Haiti: Following a claim for compensation filed in November 2011 for cholera victims in Haiti, the UN today announced that it will not be compensating such claims pursuant to Section 29 of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN. The SG informed Haitian President Michel Martelly of the decision by phone, expressing his profound sympathy for the terrible suffering caused by the epidemic. In December 2012, the SG launched an initiative for the Elimination of Cholera in Haiti, which aims to strengthen Haiti’s own National Cholera Elimination Plan through significant investments and the use of an oral cholera vaccine.

The SG: The SG departs New York tomorrow for Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates, Austria, and Switzerland. On Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the SG will attend the signing of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region. In UAE and Austria, Mr. Ban will meet with top leaders of each country, will attend the official opening of the 5th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. He will also attend a High-level Panel Discussion on Human Rights Mainstreaming at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday.

WASH: In a jointpress release today, UNICEF, UN Women, Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, the Government of Finland, and Water Aid, emphasized the importance of equal access to water, sanitation and hygiene within the post-2015 development agenda. The group noted that the agenda must build on the current MDGs to forward this goal, and that States have a responsibility to respond to the millions of people who are marginalized on a daily basis.

Environment: UNEP released a new report today emphasizing that African leaders must prioritize environmental and health issues in order to prevent the degradation of health-promoting food and medicinal plants. The report highlights emerging issues and trends related to the environment, and proposes policy changes at the national, regional and global levels on this issue that provide a “clear pathway to a sustainable and healthy future,” according to UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

Colonialism: The SG opened this morning’s session of the Special Committee on Decolonization for 2013. In his remarks, he called for new approaches to resolve the situations of the remaining 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories and that “the international community is more convinced than ever that colonialism has no place in the modern world.” Mr. Ban noted that action requires the constructive involvement of all concerned – the Special Committee, the administering Powers and the Non-Self-Governing Territories – working on a case-by-case-basis.