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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 THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

 UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK


Thursday,
December 24, 2009

 

There will be no noon briefing between Christmas Day and New Years Day;
Highlights of developments in the UN system will be posted daily until the noon briefing resumes on Monday, January 4, 2010.

 

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BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S ADOPTION OF BUDGET FOR NEXT TWO YEARS

  • Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would like to express his appreciation to Member States for the approval of the programme budget of $5,156 million for the biennium 2010-2011.
     

  • The Secretary-General would like to thank Ambassador Peter Maurer, Chairman of the Fifth Committee, for steering the discussions. 
     

  • He also expresses his thanks to the Vice-Chairmen, the Bureau Members, the Rapporteur, the Coordinators and the Fifth Committee delegates for their hard and dedicated work during this session. 
     

  • This demonstrates the commitment of Member States to the financial well-being of the Organization.
     

  • The Secretary-General also wishes to state his commitment to utilize the resources made available to the Organization in the most effective and efficient way. 
     

  • He wishes to work with all Member States in full partnership and through a transparent process during the upcoming biennium with a view to jointly realizing the important goals of this Organization.
     

  • The Secretary-General is gratified to note that the scales of assessment for both the regular budget and peacekeeping operations for 2010-2012 have been decided.

 

BAN KI-MOON HOPES THAT ISRAEL WILL ALLOW MORE RECONSTRUCTION ITEMS INTO GAZA

  • The Secretary-General is pleased that Israel has responded to UN requests to allow glass into Gaza for the repair of homes damaged during last year’s hostilities.
     

  • He hopes it will be followed by further imports of needed material for reconstruction.
     

  • There will be a statement from the Secretary-General on 27 December, on anniversary of Cast Lead.
     

  • Asked if the entry of glass was enough for the reconstruction efforts, the Spokesperson said that this was clearly not enough and that the Secretary-General was hoping for further imports to be allowed.
     

  • Asked about the criticism from aid agencies saying the international community failed to help bring an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza, Nesirky said that the Secretary-General had been extremely active on this subject. He added that the Secretary-General had consistently called for reconstruction efforts to be allowed to begin and that this recent development was an indication of his work was making a difference.
     

  • Asked if the entry of glass into Gaza was made possible through UN mediation, the Spokesperson said that it was a direct response to a UN request.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS TWO NEW DEPUTY ENVOYS TO SUDAN

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Mr. Georg Charpentier of Finland as his Deputy Special Representative for Sudan and the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan. Mr. Charpentier has served with the United Nations since 1984 and his latest post was as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Côte d’Ivoire.
     

  • Mr. Charpentier will replace Ms. Ameerah Haq, who has been appointed the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor Leste.  The Secretary-General is grateful to Ms. Haq for her dedicated service during her tenure with the United Nations Mission in Sudan.
     

  • Also today, the Secretary-General appointed Lieutenant General (retired) Jasbir Lidder as his Deputy Special Representative for Sudan. Mr. Lidder has served most recently as the Commandant of an elite Infantry School. Prior to this, he served for more than two years as the Force Commander to the United Nation Mission to the Sudan. We have more information on both these appointments available in my office.

 

HUMANITARIAN CHIEFS CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS FROM ATTACKS BY UGANDAN REBEL GROUP

  • The UN’s humanitarian chief, John Holmes, is calling for stronger measures to protect civilians vulnerable to attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
     

  • The LRA massacred hundreds of civilians by the LRA in the DRC on Christmas Day 2008.
     

  • Earlier this week, we flagged the report by the Office for the High Commissioner on Human Rights which said that between September 2008 and June 2009, LRA fighters in the DRC killed at least 1,200 civilians.
     

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that just last week 47 people died in three unconfirmed attacks.
     

  • Holmes said that the threat posed by the LRA was increasingly a regional one and required efforts by the governments of the DRC and neighbouring countries and by the international community to be resolved once and for all.
     

  • Asked if the UN Mission in the DRC’s was taking any steps to prevent similar LRA attacks at the end of this year, the Spokesperson said that measures had been taken in the concerned areas to increase security for local populations.

 

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY APPEALS TO THAILAND AGAINST EXPULSION OF LAO HMONG

  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, has appealed to the Government of Thailand to halt plans for the involuntary return of some 4,000 Lao Hmong to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
     

  • Thailand has said it intends to expel the Lao Hmong before the end of 2009 under a bilateral agreement with Laos.
     

  • Guterres said that Thailand’s plans would not only endanger the protection of the refugees but set a very grave international example.
     

  • He stresses the responsibility of the Thai government to ensure that any return of any recognized refugees or other persons in need of international protection to their country of origin is undertaken on a strictly voluntary basis.

 

BAN KI-MOON APPLAUDS OUTSTANDING SERVICE OF UNICEF CHIEF AS SHE COMPLETES HER TERM

  • The Secretary-General has issued a statement in which he said that it was with great regret that he learned that Ann M. Veneman does not plan to pursue a second term as the Executive Director of UNICEF.
     

  • He added that she has fulfilled her mandate with immense dedication, and I have been impressed by her extraordinary energy and determination to improve children’s health, education and well-being around the world.
     

  • Under her leadership, UNICEF has become a catalyst for global action to help children reach their full potential, promoting collaborations that deliver the best possible results for children based on expert knowledge, sound evidence and data.
     

  • She has been a champion of UN Coherence and a strong voice for children as well as MDG implementation.
     

  • Her legacy is an organization that is financially and intellectually strong and well-equipped to meet the challenges children face in the 21st century.
     

  • On behalf of the United Nations, and personally too, the Secretary-General thanked her for her outstanding service and wished her all the best in her future endeavors.

 

U.N.’S CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINE INFORMATION IS BEING MADE PUBLIC

  • The Department of Field Support, (DFS) is making publicly available the UN's aggregated data on misconduct in peacekeeping operations and special political missions, from 2007 to 2009. 
     

  • This information, which is being provided through a new section on the UN's Conduct and Discipline Unit website - is in accordance with the GA resolution that requests, “the implementation of an effective outreach programme to explain the policy of the United Nations against sexual exploitation and abuse and to inform the public on the outcome of all such cases involving peacekeeping personnel, including cases where allegations are ultimately found to be legally unproven”.
     

  • This information can be accessed at the CDU website: http://cdu.unlb.org/ under “statistics”.  Please, note that this is a first stage and a work in progress.  The Department of Field Support will continue to work on improving the content of the page and welcomes any feedback.

 

UNICEF AND DARFUR MISSION HELP ORGANIZE MAJOR EDUCATIONAL EVENT

  • The African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur, (UNAMID), in collaboration with UNICEF, has extended its support to the organisation of Sudan’s 21st National School Competition.
     

  • This is a nationwide event that provides an opportunity for young people from all over Sudan to meet across ethnic groups, make friends, engage in dialogue and break stereotypes.
     

  • The two-week competition begins on 31 December in the North Darfur capital, El-Fasher, under the theme, “Peace-building and Reconciliation.”
     

  • More than 7,000 secondary school students from all of Sudan’s 25 states will compete in intellectual and athletic competitions being organised by Sudan’s Ministry of Education.
     

  • UNAMID has already loaned heavy machinery and engineers towards the construction of three roads and an accommodation camp for some of the competing students.
     

  • The mission will also be providing 55 vehicles with drivers to transport participants to and from the various events. Additionally, UNAMID’s fire truck and five ambulances, plus water tankers will also be deployed to help during the competitions.
     

AFGHANISTAN: CORRUPTION AT ANY LEVEL NEEDS TO BE COUNTERED

  • In response to a question on corruption in Afghanistan, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had highlighted the importance of having an effective government in place in the country and that corruption at any level needed to be countered.
     

  • As for what the United Nations in the country could do in this regard, Nesirky said that the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Afghanistan, Kai Edie, and his team were actively engaging with the administration of the Afghan President, particularly in preparation for the international conference that will take place at the end of January on Afghanistan.
     

  • Asked about the search for a successor to Kai Eide, the Spokesperson reiterated that this process had begun and that it was following the normal selection procedures.

 

COPENHAGEN ACCORD IS GREAT STEP FORWARD

  • Asked about the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, the Spokesperson said that the Accord reached in Copenhagen was an important step forward.
     

  • The United Nations remains fully engaged and will continue to be active, including the Secretary-General himself, to ensure that this beginning is built upon going into the next year, he added.
     

  • Asked about how the UN Department of Public Information United Nations was conveying the message of a successful outcome in Copenhagen, Nesirky said that the Secretary-General had spoken many times about this, as well as other UN officials.
     

  • He said that climate change would remain one of the Secretary-General’s priorities, along other existing ones. He also noted that the Department of Public information was putting out information related to the Copenhagen Accord reached last week.
     

  • Asked about the availability of the Copenhagen Accord, the Spokesperson later informed that the Accord could be accessed at www.unfccc.int. He added that the dates for COP-16 in Mexico are 29 November to 10 December 2010. COP-17 will be in South Africa in 2011.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMITTED TO PRINCIPLE OF MOBILITY

  • Asked about the Secretary-General’s position on mobility, the Spokesperson said that he was committed to that principle.
     

  • The Secretary-General believes this is the way to build an even more effective and efficient organization, he added. 
     

 

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