DR Congo UN envoy urges return to peace process after recent clashes

15 September 2008The top United Nations envoy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has joined a group of international officials in calling for stepped-up efforts to restore peace to the country’s volatile eastern region, the scene of recent fighting between the Government and rebel groups. Alan Doss, along with representatives of the members of the Security Council, the African Union and the European Union, met with President Joseph Kabila yesterday in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, where clashes broke out on 28 August between the country’s armed forces (FARDC) and the National Congress for People’s Defense, known by its French acronym CNDP. The recent hostilities were some of the worst in over a year and a violation of the Actes d’engagement signed by the parties in January this year.Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Doss – the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUC) – said the participants all agreed on the need to revive the Amani programme, set up to implement the January peace deal. The participants also stressed that a disengagement plan be presented as soon as possible and that practical steps be taken for the safe return of displaced people, according to a news release issued by MONUC.They also agreed that the CNDP, headed by renegade general Laurent Nkunda, be brought back into the Amani programme.Meanwhile, MONUC reported today that the situation in both North and South Kivu remained “relatively calm” and UN forces are continuing to follow the withdrawal of CNDP troops from all occupied positions since the resumption of the fighting. read more

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Winners of multilingual essay contest on new UN sustainability agenda honoured in

“You were asked to do something inspired and challenging – to write an essay in an official United Nations language that is not your own,” the UN chief said in a message delivered to the Global Youth Forum by Cristina Gallach, the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. “You did so in the United Nations’ 70th anniversary year. You are our “70 for 70” team!From a pool of over 1,200 entrants, the 70 students, from 42 countries representing 60 universities, were selected as winners of the essay contest, which was organized by ELS Educational Services, Inc., and the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI).The Many Languages, One World, contest challenged college and university students from around the globe to write an essay examining the post-2015 global development agenda of the United Nations. The essays were to be submitted in one of the six official United Nations languages, which was not the student’s first-language, or the principal language of instruction in their primary or secondary education. The official languages of the United Nations are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.More than 3,500 people from 130 countries took part in the initial phase of the contest. The winners were invited to New York and given the opportunity today to speak in the UN General Assembly Hall.In his remarks, the Secretary-General noted the importance of multilingualism, which “allows us to come together across diverse societies to work cooperatively to improve the state of the world.”“This is, of course, is the central mission of the United Nations, and it is one that depends upon multilingualism,” he said. Describing the year 2015 as “a special time,” Mr. Ban said this year represents “a historic opportunity to forge a new sustainable development path that will lead us to an end to poverty and a life of dignity for all.”The students wrote about such topics as inclusive and equitable education for all; healthy lives and well-being for all ages; full and productive employment and decent work for all; and the importance of human rights and holding institutions accountable. read more

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