“By introducing solar energy in remote rural villages, UNDP has been able to bring dramatic changes in the lives of the ultra-poor,” said Jorgen Lissner, UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh. “And this technology addresses local and global environmental concerns as well.”In Pouradubi, a village in the Himalayan foothills, a UNDP-assisted project has brought clean and renewable energy to 60 of the town’s poorest families, as well as to the homeless shelters. In the past, work and household chores, students’ homework and evening meals had to be completed before the sun went down. Now, such activities can be extended beyond daylight hours, UNDP said. The agency’s solar energy efforts, part of its “Sustainable Rural Energy Project,” extends to several rural growth centres in Bangladesh. In the remote village of Jhenidah in the western part of the country, there is now a centralized solar photovoltaic plant system with a capacity to produce 1.8 kilowatts of electricity – enough to power 45 shops, three small food-processing industries, a health centre and a mosque. Operation and maintenance of the plant has been entrusted to a local non-governmental at a cost of $2 per month per consumer.
Daily Archives: October 6, 2019
The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today expressed his deep sadness at the loss of life from the earthquake and severe landslides that had struck Afghanistan on Sunday, while UN relief workers rushed in to assess emergency needs.”This is the newest in a series of devastating natural disasters to befall the long-suffering Afghan people, as they struggle to piece back their country and restart their shattered lives,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement. “The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and to the Interim Authority of the country,” the spokesman said. The earthquake, which measured 7.2 on the Richter scale, had its epicentre in the Hindu Kush region, but was felt as far afield as Kabul, Jalalabad, Faizabad, Mazar and Bamiyan, according to the latest situation report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The UN’s humanitarian response to the earthquake began this morning, with two World Food Programme (WFP) helicopters heading to the affected area from Mazar-i-Sharif to carry out an emergency assessment, according to WFP. The agency also has 22 tonnes of food on trucks en route, and two C-130 airplanes loaded with food, blankets and medicine in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on standby, so they can be sent in rapidly if the helicopter assessment team decides they are needed.UN officials meanwhile were in contact with Halo Trust, a non-governmental organization which operates in Afghanistan as part of the UN Mine Action Programme, to seek information on possible landmine sites in the earthquake area.
The people of Sierra Leone “have shown their preference for the route of democracy as the foundation for sustainable peace,” the Secretary-General said in a message, delivered on his behalf by Oluyemi Adeniji, his Special Representative to the country, to the inauguration ceremony for the President and the opening of Parliament.“As their elected representatives, you must now, in your conduct and deliberations, uphold and sustain this new image of Sierra Leone,” he stressed. “This can only be done through good governance, responsible leadership, mutual respect and the politics of inclusion.”The Secretary-General paid tribute to the country for being able to hold elections “in a free, fair and transparent manner” just five months after the end of a brutal, decade-long civil war, and praised all the political leaders for spontaneously and immediately accepting the results.Yet the most urgent task now was to consolidate the newly found peace, Mr. Annan said, urging the new Government to take the lead in addressing the unfinished aspects of the peace process: the reintegration of ex-combatants; the effective restoration of State authority and basic services throughout the country; and the promotion of justice, human rights, national reconciliation and the rule of law.The Secretary-General also stressed the need to develop the capacity of the police and army so they can maintain security without the presence of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).“Indeed, it is the interest of the people – and in particular their hopes for a rapid improvement in their socio-economic conditions – that must guide your approach to the issues before this Parliament,” the Secretary-General said. “The devastation that is so evident throughout the country requires that all Sierra Leoneans capable of rendering effective service be given the opportunity to do so, irrespective of their political persuasion.”
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) the displaced – mostly women and children fleeing ahead of fresh clashes in the area – continue to stream into camps in and around Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. With access to humanitarian staff and goods cut-off, aid agencies already in these camps have been left to deal with the influx. As of last Wednesday, they have recorded a total of 5,881 persons arriving from Dewoin district in Tubmanburg, Mecca/Suehn and villages across the Po river. The numbers are increasing, OCHA said. Sierra Leonean refugees and Liberian displaced persons sheltering outside the capital, meanwhile, have fled the camps in which they were staying.Militias are reportedly harassing and robbing the fleeing populations of their valuables. Arriving displaced mothers are also reporting missing children. Meanwhile, OCHA says that rebels, in retreat, have reportedly abducted a number of persons from Cheesemanburg.Teams led by representatives of non-governmental organizations and aid agencies in the camps are continuing to register new arrivals and provide them with food and non-food items, as well as health care, and family tracing services.
In a statement following the Council’s consultations on Angola, the current President of the 15-member body, Gunter Pleuger of Germany, welcomed Secretary General Kofi Annan’s latest report on the completion of the United Nations Mission in Angola (UNMA), set for 15 February. “Council members also commended the Secretary General’s Special Representative in Angola, Ibrahim Gambari, for his efforts to bring this important phase of the United Nations involvement in Angola to a successful conclusion,” Ambassador Pleuger said. Council members expressed their readiness to carefully study the observations in the Secretary General’s report, in which he says that although UNMA has completed its mandated political tasks, residual tasks require continued attention and support. These tasks include among others, the areas of human rights, mine action, reintegration and resettlement of ex-combatants, humanitarian assistance, economic recovery and electoral assistance.The Secretary-General proposes that the UN Resident Coordinator resume the responsibility for UN activities in Angola upon the conclusion of the UN Mission’s mandate this February 15.
“The intention, as I understand it, of the US is to share with colleagues, at 15, the thoughts behind that text and to get some reaction to it and that those reactions will then inform the nature of the text which would then later be formally tabled,” Mr. Jones Parry told reporters, referring to the 15-member body, which had just been briefed on the latest report on UN weapons inspections in Iraq.Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday received from United States Ambassador John Negroponte the draft ideas on Iraq, the first time he had seen the elements for a possible resolution, his spokesman said today.Published reports have said the US resolution would create a multinational force for Iraq led by the United States and authorized by the UN – an effort to win greater participation from countries unwilling to serve without UN authorization.In an interview with the Financial Times on a possible new UN role stemming from the new resolution, Mr. Annan said: “Whatever mandate is given to us has to be clear, precise, achievable. The mandate we had (in the early resolution on Iraq in May) was rather ambiguous. We got a lot done, but moving forward we need a clear resolution, which we’ve had in similar situations, for example, in the case of Afghanistan, [where] you had a clear division of labour.” Mr. Jones Parry told a news briefing yesterday the new resolution should emerge within days and its starting point would be the need to achieve the political, security and economic conditions necessary to transfer sovereignty to the Iraqi people as soon as possible.In the weapons report, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) said it would be able and ready to resume its search for banned weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at short notice if the Security Council so requested.
According to the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (MINUCI), the security ratings in four zones have been lowered. In the central and eastern part of the country, between Touba and Noebondouko, the level has been dropped from phase 4 – the suspension of all aid programmes other than those designated “urgent” – to phase 2, limited activities of UN personnel.In zone 3, which primarily covers Abidjan and its environs, the security rating has been lowered from phase 3, which calls for the relocation of UN staff, to phase 2.The security ratings for zones 2 and 4, covering the western and northern portions of the country, have similarly been eased.The UN Mission said it would continue to monitor the evolving military and political situation and will maintain its operational presence throughout the country.
According to the report, the seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) over the last decade have risen tenfold, to almost 40 tons in 2000-2001 from about 4 tons in 1990-1991. Meanwhile, estimated production has reached more than 500 tons a year, and abuse is spreading at an alarming rate, with more than 40 million people having used them over the past 12 months.”ATS are emerging as a ‘public enemy number one’ among illicit drugs,” Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in presenting the “Ecstasy and Amphetamines Global Survey 2003″ at a press conference in Rome.”Neglected by societies as an almost acceptable feature of the ‘let’s-have-fun’ culture in clubs and dance settings, synthetic drugs abuse begins with experimental use among mostly young people. Gradually, it may lead to dangerous polydrug use and addiction, with severe health consequences,” he added.The UNODC survey documents the alarming increase in the number and size of manufacturing sites, in more and more countries. Law enforcement agencies have dismantled a record number of “kitchen labs,” but there is evidence of sophisticated clandestine operations with 100-kilogram capacities per week, an equivalent to 1 million Ecstasy pills, or 4 per cent of the estimated global weekly demand.In addition, ATS abuse is spreading in geographical, age and income terms. In the past year, 34 million people worldwide have abused amphetamine and methamphetamine, and 8 million abused Ecstasy, exceeding the number of cocaine and heroin abusers combined. Abuse is highest in East and South-East Asia, followed by Europe, Australia and the United States.
“This result is all the more noteworthy given pressures faced by the Turkish Cypriots to support the status quo,” Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Council’s rotation Presidency, said in a statement to the press. “The members hope that all parties in northern Cyprus and all other concerned parties will honour the desire of the majority of Turkish Cypriots as soon as possible.”Ambassador Tafrov added that Council members “continue to believe that securing a comprehensive settlement negotiated on the basis of the detailed proposals” of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and accession to the EU “by a reunited Cyprus” would be in the interests of all Cypriots.Members also reiterated their full support for the good offices of the Secretary-General as entrusted to him in Security Council resolution 1250. “They urge the Turkish Cypriot leadership and all parties concerned to strongly support the Secretary-General’s efforts and, in this context, call for an immediate resumption of the talks on the basis of his proposals,” Ambassador Tafrov said.The members reaffirmed the Council’s previous resolutions and statements on Cyprus, including resolutions 541, 550 and 1475.
Video of Council meeting [6mins] The United Nations Security Council today unanimously approved the establishment of a new operation for troubled Burundi, where the UN will deploy up to 5,650 military personnel and help the central African nation with restoring peace and bringing about national reconciliation.Established for an initial period of six months, the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) will be deployed on1 June and include 200 military observers and 125 staff officers, a maximum of 120 civilian police personnel, as well as civilian personnel. The UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie is awaiting appointment as Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative and chief of the mission.Praising the Council for opening “a new door in the Burundi peace process,” the Secretary-General called on all the people and leaders of country to take advantage of this “unique opportunity to further pursue national reconciliation and facilitate the preparation of national elections.”In a statement issued by his spokesman in New York, Mr. Annan called on the FNL (Rwasa) to sign a ceasefire agreement and join the peace process without further delay. He encouraged donor countries to respond generously and to complement the efforts of the new peacekeeping operation.Through the resolution adopted today, the Council decided that ONUB would initially be composed of forces from the African Union’s (AU) existing African Mission in Burundi (AMIB) and would closely cooperate and share military information with the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), particularly in monitoring cross-border movements of armed elements and arms trafficking.The Council authorized ONUB to use “all necessary means” to carry out its mandate, which, along with helping the transitional Government consolidate Burundi’s recent political progress, will include ensuring respect for ceasefire agreements through monitoring their implementation and investigating their violations, promoting the re-establishment of confidence between the Burundian forces present, monitoring and providing security at their pre-disarmament assembly sites, and contributing to the dismantling of militias as called for in the ceasefire agreements.Ahead of elections scheduled for 31 October, the mission would support the process of disarming and disbanding militia groups as well as collecting, securing and destroying weapons. It would also help to train the Burundi National Police. Other ONUB components would work to promote the rule of law, coordinate assistance in support of the elections, and report on human rights abuses.