HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
TUESDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES GENEROUS CONTRIBUTION TO U.N. EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND
- The Secretary-General spoke this morning at a high-level conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), asking participants to give as much as possible to this Fund.
- The Secretary-General said that the Central Emergency Response Fund is not just an acronym for a multi-million dollar fund. It also stops crises from turning into catastrophes through quick, targeted support when an emergency starts or by injecting funds in under-funded situations.
- He made a pledge to donors that the United Nations will make the absolute best use of their precious contributions.
- At the same meeting, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, said that the Fund was a central pillar of the humanitarian response of UN agencies.
PROGRESS ON CLIMATE CHANGE MADE AT DOHA CONFERENCE – U.N.
- Asked about the climate change conference in Doha, the Spokesperson said the Conference of Parties in Doha, which the Secretary-General attended, delivered what it needed to deliver.
- Doha adopted the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, ensuring the continuance of the important and innovative mechanisms that will advance action on climate change.
- Doha completed the previous phase of climate negotiations under the Bali Action Plan, and opened the door to the new negotiation under the Durban Platform to reach a legally binding agreement by 2015.
- In Doha, the Spokesperson added, governments further strengthened the institutions and the machinery that are needed to deliver results on the ground, including the Green Climate Fund and the Technology Centre, and now they can be implemented.
- But we still need much more—more ambition, increased finance, and greater determination that is commensurate with the problem that the world needs to address.
- The Secretary-General remains committed to finding solutions to climate change as a top priority, Nesirky said.
- The Sustainable Energy for All initiative that he started a year ago is gaining momentum and attracting investments that will help provide access to electricity and modern energy while reducing emissions, and promoting renewable sources of energy.
- Finance for climate change will be a priority issue for the Secretary-General in the coming year. The Secretary-General intends to work with governments from both donor and developing countries to address this important issue.
- The UN will continue to lead by example, the Spokesperson added. In Rio in June, and now at the COP in Doha, the UN instituted “paper smart” procedures, reducing its paper consumption by 93%.
- And next week, UN staff will move back into a UN Secretariat building that has been renovated, converting it from one of the least energy efficient buildings in New York to one of the most.
- The Secretary-General believes that far more needs to be done and he said he will increase his personal involvement in efforts to raise ambition, scale-up climate financing, and engage world leaders as we now move towards the global agreement in 2015.
MORE THAN HALF A MILLION SYRIANS REGISTERED AS REFUGEES, U.N. AGENCY REPORTS
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that more than half a million Syrian refugees have now been registered or are awaiting registration in four surrounding countries and North Africa.
- Since the beginning of November, the number of registered refugees region-wide has risen by about 3,200 a day, including both new arrivals from Syria and those who had already been in the asylum countries for some time but had not sought help through registration.
- The Agency expects the numbers of those who come forward to register to increase as the conflict in Syria continues, resources are depleted and host countries and families can no longer support them.
- According to the agency, only about 40 per cent of registered Syrian refugees across the region actually live in refugee camps. The majority live outside camps, often in rental housing, with host families, or in various types of collective centres and renovated accommodation.
- UNHCR is stepping up its outreach activities in the region to provide registration and to help those who need it.
- Last week, the Secretary-General visited refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey to express his solidarity and to help highlight the need for more funding.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES GUINEA-BISSAU
- The Security Council is holding consultations on Guinea-Bissau today. Joseph Mutaboba, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for that country, briefed Council members on the situation there.
- In his report on Guinea-Bissau in September, the Secretary-General wrote that the political impasse in Guinea-Bissau has brought the country to a virtual standstill.
- While efforts are under way to ensure credible and transparent elections, the Secretary-General calls upon political and military actors in particular to act within the framework of the rule of law and to respect the rules of democratic elections.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TROUBLED BY RESIGNATION OF MALIAN LEADER
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is troubled by the circumstances leading to the resignation of Mali's Prime Minister, Mr. Cheick Modibo Diarra. He believes it underscores the need for progress in the political track in Mali and expects to say more in a statement later today.
- Asked about a meeting that had been scheduled for today between the Secretary-General and a Cabinet minister in Mali, the Spokesperson said the meeting did not take place.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. MISSION URGES GREATER PROGRESS ON ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
- The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) issued a report today noting the progress made in implementing the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women. But the Mission says that the application of this law continues to be hampered by dramatic under-reporting and a lack of investigations into most incidents of violence against women.
- The report says that prosecutors and courts are increasingly applying the law in a growing number of reported incidents of violence against women. But the overall use of the law remains low, indicating there is still a long way to go before women and girls in Afghanistan are fully protected from violence through the law.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS SENIOR OFFICIALS FOR SOUTH SUDAN, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Secretary-General has appointed Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana as the Force Commander for the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).
- Major General Sakyi succeeds Major General Moses Bisong Obi of Nigeria, who completed his assignment on 18 November.
- The Secretary-General has also appointed Kaarina Immonen of Finland as his Deputy Special Representative in the Central African Republic. Ms. Immonen will also serve as the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator. She succeeds Bo Schack of Denmark.
***The guests at the noon briefing were South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Charles Radcliffe, Chief of the global issues section in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York. They briefed reporters on a Human Rights Day event on the theme, “leadership in the fight against homophobia.”
U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO LOOKING INTO ALLEGATIONS OF RIGHTS VIOLATIONS: Asked about allegations of human rights violations made against the Congolese Armed Forces, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) reports that investigations are under way.
GREATER UNEMPLOYMENT FOR WOMEN THAN MEN – U.N. REPORT: Women face higher unemployment rates than men globally, and the situation is not likely to improve in the near future, according to a United Nations report entitled Global Employment Trends for Women 2012, produced by the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). The publication calls for social protection measures, investments in education and policies to promote access to employment.