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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

Wednesday
,  December 9, 2009
 

 

BAN KI-MOON STRESSES IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE POOREST

  • In Copenhagen, the UN Climate Change Conference has entered the drafting phase for a final agreement. According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, there is a real eagerness amongst parties to sit down and get the work done as much as possible before Ministers arrive. 
     

  • The Secretary-General, in an address to a conference devoted to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, said that when he attends the Copenhagen Conference next week, he will stress that climate change is already affecting millions of people worldwide every year through more frequent, intense and non-seasonal floods, storms and droughts. 
     

  • Those who suffer most are the poorest and most vulnerable in risk-prone countries, where people have the fewest resources to cope, he said. He added that humanitarian agencies are seeing increased food security, migration, and displacement, public health threats and other related consequences.

       

  • And just a few facts from Copenhagen:
     

  • More than 34,000 people have registered to attend the conference—which is clearly a testimony to the great interest generated by it. But the building can only hold 15,000. To address the issue, a system has been devised to allow NGO delegates into the building according to a quota system. The vast majority of the people registered at the conference are in fact from non-governmental organizations—20,820 to be exact.
     

  • And also, 700 kilometers of cables to provide power and high speed internet have been laid at the Bella Center where the Conference is taking place. That’s enough to go all the way from Copenhagen to Prague.
     

  • Asked about documents that have reportedly prompted unhappiness among the Group of 77 bloc of nations, the Spokesperson declined to comment on leaked documents. He said that there are many informal papers circulated and discussed during the negotiating process.
     

  • However, he said, a formal negotiating process is underway, and the Secretary-General believes in speaking to all parties in that process.

 

 SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS CONSULTATIONS ON CYPRUS

  • The Security Council held consultations on Cyprus this morning.
     

  • Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, briefed Council members on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus – which he heads.
     

  • Alexander Downer, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, briefed on the good offices of the Secretary-General.
     

  • And today in Cyprus today, the leaders met under UN auspices. They discussed economic matters in an hour-and-a-half tête-à-tête. The next meetings of the two leaders are scheduled for December 14 and 21.
     

  • Yesterday afternoon, the Security Council concluded its open meeting on peace and security in Africa yesterday afternoon by adopting a Presidential Statement noting with concern the serious threats posed by drug trafficking and related transnational organized crime. In particular, it commended the important work of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and emphasized the need for adequate capacities to support national efforts.
     

  • The Security Council also adopted a Presidential Statement noting with concern the postponement of the first round of presidential elections in Cote d’Ivoire. It urged the Ivorian actors to hold open, free, fair and transparent presidential elections in accordance with international standards at the earliest possible date.
     

  • And the Council also issued a press statement condemning yesterday’s bomb attacks in Baghdad. You’ll recall that the Secretary-General also issued a statement on those attacks.

 

AFGHANISTAN:  U.N. ENVOY STRESSES NEED FOR FOCUS ON LONG-TERM SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, met with the US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates in Kabul today. 
     

  • Eide presented his civilian agenda proposals for Afghanistan.
     

  • He outlined the need for a more compact structure for coordinating civilian assistance in order to move forward in Afghanistan.
     

  • He called for the United Nations, the International Security Assistance Force, (ISAF), the European Union, (EU), and key donors to ensure they all work together in a more coordinated and streamlined way.
     

  • “There is no other choice. We all have to change our mindset and be more geared towards a coordinated approach,” he said.
     

  • The Special Representative also underlined the need to avoid a situation where pressure for immediate results leads to an acceleration of quick-impact projects and draws attention further away from long-term sustainable solutions.
     

U.N. AGENCIES SEEK SOME $664 MILLION TO ASSIST PEOPLE IN OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  • United Nations humanitarian agencies, along with international and national non-governmental organizations operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, appealed today for $664.4 million to fund humanitarian assistance programmes.
     

  • Humanitarian Coordinator there, Maxwell Gaylard said, “Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory continue to face a crisis of human dignity.”
     

  • He said that humanitarian needs have increased, especially in the Gaza Strip, following the devastation and destruction from Israel’s ‘Cast Lead’ military operation earlier this year.
     

  • The 2010 Consolidated Appeal Process appeals to donors to fund 236 assistance projects carried out or implemented by UN agencies and NGOs.

 

U.N. ENVOY FOR MALARIA VISITS NIGERIA AND KENYA

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, is in Nigeria today. He will then visit Kenya tomorrow and Friday. In both countries, Chambers will review progress made and challenges that remain to control malaria.
     

  • According to the Special Envoy’s Office, the two nations represent one third of all global malaria mortality.  The Secretary-General’s ultimate goal is for near-zero global malaria deaths by 2015. To get there, it is critical to ensure universal access to malaria-control tools – such as insecticidal mosquito nets, indoor spraying with insecticides, and effective medication – by the end of next year.

 

TOBACCO COULD KILL EIGHT MILLION PEOPLE EVERY YEAR BY 2030

  • There is a new report by the World Health Organization, (WHO), that says that although more people have been covered worldwide by comprehensive smoke-free laws in 2008, urgent action is still needed to protect people from the death and illness caused by exposure to tobacco smoke. 
     

  • Ninety-four per cent of people worldwide remain unprotected by comprehensive smoke-free laws.
     

  • The WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2009, released today says that seven countries – Colombia, Djibouti, Guatemala, Mauritius, Panama, Turkey and Zambia –implemented comprehensive smoke-free laws in 2008, bringing the total number of countries to 17.
     

  • The report notes that tobacco use continues to be the leading preventable cause of death in the world, killing more than 5 million people per year. It further says that unless urgent action is taken to control the tobacco epidemic, the annual death toll could rise to 8 million by 2030.

 

BAN KI-MOON WARNS THAT CORRUPTION DAMAGES ELECTIONS, RULE OF LAW AND SECURITY

  • Today is the International Anti-Corruption Day. This year’s theme is, “Don’t let corruption kill development.”
     

  • In a message marking this occasion, the Secretary-General says that when public money is stolen for private gain, it results in fewer resources to build schools, hospitals, roads and water treatment facilities. And he says, development is not the only casualty.
     

  • Corruption steals elections. It undermines the rule of law. And it can jeopardize security. 

 

 OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

GLOBAL FOOD PRICES RISE AGAIN: The Food and Agriculture Organization says that global food prices are on the rise again. But it adds that market conditions are different from those that triggered the food price crisis that started two years ago – because world cereal stocks are at more comfortable levels.
 

SECRETARY-GENERAL'S IBRAHIM GAMBARI CONTINUES MYANMAR ROLE DURING TRANSITION:  Asked whether Ibrahim Gambari, the incoming head of the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), will be replaced as Special Adviser dealing with Myanmar, the Spokesperson said a replacement is being considered. However, before Gambari takes up his responsibilities at UNAMID, he will still work on the Myanmar issue with the support of the Secretary-General’s good offices.
 

BAN KI-MOON TO MEET MOROCCAN FOREIGN MINISTER:  In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General would meet with the Foreign Minister of Morocco later this week.
 

SECRETARY-GENERAL ABHORS BOMBINGS:  Asked about recent bombings in Pakistan, the Spokesperson asserted that the Secretary-General is concerned about any loss of life from such attacks, particularly of civilians. The Secretary-General, Nesirky said, has made clear his abhorrence of such attacks.

 


*** The guests at today’s noon briefing were Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support, who gave their regular quarterly press conference.

 

 

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