to Central America.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

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