General Assembly: today the GA committees began their programs of work for the main part of the 65th session. For its part, the Fifth Committee will cover several topics; most notably, procurement reform, OIOS, human resources management (likely implementing continuing contracts, a key part of streaming the UN’s contractual arrangements), the administration of justice and the UN’s new Enterprise Resource Planning system called Umoja. Budget-related topics on the agenda include revised estimates for the current (2010-2011) biennium and an outline of the 2012-2013 budget. Budgetary implications of Special Political Missions and PKOs are also likely to be discussed.
HRC 15th Session: last Friday the HRC wrapped up its 15th session in Geneva, with the adoption of several resolutions. Highlights of the session include a resolution on the freedom of assembly and association introduced by the U.S., which creates a Special Rapporteur on the issue; a resolution creating a group of experts to report on discrimination against women; and the mandate extension of the Independent Expert on in Sudan by one year. Other topics addressed include human rights in Somalia and the mass rapes in the DRC. Laura Rozen’s post on Politico today is a useful resource on U.S. accomplishments.
Security Council: this morning the Security Council adopted its program of work for October and Ugandan Ambassador Rugunda briefed the press on key dates. Highlights will include a debate on peacebuilding (including the 5 year review of the PBC) on October 13, a debate on support for AU peacekeeping on the 22nd and the tenth anniversary of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security on the 26th , which is likely to be at the ministerial level. Mandate expirations this month include MINUSTAH and ISAF. A Council delegation is also leaving for Sudan tonight, and will visit Khartoum, Juba and El Fasher. The trip will also include a stop in Uganda. A week from tomorrow the GA will hold Security Council elections for 5 rotating seats for 2011-2013. Canada, Germany and Portugal will compete for two WEOG seats. Africa, Asia and GRULAC are likely to be uncontested.
Prepping for Cancún:Speaking at the opening of Tianjin climate meeting,Christiana Figueres, head of the UNFCCC, called governments to accelerate their search for common ground and agree on what is doable at the conference before it launches on November 29, 2010. Figueres stressed that a concrete outcome was urgently needed in order to restore faith in the ability of Parties to drive negotiations forward. Roughly 3,000 participants from more than 176 countries are currently attending the Tianjin meeting.
Peace talks: theSG spoke with PM Benjamin Netanyahu, President Mahmoud Abbas, and Senator George Mitchell on Friday, renewing his hope that Israel will extend is settlement restraint policy and discussing the current status of talks between Palestinians and Israelis. A meeting of foreign ministers from the Arab states will take place later this week.
PKOs in the Middle East: today, the heads of three UN peacekeeping missions in the Middle East (UNTSO, UNDOF, and UNIFIL) met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, discussing the evolving regional affairs and the dangers of terrorism. Peres expressed his gratitude for the work of UN peacekeepers.