HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY EDUARDO DEL BUEY,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 26 JUNE 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON GOVERNMENTS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF HARM CAUSED BY ILLICIT DRUGS
- The Secretary-General spoke on Wednesday morning at a special event on the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, calling on governments, the media and civil society to do everything possible to raise awareness of the harm caused by illicit drugs.
- In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that all over the world, illegal drugs threaten individuals, families, communities and even the stability of nations.
- He said that the efforts to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking must be diverse and coordinated within and among countries. He said that these efforts must include robust law enforcement but also prevention and treatment approaches rooted in science, public health and human rights.
- Earlier today, in Vienna, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched the World Drug Report 2013. The report shows that heroin and cocaine use is declining in some areas, but other threats are emerging, such as new psychoactive substances and prescription drug abuse.
- According to the report, Afghanistan has retained its position as the lead producer and cultivator of opium globally, with 74 per cent of the world’s illicit opium production last year.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS THAT GLOBAL JOBS CRISIS DEMANDS A BOLD RESPONSE
- The Secretary-General spoke at Wednesday’s General Assembly debate on entrepreneurship, and he said that we meet in the middle of a global jobs crisis that demands a bold response.
- This year, he said, some 73 million young people will be unemployed. To keep pace with the number of young women and men joining the labour force, the world will need about half a billion jobs between 2016 and 2030. To help meet this challenge, we should encourage, educate and empower young entrepreneurs.
- The Secretary-General said that this generation of youth is the largest in history. If we invest in their education and empowerment, we can transform our world.
U.N. ENVOY FOR LIBYA CONGRATULATES NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT OF GENERAL NATIONAL CONGRESS
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, Tarek Mitri, extended his warmest congratulations today to Nouri Ali Busahmin on his election as President of Libya’s General National Congress.
- Mr. Mitri reiterates the readiness of the United Nations in Libya to continue to offer advice and technical assistance to the new President, the General National Congress and the Government to support the building of the State’s legitimate institutions and the democratic transition according to Libyan national priorities.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR IN SOMALIA CONCERNED OVER POTENTIAL IMPACT OF BARCLAYS DECISION
- The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia expressed concern on Wednesday about the potential impact of the decision of Barclays Bank to terminate the accounts of Somali money service companies.
- Philippe Lazzarini said that, while we understand the banking industry’s motivation to be compliant in monitoring funds, this is part of a worrying trend that risks cutting a lifeline of essential services for Somali people.
- He added that a huge number of Somalis rely on remittances from relatives in the diaspora to pay for basic needs such as food, education and health care. One-third of recipients said that they would not be able to afford basic food if the remittances were stopped.
- Estimates indicate that at least $1.2 billion in remittances is transferred to Somalia every year, which is more than the entire UN humanitarian assistance programme.
MADAGASCAR RISKS SERIOUS FOOD CRISIS BECAUSE OF LOCUSTS, U.N. FOOD AGENCY SAYS
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Wednesday that Madagascar risks a serious food crisis as locusts have already infested over half of the country’s cultivated land and pastures.
- By September, the UN Agency expects that two-thirds of the country will be infested by locusts. Some 13 million people’s food security and livelihoods are at stake, or nearly 60 percent of the total population.
- The UN agency said that a large-scale emergency control campaign urgently requires a minimum of $22 million in funding to start in time for the next crop planting season in September. So far, its emergency appeals for Madagascar remain severely underfunded.
- FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said if we don’t act now, the locust plague could last years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
APPOINTMENT OF NEW U.N. DEPUTY SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR D.R. CONGO
- The Secretary-General has appointed Abdallah Wafy of Niger as his Deputy Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He will head the Rule of Law component of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Mr. Wafy replaces Leila Zerrougui of Algeria.
- Mr. Wafy has been serving as Deputy Special Representative for the Rule of Law in MONUSCO ad interim since September 2012, in addition to his responsibilities as Police Commissioner and Head of MONUSCO’s Police component.
U.N.: INCIDENT NEAR NYALA, DARFUR, HANDLED BY SUDAN; 11 CONGOLESE SOLDIERS ARRESTED FOR MINOVA INCIDENTS
- Asked on Tuesday about the response by the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur, UNAMID, to an incident near Nyala, the Spokesperson said that, according to information currently available to the Mission, a commercial vehicle was attacked by an unidentified armed group north-east of Nyala, South Darfur. The incident is being handled by the law and enforcement agencies of Sudan.
- Also asked recently about prosecutions for the rapes that took place in Minova, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, late last year, the Spokesperson said that our peacekeeping mission there says that, to date, 11 personnel of the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) have been arrested in connection with the Minova incidents, which took place in November 2012.
- Among the arrested soldiers, two face rape charges, while the remainder are reportedly charged with indiscipline. Further, 12 Congolese Armed Forces commanders have been suspended pending judicial investigations to determine their role in the human rights violations, including rapes and looting, committed in Minova.