Last Day at Work for John Holmes, UNIFIL’s Mandate Extended, and more from today at the UN


OCHA: Baroness Valerie Amos (UK), the incoming USG for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, will begin her term on September 6.  She replaces Sir John Holmes, also from the UK, whose term ended today

Global Plan against Trafficking: this morning the GA adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons by consensus, including the decision to establish a Voluntary Trust Fund for victims.  The text of the resolution reiterates States’ commitment to fighting trafficking, calls for the mainstreaming of anti-trafficking efforts throughout the UN and requests the SG to strengthen UNODC through a reallocation of resources for the 2012-2013 biennium, among other provisions.  Both the EU and U.S. cautioned against the creation of parallel legal standards or duplicative reporting obligations, and reiterated the need for universal accession to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women & Children (to the UN Convention against transnational Organized Crime).  In an earlier meeting, U.S. Ambassador Rick Barton explained the U.S. position thoroughly.  In his statement, the SG said the Plan strengthens the 3 “P’s”: Preventing trafficking, Prosecuting offenders & Protecting Victims, while adding a 4th: Partnership.  The Plan will be officially launched at a high-level meeting in the near future.

Sexual violence in the DRC: today the SRSG for Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallström briefed the press on the rapes which occurred in eastern DRC between July 30 – August 2, stating that systematic sexual violence during conflicts constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity and that leaders are responsible for the conduct of their subordinates.  She said she will keep the issue in the forefront of public and diplomatic dialogue, especially after the release of the findings of the investigation to the Security Council.  On the UN’s reaction, she said the 13-entity “UN Action against Sexual Violence Initiative” is coordinating its response.  In regards to peacekeeping, she said early warning systems must be institutionalized and peacekeepers better prepared.

UNIFIL: yesterday the SC extended UNIFIL’s mandate by one year, until the end of August 2011.  Tomorrow, Turkey assumes the rotating Presidency of the Council from Russia.

DPI/NGO Conference: the 63rd annual DPI/NGO Conference is currently underway in Melbourne under the theme “Advance Global Health: Achieve the MDGs”.  In a video message the SG welcomed the focus on women & children’s heath, an area where we are most behind but can yield the biggest return on our investment.