MINUSTAH helps prepare for Hurricane Tomas, SG meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao and more from UN Direct

SG in China: Today, the SG met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing, noting that China could play a larger role in peacekeeping and the search for political solutions in Somalia, Sudan and other African crises, in addition to discussing the MDGs, climate change and Korean Peninsula.  Yesterday, the SG spoke at the World Expo, expressing his hope that China will be an “urban pioneer”.  He is expected back in New York Thursday.

Third Committee: this morning the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Githu Muigai, presented his latest report to the Third Committee.  Speaking after his presentation in an Interactive Dialogue, John Sammis of the U.S. Mission welcomed Mr. Muigai’s views that blasphemy laws are counterproductive and countries should move away from the notion of defamation of religions, stating that the protection of freedom of expression is essential to human dignity, civil society and development.

Haiti: the UN, along with the Haitian Government and its international partners, are currently preparing for Hurricane Tomas through the development of contingency plans, mobilization of resources and identification of gaps and needs.  For its part, WFP has positioned food supplies in 32 of the most vulnerable locations, enough to feed 1.1 million people for 6 weeks.  A massive public information campaign is also underway, focusing on IDP camps, and warnings will be sent out via SMS and radio.

Treaty on Biodiversity: today the SG issued a statement welcoming the new protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted over the weekend in Nagoya, Japan, which provides an “innovative approach” to conserving and protecting the world’s diminishing living resources while supporting the achievement of the MDGs.

Sudan: The UN Integrated Referendum and Electoral Division reports that it is ready to support the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission through the provision of technical assistance including helping to train staff, developing complaint regulations and designing voter education materials.  The UN will also provide logistical support to facilitate the delivery of these materials throughout Sudan, as well as the eight countries where Southerners can vote.