SG: Today, the SG addressed the G20 leaders in Seoul, emphasizing that the MDGs should be promises kept. He stressed that that each leader should focus on reaching these goals, especially in fulfilling the funding commitments. In the same vein, the SG discussed the importance of climate change, and that climate finance is the key avenue to making overall progress. He stated that developing countries are looking for new funds, not repackaged development aid. The SG will be in New York on Monday.
Cholera in Haiti: The UN and its partners just devised a new cholera plan and have requested more than $163 million from the international community. Nigel Fisher, the Humanitarian Coordinator, said that the sheer quantity of relief items that need to be sent all over Haiti require more financial and logistical backing by all humanitarian agencies and donors. According to OCHA, more than 12,000 Haitians have been hospitalized and more than 800 have died during the cholera outbreak. 200,000 are estimated to show symptoms of cholera.
Sexual Violence in Conflict: in a UNU briefing earlier this week, Margot Wallstrom, SRSG for Sexual Violence in Conflict, spoke to the horrific realities faced by women in times of conflict, citing the over 200,000 rapes reported in Eastern DRC, the “rape capital of the world”. She also enumerated several initiatives which should be implemented to facilitate women as agents of positive change and end impunity; including, better communication, night presence by peacekeeping troops, psychosocial training, programs which support women in conflict, community building, ensuring that peacekeepers can identify and report early warning signs of sexual violence, helping to build country capacity to monitor and report, training at military camps to understand sexual violence and facilitating a study on the economic impact of sexual violence. She added that she needs a good support team, including 9 posts.
Iraq: The SG welcomed the agreement of the government formation process in Iraq, congratulating President Jalal Talabani on his reelection and calling on Iraqi leaders to keep moving forward in creating a new government. He noted that Iraq’s different factions have gathered together and steered this Iraqi-led process, and further encouraged the parties to maintain efforts and conclude the creation of the new government.
Security Council in GA: Yesterday, and continuing today, the GA held a debate on the annual report of the Security Council and Security Council reform – the latter of which has been the subject of significant press attention due to Obama’s statement indicating his support for India as a Council member. A similar statement was also made earlier this week by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague supporting Brazil’s bid. In the GA discussion, U.S. Ambassador DiCarlo spoke less directly, supporting the sixth round of intergovernmental negotiations which will commence under the chairmanship of Ambassador Tanin of Afghanistan, stating, “We support expansion of the Council in a way that will neither diminish its effectiveness nor its efficiency”. Speaking more specifically, she said the U.S. is open to “modest expansion” in both permanent (though country-specific, v. regional) and non-permanent seats but is not open to any enlargement which “changes the current veto structure”.
Upcoming meetings: Next Monday, Valerie Amos will brief on her recent trip to Sudan. On Tuesday, the Security Council will hold a debate on Sudan.