- Published Weekly by the United Nations Information Centre
- 55 Lodi Estate, New Delhi 110003, India
|TABLE OF CONTENTS
- UNCTAD X
- UN Peacekeeping: S-G Urges Creation of Rapid Response Capacity
- East Timor Update
- S-G: Unity in Diversity is Best Motto
- SC Recommends Admission of Tuvalu
- Central African Republic
- Kosovo Update
- Task Force to Integrate Trade and Environment
- Cyanide Spill
- Drug Control
- Geneva Graduate Study Programm; Prevention: UN Strategies to
meet the challenges of the millennium
|UNCTAD X Bookmark1
Noting that the
main losers in today's economy suffered not so much from overexposure to globalization as
from exclusion, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a United Nations trade conference in
Bangkok that spreading global economic benefits to all peoples was the overriding goal of
the international community.
"For that to happen, we need common standards, defined and
enforced by States working together in multilateral institutions and, above all, rooted in
shared values," the Secretary-General said in his address on 12 February to the tenth
session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD X).
Highlighting some of the key issues facing the conference, Mr. Annan
pointed to the need to ensure that more countries were able to enjoy export-led
recoveries, and that within countries the benefits of trade are fairly and widely spread.
No less important, he said, was to ensure that all developing countries, especially poor
people within them, benefit from the growth of private investment and could borrow at
Another vital aspect was to make new technologies more widely
available, and ensure that they were better used, Mr. Annan said. "How can we enable
developing countries to benefit from advances in technology and medicine, which patents
currently place beyond their reach, without reducing the incentive to those in
industrialized countries who achieve such advances?"
Pointing to the need to develop new partnerships, reaching beyond
old-fashioned intergovernmental cooperation, the Secretary-General said the proposal he
had made a year ago of a Global Compact between business and the United Nations was
already yielding results. The recent initiatives included Netaid a partnership
between the UN Development Programme, Cisco Systems and the entertainment community to
raise consciousness about extreme poverty in the world and money to fight it and
GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.
As for making sure that the voice of developing countries was not only
heard, but listened to, in future discussions on international trade rules, Mr. Annan
stressed that UNCTAD, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and donor governments
acting bilaterally were all seeking to help developing countries prepare better for
international negotiations, and to implement agreements once reached.
* * *
Consensus is emerging on a number of key issues between the 180 rich
and poor countries gathered in Bangkok for the week-long tenth UN Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD X), although a number of outstanding issues remain.
UNCTAD X spokesman, Habib Ouane said earlier on 17 February that he was
confident of progress towards consensus on a "Plan of Action," one
of two "outcome documents" from the conference, while the
text of the other, the "Bangkok Declaration," was expected to be presented for
final negotiations shortly.
In regard to the discussions under way in Bangkok, Mr Ouane said that
although there was progress towards consensus on a Plan of Action, divisions remained on a
number of points. These included agreement on special trade measures for the
least-developed countries. Agreement had still to be reached on wording to remove all
tariffs and duties on "essentially all" products from the world's poorest
Also in dispute was language in the section on the harmful effects of
farm subsidies in rich countries on the agricultural sectors of developing nations, Mr.
Ouane said. Agriculture is an especially sensitive issue, and it was disagreement in this
area that delivered the final blow to the talks in Seattle.
The Declaration is expected to focus on three themes. One was an
overarching analysis of globalization and its impact. Second, there would be an expression
of a "new spirit" emerging from Bangkok, characterized by consensus on the
importance of coherence between internal and external national policies and domestic and
international economic structures, solidarity with poorer countries, and a balanced world
trading system. Finally, it would set out UNCTAD's role in shaping globalization to work
for the benefit of development.
UN Peacekeeping: S-G Urges Creation of Rapid Response Capacity Bookmark2
Kofi Annan told an audience in Bangkok on 11 February that the speedy deployment of UN
peacekeepers was an "absolute necessity" if conflicts were to be contained.
"At present it is as if when a fire breaks out we must first build
a fire station in order to respond," he said, urging the creation of a UN rapid
response capacity. At present, the average time from decision to deployment can be three
to four months, Mr. Annan said in his speech at
Thammasat University, where he received an honorary degree.
In practice, the current "stand-by arrangements," under which
Member States identified troops who could be deployed immediately after the Security
Council's decision to establish an operation, had not been enough to meet the challenge of
"Rapid deployment can prevent enormous agony, and we must continue
to work with Member States to reduce the time it takes to put UN peacekeepers in the
field," the Secretary-General said.
Mr. Annan also said the Security Council must provide mandates that are
realistic, credible, and backed by sufficient resources. "The means must be
commensurate with the mandate, and the Security Council must always be ready to adapt the
one to suit the other, as the evolution of the situation demands."
|East Timor Update Bookmark4
Nations mission in East Timor and the Australian Government have signed a memorandum of
understanding to continue the terms of the 1989 treaty that divided oil resources in the
sea between Timor island and northern Australia.
The memorandum, signed on 10 February in Dili by the head of the UN
mission, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, and the Australian representative in East Timor, Mr.
James Batley, lays the groundwork for a legal arrangement between East Timor and
Australia, based on the original Timor Gap Treaty signed by Indonesia and Australia.
Under the memorandum, both parties agree that all existing production-
sharing contracts will continue to apply and that the UN Transitional Administration in
East Timor (UNTAET) will exercise its obligations under the treaty in close consultation
with representatives of East Timor.
* * *
United Nations peacekeepers on 14 February assumed command of the
central section of East Timor from the multinational force that had overseen security in
the area since September 1999.
Two hundred troops from the UN Transitional Administration in East
Timor (UNTAET) and the International Forces in East Timor (INTERFET) participated in a
ceremony in Dili that included the change of flags and berets, symbolizing the transfer of
authority. The Central Sector, which reaches from Dili to the town of Same, will be under
* * *
S-G Visits Indonesia: Stressing that it was "absolutely
essential" that the perpetrators of post-referendum violence in East Timor be brought
to justice, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on 16 February he supported the Indonesian
government's recent steps in that direction.
Following his meetings in Jakarta with President Abdurrahman Wahid and
Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono, Mr. Annan told the press that it was important to send
out the message that impunity would not be allowed to stand, which could also serve as a
deterrent for others.
"If the Government puts [the perpetrators] on trial, and justice
is done," Mr. Annan said, "I do not believe that the Security Council would
insist on setting up an international tribunal. Of course if that doesn't happen, the
Council has a right to revert to it."
The Secretary-General also said that Defence Minister Sudarsono had
agreed to work with the UN to ensure that the unruly militia elements who are intimidating
East Timorese refugees in West Timor would be brought under control. As for those East
Timorese who may wish to remain in Indonesia, in West Timor or elsewhere, they should be
free to exercise that choice, Mr. Annan said.
* * *
S-G Visits East Timor: On his first visit to East Timor after it
was racked by post-referendum violence, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 17
February told the people of the troubled territory that the UN was working hard to rebuild
their land and bring law and order to it.
"We are here as your partners," Mr. Annan stressed in his
remarks to a swelling crowd of 5,000 in Liquica. "Together we can weather the current
crisis and usher in a new era for East Timor an era in which East Timor takes its
place in the family of nations, and in which its men, women and children can live in
dignity and peace."
He added that the international community had pledged $500 million
towards reconstruction work to restore basic services and rebuild infrastructure.
"That money is now beginning to flow," he said, "meaning that
reconstruction will begin in earnest and jobs will be created."
international conference on critical international security issues ended its work in
Kathmandu, Nepal, on 17 February amid warnings that global disarmament efforts were
entering "a dangerous new era."
The three-day Regional Disarmament Meeting in the Asia-Pacific Region
was the 12th in a series of annual meetings known as the "Kathmandu process."
Outlining a global picture of recent disarmament efforts, UN Under-
Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala, stressed in his opening
statement that States possessing nuclear weapons did not appear to be in a hurry to give
them up, despite the unpopularity of such weapons among the general public elsewhere.
"Their leaders talk about ultimate disarmament goals," he said, "but balk
at negotiating concrete measures to achieve such goals."
As for the situation in Asia, Mr. Dhanapala cited recent findings that
while military expenditures globally declined during the 1990s, Asia was the only region
where there had been "unabated rapid growth" in military expenditures which had
increased by 27% in real terms over the past decade.
"The Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests in 1998 have set back
progress in nuclear disarmament and nuclear non- proliferation," Mr. Dhanapala said.
He added that of the 44 countries whose ratifications were needed to bring the
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force, the only three that had not yet
even signed the treaty were in Asia India, Pakistan and the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea.
However, there were also positive developments in the region, Mr.
Dhanapala noted. Kazakhstan had joined the non-proliferation treaty after closing its
nuclear test site and returning former Soviet nuclear weapons to the Russian Federation.
China had stopped testing nuclear weapons, signed the CTBT, reaffirmed its long-standing
no-first-use policy, and pledged never to provide any assistance to any insecure nuclear
facility. And Japan had continued its "unrelenting efforts" on behalf of global
nuclear disarmament goals.
"In this light, it is certain that Asia can and must play a
crucial role in building support for the global norm of nuclear disarmament," Mr.
Dhanapala said. "In many respects, the future of the global nuclear disarmament and
non-proliferation regimes can undoubtedly be influenced by developments in Asia."
S-G: Unity in
Diversity is Best Motto Bookmark5
large States into small ones is often a "wasteful and unimaginative way" of
solving political difficulties, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told an audience in Indonesia
on 16 February.
"But those who oppose separatism have got to show that their
solution is less wasteful and more imaginative. Minorities have got to be convinced that
the state really belongs to them, as well as to the majority," Mr. Annan said in a
speech to the Indonesian Council of World Affairs on the theme `Unity in Diversity,' the
country's official motto.
"I cannot think of a better motto for the world as a whole
and particularly for our United Nations," the Secretary-General added.
|SC Recommends Admission of
Council at a formal meeting on 17 February recommended to the General Assembly that the
Pacific island chain of Tuvalu be admitted to membership of the United Nations.
By a vote of 14 to none with China abstaining, the Council decided to
approve Tuvalu's application to become the Organization's 189th member. The final decision
on the granting of UN membership rests with the General Assembly.
Tuvalu became independent in 1978 and has a population of 10,000.
|Central African Republic Bookmark7
successful completion of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic
(MINURCA), Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the mission showed the potential of UN
peacekeeping in Africa and other parts of the world.
A statement released on 15 February by Mr. Annan's spokesman stressed
that MINURCA "has done much to restore peace and security in the CAR, and to create
conditions for the successful conduct of national elections, the restructuring of the
security forces, and the launching of major economic and social reforms."
"The success of the UN mission in the CAR once again demonstrates
how much can be achieved by peacekeeping in Africa and elsewhere with the cooperation and
political will of the parties, their commitments to peace and national reconciliation, a
clear mandate, appropriate resources and the strong and consistent support of the
international community," the statement said.
The Secretary-General also expressed his "deep appreciation"
to those Member States who provided personnel to the mission.
With the UN's Peace-Building Support Office (BONUCA) now taking over
from MINURCA, Mr. Annan urged all parties in the Central African Republic to work together
to complete ongoing reforms. Those reforms, he stressed, "should continue to aim at
consolidating peace, democratic institutions and socio-economic recovery and be based on
the respect for human rights and the rule of law."
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson on 16 February called on the
Russian Government to allow human rights monitoring of the situation in Chechnya and to
act on mounting evidence of serious human rights violations during and after the assault
on Grozny and other parts of the territory.
In a statement released in Geneva, Mrs. Robinson expressed deep regret
that the Russian Government had not agreed to her request to visit Moscow and the areas
affected by the conflict, or to her earlier offer to send a personal envoy to the region.
She said the failure of the Russian authorities to respond to legitimate worries
"leads to heightened concern that allegations of human rights violations may be well-
|Kosovo Update Bookmark9
Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) continued to be preoccupied by
the harassment, eviction and murder of minorities, a senior UN peacekeeping official told
the Security Council on 16 February.
Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hedi Annabi was
briefing the Council on the latest developments in Kosovo. The briefing took place in a
private meeting an informal session that is closed to the press and the public to
which Council non-members may be invited to attend without the right to speak.
According to a UN spokeswoman, Mr. Annabi told the Council that even
though the security situation in Kosovo had deteriorated in early February, UNMIK had made
gradual progress in restoring the rule of law, including the first round of appointments
of judges and prosecutors. By 11 February, there were 2,052 UN police in Kosovo.
Kofi Annan on 14 February said the United Nations was doing its best to implement the
humanitarian programme for Iraq and to improve its effectiveness in alleviating the
suffering of the Iraqi people.
Mr. Annan made his comments in Singapore in response to journalists'
questions about the resignation of the UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Hans von
Sponeck. Accepting the resignation "with regret," the Secretary-General said Mr.
Sponeck had "served the UN well" for some 36 years.
Asked by reporters about the future of the UN programme in Iraq, the
Secretary-General said, "the Council resolutions are clear."
"The Council itself realizes that sanctions are a blunt
instrument," Mr. Annan went on, "and that is the reason why they established the
oil-for-food scheme to get assistance to the Iraqi people. I hope in time Iraq will
cooperate with the Council, and implement its resolutions so that the sanctions will be
|Task Force to Integrate Trade
and Environment Bookmark11
Nations agencies have launched a capacity-building task force to assist developing
countries integrate trade, environment and development policies.
The task force, which is a joint effort by the UN Environment Programme
(UNEP) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), will use the technical
expertise of the two agencies and their networks of experts and national research
institutions. The launch was announced in a joint statement released on 15 February in
The main objectives of the task force are to help developing countries
and countries with economies in transition to better understand the linkages between
trade, environment and development and to assess the environmental, economic and social
effects of trade liberalization.
The task force will also help developing nations to implement
beneficial trade expansion policies and to participate effectively in trade and
environment deliberations at the international level.
|Cyanide Spill Bookmark12
In an emergency
response to the cyanide spill that has affected wildlife and water supplies along the
Danube River in Europe, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has redirected its
scientists already in the area to help in assessing the risks to human health and the
The scientists who are currently working in Yugoslavia as part of a
task force set up last year to gauge the impact of the Balkans conflict on the environment
in the region, would take water quality samples from the river Danube. The Balkans Task
Force scientists have brought with them a mobile laboratory that will be available for use
in other affected countries, if needed, said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer.
The initiative, which was welcomed by the Vienna-based International
Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, is the first step in addressing the
industrial disaster that occurred two weeks ago when a gold mine in northwest Romania
accidentally dumped 100,000 cubic meters of cyanide into the Tisza and Danube rivers.
The poison has since wiped out fish stocks and threatened water
supplies in several countries downstream from the spill.
Meanwhile, the UN Economic Commission for Europe said on 15 February in
Geneva that broader ratification of the UN's conventions on industrial accidents and
international waterways could have prevented some of the damage caused in the recent
A UN report
released on 11 February in New York concluded that increased levels of smoking among women
had led to higher rates of tobacco-related mortality among this group.
The report, prepared for next month's annual session of the UN
Commission on Population and Development, found that women nevertheless continued to have
higher life expectancy than men, and that there were twice as many women than men over the
age of 80 worldwide.
The Commission, which will meet in New York from 27 to 31 March, will
focus on gender issues.
|Drug Control Bookmark14
need for international cooperation in the fight against drugs and the essential role of
the United Nations in the effort were among the key themes at the International Drug
Summit that concluded its work in Washington, D.C. on 10 February.
The summit, co-sponsored by the US Congress and the UN Office for Drug
Control and Crime Prevention, also agreed that greater transparency in global financial
activities should become a shared international value, and that demand reduction should
cover all areas of prevention.
The three-day forum recognized the particular need to increase
international assistance to deal with the problem of drugs coming from Colombia and
After discussing a new initiative on money laundering, Pino Arlacchi,
Executive Director of the UN Drug Control Programme, announced a meeting to be held in the
Cayman Islands next month that would ask offshore financial centres to adopt common global
standards to deal with criminal money.
Nations health organization has approved a vaccine against a potentially fatal strain of
influenza due to hit the northern hemisphere later this year.
At an annual meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) in
Switzerland last week, researchers and scientists agreed on the vaccine's contents, which
were then communicated to vaccine manufacturers around the world, according to a WHO
statement released in Geneva.
Geneva Graduate Study Programm; Prevention: UN Strategies to
meet the challenges of the millennium
Each year, as
part of the educational activities undertaken by the United Nations, the Information
Service at Geneva organizes a Graduate Study Programme. This seminar provides an
opportunity for outstanding young postgraduates from all over the world to deepen their
understanding of the principles, purposes and activities of the United Nations and its
related agencies through first-hand observation and study at the United Nations Office at
The 38th Graduate Study Programme will be held at the Palais des
Nations from Monday 3 July to Friday 21 July 2000, and will be conducted in English and
French without interpretation.
The programme will include lectures by senior members of the United
Nations and other related agencies. Participants will form working groups to study issues
related to human rights, development, environment and humanitarian affairs under the
guidance of United Nations experts. At the end of the Study Programme, they will present a
common document. Participants will be provided with selected documents and publications on
the themes under discussion.
The graduate students invited to attend this Study Programme will be
selected on the basis of their scholastic experience and motivation, with due regard to
equitable geographical distribution.
Graduates interested in the 2000 Study Programme must submit their
application before the deadline date of 14 April 2000. Application forms can be
The Director, UN Information Centre, 55 Lodi Estate, New