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$2 billion Pakistan Appeal released; Afghan Elections; Flotilla Incident Report

MDG Gap Task Force Report: Yesterday, the SG released the 2010 MDG Gap Task Force Report, dedicated to MDG 8, which this year focuses on the impact of the global economic crisis.  The SG pointed out that while ODA is at an all-time high, $20 billion in commitments remain missing for this year. Africa accounts for 80% of that gap. With the MDG Summit approaching, the SG urges leaders to forge these commitments because the international community has all the necessary tools and resources to achieve the MDGs by 2015.

MDG Gap Task Force Report: Yesterday, the SG released the 2010 MDG Gap Task Force Report, dedicated to MDG 8, which this year focuses on the impact of the global economic crisis.  The SG pointed out that while ODA is at an all-time high, $20 billion in commitments remain missing for this year. Africa accounts for 80% of that gap. With the MDG Summit approaching, the SG urges leaders to forge these commitments because the international community has all the necessary tools and resources to achieve the MDGs by 2015.: today the Flash Appeal for the Pakistan floods was revised upwards to $2 billion to provide aid to  14 million people over 1 year.  The $459.7 million original appeal, which is 80% funded, is included in this figure – leaving an outstanding need of $1.6 billion.  This money will go towards 483 projects to be carried out by 15 UN bodies (plus IOM) and 156 NGOs.

Afghan elections: tomorrow Afghanistan will hold parliamentary elections, to which UNAMA is providing technical and logistical support (in response to a request from the Government of Afghanistan).  Yesterday, SRSG for Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, met with election officials and local leaders in Kandahar and expressed the UN’s support for the elections.

Panel of Inquiry on Flotilla Incident: the SG has received the report of the Panel of Inquiry on the Flotilla Incident, which is largely procedural.  The Panel has received an interim report from Turkey on progress of its national investigation, and is awaiting a report from Israel.

DRC: today the Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement calling on the DRC to take “swift and fair” action to bring the perpetrators of the rapes in eastern DRC to justice.  The Council also expressed its willingness to consider actions – including “targeted measures” – against those responsible.

Somalia: Yesterday Augustine Mahiga, SRSG for Somalia, briefed the Security Council, expressing concern about the country’s security situation and its potential impact on the region.  He noted that the TFG should reserve the fragile peace created by the Djibouti Agreement, with 11 months left before the end of the transition period.  Mahiga appealed to States to support Somalia, including financial and material support for AMISOM.  Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement following a three-day visit to the region, calling for an end to the culture of impunity

HRC: This morning the HRC held an Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on the situation of Human Rights in Sudan (whose mandate is up for renewal), during which the U.S. made a strong case for the renewal of IE’s mandate for another year, especially due to the upcoming referendum.  Today also featured a discussion of “situations requiring the Council’s attention”, in which Ambassador Donahoe brought attention to Iran (particularly restrictions on freedoms of expression, assembly and religion); Myanmar (particularly the upcoming Nov 7 elections), Cuba, DPRK and the DRC (and the recent use of mass rape), among other countries.

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Malakal, via google maps

Dispatch from a Divided Sudanese Frontier Town

MALAKAL, Sudan–The feeling in this town is markedly more tense than the last time I visited nine months ago. Malakal has been a site of emerging tensions in the south in recent years, and given its proximity to the north-south border, it may be a bellwether for the way relations between north and south are headed as the referendum
approaches.

In 2008, a serious clash between the northern and southern army units of the so-called “Joint Integrated Units,” a joint Sudanese military force envisioned by the drafters of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement to be the future army of “New Sudan.” Instead, the JIUs are more prone to fighting with each other than training together, as evidenced by the firefight between the forces here two years ago. More recently, local tensions over land and territorial claims between the Dinka and Shilluk populations in and around Malakal have resulted in villages near Malakal being burned and in one case, indirectly caused fighting during the 2009 ceremony to commemorate the signing of the 2005 peace accord that ended the north-south civil war.

Lately, tensions in Malakal are evident in the movement of SPLA forces to one of the most strategic points in town: the airport. The northern Sudanese army (SAF) component of the JIU has always been on the “airport side” of town, while the SPLA unit is positioned closer to the town center. The town remains divided in this manner, with SAF soldiers sticking to their side of Malakal and southern soldiers doing the same since the 2008 clash. However, a new contingent of SPLA troops have moved in recent months to a small site just outside the airport, on the opposite side of SAF and a kilometer or two from the
U.N. base.

Given the makeshift nature of the shelters the SPLA have constructed, if I had not been told that this new cluster of mud huts and straw thatched roofs next to the airport was the new SPLA unit in town, I would have thought that the settlement could have been a small group of internally displaced people who had fled their homes for one reason or another. Nonetheless, the increased SPLA presence is signficant given the location and it is representative of a broader policy being implemented now by both the southern and the northern armies: increased deployment of troops and hardware near the contested
north-south border. Is not surprising that both armies are abiding by the adage of “hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.”

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Scenesetter for the UN’s upcoming MDGs Summit

An audio transcript of a press conference in which our friends at the UN Foundation preview next week’s UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals.

MEDIA ADVISORY

On-the-Record Scenesetter for the UN’s upcoming Millennium Development Goals Summit

On-the-Record Press Teleconference with UN Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin, Vice President for Public Policy Peter Yeo and Senior Director of Partnerships for Energy and Climate Leslie Cordes

Priorities on Global Health, Women and Children’s Issues, Energy and Climate and U.S.-UN Relations to be Discussed

Washington, D.C. – The United Nations Foundation will host a press teleconference with UN Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin to help set the stage and provide background in advance of next week’s historic UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Summit taking place September 20-22, 2010 marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the MDGs, where President Barack Obama and other world leaders, will deliver a plan to advance progress in reaching these goals.

The MDGs are eight goals that all 192 United Nations member-states have agreed to help achieve. They offer a road map to end poverty and its root causes and tackle the biggest problems facing the world today – these include global poverty, women’s and children’s health, hunger, and education. According to the latest nationwide polling, the UN Foundation has found that 68% of Americans agree that these issues should be at the forefront of a global conversation. Americans, together, with the rest of the world’s citizens, say that these issues deserve more attention and focus. For more details, please visit www.unfoundation.org/mdgs.

Who: Kathy Calvin, CEO, UN Foundation

Peter Yeo, Vice President, Public Policy and Public Affairs, UN Foundation; Executive Director, Better World Campaign

Leslie Cordes, Senior Director of Partnerships, Energy and Climate, UN Foundation

UN Foundation MDG Press Call by UN Dispatch

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What should President Obama include in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly?

Forum | 3
brimmer-press7

The Obama Agenda at the United Nations

President Obama’s official agenda for the UN Summit will be released sometime tomorrow. Yesterday, at an address at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer gave something of a thematic overview of the issues and messages that the United States will be pushing next week.  Her full remarks are below. A couple of things stand out.

1) Nuclear non proliferation and disarmament still top the agenda.  Last year, the president chaired a meeting of the Security Council dedicated to the topic–which was historic for the fact that it was the first time an American president chaired a Council meeting in person.  This year the focus will be less thematic, and more narrowly trained on building support for Iran sanctions. EG:

While progress has been made, we are also focused on the issue of enforcement. One of the factors critical to realizing the President’s goal of a nuclear free world is compliance with international obligations, and the need for consequences when these agreements are violated…

Iran has repeatedly failed to live up to its own commitments and continues to violate its obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions, the NPT, and its IAEA Safeguards Agreement. It has also failed to address the fundamental concerns related to its nuclear program. In June the Security Council responded by adopting Resolution 1929 which strengthens sanctions on Iran. Following its adoption, we have witnessed enhanced measures to hold Iran accountable, including robust EU sanctions, and then follow-up action from Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

While the door is still open to engagement and diplomacy, we will continue to increase pressure on Iran’s leaders to fulfill their obligations and cease their irresponsible behavior. We are strongly urging other states to join a growing international consensus to ensure that the sanctions in Resolution 1929 are fully implemented.

2) This will not come as surprise to many of us who follow these things closely, but do expect the Obama administration to tout two new U.S. development programs during the MDG summit: Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative.  Feed the Future is a program that will commit $3.5 billion over the next three years to help select countries fight the root causes of hunger. The Global Health Initiative is a 6 year, $63 billion program to help select countries improve their health systems and promote other global health priorities. Expect both to feature prominently in remarks by American officials as evidence that the Obama administration is committed to the MDGs.

Here is Brimmer’s speech. I will post a transcript when it’s available.

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mhealth

The mHealth Alliance and the Millennium Development Goal Summit

Our friends at the mHealth Alliance pass along this note from the most recent issue of the  Alliance’s monthly e-newsletter, mPulse.

Next week in New York City, world leaders and heads of business and development groups will convene for the 2010 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit.  The MDGs set out ambitious targets for reducing disease and mortality worldwide by 2015.  In addition to combating the most harmful infectious diseases for adults and children, the goals focus on ending poverty and hunger, improving maternal and child health, increasing access to education for all children, and promoting environmental sustainability.

Due in large part to the increasing ubiquity of mobile devices, technological innovation can accelerate progress in achieving the MDGs, especially for women’s health, which is crucial to the improvement of the overall health of developing nations.  As mentioned in an earlier issue (Vol. 2., Issue 5) of mPulse, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently assembled the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.  The Strategy will be launched formally during the MDG Summit.

The MDGs and the Global Strategy both call for the use of technological innovation and public-private partnerships to improve health outcomes globally.  To harness the tremendous opportunity mHealth presents for improving the health and wellbeing of women and children, the mHealth Alliance and a set of international partners have developed a very specific mHealth plan to produce the impact on maternal and newborn health the Global Strategy envisions.

The Maternal and Newborn mHealth Initiative recommends the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially mobile, throughout maternal and child health programs to empower women and their healthcare providers with information, support and access to higher levels of care.  Mobile devices also can make data collection and monitoring efforts more accessible, efficient, and accurate.   The Initiative will be discussed at meetings of the United Nations Digital He@lth Initiative, the UN’s Broadband Commission, and a series of other events next week.  In addition, check out the Global Health Magazine Online for our op-ed, further covering the Initiative and a high level view of the current space within Maternal and Newborn Health and mobile based innovation.

Stay tuned for a recap on announcements made in support of the Global Strategy at the UN MDG Summit.  You can follow events in New York through the UN Foundation, Mashable and 92Y Social Good Summit at: http://mashable.com/un-week/.  Discussions and decision-making supporting collaboration between the technology, health, development, policy, and research communities will continue during the mHealth Summit, taking place November 8-10, 2010 in Washington, D.C.

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