Day: October 11, 2019

As Sudanese elections near UN voices concern over reports of harassment

UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky, responding to questions from journalists at UN Headquarters in New York, said the world body is also concerned by the low rate of voter registration among internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Darfur region of western Sudan.He added that another concern is a series of technical challenges to the vote, such as the logistics of transporting election materials in areas with little infrastructure and how to recruit and train tens of thousands of poll workers.“We have encouraged the Government of Sudan to address these concerns to ensure that the elections reflect the will of the Sudanese people,” he said.More than 16 million people, or almost 80 per cent of the estimated voting-age population in Sudan, have registered to cast their ballots and the nominating process for candidates has concluded.Mr. Nesirky stressed that the elections are a Sudanese process, with the UN providing only technical assistance and limited logistical support – as mandated by the Security Council – to the authorities staging the ballot.The elections, the first of their kind in 24 years, are taking place five years after the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the long-running north-south civil war in Sudan and led to the introduction of blue helmets serving with a UN peacekeeping mission known as UNMIS.A separate conflict continues in Darfur, where a joint peacekeeping operation involving the UN and the African Union (known as UNAMID) has been in place since the beginning of 2008. 23 March 2010The United Nations expressed concern today about reports that some opposition party members and supporters in Sudan are being harassed, intimidated, arrested or detained ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections slated for next month. read more

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Massive challenges highlight key role of global governance says Ban

“As interdependence deepens, some of our old systems and set-ups have not kept pace,” Mr. Ban told the opening session of this year’s World Policy Conference organized by the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) in Marrakesh. “We simply must find better ways of working together – and build systems that are tuned to our times – ones that are more accountable, more representative and more able to maximize our collective strength and maximize our limited resources to the best benefit of our global community,” he added. “This is what global governance means to me.” The Secretary-General noted that no country or group, however powerful or resourceful, can alone resolve problems which do not respect borders. “Even the United Nations cannot do it alone, without full support of Member States and international organizations, regional organizations, and sub-regional organizations,” he stressed. Mr. Ban pointed to three main areas in which the world must pool its energy and resources. Firstly, he said at the start of the three-day gathering set to draw some 140 representatives from governments, the private sector, academia and the media to discuss global governance issues, the world must join forces to help its most vulnerable people. Developing countries help to drive economic growth and will also help pull the world out of the global economic and financial crisis, the UN chief said. “Yet their voice in global economic decision-making is not what it should be. It is not what they deserve,” he said. “Whatever else we learn from the crisis, this much is clear: global economic management can no longer afford to neglect the most vulnerable or the disadvantaged.” Domestic stimulus packages must never be made on the backs of the poor, Mr. Ban underlined. “It is morally, politically unacceptable to inflict the greatest burdens on those who are the least responsible for the crisis.” Second, the Secretary-General said, stepped up efforts are needed to stave off the challenge posed by climate change. Although last December’s UN climate change conference in Copenhagen did not meet everyone’s expectations, it is important not to underestimate the elements world leaders reached agreement on in the Danish capital, he stressed. For the first in history, leaders agreed to contain global temperature rise within 2 degrees centigrade by 2050, as well as to provide $100 billion annually in financial support to developing countries by 2020. “Looking ahead, it is increasingly clear that the more we delay, the more we will pay – in competitiveness, resources, and most importantly human lives,” Mr. Ban said, emphasizing the need to lock in progress in areas where there is consensus at the next conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) next month in Cancún, Mexico. “Most immediately, we need progress on fast-start financing,” he said. “We have to admit that there is a serious gap of trust between developing and developed world. The best way and quickest way to bridge this gap of trust is to provide fast-start financial support to developing countries.” The Secretary-General also highlighted what he calls the ཮-50-50 challenge’: by 2050, the global population will grow by 50 per cent, reaching 9 billion people and the world must slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent. “Climate change is not a stand-alone issue. It is a crucial part of the broader agenda on sustainable development,” he said. Lastly, Mr. Ban emphasized the need for global governance to face a host of new-generation challenges, including the situation of the world’s more than 200 million migrants, biotechnology, organized crime and terrorism. “The chance that terrorists could gain access to fissile materials has brought new urgency to the nuclear security agenda. Those armed with bombs and guns today could well arrive with more potent force tomorrow. The best response is again international resolve and coordination and cooperation,” he said. “And indeed, in response to these challenges, we have adopted new legal conventions and agreements and new strategies and forged new partnerships all in the name of global problem-solving, not global government.” Global governance, the Secretary-General stressed, is not just about long-term arrangements, but is also about leadership in the here and now, citing the upcoming referenda on the self-determination of southern Sudan and on the status of Abyei, whose residents will vote on whether to be part of the north or south. “The stakes are very high. I think everyone is very much concerned about the future of Sudan, the future of Africa, and the peace and security of the international community as a whole,” he said, underlining the need to help Sudan find a peaceful way through one of the most important passages in its history. “Global governance is too important to be left to just one organization or group,” Mr. Ban told the gathering. “But it is at the United Nations – with its universality, experience and operational presence in nearly every country – where global governance can best come together.” The world body, he said, is the right place, provided it keeps pace. “Institutions and groupings that produce meaningful, positive change – global governance for a better world – will find themselves respected and in demand,” the Secretary-General said. Mr. Ban, who arrived in Morocco yesterday, also held meetings today with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank. With Mr. Moratinos, the Secretary-General discussed Spain’s engagement with the UN and the country’s chairmanship of the world body’s MDG [Millennium Development Goals] Advocacy Group, bringing together current and former political leaders, businesspeople and thinkers to spur action on the eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline. The two men also discussed the forthcoming tour of Mr. Ban’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, to the region. In his talks with Mr. Trichet, the Secretary-General discussed global governance issues, in particular those relating to global economic recovery. They also conferred on the fiscal and economic situation in Europe, as well as on the upcoming summit of the Group of 20 (G20) to be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea. While in Morocco, he will also meet with the country’s King Mohammed VI and the UN Country Team in the capital, Rabat. He will then travel on to Strasbourg, where on 19 October he will address the Council of Europe on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights. Later that day, he will also give a speech at a plenary session of the European Parliament. While in the French city, Mr. Ban will hold talks with the Council of Europe’s Secretary-General and with the President of the European Parliament. He will also take part in an extraordinary meeting of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and be welcomed officially by the Senator-Mayor of Strasbourg. 16 October 2010The world is facing challenges transcending borders like no other time in history, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an international conference in Morocco today, underlining the pivotal role played by global governance. read more

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Assembly President looks for compromise on Security Council reform

27 May 2011With different groups holding steadfast to their respective positions regarding reform of the Security Council, the President of the General Assembly today called for a “compromise” on the issue, at least a temporary one. “Probably it is not possible actually to find a solution where one of these different groups will get the total of their aspirations,” Joseph Deiss told a news conference at UN Headquarters. “We should try to make some reform that could not be final, that means that (it) should be reviewed at some time, but that could bring something which improves the situation in a way that every country can say our own possibility to be a member sometime in the Security Council is improved,” said Mr. Deiss, who heads the 192-member Assembly.Security Council reform has been under discussion for over 17 years, with the key issues being the category of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council, and the Council’s working methods and its relationship with the General Assembly. The 15-member Council comprises five permanent members with veto power – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States – and 10 non-permanent members with no veto, who are elected for two-year terms. Mr. Deiss repeated his concerns that unless the Council is reformed to reflect modern political reality, the entire UN could lose credibility and be marginalized with important issues being discussed in other forums. In response to a question on the possibility that the Assembly would vote to admit an independent Palestinian state, Mr. Deiss said that the Security Council must recommend new members, without a veto from any permanent member.“So the General Assembly cannot take the initiative but we are ready to do our work as soon as a recommendation of the Security Council would be addressed,” he said. “It must be recalled that General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947 already provides for the creation of two states, one Arab, one Jewish, at the end of the British Mandate in Palestine,” he added. read more

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Ban calls for further steps by Iraq to fulfil postinvasion pledges to

22 June 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has encouraged the Iraqi Government to act quickly to fulfil its obligations to find Kuwaiti or third country nationals, property and archives lost in Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait more than 20 years ago. In his latest report to the Security Council on the subject, Mr. Ban says that the efforts in the search for missing Kuwaiti and third country nationals are gradually moving forward. “I believe that the task of discovering the fate of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals is urgent and should not be influenced by political factors and considerations,” he says, adding that, for this reason, the humanitarian mandate must be insulated as much as possible from wider regional developments to ensure its effective implementation.“Now that the organizational and logistical aspects of the search for the missing persons appear to be in place, the goal of finding and identifying the victims and finally closing their cases is an imperative,” Mr. Ban states in the report, which was released today and discussed by the Council.Regarding the return of Kuwaiti property, the Secretary-General says he remains concerned that no progress has been made in the search for the Kuwaiti national archives, and that no credible information about their whereabouts has emerged.Mr. Ban voices support for the recommendation of his High-Level Coordinator, Gennady Tarasov, that an effective national mechanism be set up by the Iraqi Government to lead and coordinate efforts to clarify the fate of the archives and other properties and report the results to the UN.He also recommends that the Council extend the financing of the Coordinator’s mandate until December 2011 “in order to continue to build on the current momentum.”After a briefing by Mr. Tarasov, the Council welcomed continuing cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait, and their high-level commitments to full implementation of all Iraqi obligations to Kuwait under the relevant resolutions, in addition to the commitments given by the Iraqi Government to improve relations with Kuwait.“Nevertheless, the members of the Security Council stressed the need to fulfil these commitments, specifically finding Kuwaiti or third-country nationals, property and archives,” said a press statement read by Nelson Messone, the Ambassador of Gabon, which holds the Council’s presidency for June.“The members of the Security Council once again expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of those involved,” the statement added.The Council welcomed the active participation by Iraq and Kuwait in the efforts undertaken under the framework of the Technical Subcommittee to develop an effective functional mechanism for the search of missing persons, including the sub-committee’s exploratory mission to Nassiriyah, and the ongoing mission to Khamisiyah in southern Iraq.It noted that limited progress had been made on clarifying the fate of the Kuwaiti national archives, and welcomed the commitment by the Prime Minister of Iraq to establish an inter-ministerial committee to lead and coordinate efforts with regard to the archives and other properties. Members of the Council urged Iraq to establish, without further delay, an effective national body for the task and to report the results to the UN.The Council urged Iraq and Kuwait to continue to act in the spirit of the confidence and cooperation-building process, saying that would contribute to the further strengthening of their good-neighbourly relations and enhance regional stability.It supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend the financing of the activities of the High-Level Coordinator for a further period of six months. read more

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Central America floods crisis only just beginning warns UN relief official

“The people affected by this crisis have lost everything, and their difficulties are only just beginning,” Catherine Bragg, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said as she wrapped up a four-day visit to Nicaragua and El Salvador, two countries badly hit by the disaster. “Hundreds of thousands of people face a struggle for survival over the next six months. We must act now. We cannot let the people of El Salvador and Nicaragua down.”Up to 300,000 people fled the floods in El Salvador during the peak of the rains in October, and the homes and livelihoods of 143,000 people have been affected by heavy rains in Nicaragua. Thousands of homes have been damaged, possessions destroyed and hundreds of schools, roads and health facilities are closed.The Governments and peoples of Nicaragua and El Salvador mobilized emergency responders immediately after the floods, and have succeeded in minimizing the loss of lives, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “But the cumulative effect of annual catastrophic events has pushed national capacities to their limit,” the Office said. The UN is mobilizing international assistance to assist the efforts of the Governments and last week launched emergency appeals for both countries. However, the $14 million appeal for Nicaragua is currently only 22 per cent funded, while the $15 million appeal for El Salvador is only 23 per cent funded. “The needs are real, and the situation could get worse if we do not step in now,” said Ms. Bragg, who is also Deputy UN Emergency Relief Coordinator. “I hope donors will give generously to these appeals.” 5 November 2011The humanitarian emergency caused by last month’s devastating floods in Central America is only just beginning, a top United Nations relief official said today, warning that the situation could get worse for the estimated 1.2 million people affected without urgent international support. read more

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