Aid Effectiveness Forum in Busan; Middle East peace process; Afghanistan; Libya and more

Busan: Speaking at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in the Republic of Korea, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged countries today to fulfill their aid commitments and invest in the world’s poor, adding that success will only be attained if donors unite their efforts and ensure their financial support is accountable, flexible and country-driven.  Mr. Ban said governments must not let the global economic crisis keep them from supporting those most in need. Mr. Ban also said that he had asked the UN system to develop an Integrated Implementation Framework to facilitate the monitoring of global commitments to the Millennium Development Goals and their delivery.

Middle East Peace Process:
Under heavy international pressure, Israel said Wednesday that it will release withheld tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority, averting a cash shortfall that the Palestinian prime minister had warned would have a “devastating” economic impact. A statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that, after a meeting of senior ministers, he had approved the transfer of the tax funds, about $100 million each month, “following the cessation of unilateral steps by the Palestinian Authority.”

Palestinian officials have said they have no immediate plans to seek membership in other U.N. agencies, but Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asserted this week that he remains committed to the bid for full U.N. membership.

The head of United Nations peacekeeping operations, Hervé Ladsous, wrapped up a five-day visit to Afghanistan today by highlighting the political and economic progress achieved over the last decade and lauding the supportive role played by the world body. He also reiterated the UN’s commitment to providing support to the Government and the people of Afghanistan past 2014, the year the ongoing security transition is expected to finish and the majority of international forces leave the country. He also highlighted the role of Afghan women in any political process saying that women’s rights are a priority for UNAMA, as well as the Secretary-General, DPKO and Mr. Ladsous’s personal agenda.


Libya:The U.N. Security Council is working to speed up the flow of unfrozen assets to Libya’s post-war authorities, which have received only a fraction of the country’s oil-based wealth held overseas, a senior council diplomat said on Wednesday. The move follows an appeal this week to the 15-nation council by the U.N. special envoy to Libya, Ian Martin, to tackle what he said was Tripoli’s “urgent need for liquid funds” and popular resentment at the shortage of cash. More than a month after fighting ended with Gaddafi’s overthrow and death, only about $18 billion has been released by special dispensations of the council’s sanctions committee, but diplomats say only about $3 billion has been made available to Tripoli. The bulk of the $150 billion remains frozen.

Cote d’Ivoire:
Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Côte d’Ivoire, arrived at the International Criminal Court (ICC) today to face charges of crimes against humanity committed during the post-election violence that began in the West African nation nearly a year ago. Mr. Gbagbo allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts, committed in Côte d’Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011.

UNESCO has launched the United Nations’ first-ever international consultation to address bullying against LGBT students in schools and universities, to take place between 6 and 9 December in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  It will explore how to best support LGBT students and teachers, prevent and address homophobic and transphobic bullying and discrimination in schools, and ensure LGBT-safe learning environments.

Human Rights Day:
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, will hold a press conference in Geneva on Thursday at 3 p.m. (9 a.m. in New York) regarding the social media campaign to promote Human Rights Day on 10 December.