SG urges action across issues in Cancun, Council is briefed by SRSG for Côte d’Ivoire, Fifth Committee receives UN Women budgetary proposal and more from UN Direct

COP16: Today the SG arrived in Cancun, where he opened the High-Level Segment of the Conference.  In his remarks, he said, “Cancun must represent a breakthrough.  The status quo will not do.  Determination must be our watchword.”  He further urged a balance set of outcomes, where progress is made on all fronts, calling on action on forests, adaptation, technology and funding, as well as more challenging areas such as mitigation, accountability and the future of the Kyoto Protocol.  On energy, he noted that a coalition of UN entities is working with the private sector and governments to achieve universal energy access and cuts in energy intensity over the next 20 years.  He is scheduled to meet President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, as well as representatives of the African Group, the EU, the Group of 77 and China, and the US, and is expected to brief the press later today.

Haiti: In a response to a question at the briefing regarding the findings by a French epidemiologist concerning the origins of the cholera outbreak, the Spokesperson noted that MINUSTAH has neither accepted nor dismissed findings in the investigation and “It’s just one report among many”.  All results done by MINUSTAH have proven to be negative and there’s no conclusive evidence, and the Mission continues to consult with scientists. Last Friday, the SG spoke to the GA and made three points; namely, the MINUSTAH is monitoring the situation and drawing water supplies, a team of experts has been deployed to review all MINUSTAH sanitation systems, and the Mission has been instructed to follow-up on any information regarding he outbreak’s origin. Taking all of this into account, the biggest challenge for the UN is to treat and help the people who have been affected.

Côte d’Ivoire: this morning the Council heard a  briefing by SRSG for Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-jin, on the political crisis there.  He told the Council that the results of the elections must be safeguarded and that his analysis and evaluation of 20,000 tally sheets “clearly showed” that Ouattara won the second round, despite Gbagbo’s objections.  Speaking to the press, Ambassador Rice said ECOWAS has issued a communiqué that clearly determines Ouattara was elected and, speaking in her national capacity, said he needs to be respected.

ICC: Speaking yesterday to the 9th Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC, the SG said the ICC “faces challenges in consolidating itself as an indispensible part of the community of international organizations” as it doesn’t yet enjoy universal support and it’s not clear when, and how, it should act. He called on the “battle of trust” to be won in the courtroom, adding that the Court is the “centerpiece” of the international justice system.  This morning, Stephen Rapp, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, addressed the session.  While the U.S. is not a party to the Rome Statute, the Obama Administration has engaged with the ICC.  He said, going forward, the main task for the ICC is to take principles affirmed at the last ICC conference in Kampala ahead through a program of action; namely, ensure victims are protected, end continued impunity for individuals subject to ICC arrest warrants, and ensure ICC action is followed-up by national trials.

UN Women: Yesterday, Controller Jun Yamazaki presented the SG’s proposal for UN Women’s budget for 2010-2011, calling for the appropriation of $6,983,500 for 2011.  The proposal only covered regular budgetary needs, as the budget submission will be completed in two parts, and the report on voluntary resource needs will be submitted to the Executive Board in January (extrabudgetary resources are estimated at $493,956,400).  Yamazaki also presented the two options, as requested by the GA, for administrative arrangements of the regular budget.  The first option – a “grant modality” – would maintain the normal budget review and approval process of the GA.  After the approval by the GA, the resources would be provided to UN Women in the form of a grant, which would be administrated and disbursed by UN Women.  This system has been used by UNHCR and is the preferred approach of the SG and Michele Bachelet.  The other proposal is for DESA to prepare, disburse and report on the regular budgetary funds.  Bachelet noted that the second proposal would effectively reverse the GA’s decision for UN Women to be a “composite” entity, as it would separate normative and operational work.  In its remarks, the United States expressed its strong support for a unified system and use of a grant modality, allowing UN Women to operate as a hybrid entity (normative and operational).  For its part, the G77 expressed its concern that only 1.4% of UN Women’s budget would be financed through the UN’s regular budget, leaving the remaining percentage – including ASG and Director-level posts – to be funded through voluntary sources.  It also expressed its support for the grant modality, as did the EU.