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Ban urges action on sanitation

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has noted that the world is lagging in its efforts to aid the number of people who lack access to decent sanitation; he called for concrete measures from Member States and civil society groups to remedy the problem.
Mr. Ban told the first preparatory meeting for the International Year of Sanitation, which will be marked in 2008, that "access to sanitation is a fundamental issue of human dignity and human rights, and also of economic development and environmental protection."
Approimately 2.6 billion people worldwide don't have access to basic sanitation services.More
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Over $30 billion in commitments made at Iraq Compact meeting

A five-year plan for peace and development in Iraq was co-launched today by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which world leaders pledged their partnership with the Iraqi Government. Over $30 billion in financial commitments have been announced so far.
The 74 delegations unanimously adopted a resolution reaffirming their shared commitment to a secure and stable Iraq and emphasizing the need for improved governance, anti-corruption measures, equal protection for all Iraqis and an institutional framework based on the rule of law.Secretary-General Ban, in a press conference following the adoption of the resolution, said he was pleased that a number of countries have already made concrete commitments, estimated at over $30 billion.
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Ban names three Special Envoys on Climate Change

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has named Special Envoys for Climate Change: the first woman Prime Minister of Norway, the former President of Chile, and the President of the 56th Session of the UN General Assembly.The three envoys--Norwegian ex-Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, President Ricardo Lagos Escobar of Chile, and former GA President Han Seung-soo--are also prominent in international environmental affairs, says Ban's spokesperson, Michele Montas.
"The Secretary-General looks forward to working with these three highly respected international figures on a matter which is of highest importance to the future of the planet," Ms. Montas said.
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CSD calls for policy push promoting energy efficiency

Kicking off the 15th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, delegates in New York proposed a wide range of measures to bring modern energy services to the poor, reduce energy waste and cut climate change-causing greenhouse gases.
"We need a major policy push to promote energy efficiency, to generate new energy technologies, and to promote advanced and cleaner technologies," said Jose Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, in an opening address to the two-week session.
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Ban meets with Al Gore to take on environment issues

goreban.jpgLast week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with former United States Vice President Al Gore to discuss climate change.In his meeting, Ban said he was "very much encouraged by his firm commitment, as well as voluntary willingness to help the cause of the United Nations" regarding global warming. Ban also noted that he hopes to work closely with Gore to mobilize countries and "enhance the awareness of the international community with this issue."More
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Water acess in Darfur

The United Nations refugee chief has pledged to step up efforts to improve local access to water in the Darfur region.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres toured areas adjacent to the Sudanese-Chadian border and met with African Union (AU) officials in West Darfur yesterday, the third day of his visit to Sudan.An estimated 25,000 Chadians have sought refuge in West Darfur, despite the conflict in that part of Sudan, because of fighting across eastern Chad in recent months between rebels and Government forces.
Guterres acknowledged the vital importance of water to everyone living in the area and promised that UNHCR would do all it could to find better solutions for the refugees.More
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UN human rights report: Iraq casualty figures continue to climb

According to the latest United Nations human rights report on Iraq, large-scale killings and targeted assassinations continue to impede efforts to bring lasting stability and security to Iraq.
Although Government officials declared a drop in the number of killings in late February after the Baghdad Security Plan was launched, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) says the number of reported casualties rose again in March.UNAMI also voiced concern regarding the handling of suspects arrested as part of the Plan. The new procedures "contained no explicit measures guaranteeing minimum due process rights." Rather, the report argues, "they authorized arrests without warrants and the interrogation of suspects without placing a time limit on how long they could be held in pre-trial detention."
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