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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 EDUARDO DEL BUEY,

DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 14 MARCH 2013

 

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF U.N. MISSION IN LYBIA

  • On Thursday the Security Council adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) by 12 months.
  • Briefing the Council, Tarek Mitri, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, said that despite the fact that the Libyan people have come a long way since the liberation of the country 17 months ago, the security problem remains formidable and is arguably the predominant concern for most Libyans.
  • On Thursday afternoon, the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, will brief the Council in closed consultations on the Secretary-General's latest report about Resolution 1701 pertaining to Lebanon.  He will then speak to reporters at the stakeout following consultations.

SYRIA: U.N. FOOD AGENCY FACES FUNDING SHORTAGES FOR EMERGENCY OPERATION

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday that two years into the Syria crisis, it faces severe challenges in expanding its emergency operation to feed millions of conflict-affected people due to funding shortages.
  • The World Food Programme’s plans to reach 2.5 million people inside Syria and more than 1 million refugees in neighbouring countries are threatened by a lack of resources.
  • To date, it has distributed more than 83,000 metric tons of food in Syria. Outside the country, it has distributed more than 1 million food vouchers and half a million food parcels. In Jordan’s Za’atari camp, more than 3 million meals were handed out in three months.
  • Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said that as the crisis enters its third year, now is not the time to reduce or stop the World Food Programme operations.
  • There is more information on the Programme’s website.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONDEMNS EXECUTIONS OF SEVEN SAUDI ARABIANS

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) strongly condemned the executions of seven Saudi Arabian nationals, saying “they clearly violate international safeguards in the use of the death penalty.”
  • Navi Pillay noted that under international safeguards adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and reaffirmed by the General Assembly, capital punishment may be imposed only for ‘the most serious crimes’ and only after the most rigorous judicial process. She noted that neither of these fundamental criteria appears to have been fulfilled in these cases.
  • The High Commissioner also said that the information she had received suggested that the seven accused men had reportedly only made brief appearances before the court, and were not allowed to speak or given adequate opportunities to conduct their defence. There is more information available on the UN Human Rights Office website.

 

U.N. DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME LAUNCHES 2013 HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT

  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s 2013 Human Development Report entitled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World” is being launched in Mexico City on Thursday by Administrator Helen Clark and President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto.
  • The Report examines the profound shift in global dynamics driven by the fast-rising powers of the developing world – and its implications for human development. The Human Development Index (HDI), the Report’s annual rankings of national progress in health, education and income, will also be disclosed, covering a record 187 countries and territories. The report can be accessed at UNDP’s website.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR AMBITIOUS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

  • In his remarks to the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals on Thursday, the Secretary-General urged it to formulate an ambitious, concise and action-oriented set of goals.
  • One of the main outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, was the agreement by Member States to launch a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals.
  • The Secretary-General said that the Group has the responsibility to define sustainable development goals with universal support in order to secure the legacy of the Rio+20 Conference and lay a foundation towards a better future.

U.N. MISSION IN COTE D’IVOIRE CONDEMNS KILLING OF FOUR

  • The UN Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (ONUCI) has condemned the killing of at least four people in an attack by unidentified assailants on Wednesday, in the village of Zilebly in the country's western region.
  • The Mission’s peacekeepers in the area have been put on high alert and are mobilised in support of Côte d'Ivoire's security forces.
  • The Mission reaffirms its determination to assist the government of Côte d'Ivoire in its efforts to consolidate the country's return to peace.

CROATIA TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM U.N. GOLAN HEIGHTS MISSION

  • Asked about the status of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the Deputy Spokesperson said that as of 12 March, the mission has 1,008 troops. Current troop contributors to UNDOF are the Philippines, India and Austria. Croatia is also contributing troops, but on 28 February the Permanent Mission of Croatia informed the Department of Peacekeeping Operations that the Government of Croatia had decided to withdraw all Croatian military personnel from UNDOF due to the deteriorating security situation. From 27 February, all operations of the Croatian contingent within UNDOF were restricted to static activities.  The timeline for their withdrawal has not yet been set.