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Daily Press Briefing (28 October 2011)
28 Oct 2011 -  By the Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General addressed the Security Council’s open meeting on women, peace and security today, and he said that women’s participation in conflict prevention and resolution remains low.  This has to change, he said, adding that he is determined that the UN system should lead by example. In the past year, the Secretary-General noted, the number of women leading UN peacekeeping, political and peacebuilding missions has gone up to 6 in 33 missions.
The Secretary-General reiterated his deep concern about the persistence of serious abuses of women’s rights. We must respond swiftly and effectively to such crimes wherever and whenever they occur and hold those responsible to account, he said.
Michelle Bachelet, the Executive Director of UN Women, added that the UN system is working to increase post-conflict spending on women’s empowerment and gender equality. The UN wants that spending to reach a level of at least 15 percent of post-conflict financing within a few years.

Around one million people are in urgent need of food after a poor harvest in drought-hit Niger. The figure is likely to rise as the country moves towards the April-September lean season. Crop assessment results confirm a national cereal deficit of around 500,000 metric tons, worse figures than for the crisis years of 2005 and 2010.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is planning to scale up its operations in Niger urgently, increasing the numbers of people reached by cash and food-for-work projects, and boosting nutrition for children under age two, pregnant women and nursing mothers. The Programme already reaches an average of 500,000 vulnerable people per month.
The increasing frequency of droughts in the Sahel means that communities have not had time to recover from the last food crisis. Vulnerable families have had no time to replenish their household food stocks and build up their herds of livestock.
The return of around 200,000 migrant workers who used to send remittances to their families from Libya and Ivory Coast has not only hit the local economy but has created an additional burden on communities already struggling to find food.
The World Food Programme estimates it needs an additional US$60 million to provide food assistance to the most vulnerable groups for the next six months.
It is closely monitoring the situation in other countries in the region and is concerned about the situation in Chad, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso. In Mauritania, it estimates that some 700,000 people are facing severe food insecurity, compared to 500,000 in previous years.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that some 1.8 million people have been provided with food since the beginning of the floods in Pakistan. Another 700,000 people have received essential medicines, 870,000 people have received clean water and 375,000 people have obtained emergency shelter.
The Rapid Response Plan, which was launched on 18 September, is only 23 percent funded, so far, with only 80 million dollars received by now. If additional funding is not found, UN agencies estimate that most relief stocks will run out soon.

Today the United Nations and the Government of Nicaragua launched a Flash Appeal of US$ 14.3 million to assist 134,000 people affected by the floods over the next six months
Priority projects are in water and sanitation, shelter, health, food aid, agricultural livelihoods and early recovery. Those projects will complement and support national efforts.
Access to remote and heavily affected areas in Estreli and Chinandega is still limited due to blocked roads or landslides and flooding.

The Secretary-General will be meeting with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities this weekend in Greentree, Long Island.
The two-day meeting will begin on Sunday morning and end in the evening of Monday, 31 October.

At 10:30 p.m., there will be a press conference here to mark the day that the world’s population is projected to reach 7 billion.  Speakers will include the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly.  More details on this are available in the Week Ahead.
And then at noon our guests will be, Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.  They will brief you on the launch of a joint plan of action between UNODC and UNHCR.
And at 2:00 p.m., there will be a press conference on the “Financial Crisis and Cooperative Banks”.  Speakers will include Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
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