Security Council/Regional Orgs: The Security Council will hold an open debate next week on strengthening strategic cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, with January’s President calling for closer ties to help deal with common issues such as conflict resolution. Ambassador Baso Sangqu of South Africa told reporters today at UN Headquarters in New York that his country’s President Jacob Zuma will chair the meeting on strengthening cooperation, which is slated for 12 January.

Ambassador Baso Sangqu also called for an investigation into human rights abuses committed in the wake of NATO’s bombing campaign to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. He called for an investigation of abuses by all sides, “especially those mandated by resolutions of the Security Council.”


Sudan:
Reports from people fleeing two troubled Sudanese states indicate alarming rates of food insecurity and rising levels of malnutrition, the United Nations humanitarian chief warned today. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator met with Sudan’s Social Welfare Minister Amira Al Fadil in Khartoum, the capital. After her meeting with the minister, Ms. Amos outlined a four-point plan promoting cooperation between the UN and Sudan in an effort to halt the escalating food crisis in the restive states, noting that the Government would establish a mechanism to ensure continuous dialogue between Khartoum and the UN.


Iraq:
The United Nations envoy to Iraq today voiced concern as he met with senior officials in the country’s Kurdistan region over Iraq’s continued political stalemate and rising sectarian tensions. Mr. Kobler’s appeal today follows that of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who yesterday expressed concern about the continuing political tensions in Iraq and called on the Government “to further strengthen its democratically-elected institutions.” Since last month’s completion of the withdrawal of United States troops from the country, Iraq has faced mounting political and sectarian tensions.


Pakistan:
Thirty-five new schools constructed by UNICEF with donor funding in the southern area of Punjab province in Pakistan, which was devastated by floods in 2010, have opened with 4,500 pupils attending classes, the agency reported today. UNICEF initiated a schools reconstruction program in the worst affected districts of southern Punjab and other parts of the country since most of the Government school buildings were either damaged or completely destroyed. The agency also established temporary learning center to ensure that children did not miss their academic year.