HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 15 JUNE 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL IN MEXICO FOR G-20 MEETING AND IN BRAZIL FOR RIO+20 NEXT WEEK
- The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel on Monday 18 June to Los Cabos, Mexico, to participate in the G-20 Leaders’ meeting.
- The Secretary-General will participate actively in the leaders’ meetings. He will also meet with a number of leaders individually during his stay there. At the G20 Summit the Secretary-General will address important issues such youth unemployment, the need for innovative and inclusive financing to allow millions of people to get out of poverty, and the importance of keeping international commitments to development cooperation despite the prospects of financial crisis that continue globally.
- On Tuesday he will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20.
- There he will open the conference with President Dilma Rousseff and participate in a number of events, including the meeting of Principals of the Secretary-General’s High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All. He will also attend a meeting of Millennium Development Goals Advocates focusing on the role of youth in sustainable development. He will call on all to embrace a Zero Hunger challenge around the globe.
- He will meet with representatives of civil society and the private sector, as he encourages the global community to build the future we want.
- He will also meet with a number of Heads of State and Government.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WARNS G-20 LEADERS ABOUT PRECARIOUS STATE OF WORLD ECONOMY
- The Secretary-General has sent a letter to the leaders attending the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.
- In it, the Secretary-General warns that a modest economic recovery in some countries should not disguise the precarious state of the world’s economy.
- He says that meaningful results in Los Cabos are essential.
- The Secretary-General writes that we need to tackle the jobs crisis head-on through productive investment, targeted policies and a coordinated short-term stimulus.
- And he adds that inclusive green growth can create jobs, safeguard hard-won progress in poverty alleviation and underpin sustainable development.
- He reiterates that the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to send a signal that leaders across the world are committed to equitable growth and greater prosperity for all on a healthy planet that can sustain present and future generations.
CORPORATE SUSTAINIBILITY FORUM OPENS IN RIO
- Later this afternoon, the Corporate Sustainability Forum will open in Rio de Janeiro. With 2,500 registered participants, this is the largest private sector component for any UN conference ever.
- Participants, including 1,200 business leaders and CEOs, 500 representatives from governments and 300 business school deans, as well as investors and civil society leaders, will send policy recommendations and a list of private sector commitments to the Rio+20 summit next week . The Forum opens at 6 p.m. in Rio and runs until Monday, 18 June.
VIOLENCE IN SYRIA HAS BEEN INTENSIFYING RECENTLY, U.N. SAYS
- The head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), Gen. Robert Mood, spoke to the press today, saying that violence has been intensifying over the past 10 days, with losses on both sides and significant risks to the UN observers.
- General Mood said that there appears to be a lack of willingness to seek a peaceful transition. Instead there is a push towards advancing military positions. We have his remarks in our office.
- Also, the UN Mission shared the preliminary findings of its visit to al-Haffeh yesterday. The Mission said that the town appeared deserted, and most Government institutions, including the post office, were set on fire from inside.
- Archives were burnt, stores were looted and set on fire, residential homes appeared rummaged and the doors were open.
- Also, the Mission added, a strong stench of dead bodies was in the air and there appeared to be pockets in the town were fighting was still ongoing.
- The Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect released a statement yesterday expressing their alarm at the widespread reports of mass killings in Syria and calling for their immediate cessation.
- The Deputy Spokesperson added, in response to further questions about the transfer of arms to fighting forces in Syria, that the Secretary-General has spoken out against any further militarization of the conflict in Syria.
U.N. CONSULTS OVER SUDAN’S DECISION TO TERMINATE THE PROJECTS OF SEVEN HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS
- Ali Al-Za'atari, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, has been carrying out consultations to understand the reasons for the recent decision by Sudan's Humanitarian Aid Commission to terminate the projects of seven international non-Governmental organizations in eastern Sudan by the end of this month.
- Mr. Za'atari expressed his hope that there would be more consultation with the UN and humanitarian organizations about such a critical decision.
- There is a continuing need for humanitarian assistance in the east and cooperation in delivering aid is essential.
- The United Nations is ready to participate in a joint study with the Government to assess the work of these organizations to ensure continuation of vital aid programmes.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY CONCERNED OVER PEOPLE FLEEING VIOLENCE IN MYANMAR’S RAKHINE STATE
- The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today expressed its deep concern over the welfare of people fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
- The Agency said that it recognizes that for years, Bangladesh has been bearing the brunt of the forced displacement caused by earlier crises in Myanmar.
- It said that the latest events pose new challenges and the Agency hopes that Bangladesh will respond in line with the country's long history of compassion and solidarity.
- The Agency is also following developments in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, where it says the situation remains fragile.
- The Agency stands ready to provide assistance and support to the governments and the peoples of Bangladesh and Myanmar in addressing this evolving humanitarian situation.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, visited Rakhine State this week.
- He noted the Government’s prompt, firm and sensitive response to the serious disturbances in Rakhine State.
- Mr. Nambiar called for a full, impartial and credible investigation of the disturbances to be conducted urgently, as well as to ensure that the rule of law is enforced in a transparent manner.
CLOSURE IN GAZA HAS SERIOUS HUMANITARIAN IMPACT, U.N. SAYS
- Asked earlier this week about the Secretary-General’s views on the closures in Gaza, the Deputy Spokesperson said that the closure continues to have a serious humanitarian impact on civilians and perpetuates an unsustainable and unacceptable situation for the population of Gaza.
- The Secretary-General has repeatedly called for the lifting of the closure, in line with United Nations Security Council resolution 1860 (2009).
- He has consistently urged the Government of Israel to allow the free movement of people into and out of Gaza, to further liberalize imports, in particular of construction materials, to allow exports and to maintain a flow of approvals for further reconstruction works.
- At the same time, he has also stated that Israel’s legitimate security concerns should be addressed. These are all messages that the Secretary-General repeated when he visited Gaza in February.
- Israel has taken some measures to ease the closure. There was recently a broadening of the type of goods being exported from Gaza.
- The total value of approved UN projects in the Gaza involving materials that require Israel’s approval now exceeds $365 million.
- The UN will continue its efforts to help improve the conditions of the civilian population and build a viable economy in Gaza.
APPOINTMENT OF THE NEW SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR WESTERN SAHARA
- The Secretary-General announced today the appointment of Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber of Germany as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
- The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General succeeds Hany Abdel-Aziz of Egypt. The Secretary-General is grateful for his strong leadership and perseverance.
- Mr. Weisbrod-Weber brings 28 years of experience with the UN and a strong background in peacekeeping direction and management, both in headquarters and in field operations.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS KILLINGS OF JOURNALISTS ARE UNACCEPTABLE: Asked about the killing of journalists in Mexico, the Deputy-Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has repeatedly expressed his support for the rights of journalists and has said that the killings of journalists are unacceptable.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES GREATER RESPECT AND PROTECTION FOR SOCIETY’S ELDERS: In his message for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a new observance that will be marked annually on 15 June, the Secretary-General called for better strategies and stronger laws to protect the rights and dignity of older persons worldwide.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
16 - 22 JUNE 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 16 June
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 17 June
Today is the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
Monday, 18 June
Today, the Secretary-General travels to Los Cabos, Mexico, to participate in the G-20 Leaders’ meeting.
This morning, the Security Council will have closed consultations on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
Today, in Geneva, the 20th session of the Human Rights Council will begin, ending on 6 July.
Tuesday, 19 June
Today, the Secretary-General travels to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20.
Today, in the morning, the Security Council will hear a briefing on the Middle East, followed by closed consultations. In the afternoon, it will have closed consultations on Iraq/Kuwait and the Sudan Sanctions Committee.
At 12:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, Khaled Hosseini, Author and Goodwill Envoy for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.
Wednesday, 20 June
Today is World Refugee Day.
This morning, the Security Council will hear a briefing on United Nations peacekeeping operations.
In Geneva, at 4:30 p.m., there will be a press conference by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism, Ben Emmerson.
Thursday, 21 June
Today, in the morning, the Security Council will have consultations on The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and on the Counter-Terrorism Committee/Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate.
In Geneva, at 10:30 a.m., there will be a press conference by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai, following his presentation before the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday 20 June.
Friday, 22 June
Today, at 10 a.m., in Conference Room 1 (North Lawn Building), there will be a Conference on Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE) organized by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
At 2:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a press briefing organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) and UNICRI on the CBRN risks mitigation. Speakers will include H.E. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, Dr. Franz Baumann, Assistant Secretary-General for the General Assembly and Conference Management and Dr. Jonathan Lucas, UNICRI Director.
In Geneva, at 11:30 a.m., there will be a press conference by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, François Crépeau, on its thematic report on detention of migrants to the Human Rights Council.