Articles for this Update were compiled by the City Bar's Committee on the United Nations.
Security Council unanimously approves new UN peacekeeping mission in Mali
The UN Security Council today approved a 12,600-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation to take over from the African-led mission in Mali on July 1st, 2013.
The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)'s core task is to support the political process in Mali, in close coordination with the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44751
BBC News Article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22296705
Mandate of UN mission in Western Sahara extended for one more year
In a resolution adopted unanimously today, the 15-member UN Security Council decided to extend the mission's mandate until April 30, 2014.
The Council “affirms its strong support for the commitment of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy towards a solution to the question of Western Sahara in this context and calls for renewed meetings and strengthening of contacts.”
Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44753
Syria: UN cultural chief deplores ruination of Aleppo as ancient minaret is destroyed
The head of the United Nations cultural organization (UNESCO) expressed her deep distress over continuing destruction of the ancient city of Aleppo, designated a World Heritage site.
The Ancient City of Aleppo was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1986, in recognition of its “rare and authentic Arab architectural styles” and its testimony to the city's cultural, social, and technological development from the Mameluke period.
Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44748
UN chief expresses support for dialogue on reopening Korean industrial complex
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today affirmed support for inter-Korean dialogue, following the Republic of Korea's offer to hold talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
In February 2013, the DPRK conducted its third, long threatened nuclear test, a move that was in violation of Security Council sanctions and drew widespread condemnation. The test prompted the UN Security Council to tighten sanctions on the country's trade and banking, as well as travel by targeted officials.
Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44745
Secretary-General welcomes latest agreement between Sudan and South Sudan
Today Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, welcomed the agreements reached by the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan on implementing further elements of their 2012 accords.
Meetings were held under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Panel in Addis Ababa on April 22, 2013 and April, 23 2013. The agreement includes provisions on security, the common border and economic relations aimed at enabling the two nations to fulfill their obligations under a so-called roadmap for easing tensions, facilitating the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations and normalizing the relations between the two countries.
Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44744
UN, African Union peacekeepers deliver critical aid to East Darfur displaced
The African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) have delivered nearly 80,000 kilograms of critical humanitarian aid to thousands of civilians displaced by renewed fighting in Labado and Muhajeria, East Darfur. At present, an estimated 20,000 displaced people have gathered around the Mission's team sites in Labado and Muhajeria.
The international aid, delivered and protected by UNAMID peacekeepers, was provided by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44742
Ban, Security Council strongly condemn attack on French Embassy in Libya
A deadly attack on the French Embassy in Libya's capital, Tripoli, was strongly condemned today by UN Secretary-General Ban and the Security Council. According to media reports, Libyan officials said that a car bomb that exploded in front of the Embassy in downtown Tripoli this morning injured two French guards and destroyed much of the diplomatic compound.
Through today's message, the Secretary-General sent his sympathy to the victims and their families, and affirmed that the UN would support efforts to improve security and legal order in the country.
Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44733
Children's education in Central Africa Republic devastated by conflict, UN says
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)'s news release confirmed that at least 250,000 children who started the 2012-2013 primary school year, and 30,000 who were in secondary school at the start of the crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), could lose the entire school year if schools do not re-open in the coming weeks.
According to UNICEF, the education system in the CAR was “very weak” even before the crisis. The literacy rate for young women is 27.4 per cent and for young men 51.1 per cent. Some 65 per cent of teachers are unqualified parents who have volunteered as teachers.
Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44731
On Mother Earth Day, UN Member States urged to promote harmony with nature
Since 2009, the UN General Assembly has marked International Mother Earth Day on Earth Day or April 22, expressing its conviction that, to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations, “it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth.”
Top United Nations officials today urged the 193 Member States to renew their pledges to honor and respect Mother Earth marking the day selected by the world body to promote harmony with nature and sustainable development.
Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44723
Fighting international crime is key to sustainable development, UN official says
The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said today that international crime undermines sustainable development, hinders access to education and discourages investment opportunities.
UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov warned that uninterrupted criminal activities could ultimately affect the achievement of the 2015 anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in those countries which needed improvement the most, and disrupting the flow of illegal profits had become crucial for successfully combatting crime.
Read the full article at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44717
Topic In Focus
The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)
The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was established by UN Security Council resolution 690 on April 29, 1991, in accordance with settlement proposals accepted on August 30, 1988, by Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (Frente POLISARIO).
Western Sahara, a Territory on the north-west coast of Africa bordered by Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria, was administered by Spain until 1976. Both Morocco and Mauritania affirmed their claim to the territory, a claim opposed by the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro.
The United Nations has been involved in efforts to find a settlement in Western Sahara since 1976, when fighting broke out between Morocco and the Frente Polisario after the Spanish colonial administration of the territory ended.
More MINURSO background information:
UN Security Council resolution 690 of April 29, 1991:
Committee's Letter to Secretary General Ki-Moon: