HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PRESS BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 23 SEPTEMBER 2013
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES ACTION TO MEET MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
- This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at various General Assembly meetings to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and to shape the development agenda after 2015.
- In his remarks at a meeting in the General Assembly on disability and development, he said that those with disabilities are integral to meeting the Millennium Development Goals and formulating the post-2015 agenda. He also said that the landmark Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a powerful tool for inclusive development.
- At the opening of an event organized to accelerate action and partnering for the Millennium Development Goals, the Secretary-General said that progress can best be achieved when a wide range of groups work together.
- Also, at a meeting on improving maternal health, he said that nearly all women who die in pregnancy and childbirth are from developing countries. He added that with the right investments, we can make a huge difference in the lives of every woman and every child.
BAN UNDERSCORES NEED TO ADDRESS TENSIONS IN GREAT LAKES REGION FOR FRAMEWORK IMPLEMENTATION
- The Secretary-General attended the second meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.
- In his remarks, he said the first priority is to address tensions in the region so that the Framework agreement could be implemented.
- The Secretary-General stressed the need to move forward with the commitments made in Addis Ababa in February. He welcomed joint efforts to produce benchmarks and indicators of progress on the implementation of the Framework agreement. And he urged the leaders at the meeting to “rise to this moment” by adopting and swiftly meeting the proposed regional benchmarks.
- Concerning the humanitarian crisis, the Secretary-General said that resources were not keeping up with needs, straining efforts to save lives and alleviate suffering. He said that the recurring violence would only end by dealing with the root causes of the conflict.
U.N. AWARE OF REPORTS OF BLUE HELMETS, UNIFORMS HAVING BEEN LOOTED IN SYRIA
- Asked about rumours that UN blue helmets and uniforms have been looted in Syria, the Spokesperson said that the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) is aware of reports of looted UNDOF protective gear being used by some armed members of the opposition in the area of separation.
- The security situation in the mission’s area of operation continues to evolve, with often heavy clashes between the Syrian Armed Forces and armed members of the opposition continuing every day inside the area of separation.
- All military activities in the area of separation conducted by any actor pose a risk to the long-held ceasefire and the local civilian population, in addition to UN personnel.
- As the Secretary-General noted in his recent report, any hostile act against UN personnel on the ground is unacceptable, including threats to their physical safety, the theft of UN weapons and ammunition, vehicles and other assets, and the looting and destruction of UN facilities.
SYRIA: BAN LIKELY TO MEET FOREIGN MINISTERS OF U.N., RUSSIA LATER THIS WEEK
- Asked about the report on Syria by the chemical weapons team, the Spokesperson noted that the team had gathered environmental and biomedical samples and had interviewed witnesses on the ground.
- Asked about the four laboratories involved in analysing the evidence gathered by the chemical weapons team, the Spokesperson said they were in Europe. None of the laboratories was in a country that is a permanent member of the Security Council.
- Asked about a trilateral meeting involving the Secretary-General, the Russian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State, the Spokesperson said it was likely to take place on Friday afternoon.
U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND APPEALS FOR GREATER HUMANITARIAN ACCESS TO SYRIAN CHILDREN
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that the plight of civilians trapped by the conflict inside Syria is becoming increasingly desperate, and more efforts are needed now to enable the humanitarian access that will safeguard thousands of children’s lives.
- UNICEF said that children continue to be cut off from urgently-needed assistance, including vaccinations, safe drinking water, shelter, education and psychological support.
- One practical example of how unimpeded access could save lives is the forthcoming Child Health Day vaccination campaign, which is intended to protect children inside Syria from vaccine preventable diseases. That campaign has a special focus on the 700,000 children that have not been reached through the most recent immunization campaigns.
MALI: U.N. MISSION LOOKING INTO ALLEGATIONS OF SERIOUS MISCONDUCT
- The United Nations Multi-Dimensional Stabilisation in Mali (MINUSMA) has received allegations of serious misconduct by peacekeeping troops in Gao on 19 and 20 September, including allegations of an incident of sexual abuse.
- Upon receiving this information on 20 September, the Mission acted immediately to determine the facts being alleged and to preserve evidence. The Mission has also provided assistance to the alleged victim.
- The Secretary-General is treating this matter with the utmost seriousness and, in line with established procedure, is in the process of notifying the troop-contributing country. The troop-contributing country has primary responsibility for investigating the matter and ensuring that appropriate disciplinary and judicial measures are taken should the allegations be well founded. MINUSMA will offer all necessary support to the troop contributing country to ensure that it is able to fulfill its responsibilities in this regard.
- The UN Mission in Mali is committed to the highest standards of conduct by all its personnel, military, police and civilian. The Secretary-General has a policy of zero tolerance for any form of sexual exploitation and abuse, and will do everything possible to see that a thorough process of investigation and, as appropriate, accountability takes place.
- In response to further questions, the Spokesperson noted that any troop contributing country has the primary responsibility to look into allegations concerning its troops.
U.N. WEST AFRICA ENVOY ANNOUNCES FOUR-DAY DELAY FOR GUINEA POLLS
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, who is the international facilitator for dialogue in Guinea, announced over the weekend that a delay of four days for final adjustments before the elections was decided after consultations with political stakeholders.
- In a statement, Said Djinnit said that he is convinced that with this agreement, nothing will hinder the holding of free, transparent and inclusive elections on Saturday 28 September.
- The Special Representative called on all involved to engage fully in implementing all the agreements so that the elections are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.
SOLUTION TO “NAME” DISPUTE IN INTEREST OF GREECE, FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA – U.N.
- Asked about the “name” dispute, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General met on Sunday with the Foreign Minister of Greece and would meet later in the week with the Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia later this week.
- He said that a solution to the so-called “name” issue is in the interest of both countries, as well as to the Western Balkans as a whole.
- The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Matthew Nimetz, visited the region earlier this month and met with senior government officials of both countries to seek their views on his most recent proposal.
- With a view to narrow differences and to seek further convergences, Mr. Nimetz is planning to convene the Representatives of the parties in New York in the coming weeks. The Secretary-General sincerely hopes that these discussions will pave the way for serious negotiations on finding a mutually acceptable resolution to the “name” issue.
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has condemned the killings of two Israeli soldiers in recent days. These killings follow a series of violent incidents in the West Bank. The Special Coordinator has emphasized the need for calm on the ground, which is all the more important at this critical moment in the political process. He therefore reiterates his call on all to refrain from violence and avoid loss of life.
THE WEEK AHEAD AND ACTIVITIES AT THE UNITED NATIONS
24 SEPTEMBER – 1 OCTOBER 2013
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
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”.
At 6:30 p.m., in Conference Room 6 (NLB), there will be a high-level event on “Human rights, environment and transnational corporations”, organized by the Permanent Mission of Ecuador.
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 10:00 a.m., in Conference Room 9 (CB), there will be a launch of the Resource Guide on Nuclear Disarmament for Religious Leaders and Communities by the President of the Republic of Costa Rica, organized by the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica, in collaboration with Religions for Peace.
At 11:00 a.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber (CB), there will be a special event on “Delivering on the global education promise” (on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative
(GEFI), co-organized by the Global Education First Initiative’s Secretariat and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
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 3:30 p.m., in Conference Room 3 (CB), there will be a special event on “Too Young to Wed: Empowering Girls as Leaders of Tomorrow”, co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Canada, Ghana and the Netherlands, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with Plan International.
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 8 (NLB), there will be a panel discussion on “Sustainable development goals: Nature at the heart of sustainable socio economic development” (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of France and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (ICUN).
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.
At 9:30 a.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber (CB), there will be a briefing on “Building the resilience and capacity of African countries, regional and sub-regional institutions to pre-empt, and respond to humanitarian crises and disasters” (by the African regional economic communities, co-organized by the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union, the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).