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UN Radio: UN to Hand Over Oil-For-Food Programme

UN Radio: UN to Hand Over Oil-For-Food Programme to Iraq Coalition

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  • Special Report: Transparency Needed When Oil For Food Programme Transferred To Iraq Coalition Authority
  • Special Report: Opium Production On The Rise In Afghanistan
  • UN General Assembly to Debate Policies on Trade, Aid and Country Debt

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan says progress has been made in several areas since last year's International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Monterrey, Mexico. In a report to the General Assembly, the Secretary-General advocates a number of reforms in the global financial system and assesses the state of world trade negotiations. Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Jose Antonio Ocampo told reporters today's report aims to push forward the agenda of financing for development.:

    " In terms of progress, I think the report stresses the fact that Monterrey was able to turn around the adverse negative trends that the overseas development assistance had been experiencing since the mid-1980's. Last year we saw an increase of $5 billion and the commitment made at Monterrey will imply that we will have 16 billion dollars by 2006."

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    The report however points out that this is much less than what is required to meet the Millennium Development Goals, estimated at 50 billion dollars by the United Nations and the World Bank. The General Assembly is looking at issues relating to trade, aid, debt, investment, domestic finance and international financial architecture in a two-day ministerial dialogue.

    Gender Balance is Essential in UN Peacekeeping Missions: Guehenno

    Real progress has been made on gender mainstreaming in UN peacekeeping operations. But at present, women make up only a third of all professional staff in peacekeeping missions. The UN's top peacekeeping official Jean-Marie Guehenno urged member States to provide more women civilian police and military personnel to peacekeeping operations. He told a meeting of the Security Council on Women, Peace and Security that gender balance is essential:

    "We acknowledge that there is a long road ahead of us, and that gender mainstreaming in post-conflict environments is not easy. It will take a concerted effort of will. We must learn to see gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping not as an afterthought, but as the key to any peacekeeping mission's success."

    Under-Secretary-General Guehenno said the Department of Peacekeeping Operations intends to be more effective in identifying suitable women candidates for senior positions and recruiting professional-level women in missions.

    UN to Hand Over Oil-For-Food Programme on Time

    The United Nations remains on schedule to transfer the running of the Iraq Oil-for-Food programme on November 21st. Executive Director of the programme Benon Sevan told the Security Council he is confident of handing over responsibility and the programme's assets to the United States-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq:

    "Handing over a multi-billion dollar programme of such complexity and magnitude during the six-month period as mandated by resolution 1483 would have been extremely difficult even under the best of circumstances. Doing so under the current conditions of insecurity and reduced on-site staffing capacity will require a degree of realism, as well as flexibility, for all parties involved."

    Mr. Sevan said that despite these constraints, the United Nations remains fully committed to the humanitarian welfare of the Iraqi people. The UN has been phasing down its activities in three governorates in northern Iraq, where it directly ran the programme.

    UN Panel Says Stopping Arms Shipments Critical to Ending Congo's Civil War

    A UN-appointed panel has called on the international community to focus on halting the flow of illegal arms to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The panel, in its final report, said the key to ending Congo's civil war and the plunder of its wealth is to break the vicious cycle of arms shipments to the African nation. The panel also recommends increased efficiency in border control, the break-up of large state-owned mineral resource companies, effective integration of the new armed forces and the creation of a natural resources fund which would attempt to ensure that the benefits from mining go to the people of the country. The report is to be formally presented to the Security Council on Thursday.

    Afghanistan Could Become Failed State: UN

    A new report warns that Afghanistan, as the world's leading producer of opium, risks becoming a failed state once again in the hands of drug cartels and narco-terrorists. The report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says Afghanistan is clearly at a crossroads. It says if major surgical drug control measures are not taken now, the drug cancer in Afghanistan will keep spreading and transform into corruption, violence and terrorism.

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