UN Responds to Refugees International Report in Haiti, More from Ban’s Press Conference, Pascoe wraps up Nepal Trip

SG’s Monthly Press Briefing: in his remarks to the press yesterday, the SG spoke to the accomplishments of the MDG Summit; namely, fresh resources committed backed by concrete plans for action and $40 billion in commitments (v. pledges) for the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.  Looking forward, he referenced the upcoming G20 meeting in Seoul (during which development will be high on the agenda) and a GA meeting at which States will set forth their expectations for the G20.  In regards to the to the ME peace talks, the SG mentioned a meeting held with Tzipi Livni yesterday, in which he urged for settlement restraint.  He also spoke to the upcoming referenda in Sudan and his recently-appointed 3-member panel (Chaired by former Tanzanian President Mkapa), which will monitor the vote.

In closing, he touched on the recent mass rape in the DRC, “a clear tragedy”, and expressed his encouragement by Lt. Col. Mayele’s arrest.  He also spoke to the UN’s work to improve its civilian alert system, use of new tools such as distributing mobile phones to villagers so they can communicate with MONUSCO, and the Deputy High Commissioner of Human Rights’ current trip to engage with local leaders and NGOs on reparations for the victims.   On the recently-released DRC mapping report, he emphasized that it “was not ‘toned down,’ as some claimed”.

In the Q&A the SG discussed the upcoming Cancun climate change conference, stating that “climate change is still the highest priority of the UN”, and expressing his hope that the conference will create tangible progress, despite the international community’s struggle to create global binding agreements.  Two notable areas of progress are the high-level advisory group on climate change financing, which will submit its final report to UNFCCC soon, and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).  He expects agreement on issues such as adaptation, technology transfer and capacity building in Cancun.  Other topics that came up in the Q&A include Somalia, Myanmar, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

SC in Sudan: the SC delegation to Uganda and Sudan is currently in El Fasher, Darfur. Thus far, the delegation has been briefed by UNAMID and also visited a police training mission, where demonstrations were shown.  Tomorrow, they plan to meet with government officials, community leaders, and internally displaced persons.

Haiti: in response to a question about a report by Refugees International on Haiti, the Spokesperson said the UN shares the concerns in the report and wants to see an increased protection capacity.  UN troops have been patrolling the camps and there’s work going on right now to improve lighting. Additionally, organizations like Medecin Sans Frontières, are providing specialist services. As of September 15th, 559 UN police officers have been stationed in six of the largest IDP camps. Five mobile units are conducting random patrols, occurring day and night.  The Spokesperson also noted that Refugees International failed to mention that 614 UN military personnel are in the six largest IDP camps.  For the UN, the real key is getting people out of camps in the long term and providing increased access if women have experienced gender-based (sexual) violence. Thus, more needs to be done to help these women since sexual violence has been a serious problem in Haiti.  The SG is planning to work with MINUSTAH to receive updates and liaise with Former President Clinton, who has been on the ground.

Pascoe in Nepal: USG Pascoe wrapped up his two-day visit in Nepal, explaining that UNMIN’s final months are “100 days of opportunity” and the priority should be on the resolution of the Maoist integration and rehabilitation process.  UNMIN’s mandate will end on January 15th.