Civilian deaths up 15% in Afghanistan compared to 2009, SG calls for 3% reduction in the UN’s budget and more from UN Direct

Libya: On March 7, President Obama released a memorandum for Secretary Clinton on the U.S.’ $15 million pledge from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to support humanitarian relief efforts related to the crisis in Libya. This past weekend, eight U.S. military flights evacuated a total of 640 Egyptian nations out of Tunisia back to Cairo. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres has just completed a two-day visit to Tunisia with the head of the IOM and is calling for continued coordinated efforts, stressing that “an open border is the most precious thing you can have in a refugee crisis”.  UNHCR is particularly concerned by the number of people fleeing from Libya, especially who have come from war-torn countries like Somalia and cannot return.

Afghanistan: UNAMA and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission are reporting that there were more than 2,700 conflict-related civilian deaths in 2010, a 15% increase compared to 2009. Anti-government elements were linked to roughly three-quarter of these deaths, which is a 28% increase from 2009. Pro-government forces were linked to 430 civilian deaths, down from 2009.

Côte d’Ivoire: President-elect Alassane Outtara will join AU mediators in Addis Ababa to discuss ending the political crisis.

UN Budget: The SG has instructed his Senior Managers to prepare their 2012-2013 budgets with a 3% reduction as compared to the previous cycle (the 2010-2011 biennium budget was $5.4 billion), stating, “We must be realistic about the current economic climate. Even the wealthiest nations are tightening their belts and cutting budgets. The United Nations must be no less disciplined. We cannot go about business as usual.”  Ultimately, it will be up to States to decide and adopt the budget for 2012-2013, which will be negotiated in the Fall of September 2011.