30 January 2007


30 January 2007
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


And the spokesperson for the General Assembly president


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, Ashraf Kamal.

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Good afternoon.

**Guest at Noon Briefing

Joining us today is the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Stephen Rapp, who will brief you on the preparations for the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

**Secretary-General Travels

The Secretary-General arrived in Nairobi from Addis Ababa on Tuesday afternoon, and he and his wife immediately visited Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa.  He walked along the railroad tracks to one of the slum villages, named Soweto East, and told the inhabitants that he felt “very much humbled” by what he saw today.

The Secretary-General said he would work towards improving living conditions, education, water and sanitation and housing, adding, “All these are challenges that we must overcome.”

He began the day in Addis Ababa, where he continued to have bilateral meetings with African leaders on the sidelines of the African Union Summit.  Following the meetings, he held a press conference.

The Secretary-General told reporters that his presence in Addis in the first month of his tenure is “a strong sign of the growing partnership between the United Nations and the African Union” and of the high priority he attaches to Africa.

On Darfur, the Secretary-General said that he was pleased that President Omar al-Bashir welcomed a joint AU-UN mission to Khartoum and Darfur in early February.  But he added that he urged President Bashir, and all parties, to cease hostilities, as an essential foundation for a successful peace process, and humanitarian access.

“No more time can be lost,” the Secretary-General said.  “The people of Darfur have waited much too long.  This is just unacceptable.”

We have put out the opening remarks delivered at that press conference, and we will have a full transcript available for you later this afternoon.

** Middle East Statement

A statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.  The Secretary-General has noted today’s announcement of an agreed ceasefire in Gaza, and commends Egypt for its continuing efforts to calm a volatile and worrying situation.  He calls for all parties to abide by the terms of the ceasefire and to move quickly back to the process of national dialogue in the pursuit of national unity.


The Secretary-General is concerned about the need to strengthen the capacities of the Organization to cope with the increased scope of activities in the peace and security area, as well as to advance the disarmament agenda.  In this connection he has been in touch with the President of the General Assembly.  The proposals outlined by him seek the realignment of some of the political and security departments.

Over the past week, the Secretary-General has been in touch with Member States individually and in groups in order to solicit their views and be guided by them.  The Secretary-General has come to the conclusion that this procedure needs to be pursued further before a formal issuance to the General Assembly can be undertaken.  On his return from his current visit to Africa, he plans to meet with Member States of the Assembly to further share his ideas and hear their views.

This is an ongoing consultation.  On the basis of the reaction he receives from Member States, he will consider how to take this matter forward.  The Secretary-General intends to fully respect and operate through the established legislative procedures of the Organization.

**Security Council

The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation between Ethiopia and Eritrea.  The Council ended up adopting a resolution, extending the mandate of the UN Mission there by six months, until the end of July 2007.

** Liberia

For the first time in the history of UN peacekeeping, an all-female Formed Police Unit has arrived in Liberia to assist the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in strengthening the rule of law and maintaining peace in the country.  The Indian contingent, led by Commandant Seema Dhundia, consists of 125 members -- 103 women performing operational tasks and 22 men doing logistics work.

** Guinea-Bissau

Yesterday evening we issued a statement on Guinea-Bissau, which I will now read into the record:

The Secretary-General is pleased that a mutually agreeable solution has been found to the disagreement between the Government of Guinea-Bissau and the former Prime Minister, Mr. Carlos Gomes Junior.  He welcomes this positive development and would like to express his gratitude to all who contributed to resolving the differences.

He calls on all the stakeholders in Guinea-Bissau to work together towards peace and stability in their country, as well as on poverty alleviation and development.

** Haiti

The first of an expected 350 additional UN peacekeepers began arriving in Port-au-Prince this week as part of a second contingent of soldiers from Nepal expected to be fully deployed in Haiti by early March.  The light infantry battalion will be used for operations in Port-au-Prince as part of the MINUSTAH plan to intensify efforts against criminal gangs operating in the capital city.

The Mission’s Force Commander, Major General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, met with his contingent commanders based in the Haitian capital on Sunday to direct them to start planning several operations per week to target gang leaders and criminal activity in Port-au-Prince.


On Sudan, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is launching a $20 million appeal to fund its work in 2007 for tens of thousands of internally displaced Sudanese, as well as Chadian refugees in Darfur.  UNHCR also reports that the number of South Sudanese refugees, who have returned home since the 2005 launch of voluntary repatriation programmes to South Sudan, has now surpassed 100,000.

Meanwhile, in Asia, UNHCR says it is extremely alarmed about reports that Thailand may deport 153 refugees from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.  If the deportation proceeds, it will be the first time that Thailand has refouled UNHCR-recognized refugees, thus breaching international humanitarian law.  We have more information in UNHCR briefing notes upstairs.

**Climate Change

Mountain glaciers, an important source of water, are melting around the world, according to a new report from the World Glacier Monitoring Service.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has drawn attention to the report, saying that its findings confirm the science of human-induced climate change, confirmation that will be further underlined when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change unveils its next report this Friday in Paris.

UNEP adds that the report’s findings should strengthen the resolve of Governments to act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and put in place strategies necessary to avert dangerous climate change.  We have a press release on that in my office.

I will take your questions now, then I will invite Ashraf Kamal, the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly to join us.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  First of all, we have today, those reports that enriched uranium have been used in south Lebanon, and is attacking the inhabitants there.  Did you receive anything from UNIFIL about that -- and especially with the danger it poses for the personnel there?

Spokesperson:  No, we don’t have anything on that.

Question:  Can you clarify whether the Secretary-General is pushing for a new Kyoto, for a new conference on climate change, as the FT said, or whether UNEP is trying to make him do that, as (inaudible) says?

Spokesperson:  Well, on climate change, you know it is a priority of the Secretary-General and, even on 11 January, he said in his press conference that we must do far better in the mission to halt climate change.  And he said then that it would be one of his priorities.  He raised the issue of climate change in several of his meetings with both President Bush and President Chirac.  The next event we have our eyes on is the release of the first part of that scientific assessment on climate change I talked about earlier.  And the Secretary-General encourages that effort.  He’ll be sending a video message to the gathering.  Is he going to support a summit -- we don’t know yet.  This is what we have.  Yes?

Question:  According to the Greek press, the Secretary-General is going to meet the Greek-Cypriot leader -- do we have an idea of when and where?  And also, is he planning to meet the Turkish-Cypriot leader, too?

[She later added that no such meetings were planned at this time.]

Spokesperson:  I don’t have that yet.  We don’t have that in his meetings today and I’ll check for you on when this is supposed to take place.

Question:  You read a statement about the situation in Gaza before and I know it’s difficult to change terminology, but we have a new Secretary-General now, so let me try it again.  A year and half after the last Israeli withdrew from Gaza, the UN system still refers to Gaza as an Occupied Palestinian Territory.  The only people who are not Palestinian in Gaza currently are UN people.  Do you mean that Gaza is occupied by the UN?

Spokesperson:  Definitely not.

Question:  So who is it occupied by?

Spokesperson:  Well…

Correspondent:  I think there are some Israeli soldiers on the border…

Question:  Not borders, who is Gaza occupied by?

Spokesperson:  Traditionally, this is the terminology we have used.  Yes?

Question:  But the situation on the ground changed since Israel withdrew from Gaza.

Spokesperson:  I will look into this.

Correspondent:  Thank you.

Question:  On climate change, I just wanted to ask, in his meetings with Bush and Chirac, did the Secretary-General bring up the idea of a conference?

Spokesperson:  No, he did not.  What he brought to the forefront were his concerns about climate change and about the dangers that it represented.  Not specifically about the conference.

Question:  Okay.  And has he brought up a conference with any other diplomats from other countries or US diplomats or British?

Spokesperson:  The question was also evoked during his meetings with European leaders in Brussels and it has been an ongoing question that he has been bringing forth in different meetings with different leaders, but not specifically on a summit.

Question:  If you have already done this, then I apologize, but can you put on the record here, what is the net worth of the Secretary-General?  There have been reports somewhere between a million two, two million five, based upon his filing, that’s been published.

Spokesperson:  But you have that on the website.

Question:  Right, but for broadcast purposes.

Spokesperson:  For broadcast purposes, I’ll get the exact numbers for you tomorrow.  I don’t have it with me right now.  I read it and I saw, like you did, all the details, but if you want to have it on the record, I can put it for you on the record.

Correspondent:  Okay.  I’ll get back to you then.

Question:  The official reason for the Addis Ababa summit was adaptation to climate change -- that’s what Africans called that meeting.  Now, did the topic come up in the Secretary-General’s discussion?

Spokesperson:  No, not specifically.  It’s a more general approach.

Question:  No, in Addis Ababa.

Spokesperson:  It was an African meeting in Addis.

Question:  Yes, the African meeting in Addis was called as a follow-up to what went on in Nairobi in November of 2006 -- that is adaptation to climate change.  The Africans are discussing this, there is an exhibit in Addis Ababa now on climate change.  Did the Secretary-General visit the exhibit?  Did he raise questions connected to climate change in Addis Ababa with Africans?

Spokesperson:  Well, the Secretary-General did talk about the question in Addis Ababa.  He is right now in Nairobi.  I don’t know whether he has visited the exhibit.  I think this is a minor detail which we can certainly enquire for you about.  However, I would say that the Secretary-General has very little time in Nairobi.  He is to meet with the staff -- which is one of the major objectives of his visit to Nairobi and I’m sure that this will take a great deal of his day.  He already had meetings scheduled and if you want you can see a readout of what his meetings were.

Question:  I want to know about Addis Ababa, not about Nairobi.

Spokesperson:  You know, I already answered your question.

Question:  The Roma and audits.  Yesterday we had a briefing in this room about Roma and Sinti issues and they said that they were asking the Secretary-General to consider or to make an Office of the Special Representative on Roma and Sinti issues.  They said that they handed in the thing, but I guess because of his travels that’s not the case.  Does he have a position -- has the Secretariat received the request and what’s your thinking on the request?

Spokesperson:  But you heard me yesterday.  I said that he welcomed the fact that it was an inclusive day and he mentioned the Roma and Sinti issue.

Question:  But they said that they want an office?

Spokesperson:  We don’t have an answer on that yet.  It was just proposed yesterday and it hasn’t reached the Secretary-General’s office yet.

Question:  There have been reports of the World Meteorological Association, on staff money being used to lobby for the current Secretary-General to bring about his election.  So I’m wondering in light of Ban Ki-moon’s announcement about audits, if all funds, programmes, specialized agencies, whether WMO will in fact be part of this inquiry at some…?  And at what stage?

Spokesperson:  Well, the WMO has come up with a statement on this and you’re welcome to see it upstairs.

Question:  I guess, given his announcement here, does he see these specialized agencies and allegations this specific as something he wants to act on in terms of the credibility and the trustworthiness of the UN system?

Spokesperson:  Okay, I’ll check on this, on the details for you.  But I know that for the World Meteorological Association, they have different auditors than we do here.  So, I’ll check for you further on how this is going to be done, but I know that there is already a process going on.

Question:  Does he have any control while you’re checking, over WMO, or is that totally separate -- just part of a vague UN system?  Well, he doesn’t have control of the IMF and that’s part of…

Spokesperson:  I’ll check for you the level of control that the Secretary-General has over some of the funds and agencies.

[The Spokesperson’s office later announced that the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) does not have an audit or investigation mandate of WMO.  The external auditor for WMO is the National Accounting Office of the United Kingdom.  The Secretary-General does not have direct authority over WMO and may raise issues in the Chief Executives Board.]

Question:  One that he does have control over.  In this room, Mr. Ocampo, I think, this was back on 10 January, he was saying that he was trying to speed up the OIOS releasing its audit of DPADM and to (inaudible) Bertucci’s unit.  What’s the status of that audit?  And of getting OIOS to come to give us a briefing here?

Spokesperson:  Okay, the status of getting OIOS to give you a briefing, I think I gave some of you who wanted the information, I gave you the name of someone you could call for additional information.  I can pursue this with you about getting additional information.

Question:  I’m sorry, this is the last thing.

Spokesperson:  We had a briefing for you last week, remember?

Question:  Sure.  Specifically on OIOS, audits of the Secretariat -- Stéphane Dujarric back on 21 December said they would definitely be doing it early this year.  I’m not saying you’re bound by that, but they seemed to indicate at that time that they would do it.

Spokesperson:  Okay, we can pursue this with Mr. Ocampo.

Question:  Mr. Ocampo, when he was here, said that it’s about to be… that they’re not stopping it.  And OIOS told me (inaudible) a couple months ago that it’s going to be soon.  I’ve seen an audit of that programme from November, a draft on it, sorry, I mean how long does it make a draft final?

Spokesperson:  Okay, I’ll check on the process for you and how far we have gotten so far.

Question:  Also, on WMO, the problem there is that that the head of the WMO -– his election is being called into question now because supposedly, the allegation is that funds were distributed in order to get him elected.  Now, does the Secretary-General have the power to look into the WMO, I don’t remember if it’s called Secretary-General or Executive Director, office of organisation was in his changing of the higher staff of the UN -- if he has any power over this?

Spokesperson:  Well, it’s repeating the question that I was just asked earlier and you heard my answer.  Most of your questions should go to WMO -- you have already a statement by WMO and I think WMO should bring the answers to this.  And they are ready to.

Question:  Because UNDP, people I think don’t understand, they had a scandal.

Spokesperson:  It’s not the quite same process.  It’s a different agency and a different process.  I can have some details for you on what specific process goes on for WMO.

Question:  Has the Secretary-General specifically asked for a South Korean officer to be on his security detail?

Spokesperson:  No, he hasn’t.

Question:  The commander of UNIFIL in south Lebanon received copies of these gas balloons which we talked about yesterday.  Did they come up with a report about the content of these balloons -- whether they are poisonous or not?

Spokesperson:  You asked me the same question yesterday and I told you that we are going to ask UNIFIL.  We still don’t have an answer from UNIFIL.

Question:  Did any of the balloons fall in the area of the UNIFIL?

Spokesperson:  Well, I cannot answer that question.  I told you if I had that information I would communicate it directly to you as soon as I got it, which is not the case.

Question:  Do you have exact dates on when the Secretary-General is going to discuss with whom the realignment on peacekeeping and disarmament and so forth?

Spokesperson:  As I said the consultation process is going on, he has submitted…

Question:  The question seems to be about NAM and others.  So, I’m just wondering…

Spokesperson:  Well, he started the process before.  Before he actually sent a letter to the President of the Council, as you know, the consultation process started.  It started with NAM and different members of the General Assembly and I think you’re going to have more answers from the Spokesperson for the General Assembly.  One thing I can tell is that this is part of an ongoing process and nothing is set in stone.

Question:  But his letter this week and last week, his non-paper and his formal letter, which are one and the same, said that he wants approval by the GA as soon as possible.  So these two issues cannot be an ongoing process if he wants to get the (inaudible)…

Spokesperson:  Well, as soon as he comes back from Africa, there’s going to be, as I said, this is the first thing on his agenda -- on pursuing the process with the General Assembly.  We don’t have an exact date, whom he’s going to meet, when, if that’s what you want to know.  There are going to be consultations with different groups within the General Assembly and you’ll hear more a little later about how the process is going to go on.  As you know, the process is going to be led, from now on principally by the President of the General Assembly.

Question:  That’s not going to help me.

Spokesperson:  If you want specific dates when he’s meeting different people, but what I cannot do is give you every time the results.  As I said, the process, the Secretary-General is modifying his approach and he’s going to respect the legislative process.  The legislative process is going to decide.

Question:  But that’s not the way things work at the UN.  If you’re making a change, anytime you’re making a change, there’s opposition to it.  So, somebody has to fight for the change, and it’s not going to be the President of the General Assembly.  This one or any other… and so who from his offices -- is he going to do it himself or what?  Because this cannot be a process that the President of the General Assembly will lead.

Spokesperson:  Well, I’m sure that, on the Secretary-General’s side, they will be pushing that agenda.  And I can tell you when I have the name.

Question:  When do you expect an answer about that for the balloons?

Spokesperson:  Okay, the balloons, why don’t you contact UNIFIL directly?  We can give you the information and you can call UNIFIL directly.

Question:  I am talking to the United Nations Headquarters and you are in touch with them, so you should have a report on it.

Spokesperson:  Yes, but we don’t have an answer on the balloons except that they said that they had observed these balloons.  Now you want specifics on where the balloons landed.  I don’t have that specific information.

Question:  But somebody must come with a report about that.

Spokesperson:  Okay, we’ll try to get that for you.  We have been trying, you know, and I think the best thing for you is to get in touch directly with UNIFIL, because you have very specific questions that UNIFIL is ready to answer.  So, I think the best thing, since they are very specific questions, is that you deal with them directly.

Question:  It’s a matter for concern for the security of UNIFIL and for the inhabitants of south Lebanon after (inaudible) war.

Spokesperson:  Yes, I understand that, sir.  Okay, now I would like to invite the Spokesperson of the President of the General Assembly to join us here.

Briefing by Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly

Good afternoon.  I am hoping that you have exhausted all the tough questions.

Upon the request of the Secretary-General, the President of General Assembly Sheikha Haya Al Khalifa met on Thursday and Monday with the Chairmen of the negotiating groups:   the Non-Aligned Movement; the Group of 77 and China; the European Union; CANZ (Canada, Australia, New Zealand); and the African Group.  She also met with the US, the Russian Federation, China, Japan, Norway, Mexico and Switzerland.  The President discussed with representatives the Secretary-General’s ideas on structural changes.  The President has conveyed to the Secretary-General the following:

The entire Membership stands ready to support the new Secretary-General in discharging his duties, and will continue to support him to the benefit of the Organization and all its Members.

Member States welcome the intentions of the SG to improve the management of the Organization, and to strengthen its ability to deliver its programmes effectively.

It is in this light that the Membership is considering the ideas of the SG as contained in his non-papers.

There is a general view that the ideas need further elaboration through a process of wide consultations with Member States within a reasonable time frame. 

Many delegations stressed the importance of the existing procedures of the General Assembly in considering such proposals through the competent intergovernmental and technical mechanisms of the General Assembly.

The above basically reflects the general mood in the house.

And there was a question, I believe about the University of Peace, I refer you to document A/Res/35/55.  It will give you everything about how that institution stands vis-à-vis the UN.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  With regard to this discussion process then, could you from your end, give a sense of what role the President is going to play in these discussions.  Is she going to be mediating, is she going to be drawing up papers?  I mean, Jan Eliasson was very active during the discussions before, so I was just wondering what kind of role she would play.  And do you have any sense of any kind of schedule or timetable for meetings, and what the procedure required is and who needs to discuss it?  The General Assembly?  The Fifth Committee?  ACABQ?  Any other bodies?  Thank you.

Spokesperson:  Okay.  No, I don’t have anything specific about a timetable or the meetings yet.  That will depend upon the return of the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly.  They’ll get together and decide how to take it from there.  Two, yes, it has to be discussed through the Fifth Committee and the ACABQ; there is no other way.  Any structural changes like we discussed last week involve a rather lengthy process, because that is the purview of Member States, whether you like it or not.  The Secretary-General can propose all the initiatives that he wants, but it has to be a cooperative process between the Secretary-General and Member States.  I do not expect this President to be any less active than Mr. Eliasson.  She will take the lead on holding the meetings and arranging for consultations to be as fruitful as possible.  And let’s just wait and see.

Question:  Just to follow-up on that, if you take the example of the Human Rights Council, Jan Eliasson was extraordinarily prolific in pulling together proposals, trying to create some consensus around texts and so forth.  And he was drawing up texts on the basis of consultations.  Is the current process going to be to wait for the Secretary-General to make a proposal?  Or will, on the basis of the broad policy framework elaborated by the Secretary-General -- will the President of the General Assembly actually be drawing up texts following consultations… actually do the negotiating of this thing?  Will she be pursuing any of these reforms herself, as it were, in the same way that her predecessor made it his active job to see this succeed?  Is she going to take on that kind of a role?  Or is she going to be much more sort of in the background, quiet?

Spokesperson:  I’m not going to comment on her predecessor’s role, but usually the proposals come from the head of the Organization, who’s the Secretary-General.  And once they arrive to the General Assembly, it is the job of the President to consult with Member States to see how they’re going to approach this.  Now remember, we have several groups in this Organisation, several interests, several competing interests sometimes, but I can tell you that these proposals are unifying the whole of the UN.  Now, for all that’s worth, she is going to pursue it and she’s going to do her best to take a proactive approach in pushing these proposals.  But having said that, this has to command everybody’s consensus -- that’s the way things work at the UN.

Question:  Two questions.  I’m going to ask you the same thing I asked Michèle.  Who is pushing these proposals from the Secretary-General’s office?  And secondly, it’s not just this proposal.  I imagine he wants to continue what Secretary-General Annan started in having more control over how to move staff around -- which sort of died last year, despite efforts.  So I’m wondering if that’s going anywhere -- is that part of the mix of reform?  And also what’s the difference between NAM and the G-77?  If it the exact same membership?

Spokesperson:  No, its not.  The G-77 is about 132, 133 and NAM is 118.  NAM is the political arm of the developing world and the G-77 is the economic and social arm of the developing world.

Question:  But it’s the same thing on issues…

Spokesperson:  No, it’s not.  I assure you.

Question:  Some similarity.

Spokesperson:  I’m not going to comment on that.  For the other part, I’m not sure who’s going to be pushing things on behalf of the Secretary-General -- but what was the other part of the question?

Question:  Some of the things that sort of died on the vine last year?

Spokesperson:  It’s not about moving people around.  The Secretary-General has this competence -- he can move anybody around, it’s in the staff rules and regulations.  It’s about making the Organization more effective and that had to do with the way he thinks that Organization can become more effective.  Now, whether it’s going to be a hard sell, or a soft sell, or a cooperative venture between him and Member States, that’s what has to be seen.  But like I told you, basically the comments that Member States had were largely positive.  They just want to see in a bit more detail how this works out.  And it’s not going to happen overnight, so let’s not be over-anxious about this.  And we all remember what happened to the proposals of our former Secretary-General, Mr. Annan.  Look, it’s about control by Member States.  Everybody’s very jealous about their authority and it has to be a workable venture between the two parties, between the Organization represented by the Secretary-General and the authority and the sovereignty of the Member States.

Question:  …(inaudible) the Fifth Committee and the ACABQ, both of which are budgetary arms of the General Assembly.  In his letter yesterday to the President, Secretary-General Ban said that his split of DPKO will have no financial net difference.  So, why does the Fifth Committee and the ACABQ have an authority over a change that makes no financial difference?

Spokesperson:  Let me belabour the point a little, but so that we don’t go back to it.  You submit proposals, all right, and these proposals have to be very detailed, and if you say that they don’t have financial implications, you have to show me that.  So, if you say that splitting DPKO does not have financial implications, you show me that in the proposals.  The details of it have to be there in order for Member States to decide whether they have financial implications or not.  That decision can only be made by the Fifth Committee or the ACABQ -- the ACABQ looks at it and says, okay, that doesn’t have financial implications.  Does it change anything of the resolutions that were taken before they set up DPKO or set up any other part of the UN?  No, it does not.  Then…  But if it does, then it has to go through the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee -- there is no other way.

Question:  So you say show me the money.

Spokesperson:  You said that, I didn’t.

Question:  The details that some of the Members were concerned about or wanted to see more of -- was it the financial implications?

Spokesperson:  Its not just financial implications -- I think it’s also why.  If the whole idea is to split DPKO in order to make it more effective, I think Member States have a right to see how that can be brought about.  And this has to include lots and lots of details, and you know, the devil is in the detail.  You just have to wait and see a script whereby we’re saying, the Secretary-General is saying, this is how DPKO can become more effective once we split it.  And once Member States see that, and they’re persuaded, I’m sure they’re going to support it.  I mean nobody wants a less effective Organization.  That would be ridiculous.

Question:  Thank you for the citation on the University of Peace.  I just wanted to ask you if you can describe the role of the GA, or ECOSOC, if that’s the one, on overseeing the specialized agencies, like the World Meteorological Association.

Spokesperson:  This would take a very long time -- we can get into it later.

Question:  But there is a role?

Spokesperson:  There is a role for the GA and ECOSOC to look at specialized agencies from a legislative point of view, but I think most specialized agencies have their own external auditors and own boards.  Only when they seek help from the UN or the UN feels it can be helpful to them, can it step in.  Before you quote me, let me check on the legislative mandates about these two bodies.

Question:  To this point, I am especially interested in WMO because IPCC that is going to come up with the report…is under the WMO.  That means that if the whole system is shaken, it may be of somebody’s interest to shake IPCC.  This is not a question, this is a comment on what you really are after when you try to find out what has happened there.

Spokesperson:  Okay, I’ll check on that as well.

Question:  Does the Trusteeship Council still exist?

Spokesperson:  Yes.  Last time I checked, yeah, it does.

Question:  What is the Trusteeship?

Spokesperson:  It supervises -- are you testing me?  It supervises territories that are still not enjoying self-government.

Question:  Such as…

Spokesperson:  There are quite a few of them.  I will get you the whole list.  There’s a website where we can check that.

Question:  That’s a wonderful tie by the way.  Beyond that, I thought in the reform document that was agreed on in the Summit, that the Trusteeship Council was abolished and Palau was, I thought, the last one about 10 years ago.

Spokesperson:  That was not abolished.

Question:  No offence to the people of Palau.  I meant as a trustee.

Spokesperson:  It’s not just Palau.

Question:  There are no more left as far as I understand.

Spokesperson:  It depends.  I don’t want to talk about that.

Question:  Why is that in the reform document to abolish the Trusteeship Council?

Spokesperson:  Well, they haven’t abolished it yet.  It still exists.

Question:  But it was discussed.

Spokesperson:  Yeah.  It was discussed.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.