HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 5 AUGUST 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS THAT, FOR FIRST TIME, U.N. WILL HAVE COMMON STRATEGY ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
- The Secretary-General participated in a global interactive dialogue on UN Youth initiatives on Monday. He said that he is fully committed to working with youth and exploring how young people can contribute more to creating a sustainable, equitable future of opportunity and dignity for all.
- In his remarks, the Secretary-General also said that his Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, is working with the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development to bring all parts of the United Nations together under an action plan for youth. He said that for the first time ever, the UN system will have a common strategy for youth development.
- The action plan focuses on five areas: employment and entrepreneurship, political inclusion, civic engagement and protection of rights, education, including comprehensive sexuality education, and health.
ZIMBABWE: CONCERNS ABOUT ELECTIONS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FAIRLY THROUGH ESTABLISHED CHANNELS
- Asked about the elections in Zimbabwe, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General continues to follow the situation closely.
- He noted that, in a statement issued last Friday, the Secretary-General stressed that the concerns which have been raised about certain aspects of the electoral process should be pursued through established channels. These concerns should then be considered transparently and fairly.
- The Secretary-General also called on Zimbabwean leaders to send clear messages of calm to their supporters.
U.N. SAYS IT IS READY TO ASSIST PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN FOLLOWING MONSOON RAINS AND FLOODS
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has received reports indicating that heavy monsoon rains have killed more than 80 people across Pakistan, displacing hundreds, ravaging thousands of acres of crops and causing huge damage to houses and infrastructure.
- The Pakistani authorities continue rescue and relief activities in areas affected by heavy monsoon rains and have not requested international assistance at this stage.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and its humanitarian partners are reviewing the situation and stand ready to assist if required. Further monsoons are forecast later in the month.
- Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, flash floods have affected villages in Kabul province in the last few days. As of 4 August, at least 40 people are reported to have died and homes, schools and mosques have been destroyed or badly damaged. UN and humanitarian partners are ready to provide food, basic household items, water, sanitation and emergency health support, if required.
- Asked about reports in Pakistan that the Secretary-General will visit there next week, the Spokesperson said he had no announcement to make.
COST OF UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM BEING USED IN D.R. CONGO IS 10 MILLION EUROS PER YEAR
- Asked about the procurement process for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) being used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesperson said that representatives of 25 companies originating from eleven countries visited the country to familiarise themselves with the area and our operations.
- A number of these companies later made proposals as requested by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Their proposals were evaluated in line with established procedures and requirements.
- In July, at the end of its evaluation, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations reported that it had selected the Italian company SELEX ES as a vendor to procure its mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with one UAV known as the "FALCO".
- Asked about the cost of the system, the Spokesperson said that the cost of the Unmanned Aerial System is 10 million Euros per year for a contract lasting 3 years initially, with an option for 2 further years.
- He added, in response to a question on the information collected by the vehicle, that the UAV will be operated by the contractor under the strict control and security of the UN, with all data provided exclusively to the UN Mission (MONUSCO).
CHEMICAL WEAPONS INSPECTORS PREPARING IN THE HAGUE TO GO TO SYRIA: Asked about the chemical weapons inspectors intending to go to Syria, the Spokesperson said that some 10 inspectors were congregating and preparing in The Hague so that they could visit Syria and investigate three sites, including Khan al-Assal, contemporaneously.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR RECONCILIATION IN EGYPT: Asked about Egypt, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General has called for reconciliation, an inclusive political process and the allowance of peaceful protest. He has also called for detained political leaders either to be released or to have their cases reviewed in full transparency, and has contacted a large number of political leaders to discuss his concerns.
U.N. SAYS DISCUSSION ABOUT DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA SHOULD BE CONDUCTED IN LINE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW: Asked about the legislation being considered in Uruguay about the decriminalization of marijuana, the Spokesperson noted that the spokesperson for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime issued a statement last week saying that UNODC welcomes this discussion, but this dialogue should be conducted on the basis of the agreed conventions, in line with international law.