HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 16 JULY 2012
YEMEN: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES LAUNCH OF DIALOGUE PROCESS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the official launch of the preparatory process for the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen. In this regard, he notes the appointment by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi of a representative preparatory committee tasked to prepare the ground for the Conference. He commends President Hadi, as well as the Government and people of Yemen, for their determination to keep the transition process on track.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Mr. Jamal Benomar, has just concluded a two-week mission to Yemen during which he engaged with all Yemeni sides to support preparations for the National Dialogue and other transition tasks.
- The National Dialogue will be an opportunity for all actors in Yemen to collectively establish a new social contract and achieve national reconciliation.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO DEPART FOR CHINA, SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
- The Secretary-General will leave New York later on Monday for a visit that will take him to China and to Southeastern Europe.
- In Beijing, he will take part in a ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
- While in China, the Secretary-General will also meet with the country’s leadership.
- He will take part in an online conversation with young people and in an event to recognize the role of Chinese people in the “Future We Want” campaign for sustainable development.
- Later in the week, he will travel to Southeastern Europe, where he will promote the strong partnership between the United Nations and the countries of the region.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT
- Jan Eliasson made his first trip as Deputy Secretary-General to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, and he addressed the plenary of that summit on Sunday, saying that Africa will always be a high priority and special concern in his work at the United Nations.
- He said that it is gratifying to see how far the United Nations, the African Union and regional organizations have come by working together ever more vigorously over the years. The Deputy Secretary-General discussed their joint efforts to resolve the crisis in Mali, the dispute between Sudan and South Sudan, and the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. He also met with the leaders attending the African Union summit on those topics.
- The Deputy Secretary-General also said that Africa’s future is in its own hands, especially those of women and young people, who comprise the majority on the continent.
- On Monday, he is seeing some of the work to empower youth firsthand by visiting a UNICEF-supported youth centre outside the Ethiopian capital.
- He will return to New York on Tuesday.
- Asked if the Deputy Secretary-General discussed the situation in Mali during his visit this weekend to the African Union Summit, the Spokesperson said that this was very much in focus, as reflected in various meetings between Mr. Eliasson and African leaders.
- Asked about the election of a new African Union Chair, the Spokesperson said the Deputy Secretary-General congratulated Mme. Dlamini-Zuma today by letter, as well as thanking outgoing Chair M. Jean Ping, for his leadership during the past few years.
SYRIA: HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS REQUIRE URGENT FUNDING
- The 4th Syria Humanitarian Forum took place on Monday in Geneva against the backdrop of an appalling deterioration in the humanitarian situation. Around 350 representatives of member states, regional organizations, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations participated.
- The Forum complimented humanitarian agencies for having boosted operations in the face of an incredibly complex and dangerous environment. Food aid is now reaching 850,000 people, and more than 100,000 displaced people have received mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets and other vital supplies in the last four weeks.
- However, the Forum acknowledged that appeals are only 20 per cent funded. Without additional funds, current operations are in jeopardy of being closed down. Donors pledged to address under-funding as a matter of urgency.
- Asked about the violence last week in Tremseh, Syria, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General's statement responded to what was a terrible development there where the UN Mission (UNSMIS) determined heavy weaponry was used. UNSMIS has issued a note to correspondents with its preliminary findings and made clear it continues to investigate.
- Asked about the implications of the violence in Syria now being called a civil war, or non-international armed conflict, the Spokesperson said the Mission will have to continue assessing its activities as it has during the past few weeks, but that any change in mandate must come from the Security Council.
U.N. BODY LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN SPOTLIGHTING COST OF TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME
- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched a new global campaign today highlighting the size and cost of transnational organized crime, which threatens peace, human security and prosperity.
- Turnover from organized criminal networks is estimated to stand at some US$870 billion annually. This is worth more than six times the amount of official development assistance and is comparable to 1.5 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product.
- This new campaign illustrates that despite being a global threat, the effects of transnational organized crime are felt locally. Crime groups can destabilize countries and entire regions, undermining development assistance in those areas and increasing domestic corruption, extortion, racketeering and violence.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN ARM STRIVES FOR NEUTRALITY IN OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
- Asked about a letter sent to the Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Spokesperson said OCHA’s role with regard to the humanitarian situation and concerns in the occupied Palestinian territory – as the UN coordinating body for humanitarian affairs – focuses mainly on advocacy, both on behalf of people in need of, or dependent on, humanitarian assistance, and with both Palestinians and Israelis. These include, for example, families made homeless by evictions or demolitions, such as in Area C of the West Bank, and people whose lives and livelihoods are affected by the impact of the Gaza blockade restrictions.
- Nesirky said that this advocacy includes providing an independent assessment of the situation on the ground and making this available publicly through fact-based reports, which are routinely shared with and used by national and international partners.
- However, he noted that OCHA does not implement programmes or directly provide relief items, but that OCHA strives to ensure its neutrality and impartiality in all aspects of its work.
U.N. MISSION READY TO SUPPORT EFFORTS TO SEEK RESOLUTION FOR D.R. CONGO, RWANDA: Asked about an agreement reached between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, the Spokesperson said the UN is still looking into the details, but that the UN Mission (MONUSCO) stands ready to support regional efforts within its mandate to seek a resolution.
U.N. SEEKING CLARIFICATION ON DETAINED STAFF IN MYANMAR: Asked about the detention of UN employees in Rakhine State in Myanmar, the Spokesperson said that the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator is in close touch with Myanmar authorities to clarify their situation.
U.N. ENVOY WORKING WITH PARTIES ON CAMP ASHRAF ISSUE: Asked about the movement of people from Camp Ashraf in Iraq, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq and his team have worked hard with the parties involved to achieve the results so far, and that in all efforts to resolve this long-running saga, any settlement must be peacefully achieved and agreed to by all parties.