HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 15 MAY 2012
“CONSIDERABLE ADVANCES” MADE IN SOMALIA TRANSITION PREPARATION, SAYS U.N. ENVOY
- Augustine Mahiga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, told the Security Council on Tuesday morning that considerable advances have been made in preparing for the end-state of Somalia’s transition, including significant steps in the constitution-making process.
- Mr. Mahiga welcomed the Government of Turkey’s initiative to join the United Nations in convening the Istanbul conference next month, which he said would add momentum and focus attention on the Roadmap to end Somalia’s transition.
- On Tuesday afternoon, the Security Council was due to discuss Bosnia and Herzegovina.
ATTACK ON U.N. CONVOY IN SYRIA CONFIRMED
- Asked about fighting taking place today in Syria, the Spokesperson said that the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) reports that, shortly after 2pm local time on Tuesday, an UNSMIS convoy of four vehicles was struck by an explosion from an improvised explosive device in Khan Cheikhoun, near Hama.
- Three UN vehicles were damaged. No UN personnel were injured.
- Nesirky said that the Mission has sent a patrol team to the area to extract the UN military observers.
- Asked about the Secretary-General’s previous condemnation of attacks on UN troops, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission is in place to help civilians, and anything that could hinder that effort is something the United Nations would condemn.
- It is plain, he said, that a cessation of violence has not taken place in the way that was needed, and Nesirky emphasized that the parties need to cease all fighting.
- Asked about the postponement of a meeting of the League of Arab States and Syrian opposition figures in Cairo, the Spokesperson said that the Joint Special Envoy regrets that the League of Arab States forum of the Syrian opposition had to be postponed. He looks forward to seeing further efforts in helping the opposition become more united and efficient.
AGREEMENT TO END PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKE WELCOMED BY U.N. SPECIAL COORDINATOR
- Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has welcomed the agreement reached to end the hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody.
- He thanks the Egyptian authorities for the important role they have played and urges all involved to implement the agreement in good faith and promptly.
U.N.D.P. LAUNCHES FIRST AFRICA HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT
- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched the Africa Human Development Report, which is titled - “Towards a Food Secure Future”.
- It is the first Human Development Report focusing specifically on Africa.
- Speaking at the launch in Nairobi, Kenya, the UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, said that food security is basic to human development, and that food insecurity can trap generations of people in under-development.
- She added that access to food in Africa, in both rural and urban settings, is threatened by increasingly extreme weather, ecosystem degradation, and volatile global food prices.
- The report recommends a series of measures including, boosting agricultural productivity, prioritizing nutrition, building resilience for people and their communities and empowering women and other marginalized groups.
CONCERT AT U.N. HONOURS VICTIMS OF SLAVERY: At 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening the United Nations was due to present a special gala concert, featuring reggae, jazz, hip-hop, percussion, and other musical styles. The concert, in the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, is being held in support of a Permanent Memorial to honour the victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
SECRETARY-GENERAL’S CALL TO MONGOLIA PRESIDENT CONFIRMED: Asked about a call to Mongolia’s President, the Spokesperson confirmed that the Secretary-General made such a call on Sunday evening.