Sudan/South Sudan; State of the World Economy debate; International Day against Homophobia; and more

Sudan/ S. Sudan: The U.N. Security Council has called on Sudan and South Sudan to reach an agreement on the status of the disputed, oil-rich Abyei border region and extended the U.N. security force’s mission there by six months.

The council passed a resolution today calling the situation a serious security threat and demanding the creation of a jointly administered Abyei police force. The council also demanded that Sudan withdraw all security forces from Abyei, following South Sudan’s removal last week of about 700 police officers.

World Economy:
United Nations senior officials today stressed the importance of establishing a new paradigm for growth that ensures social inclusiveness, job opportunities for all, and more accountability from the financial sector to tackle the ongoing global economic crisis.

“It is time to recognize that human capital and natural capital are every bit as important as financial capital,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his remarks to the General Assembly’s high-level thematic debate on The State of the World Economy and Finance and its Impact on Development, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York.

Mr. Ban emphasized the key role that the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) can play in bringing countries together to come up with a coordinated approach to set up goals for the future regarding the economy. He added that, “At Rio, we need to agree on a process to establish Sustainable Development Goals that build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015 – sustainable development goals that will lay the foundation for dynamic economic growth, respect for the planet and social equity.”

LGBT rights
: Marking International Day against Homophobia, senior United Nations officials today drew attention to laws around the world which discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and called for equality and the repeal of such laws.  While not an officially observed UN day, the majority of which have been established by the UN General Assembly or designated by UN specialized agencies, the International Day against Homophobia, observed on 17 May, has become an important day for millions of people around the world to pause and remember the victims of homophobic violence and discrimination, and to make the case for genuine equality for LGBT people.

In connection with the Day, a UN spokesperson said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on States to tackle violence against LGBT people, decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships, ban discrimination and educate the public – and he “supports the High Commissioner’s message: ‘We are all human and we all deserve the same rights.’”

Security Council trip to West Africa:
The members of the Security Council will leave New York on Friday for an official mission to West Africa.  The 15 ambassadors will visit Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone, a UN spokesperson told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.