HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 9 AUGUST 2012
SYRIA: GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION CONTINUE TO RELY ON WEAPONS, SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS IRAN MEETING
- The Secretary-General sent a message to the Consultative Meeting on Syria which took place on Thursday in Tehran.
- In it, the Secretary-General said that, despite repeated verbal acceptances of the Six-Point Plan endorsed by the Security Council, both the government and the opposition continue to rely on weapons, not diplomacy, in the belief that they will win through violence.
- The Secretary-General said that the primary responsibility for stopping the violence rests with those on the ground. A first move by the Government is vital, as its intransigence and refusal to implement the six-point peace plan has been the greatest obstacle to any peaceful political process, ensuring the distrust of the opposition in proposals for a negotiated transition
- The opposition, too, should be more forthcoming in favor of opportunities for a political solution. Most importantly and urgently, all sides must protect civilians and abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.
- The Spokesperson added, in response to a question, that the message had been delivered in Tehran by the UN Resident Coordinator in Iran.
- Asked about the six-point peace plan, the Spokesperson noted the importance of the plan in his message, saying that the work on the plan, and the work of the Joint Special Envoy for Syria, must continue. The six-point plan has the endorsement of the Security Council.
- The Spokesperson highlighted the importance of a negotiated, Syrian-led transition.
- Asked about a successor to Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, Nesirky said that an announcement will be made once a successor has been chosen.
U.N. LIBYA ENVOY WELCOMES PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF AUTHORITY
- Ian Martin, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, has welcomed the peaceful transfer of authority from the National Transitional Council to the newly elected National Congress.
- In a statement, he warmly congratulated the Libyans on this peaceful and democratic transfer of power, which is not only a first for the country but an inspiration for others. He called it a profound break with the past and a great leap forward on the road to a democratic and accountable state.
- Mr. Martin said that the United Nations remains ready to continue to assist the Libyans in their democratic transition. He added that much work lies ahead to consolidate and build on what has been accomplished.
SECRETARY-GENERAL LAUNCHES NEW INITIATIVE TO SUPPORT POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT PLANNING
- The Secretary-General announced on Thursday the Sustainable Development Solutions Network to support the work of the post-2015 development planning, which includes the recently-launched High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
- This initiative will bring to the debate the voices of the academic and scientific community under the leadership of Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL VOICES CONCERN OVER PLIGHT OF UPROOTED PEOPLE IN MYANMAR
- Wrapping up a four-day visit to Myanmar, the Director of Operations for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) expressed his concern on Thursday over the plight of more than half a million internally displaced people in the country.
- John Ging also called for respect for humanitarian principles and for international humanitarian law to allow aid agencies to help those in need in conflict areas.
- OCHA said Myanmar’s authorities have made notable efforts to achieve peace in the country, but conflict still continues in Kachin state and more than 60,000 people have been uprooted by the recent violence in Rakhine state.
- Mr. Ging said that while there has been significant progress resulting from democratization, peacebuilding and development processes, conflict and communal tensions could undermine stability and generate significant humanitarian needs.
- He also appealed for donors to support the $32.5 million Rakhine Humanitarian Response Plan. The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos has released $5 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable.
U.N. RELIEF CHIEF VISITS RWANDA
- The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, was in Rwanda on Thursday.
- She completed her trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Wednesday, visiting a public site on the outskirts of Goma, where some 30,000 people have settled. Ms. Amos met people who had trekked for days as they fled fighting between the national army and armed groups.
- Insufficient funds, insecurity, and poor roads are hampering the relief efforts, but aid organizations remain active in North Kivu. Ms. Amos praised the efforts of the staff on the ground, who are working to get help to as many people as possible.
U.N. ALLOCATES $55 MILLION TO EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND
- The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, has allocated $55 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to bolster humanitarian operations in eight countries with neglected humanitarian emergencies.
- Those countries are Afghanistan, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
FOOD PRICES INCHED HIGHER IN JULY, U.N. BODY REPORTS
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Thursday released its Food Price Index for the month of July.
This Index climbed 6 percent after three months of decline.
This sharp rebound was mostly driven by a surge in grain and sugar prices. The severe deterioration of maize crop prospects in the United States following extensive drought damage pushed up maize prices.
International wheat quotations also surged amid worsened production prospects in the Russian Federation and expectations of firm demand for wheat as feed because of tight maize supplies.
- The Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General, and other officials at United Nations headquarters are closely monitoring these developments.
U.N. MARKS INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
- Thursday is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, and the Secretary-General will speak at an event to mark the occasion.
- He will say that in recent years, indigenous communities and individuals have been taking advantage of traditional and new media to tell their story and make their voices heard.
- He will pledge the full support of the UN system to collaborate with indigenous peoples, including their media, to promote the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.