HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN THE U.N. SYSTEM
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
BAN KI-MOON TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE AT 11 A.M. MONDAY
At 11 a.m. on Monday at UN headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will hold a press conference prior to his departure for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
The Secretary-General this morning spoke at a memorial ceremony at UN headquarters marking the second anniversary of the bomb attack on UN offices in Algiers, in which 17 UN staff were killed. The Secretary-General paid tribute in his remarks to “the dear colleagues and friends we lost in the horrific bomb attack in Algiers two years ago today”.
He said that the attack in Algiers, the bombing in Baghdad in 2003, and this year’s horrific killings in Afghanistan and Pakistan, point to the truth that the United Nations is now a target of terrorist groups. He said that the United Nations is still considering all the implications of this fact.
The Secretary-General said that he is working with the Department of Safety and Security and with Member States to ensure that UN staff have the safest conditions possible in which to live and to carry their important work.
COPENHAGEN: UNITED NATIONS WELCOMES NEW FUNDING COMMITMENT BY EUROPEAN UNION
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, negotiators are today considering new texts placed on the table by the Chairs of the negotiating tracks under the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention on Climate Change.
According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the texts represent an important step in the negotiations. However, they do not prejudge a final outcome, or the legal form of that outcome.
UNFCC is also welcoming a the agreement today by European Union leaders to provide 7.2 billion euros over the next three years to help developing countries act on climate change. This amount is about 30% of the in total 30 billion dollars for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 to help developing countries undertake immediate actions to cope with the impacts of climate change and plan for low-emissions growth.
Yvo de Boer, the UN’s top climate official, said this commitment by Europe will be “a huge encouragement to the process,” adding that it remains to be seen what other developed countries will put on the table.
The High-Level Segment of the UN Conference on Climate Change will open next week. Some 115 world leaders are now expected to take part in the Conference.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a “climate pledge tracker” which will enable people across the globe to track online the proposals and plans of countries to combat climate change. The system compares and consolidates all the national pledges made so far with the scientific goal of getting the world at or under a 2 degree Celsius rise compared to pre-industrial levels.
UNEP is also calling on the parties to UNFCCC to address buildings as a specific sector under a new climate agreement. In a new report released today, UNEP says that the building sector is key to achieving drastic emissions reductions in this agreement. The report is accompanied by a new Common Carbon Metric, providing the first globally consistent approach for measuring greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, says UNEP.
FIGHTING TRIGGERS NEW DISPLACEMENTS IN NORTHERN YEMEN
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that thousands of civilians continue to flee their homes in northern Yemen as the fighting between Government troops and Al Houti forces enters the fifth month.
It says that the situation in Sa’ada province remains tense. The situation in the Razeh district is of particularly serious concern, as the civilian population there faces restrictions of movement and lack of basic services, such as electricity and water. Shortages of food and other commodities have pushed the prices sharply upwards, and more people are unable to afford their basic needs.
The continuing massive influx is straining existing shelter and aid resources in the neighbouring Hajjah and Amran provinces. Over the past month alone, the internally displaced population (IDP) of Al Mazrak 1 camp in the Hajjah governorate has doubled. There are now some 21,000 IDPs living in a camp initially designed to shelter up to 10,000 people, and overcrowding is a major concern.
Following an agreement with the Yemeni authorities this week, UNHCR experts began site planning for a third camp at Al Mazrak to accommodate the continuous influx of IDPs. An estimated 175,000 people have been affected by the conflict in Yemen since 2004, including those displaced by the latest crisis.
SPECIAL ENVOY FOR CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT ENDS VISIT TO SRI LANKA
Wrapping up a five-day mission to Sri Lanka, Patrick Cammaert, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, in a press conference today reiterated that the United Nations and its partners are eager to support efforts and to share expertise in the best interest of the children concerned.
Cammaert was in the country on behalf of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, to ascertain first hand the impact of the recent conflict on children. He also followed-up on the recommendations of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict including the issue of children associated with armed groups.
During the visit, Cammaert met with government officials, civil society, UN agencies and NGOs in Colombo as well as with children and their care-givers in Batticaloa and Vavuniya.
The Special Envoy stated the he had been reassured by Attorney General Mohan Peiris that the children formerly associated with armed groups were considered as victims and that they would not to be prosecuted.
General Cammaert met with children formerly associated with armed groups and their parents in several rehabilitation centers, and called for the length of their stay in the rehabilitation programs to be balanced with the time that they were in ranks of the armed groups.
The Special Envoy welcomed the increased freedom of movement for the internally displaced population. He commended the ongoing child protection programs for children carried out by the Commissioner-General for rehabilitation in collaboration with the UN. He called on the various stakeholders to continue to pay particular attention to the special needs of the children in the camps and in their places of return including psycho-social support.
TOP ENVOY FOR CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT SET TO VISIT NEPAL
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, is set to visit Nepal next week to finalize the release of minors from Maoist army cantonments.
The four-day mission from 14 December will focus on ensuring progress in the discharge of nearly 3,000 Maoist army personnel verified as minors during the United Nations-led verification process completed in December 2007. The children were to have been discharged immediately after the completion of the verification process, as repeatedly called for by the Security Council.
Also during the visit, Coomaraswamy hopes to witness the signing of a time bound Action Plan on the discharge of the minors, in accordance with minimum international standards.
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist (UCPN-M) has been listed as a party to conflict recruiting and using children in 5 Annual Reports of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. The signing of the Action Plan will constitute the first step towards the UCPN-M being de-listed from the Report.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is shocked and saddened by the recent bombings and continued violence in Iraq which have left hundreds dead and wounded this week.
Despite the efforts of the authorities, the security situation remains precarious. For this reason, UNHCR's guidelines on Iraqis (last revised in April 2009) should continue to be applied and countries need to refrain from forcibly returning Iraqis originating from the region of Central Iraq back to those governorates deemed to be unsafe.
While the number of security incidents has reduced, many groups continue to face significant threats with UNHCR offices reporting that the numbers of Iraqi refugees returning are being offset by new arrivals.
FIRST HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT ON ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, PARAGUAY, URUGUAY IS RELEASED
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched today in Montevideo, Uruguay, the first Human Development Report for the Mercosur – encompassing Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
According to the Report, Innovating for Inclusion: Youth and Human Development, even though the educational level of the young population (ages 15-29) in these four countries is higher than what previous generations experienced, today youngsters face greater difficulties in the transition from school to the labour market.
In Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, the population below the age of 30 represents almost 60 percent of the total unemployed; in Paraguay the number rises to 70 percent. In addition, today the younger generation feels more insecure, also due to the increased exposure to violence. It is 30 times more likely that a young person becomes a victim of homicide in Latin America than in Europe.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Monday, 14 December
At 9.45 a.m., in Conference Room 4, the Permanent Mission
of Liechtenstein is sponsoring a press briefing by Human Rights Watch and Oxfam
entitled “You will be punished: attacks on civilians in Eastern Congo.”
At 11 a.m., the Secretary-General will hold a press
conference in Conference Room 4 ahead of his trip to the United Nations Climate
Change Conference in Copenhagen.
The Security Council is expected to a resolution on the
United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). It will then hear a
briefing on its subsidiary bodies and have consultations on Counter-Terrorism
Committee (CTC), Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and
the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
Starting today and until 17 December, Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict will be visiting Nepal.
Tuesday, 15 December
The Secretary-General will be in Copenhagen. In the
afternoon, he will address the Opening Plenary of the High-Level Segment of the
United Nations Conference on Climate Change.
This morning, the Security Council will hear a briefing and
hold consultations on BONUCA. It will also hold consultations on sanctions in
Liberia and its Sudan Sanctions Committee.
In Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) will launch
the World Malaria Report 2009.
Wednesday, 16 December
The Security Council is expected to adopt resolutions on judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). This morning, it will also hear a briefing and hold consultations on the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).
Thursday, 17 December
The Security Council is expected to adopt resolutions on the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) and on Liberia sanctions. It will also hear a briefing on the situation in the Middle East and hold consultations on the same subject as well as on Iraq (Development Fund for Iraq/ International Advisory and Monitoring Board).
At 11 a.m., a joint deposit ceremony will take place in which several European Union States will ratify the 2006 International Tropical Timber Agreement.
Friday, 18 December
Today is International Migrants Day.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378