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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PRESS BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

 

FRIDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2013

 

MEXICO: SECRETARY-GENERAL SADDENED BY LOSS OF LIFE, DAMAGE CAUSED BY HURRICANES

  • The Secretary-General is saddened by the loss of life in Mexico, and the damage to homes and infrastructure caused by Hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel since 17 September. Some 1.2 million people have been affected and a state of emergency has been declared in hundreds of municipalities along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Coast, as further severe storms are expected.
  • The Secretary-General extends his sincere condolences to the Mexican Government and people, particularly the families of those who have been killed. He extends his solidarity to all those affected in this disaster.
  • The United Nations stands ready to lend its assistance to efforts to respond to humanitarian needs resulting from the disaster and to mobilize any international support needed.

SECRETARY-GENERAL IN TOUCH WITH HEAD OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS ORGANIZATION; U.N. TEAM TO GO BACK TO SYRIA SOON

  • Asked about Syria’s declaration of its chemical weapons, the Spokesperson noted that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says that it has received an initial disclosure from the Syrian Government of its chemical weapons programme, which is now being examined by the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation.
  • The Secretary-General continues to be in touch with the OPCW Director-General.
  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the OPCW has announced that the meeting of its Executive Council has been postponed.
  • Asked about Security Council discussions on Syria, Nesirky said that was a matter for the members of the Security Council.
  • Asked about the issue of Chapter VII in any resolution, he noted the Secretary-General’s recent comments to the Security Council.
  • In response to a question about recent fighting on the Syrian border, he acknowledged a splintering of opposition groups and an escalation of clashes among those groups and between those groups and the Government. Nesirky noted the need to end all the bloodshed and push for a political solution.
  • Asked about other information on chemical weapons use, the Spokesperson said that if there is additional information, it will be for the team to decide whether that can be included in the team’s final report, which will describe its examination of all pending credible allegations.
  • The team, he said, is actively preparing to go back to Syria as soon as possible to continue its investigation of all other pending credible allegations of chemical weapons use.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON BUSINESS LEADERS TO BE ‘ARCHITECTS OF A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE’

  • The Secretary-General opened this morning the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit.
  • In his remarks, the Secretary-General called on business leaders to be “architects of a sustainable future” and to work for the common good.
  • He said that nobody can benefit from catastrophic climate change or rampant unemployment and the social unrest that comes with it. He strongly urged that the private sector’s role is integral in shaping a new, legal climate agreement and achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. 
  • He also said that women’s empowerment is central to stable, progressive societies.

IRAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL, HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF WELCOME RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, warmly welcomed the release in Iran earlier this week of Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, and 11 other political prisoners including a number of women’s rights activists, political activists and journalists. She also called upon the Iranian Government to remove any restrictions placed on Ms. Sotoudeh’s travel and to rescind the ban on her practicing as a lawyer.
  • The High Commissioner also welcomes the recent news that the death sentence imposed on the Iranian blogger Mr. Saeed Malekpour has been overturned. She encourages the Government to release all those held for exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of expression and association.
  • The Secretary-General met on Thursday with Jawad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran.
  • In their discussion, the Secretary-General welcomed the release by the Iranian Government of a number of political prisoners, including Ms. Sotoudeh. 
  • He expressed the hope that the Government will continue to take steps to fulfill the promises made by President Rouhani during his recent election campaign.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS U.N. COMMITTED TO LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIP WITH AFGHANISTAN

  • The Deputy Secretary-General spoke at the meeting today of the International Contact Group on Afghanistan, telling the Group that, during his recent visit to Afghanistan, he repeatedly heard the need to preserve the gains of the last decade.
  • He noted the challenges that Afghanistan faces, including next year’s elections, the security situation and reconciliation.
  • He said that the United Nations is committed to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan, in line with the wishes of the Government and the people of Afghanistan.

FIGHTING SPARKS NEW DISPLACEMENT IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • The UN refugee agency said today that new fighting has sparked fresh displacement this week in the north-west of the Central African Republic.
  • The UN Agency said that heavy clashes were reported from last Saturday to Tuesday between unidentified armed groups in and around the towns of Bossembele and Bossangoa. The fighting appears to have subsided in the area, but the situation remains very tense.
  • Also, the World Food Programme said today that it is committed to scaling up food assistance to people displaced by conflict in the Central African Republic.
  • The World Food Programme said that up to 500,000 people are estimated to need immediate food assistance and this figure is likely to increase as the planting season has been disrupted by conflict and displacement.

U.N. MISSION IN MALI STILL PERFORMING ITS MANDATED TASKS

  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the UN Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is aware that some members of the Chadian contingents left their base in Tessalit.
  • The Chadian authorities, in collaboration with the Mission, are in discussions with the group to understand the reasons behind their action and find a rapid solution.
  • Nesirky added that MINUSMA has taken appropriate measures to keep performing its mandated tasks.

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF SEND FORMAL COMPLAINT TO SRI LANKA OVER DISINFORMATION RELATED TO HER RECENT VISIT

  • The UN Human Rights Office has sent a formal complaint to the Government of Sri Lanka regarding widely reported comments that, during her recent meeting with the country’s President, the High Commissioner Navi Pillay requested the removal of the statue of Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister from Colombo’s Independence Square.
  • These comments have been attributed to the Secretary of Defence.
  • In a letter sent last week, Ms. Pillay’s office requested an immediate retraction and public correction of this misinformation which has aroused much disquiet in Sri Lanka.
  • Her office said today that it considers it deeply regrettable that government officials and other commentators continue what appears to be a coordinated campaign of disinformation in an attempt to discredit the High Commissioner or to distract from the core messages of her recent visit to the country.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

VIEWS EXPRESSED IN WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT ARE NOT THOSE OF THE U.N.: Asked about a report on world happiness, the Spokesperson declined specific comment. He said it is an independent report which was written by a group of independent experts acting in their personal capacities. Even if some of the authors have affiliations with the United Nations, any views expressed are their own and not those of the UN, its agencies or programmes.

MODALITIES OF SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM ARE UP TO MEMBER STATES: Asked about reform of the Security Council, the Spokesperson reiterated that the Secretary-General agrees on the need for reform but it is up to the Member States to determine how the Council is to be reformed.

U.N. HAS ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY ON SEXUAL ABUSES: Asked about a rape allegation in Haiti, the Spokesperson asserted that the United Nations has a zero tolerance policy on sexual misconduct and added that an investigation is under way.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD AND ACTIVITIES AT THE UNITED NATIONS
21 SEPTEMBER – 1 OCTOBER 2013

(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)

 

Saturday, 21 September

Today is International Day of Peace.

Sunday, 22 September

At 2:00 p.m., in the Trusteeship Council in the Conference Building (CB), there will be an event entitled “Advancing Regional Recommendations on Post-2015: A Dialogue between Civil Society, Governments and UN Representatives”.

Monday, 23 September

At 9:00 a.m., in the General Assembly Hall in the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Realization of the Millennium Development Goals and Other Internationally Agreed Development Goals for Persons with Disabilities.

At 10:00 a.m., in the Trusteeship Council (CB), there will be the MDG Success: Accelerating Action, Partnering for Impact.

At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Rooms S-1522 and S-1523, there will be a presentation on “The Necessary Truth – Memory, Healing and Justice” by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Italy and Libya.

At 11:00 a.m., in Conference Room 1 (CB), there will be a High-level Forum on MDG5, organized by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).  

At 11:00 a.m., in Conference Room 6 (NLB), there will be a launch of the Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment.

At 11:25 a.m., at the Conference Building Stakeout, there will be a media stakeout by President Ollanta Humala of Peru and Li Yong, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

At 11:30 a.m., in ECOSOC Chamber (CB), there will be a High Level Meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region.  

At 12:30 p.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference by Ms. Afaf Konja, Spokesperson for the President of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly on the forthcoming high-level meetings.

At 1:00 p.m., at the Conference Building Stakeout, there will be a media stakeout by Mrs. Mary Robinson, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, following High-Level Meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.

At 1:00 p.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat) to launch the Global Report on Human Settlements.

At 1:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a panel discussion on “A secure and free Internet”, organized by the Permanent Mission of Estonia.

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 1 (CB), there will be an event entitled “Civil Society Voices on Post-2015: Messages from the National Level”.

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference room 4, there will be a high-level side event on “The UN delivering as one in enabling a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”, with the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

At 2:00 p.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference by the United Nations Postal Administration to introduce six new postage stamps in conjunction with the UN High-Level Meeting on Disabilities and Development.

At 3:00 p.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber (CB), there will be an event entitled “Accelerating HIV Treatment: Keeping the MDG 6 Promise for an AIDS-Free Generation”.

At 3:00 p.m., in Conference Room 1 (CB), there will be an event entitled “A Regional Perspective on the Post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda”.

At 3:00 p.m., in Conference Room 2 (CB), there will be an event entitled
What People Want, UNDG Report”.

At 3:30 p.m., at the Conference Building Stakeout, there will be a media stakeout by Mr. William Hague, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom.

At 4:30 p.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference on the launch of the Arab Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report for 2013.

At 5:35 p.m., at the Conference Building Stakeout, there will be a media stakeout by Stakeout by H.E. Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus.

Tuesday, 24 September

The General Debate of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly will begin.  

At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 2 (CB), there will be an event entitled “Tackling the unfinished business: Accelerating MDG progress”, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 3 (CB), there will be a High-level event on “Innovative financing for development: What role in the means of implementation of the post-2015 development agenda?” with the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Innovative Financing for Development and the Minister of National Planning of Nigeria, co-organized by UNDP and the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development.

At 1:15 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be an event entitled “From Aspiration to Action: A Human Rights Framework for the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 6 (CB), there will be an event entitled “Multidimensional Poverty and Multidimensional Measurement of the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

At 2:30 p.m., in Conference Room 2 (CB), there will be Special event on “Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict” (with the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict) (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of United Kingdom and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict).

At 3:00 p.m., in the Trusteeship Council (CB), there will be a High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

At 3:00 p.m., in Conference Room 7 (CB), there will be an event entitled “Africa beyond 2015: what objectives for what development model”.

At 3:00 p.m., in Conference Room 6 (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on “Building bridges, sharing experiences and bridging gaps in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean”, organized by the Permanent Mission of Burundi.

At 3:00 p.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference by H.E. Evo Morales Ayma, President of Plurinational State of Bolivia.

At 4:00 p.m., in ECOSOC Chamber (CB), there will be an event entitled “MDG Innovation Forum: A results-based platform for entrepreneurs, implementers and thought leaders to accelerate progress on the MDGs”.

At 4:00 p.m., in Conference Room 2 (CB), there will be an event entitled “Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation: Domestic resource mobilisation within a future global partnership for development”.

At 5:15 p.m., at the Conference Building Stakeout, there will be a media stakeout by Mr. William Hague, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom and Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

At 6:30 p.m., in Conference Room 7 (CB), there will be event entitled “Integrating Human Rights and the Right to Development in the Post-2015 Agenda”.

Wednesday, 25 September

At 8:00 a.m., in Conference Room A (NLB), there will be an event entitled “The Power of Numbers – MDG Lessons for Post-2015”.

At 8:00 a.m., in Conference Room 7 (NLB), there will be an event entitled “Looking to 2015 and Beyond: The role of anti-corruption and governance”.

At 9:00 a.m., in the Trusteeship Council in the Conference Building (CB), there will be a Special Event of the President of the General Assembly to follow up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

At 9:00 a.m., in Conference Room B (NLB), there will be an event entitled “Connectivity and mobility – driving forces of Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

At 9:30 a.m., at the European Union (EU) Mission, there will be a Ministerial-level meeting on the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic, co-chaired by Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, and Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France.

At 11:30 a.m., in Conference Room 3 (CB), there will be an event entitled “Women’s and Children’s Health – The Unfinished Agenda of the MDGs” in support of Every Woman Every Child initiative.

At 12:00 p.m., in ECOSOC Chamber (CB), there will be an anniversary event of the Global Education First Initiative.

At 1:15 p.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber, there will be a high-level side event on “Vienna+20: Human rights achievements, shortcomings, and the way forward”, with the Secretary-General, the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and two former High Commissioners for Human Rights (Mary Robinson and Louise Arbour).

At 1:15 p.m., in S-1522 in the Secretariat Building, there will be an event entitled “Effectiveness and Accountability in the Post-2015 Development Agenda – Lessons from the MDG Experience”.

At 6:30 p.m., in the Danny Kaye Visitors Centre in the UNICEF House, there will be the “My World Partner Recognition Event and Award Ceremony”, organized by the United Nations Millennium Campaign and partners.

Thursday, 26 September

Today is World Maritime Day.

In the afternoon, the Security Council will be briefed (High-level Meeting) on small arms.

At 8:15 a.m., in the Delegates Dining Room, there will be an event entitled “Innovations in Labour Migration: Governance and Development Outcomes” organized by Sweden and the International Labour Organization.

At 9:00 a.m., in the General Assembly Hall (NLB), there will be a High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament.

At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 2 (CB), there will be a High Level Meeting on the Sahel.

At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 8 (NLB), there will be an event entitled “Engineering a Development Data Revolution: Post-2015 and the Global Partnership for Development Data”.

At 10:30 a.m., in Conference Room A (CB), there will be an event entitled “Tackling Inequalities Beyond 2015 through Social Protection”.

At 11:30 a.m., in Conference Room 1 (CB), there will be a High-level Meeting on Women’s economic empowerment for peacebuilding, hosted by the Peacebuilding Commission.

At 11:30 a.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference by President of Cyprus, H.E. Mr. Nicos Anastasiades.

At 12:30 p.m., in room S-2727, there will be a Ministerial-level meeting on combating violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons worldwide, with the Foreign Ministers of Argentina, the Netherlands and Norway, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, the Minister of Development Cooperation of France, high-level representatives of Brazil, Croatia, the European Union, Japan and New Zealand, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and executive directors of Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. This is a closed meeting, but photographers will be given access for the first few minutes.

At 12:30 p.m., in the Danny Kaye Visitors Centre in the UNICEF House, there will be an event entitled “Children’s Voices in the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, organized by the United Nations Millennium Campaign and the Child Fund Alliance.

At 1:15 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a High-level event on “The World Humanitarian Summit: Partnerships in the changing humanitarian landscape”, organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 7 (NLB), there will be an event entitled “Ensure Peaceful, Just and Resilient Societies in the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 1 (CB), there will be a High-level event on “Poaching and Illicit Wildlife Trafficking”, co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Gabon and Germany.

At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 9 (CB), there will be a thematic presentation on “Lessons learned from Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Working towards nuclear-weapons-free regions across the globe”, organized by the Permanent Mission of El Salvador, in collaboration with Peace Boat.

At 3:00 p.m., in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be a panel discussion on “Enhancing accountability for sexual violence in conflict”, organized by the Permanent Mission of Estonia.

At 5:45 p.m., at the Conference Building Stakeout, there will be a media stakeout by Mr. Filippo Grandi, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and Mr. Nabil El Araby, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.

Friday, 27 September

Today is World Tourism Day.

In the afternoon, the Security Council will be briefed on the Middle East (Yemen).

At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 3 (NLB), there will be the 8th Conference on facilitating entry into force of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 1 (CB), there will be a meeting of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Group of Friends (ministerial level).

At 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 3 (CB), there will be the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (Article XIV).

At 11:00 a.m., in the Press briefing room, there will be a press conference on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Article XIV Conference.

At 12:00 p.m., in the Press briefing room, Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General for Least Developed Countries (LDC), Landlocked and Small Island Developing States and H.E. Mr. Boni Yayi, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Benin, will be the guests at the Spokesperson’s Noon Briefing. They will discuss the launch of the LDC Flagship report.

At 3:00 p.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be High-level panel discussion on “A call to ratify the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression” with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Botswana, Estonia and Liechtenstein.

At 8:00 p.m., at the Conference Building Stakeout, there will be a media stakeout by Mr. Frans Timmerman, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands.

Saturday, 28 September

Today is World Rabies Day.

Today is World Heart Day.

At 6:00 p.m., at the Great Lawn in Central Park, there will be a Global Citizen Festival, organized by the Global Citizen and the United Nations.

Sunday, 29 September

There are no major events scheduled for today.

Monday, 30 September

At 10:00 a.m., in the Economic and Social Council Chamber (CB), there will be a meeting of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries (Twelfth Annual Ministerial Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs).

Tuesday, 1 October

The General Debate of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly will end.