HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 19 APRIL 2013
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED BY JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BRAHIMI ON SYRIA
- The Security Council heard an update on Syria on Friday morning from the Joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi. Mr. Brahimi was due to talk to reporters at the Security Council stakeout once the Council’s consultations on Syria have ended.
- On Thursday night, members of the Security Council expressed the view that the escalating violence in Syria is completely unacceptable and must end immediately.
- Members of the Council condemned the widespread violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities, as well as any human rights abuses by armed groups. And members of the Council also urged all parties to ensure safe and unimpeded access for aid organisations to those in need in all areas of Syria.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES LANDMARK AGREEMENT BETWEEN BELGRADE AND PRISTINA
- The Secretary-General welcomes the landmark agreement between Belgrade and Pristina initialed today in Brussels under the auspices of the E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.
- The Secretary-General congratulates and commends the leaders from both sides for their steadfast determination and hopes that the agreement will bring about a brighter future and lasting stability to the region. He also congratulates Lady Ashton for her strong efforts and her successful personal role in helping to bring about this agreement.
- The Secretary-General strongly encourages the parties to conclude this historic process and take concrete measures for a faithful implementation of the agreement. The United Nations stands ready to assist the parties in this endeavour.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ANNOUNCES MEMBERS OF ADVISORY BOARD FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL INITIATIVE
- The Secretary-General has announced on Friday the members of the Advisory Board for the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, accompanied by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. Friday’s announcement in Washington, D.C., kicks off a new phase of activity for the global public-private partnership.
- The Secretary-General also spoke at a high-level meeting on the roles of the United Nations, the World Bank and others in ending extreme poverty. In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that tackling poverty and inequality are at the heart of creating the future we want and that the United Nations and the World Bank are closely working together to eradicate extreme poverty.
- On Friday afternoon, the Secretary-General was expected to meet with the Secretary of State for International Development of the United Kingdom and with the heads of multilateral development banks. He was due to return to New York later in the day.
- Asked about the high-level group, the Spokesperson noted that there was a long list of qualified people who would work under the chairmanship of Kandeh Yumkella and Charles Holliday.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s visit on Thursday to the Pentagon, Nesirky said it is crucial to ensure the support of countries that contribute troops or budgetary support to UN peacekeeping.
U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF SAYS IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAINTAIN FOCUS ON CHALLENGES IN MALI
- The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, was in Bamako on Friday to participate in the fourth meeting of the Follow-Up and Support Group on Mali. The Group brings together the Government of Mali and the key international actors involved in helping the country to address the crisis.
- In his remarks, Mr. Feltman stressed the importance of maintaining a focus going forward on the political challenges at the root of the crisis in Mali. He said we should redouble our efforts to ensure that the political process, which is vital to Mali’s stability in both the short and long term, is not overshadowed by the equally essential military operations underway.
- Regarding the elections, Mr. Feltman said that the United Nations is mindful of how much work is required to meet the July deadline. For that reason, the United Nations will intensify its effort in support of the preparations for the holding of free, fair, transparent and credible polls in keeping with international standards. He called on the international community to step in and provide timely financial and logistical support for the elections.
ONE PEACEKEEPER KILLED AND TWO OTHERS WOUNDED IN AN ATTACK IN DARFUR, U.N. MISSION SAYS
- The joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reported that, early Friday morning, one peacekeeper was killed and two others wounded in an attack by unidentified assailants.
- The attack took place on the mission’s team site near Muhajeria in East Darfur State.
- The Mission is investigating the incident and working with the Government of Sudan to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL TO TRAVEL TO SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN
- John Ging, the Operations Director for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), will travel Saturday to Sudan and South Sudan.
- In Sudan, he will discuss issues of humanitarian access with Government officials, humanitarian partners and those affected by fighting in Darfur.
- In South Sudan, Mr. Ging will visit Jonglei, where there has been fighting since August, as well as the Yida refugee camp which hosts some 70,000 refugees.
- Mr. Ging plans to brief the media on his return to New York.
U.N. ENVOY IN COTE D’IVOIRE CALLS FOR FAIR, TRANSPARENT, FREE AND PEACEFUL ELECTIONS
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, Bert Koenders, has called for fair, transparent, free and peaceful regional and municipal elections in the country on Sunday.
- In a message, Mr. Koenders said that the United Nations Mission in the country (UNOCI) is following closely the different stages of the electoral process in Abidjan and in other parts of the country.
- The Special Representative said that there were reports of incidents during the electoral campaign and he called on political stakeholders to exercise their highest sense of responsibility to guarantee elections free of violence.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONDEMNS EXECUTION OF 21 PEOPLE IN IRAQ EARLIER THIS WEEK
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, condemned the execution of 21 people in Iraq earlier this week.
- She said she was appalled by reports that the Ministry of Justice has announced that a further 150 people may be executed in the coming days.
- She stressed that the justice system in the country was “too seriously flawed to warrant even a limited application of the death penalty, let alone dozens of executions at a time.”
- Ms. Pillay said, “Executing people in batches like this is obscene. It is like processing animals in a slaughterhouse.” She added that the criminal justice system in Iraq is still not functioning adequately, with numerous convictions based on confessions obtained under torture and ill-treatment, a weak judiciary and trial proceedings that fall short of international standards.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CONCERNED OVER SUSPENSION OF TRIAL OF FORMER HEAD OF STATE IN GUATEMALA
- The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday that it is concerned at the suspension of the trial of former head of State Efraín Ríos Montt, and the former head of intelligence, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, for genocide and crimes against humanity in Guatemala.
- The Office said that this is a blow to the numerous victims of the atrocities committed during Guatemala’s civil war, who have been waiting more than 30 years for justice to be done.
- It reiterated the High Commissioner’s call to the authorities to uphold their responsibility to guarantee a fair and independent trial.
U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND SAYS DEATHS OF 1.5 MILLION CHILDREN COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED
- The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said today that the deaths of 1.5 million children could have been prevented in 2011 had they been immunized.
One in five children is not being reached with vital vaccines because of social or geographical exclusion, lack of resources, weak health systems or conflicts.
UNICEF is concerned that global efforts to vaccinate every child are plateauing as funding falls and political will stagnates.
- It said that unwavering political support is needed to extend the benefits of vaccines to children living in the poorest families and the most remote communities.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TO TRAVEL TO HAITI TO DISCUSS DISASTER RESILIENCE
- The UN Humanitarian Chief, Valerie Amos, will join the Political Champions for Disaster Resilience, including the co-chairs of the group, the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Helen Clark and the British Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, on a mission to Haiti from 21 to 22 April.
- They will be meeting with Government officials and community leaders to discuss ways to make disaster risk reduction and management a priority for investment and development in Haiti.
- The Political Champions for Disaster Resilience is an informal group formed in 2012 to promote a resilience-based response to climate and natural disaster related crises.
HEAD OF U.N. AGENCY CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO MURDER OF ECUADORIAN JOURNALIST
- The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) deplored on Friday the murder of Ecuadorian journalist Fausto Valdiviezo Moscoso on 11 April in Atarazana, north of Guayaquil, and asked for an investigation into this crime.
- Irina Bokova said that his death highlights the need to protect media professionals. She said that she is confident that the Ecuadorian authorities will do their utmost to identify the culprits of this crime and bring them to justice, adding that the exercise of freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy and the rule of law.
U.N. SAYS AN ELECTORAL ASSESSMENT MISSION IS AVAILABLE TO GO TO ZIMBABWE: Asked about an electoral assessment mission for Zimbabwe, the Spokesperson said that a mission is ready and available to go in, but there has not yet been agreement to allow them to enter the country. He noted that an assessment of needs is standard procedure for any country requesting electoral assistance.
SECRETARY-GENERAL IS MONITORING THE SITUATION IN VENEZUELA: Asked about the situation in Venezuela, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is monitoring the situation there. The Spokesperson expressed the hope that Venezuelans would remain calm and resolve their differences peacefully.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
20 – 26 APRIL 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 20 April
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 21 April
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Monday, 22 April
Today is International Mother Earth Day.
This morning, the Security will hold consultations on the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
At 9:30 a.m., in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber, there will be a special high-level meeting of the ECOSOC with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 3 of the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will an interactive dialogue on “Harmony with Nature”, to commemorate International Mother Earth Day.
At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 1 (NLB), there will be the fourth meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects.
At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 2 (NLB), the 35th session of the Committee on Information will begin. It will end on 2 May.
At 10:30 a.m., in Conference Room 4 (NLB), the 46th session of the Commission on Population and Development will begin. It will end on 26 April.
At 12:30 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia on the occasion of International Mother Earth Day.
In Geneva, the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons will begin. It will end on 3 May.
In Geneva, the 12th session of the Working Group of Experts on the People of African Descent will begin. It will end on 26 April.
In Geneva, the 16th session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review will begin. It will end on 3 May.
In Geneva, the 12th session of the Working Group on Communications will begin. It will end on 26 April.
Tuesday, 23 April
Today is World Book and Copyright Day.
At 10:00 a.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber, there will be a special meeting on “External debt sustainability and development: Lessons learned from debt crises and ongoing work on sovereign debt restructuring and debt resolution mechanisms”.
At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 3 (NLB), the Economic and Social Council will hold an informal special policy dialogue on “The role of philanthropic organizations in the post-2015 setting”.
At 10:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland on the launch of the International Crisis Group (ICG) report on Mali.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, John Wilmoth, Director of the UN Population Division in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Graeme Hugo, Director of the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, will be guests at the Noon Briefing.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 4 (NLB), there will be a round table on “Strengthening partnerships and cooperation on international migration, mechanisms to effectively integrate migration into development policies, and promote coherence at all levels”. It will be co-organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of South Africa and Sweden.
At 3:00 p.m., in Conference Room 6 (NLB), the Economic Report on Africa 2013 will be launched. The launch will be co-organized by the Office of the Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA).
In Geneva, there will be a press conference by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) about a new study on promoting local IT sector through public procurement.
Wednesday, 24 April
This morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on the Middle East.
At 10:00 a.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber, there will be a special event of the Economic and Social Council on “Partnering for innovative solutions for sustainable development”.
At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 7 (NLB), there will be an Experts meeting on “Rights in crisis” –– Promoting human rights in financial regulation and macroeconomic policies”. It will be organized by the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Thursday, 25 April
Today is World Malaria Day.
This morning, the Security Council will adopt resolutions on the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and on Côte d’Ivoire sanctions. Then, the Council will hear a briefing on post conflict peacebuilding. In the afternoon, the Security Council will hear a briefing on Somalia, followed by consultations on the same topic.
At 11:00 a.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press conference sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Finland on the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Ray Chambers, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Malaria and for the Financing of the Health-related Millennium Development Goals, will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
Friday, 26 April
Today is World Intellectual Property Day.