Yearbook of the United Nations

2412-1541 (online)
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The Yearbook of the United Nations—published by the Department of Public Information—stands as the authoritative reference work on the activities and concerns of the Organization. Based on official UN documents, the Yearbookprovides comprehensive coverage of political and security matters, human rights issues, economic and social questions, legal issues, and institutional, administrative and budgetary matters.
Yearbook of the United Nations 2009

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31 Dec 2013
9789210562973 (PDF)

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With its comprehensive coverage of political and security matters, human rights issues, economic and social questions, legal issues, and institutional, administrative and budgetary matters, the Yearbook of the United Nations stands as the most authoritative reference work on the activities and concerns of the Organization. Fully indexed, the Yearbook includes the texts of all major General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council resolutions and decisions, putting all of these in a narrative context of United Nations consideration, decision and action. In 2009, the Secretary-General called for the United Nations to become the hub of the new multilateralism. This latest volume of the Yearbook, the sixty-third, highlights the response of the Organization to the spreading economic crisis, ongoing food insecurity, and the influenza A(H1N1) pandemic, along with the looming climate crisis, against a broad spectrum of security, development, humanitarian and human rights challenges.
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  • Foreword
    From the beginning, the guiding vision of the United Nations has been as broad as it has been profound: maintaining international peace and security; developing friendly relations among nations; and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. In 2009, we met significant challenges on all fronts, as we worked to protect lives while safeguarding our planet.
  • About the 2009 edition of the Yearbook
    This sixty-third volume of the Yearbook of the United Nations continues the tradition of providing the most comprehensive coverage available of the annual activities and concerns of the United Nations.
  • Abbreviations commonly used in the Yearbook
  • Explanatory note on documents
    The following principal United Nations official document symbols appear in this volume
  • Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization
    Following is the Secretary-General’s report on the work of the Organization [A/64/1], dated 4 August 2009, submitted to the sixty-third session of the General Assembly. The Assembly took note of it on 6 October (decision 64/504).
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Political and security questions

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    • International peace and security
      The year 2009 brought new challenges for international peace and security, as the United Nations worked to address several conflict situations, mainly in Africa, and further incidents of international terrorism, while supporting the efforts of post-conflict countries to sustain peace and stability, rebuild national institutions and restore economic development. The Security Council took forward the reform of peacekeeping operations and debated ways to strengthen collective security, stressing the role of mediation in settling disputes. It also reviewed measures to ensure the protection of civilians in armed conflict and met regularly with troop-contributing countries with respect to ongoing peacekeeping operations. The Peacebuilding Commission enhanced its efforts in support of countries emerging from conflict, including through its country configurations relating to Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. During the year, the United Nations maintained 12 political and peacebuilding missions and offices.
    • Africa
      In 2009, the United Nations maintained its commitment to promoting peace, stability and development in Africa through six United Nations political and peacebuilding missions and seven peacekeeping operations. The Organization faced daunting challenges in helping the countries in conflict situations and those in transition to post-conflict peacebuilding in Central Africa and the Great Lakes region, West Africa and the Horn of Africa return to peace, stability and prosperity. Many countries faced the complex task of bringing rebel groups to the negotiating table, concluding disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes for ex-combatants, promoting national reconciliation and creating the conditions for economic and social development.
    • Americas
      During 2009, the United Nations continued to advance the cause of lasting peace, human rights, good governance and the rule of law in the Americas. In Guatemala, the International Commission against Impunity continued to implement its mandate. In September, the Secretary-General provided the General Assembly with an update on the activities of the Commission, and the UN role in the implementation of its mandate.
    • Asia and the Pacific
      In 2009, the United Nations continued to address political and security challenges in Asia and the Pacific in its efforts to restore peace and stability and to promote economic and social development.
    • Europe and the Mediterranean
      The restoration of peace and stability in the post-conflict countries in the European and Mediterranean region advanced in 2009, as efforts to re-establish their institutions and social and economic infrastructure continued. A number of issues remained unresolved, however, and in some of the countries the peace process was seriously challenged.
    • Middle East
      The crisis in the Gaza Strip in early 2009 prompted renewed efforts towards peace and stability in the Middle East. “Operation Cast Lead”, launched by Israel in response to indiscriminate Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel, worsened the humanitarian situation in Hamas-controlled Gaza and strengthened the blockade—now into its third year—enforced since Hamas won elections and formed the government in 2007. The Israeli air and infantry assault on Gaza led to massive damage to infrastructure, including to United Nations facilities, and hundreds of civilians died, mostly Palestinians.
    • Disarmament
      The Conference on Disarmament, the principal United Nations negotiating forum on the issue, in 2009 overcame years of deadlock and agreed on an agenda jump-starting its work, as the Russian Federation and the United States, the two largest nuclearweapon powers, committed themselves to disarmament in accordance with their obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (npt). However, as the year progressed, the Conference was unable to implement its agenda, revealing rifts among Member States on nuclear issues. The Disarmament Commission, which started a fresh three-year cycle, also agreed on a work programme aimed at achieving consensus on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, declaring a fourth disarmament decade and developing confidence-building measures in conventional weapons. However, progress was small, as seen also in a related postponement by the General Assembly of a decision to convene a fourth special session on disarmament.
    • Other political and security questions
      In 2009, the United Nations continued to consider political and security questions related to its efforts in support of democratization worldwide, the promotion of decolonization, the peaceful uses of outer space and the Organization’s public information activities.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Human rights

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    • Promotion of human rights
      Efforts to promote human rights were boosted in 2009 by several developments. The Human Rights Council examined the human rights record of 48 Member States through the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, designed to assess the human rights record of all States every four years. A variety of recommendations were made during the reviews, ranging from calls for ratification of human rights treaties, enactment of national legislation and deepened cooperation with human rights mechanisms, to specific action and measures at the national level. The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, which provided expertise to the Council, held its second and third sessions and submitted 13 recommendations, while the Council’s complaint procedure, which consisted of the Working Group on Communications and the Working Group on Situations, addressed consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested human rights violations throughout the world.
    • Protection of human rights
      Human rights protection was advanced in 2009 by the adoption by 182 States of the outcome document of the anti-racism Durban Review Conference, held in Geneva from 20 to 24 April. Participating States emphasized the need to address with greater resolve all manifestations of racism and related intolerance; called on States to take effective measures to prevent, combat and eradicate all forms of racism; and urged them to create and implement national plans to combat racism and intolerance. The Review Conference assessed progress made since the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001.
    • Human rights country situations
      In 2009, human rights situations of concern in Member States, particularly regarding alleged violations and how best to assist and guide Governments and national institutions in combating them, were addressed by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, and by special rapporteurs, special representatives of the Secretary-General and independent experts appointed to examine those situations.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Economic and social questions

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    • Development policy and international economic cooperation
      In 2009, with the world economy mired in the worst financial and economic crisis since the Second World War, most advanced economies were already in recession, and the outlook for emerging and other developing economies was deteriorating rapidly, including those with a recent history of strong economic performance. Key issues in development policy and international economic cooperation for the United Nations included the global recession, including its relation to the food crisis; policy responses, including reform of the international monetary and financial system; and climate change mitigation and development, along with human mobility. The General Assembly reaffirmed the need for the United Nations to play a fundamental role in promoting international cooperation for development, and to continue working towards a new international economic order based on the principles of equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest, cooperation and solidarity among States.
    • Operational activities for development
      In 2009, the UN system continued to provide development assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition through the United Nations Development Programme (undp)—the central UN body for technical assistance. During the year, undp income fell to $5.79 billion, while overall expenditure increased to $5.53 billion. Total income for the United Nations Capital Development Fund (uncdf) amounted to $36.2 million. At year’s end, cumulative allocations to projects of the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships reached approximately $1.09 billion.
    • Humanitarian and special economic assistance
      In 2009, the United Nations, through the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (ocha), continued to mobilize and coordinate humanitarian assistance. During the year, consolidated inter-agency and flash appeals were launched for Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Namibia, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, the Sudan, Uganda, West Africa, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Ocha received contributions for natural disaster assistance worth $311 million.
    • International trade, finance and transport
      In 2009, the work of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (unctad) and the UN system on international trade, finance and transport dealt mainly with the global economic and financial crisis that began the previous year. During the crisis, world trade volume contracted by almost 13 per cent. The severe decline was attributed mainly to the financial crisis, which caused a free fall of 30 to 50 per cent in world trade volumes from the end of 2008 up to the second quarter of 2009, with Asian exporters being hit hardest. World trade rebounded somewhat thereafter, but recovery was fragile.
    • Regional economic and social activities
      The five UN regional commissions continued in 2009 to provide technical cooperation, including advisory services, to their member States, promote programmes and projects, and provide training to enhance national capacity-building. Three of them held regular sessions during the year—the Economic Commission for Africa (eca), the Economic Commission for Europe (ece) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (escap). The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (eclac) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (escwa) did not meet in 2009, but were scheduled to meet in 2010. The executive secretaries of the commissions held periodic meetings to exchange views and coordinate activities and positions on major development issues.
    • Energy, natural resources and cartography
      The conservation, development and use of energy and natural resources continued to be the focus of several UN bodies in 2009, including the Commission on Sustainable Development. The Commission continued to focus on the thematic cluster: agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification, and Africa. In a resolution adopted in May, the Commission reaffirmed that protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development was an essential requirement for sustainable development.
    • Environment and human settlements
      In 2009, the United Nations and the international community continued to work towards protecting the environment through legally binding instruments and the activities of the United Nations Environment Programme (unep).
    • Population
      In 2009, the commemoration of the fifteenth anniversary of the landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (icpd) took place against the backdrop of financial turmoil and economic downturn. The global financial and economic crisis threatened to reverse progress achieved in eliminating poverty and derail the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (mdgs). Estimates suggested that the crisis had left an additional 50 million people in extreme poverty. Social and economic distress further complicated redressing gender inequality and improving reproductive health and rights, which were at the centre of the icpd agenda.
    • Social policy, crime prevention and human resources development
      In 2009, the United Nations continued to promote social, cultural and human resources development, and to strengthen its crime prevention and criminal justice programme.
    • Women
      In 2009, United Nations efforts to advance the status of women worldwide continued to be guided by the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted at the Fourth (1995) World Conference on Women, and the outcome of the General Assembly’s twentythird (2000) special session (Beijing+5), which reviewed progress in their implementation.
    • Children, youth and ageing persons
      As the only UN development and humanitarian agency wholly dedicated to children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (unicef) assisted more than 150 countries and territories in 2009, the year of the twentieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention continued to guide unicef’s mission for children, resulting in advances in child survival, development, protection and participation.
    • Refugees and displaced persons
      In 2009, the number of people of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (unhcr) increased to 36.5 million (from 34.4 million in 2008), including 10.4 million refugees, 5.5 million of whom were living in a protracted situation. The number of internally displaced persons (idps) as a result of conflict reached an estimated 27.1 million, with an unprecedented 15.6 million of them receiving unhcr protection and assistance. The latter figure constituted an increase of more than 1.2 million compared to the 2008 total of 14.4 million. The number of stateless persons identified by unhcr remained at 6.6 million, although the actual number was estimated to be closer to 12 million. Humanitarian crises and political tensions not only uprooted millions, but also prevented the return of refugees and idps. Consequently, the number of returned refugees (251,000) in 2009 was the lowest in two decades. In contrast, the number of returned idps (2.2 million) was the highest in more than a decade. There were more than 922,000 claims for asylum or refugee status submitted to Governments or unhcr offices in 159 countries or territories, representing a 5 per cent increase over the previous year (875,300).
    • Health, food and nutrition
      In 2009, the United Nations continued to promote health and food security, coordinate food aid and support research in nutrition.
    • International drug control
      In 2009, the United Nations, through the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the International Narcotics Control Board (incb) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (unodc), continued to strengthen international cooperation in countering the world drug problem. Unodc put the estimated number of problem drug users worldwide at between 15 and 39 million in 2009.
    • Statistics
      The United Nations continued its statistical work programme in 2009, mainly through the Statistical Commission and the United Nations Statistics Division. In February, the Commission adopted the System of National Accounts, 2008, volume 2, which, combined with volume 1, provided the international statistical standard for national accounts. It also adopted the proposed set of indicators on violence against women as an interim set and first step; recognized that official statistics had an important role to play in closing data gaps related to climate change; and approved its multi-year programme of work for 2009–2012.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Legal questions

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    • International Court of Justice
      In 2009, the International Court of Justice (icj) delivered three Judgments, made seven Orders, and had 18 contentious cases and one advisory procedure pending before it. Addressing the General Assembly on 29 October, the icj President, Judge Hisashi Owada, noted that during the period from 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2009, the cases before the Court had involved States from nearly all continents—Asia, Europe, North America, Central America and Africa. The universal character of the Court was reflected in the wide range of subjects addressed in those cases, including territorial and maritime delimitation, diplomatic protection, human rights, the status of individuals, international humanitarian law and environmental issues.
    • International tribunals and court
      In 2009, the international tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda worked towards the completion of their mandates.
    • International legal questions
      In 2009, the International Law Commission continued to examine topics relating to the progressive development and codification of international law. It adopted 32 draft guidelines on reservations to treaties and the procedure for formulating interpretive declarations, and adopted on first reading a set of 66 draft articles on the responsibility of international organizations. It established working groups on shared natural resources to consider the issue of oil and gas, and on the obligation to extradite or prosecute (aut dedere aut judicare).
    • Law of the Sea
      In 2009, the United Nations continued to promote universal acceptance of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and its two implementing Agreements, one on the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks and the other on the privileges and immunities of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Institutional, administrative and budgetary questions

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    • United Nations restructuring and institutional matters
      In 2009, the General Assembly continued consideration of efforts to further enhance system-wide coherence and support progress toward reaching internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (mdgs), focusing on the priority areas of: the United Nations “Delivering as one” at the country level; governance and funding of UN operational activities for development; and reform of the gender architecture within the Organization. In September, the Assembly adopted a resolution on system-wide coherence, expressing strong support for consolidating the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women into a composite entity led by an Under-Secretary-General. The Assembly also asked the Secretary-General to make proposals for the further improvement of the governance of operational activities for development, and to arrange for an independent evaluation of the “Delivering as one” programme. In October, an intergovernmental meeting of the eight “Delivering as one” pilot countries reviewed progress and lessons learned and made proposals for moving forward. The Assembly also agreed to convene in 2010 a high-level meeting on accelerating progress towards achieving the mdgs.
    • United Nations financing and programming
      During 2009, the financial situation of the United Nations was generally mixed, showing some improvement in the last quarter. By year’s end, aggregate assessments had decreased to $9 billion, compared with $10.1 billion in 2008. Total unpaid assessments were lower, with $335 million for the regular budget and $1.9 billion for peacekeeping operations, down from $417 million and $2.9 billion in 2008. Cash balances were higher for all categories, except peacekeeping, with $520 million available for the regular budget, while debt owed to Member States was $775 million. The number of Member States paying their regular budget assessments in full dropped to 136.
    • Administrative and staff matters
      During 2009, the General Assembly continued to review the administrative functioning of the Organization and matters related to United Nations staff. In April, the General Assembly, by resolution 63/269, reaffirmed the need for a global operational framework to enable the United Nations to respond to emergency situations that might impair operations of critical elements of its information and communications technology infrastructure and facilities, and encouraged the Secretary-General to take a unified approach to disaster recovery and business continuity. In October, the Secretary-General presented a framework for a unified approach to disaster recovery and business continuity, highlighting the guiding principles of a strategy for an Organization-wide plan. Also in October, the Secretary-General submitted his first progress report on the enterprise resource planning project (Umoja), cornerstone of reform to the administrative and peacekeeping support functions of the United Nations. In addition, he presented a proposal for risk mitigation measures to protect data and the information and communications systems of the Secretariat during construction work of the capital master plan. The Assembly also adopted resolutions on the capital master plan, the report of the work of the Joint Inspection Unit for 2008 and programme of work for 2009, the timely submission of documents, the pattern of conferences, and the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on its activities, as well as on the need to harmonize and improve UN informatics systems for optimal utilization and accessibility by all States.
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