Syria; Security Council; Myanmar; SG on Education and Employment; and more

Syria: This morning, the Joint Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, briefed the Security Council in closed session by video-conference from Geneva on the latest developments concerning Syria. Mr. Annan has asked the Security Council for support in implementing an April 10 deadline for Syria to partially implement his peace plan, with a full ceasefire within 48 hours thereafter.

Annan told the Council that Syria has agreed to the idea of such a deadline, which would include the end of troop movements toward population centers, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and a start to the withdrawal of troops.

The U.N. peace keeping department has already begun contingency planning for a U.N. ceasefire monitoring mission that would have 200 to 250 unarmed observers. Such a mission would require a Security Council resolution.

Security Council
: Tomorrow, Ambassador Rice, President of the Security Council for the month of April, will brief the press on the Council’s program of work after the noon briefing. The Council will also be briefed by DPA Head Lynn Pascoe on the situation in Mali, with a possible Statement forthcoming.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the people and Government of Myanmar for the “peaceful and largely orderly” manner in which by-elections were held on Sunday.

“Candidates from various political parties, including the National League for Democracy, participated freely in the elections, a development that the Secretary-General believes is another significant step towards a better future for Myanmar,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement. “He acknowledges, in particular, the courage and vision of President Thein Sein, which has made such progress possible.”

Myanmar citizens headed to the polls yesterday to vote for representatives of 48 parliamentary seats. A United Nations team had been on the ground since last week, and witnessed the voting in a number of constituencies.

SG on Education, Employment, Empowerment:
Providing education, employment and empowerment for young people are key factors in achieving global progress, SG Ban Ki-moon said today at a meeting with educators and students in New York. At the Global Colloquium of University Presidents at Columbia University, Mr. Ban underlined that educating girls is particularly crucial so that they can contribute to their communities and boost countries’ economies through their work and knowledge. In addition, he underscored that educating women on reproductive health is particularly important as they can help prevent HIV/AIDS and maternal death.

“Learning can be a matter of life or death – especially when it comes to information on reproductive health. Every minute and a half, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth. Many of them are just teenagers. Their lives could be saved with the right information and supplies,” Mr. Ban said.

Mr. Ban also stressed the need to provide employment opportunities to the 74 million young people who are unemployed worldwide, and warned that a lack of jobs can lead to social unrest, as shown by the civil uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East over the past year.

The use of broadband in information and communication technology (ICT) can help the world transition to a low carbon-economy and address the causes and effects of climate change, according to a United Nations-backed report released today.

“Addressing climate change implies completely transforming our way of life, the way we work, the way we travel, shifting our model of development to a fairer, more sustainable model to ensure our survival,” said the Secretary-General of the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Hamadoun Touré, in relation to the report.

The report, entitled ‘The Broadband Bridge: Linking ICT with Climate Action,’ aims to raise awareness of the pivotal role information and communication technology, particularly broadband networks, can play in helping creating a low-carbon economy. It also highlights the importance of public private partnerships in accelerating change.

It provides practical examples of how broadband can contribute to reducing greenhouse gasses, mitigate and help adapt to the effects of climate change, and promote resource efficiency, while building more prosperous and inclusive societies. The report presents 10 recommendations for policymakers and leaders to hasten and strengthen the power of ICT and broadband to accelerate global progress towards a low-carbon economy, including adopting long-term national broadband plans.