At General Assembly debate speakers praise UN reforms but urge further action

“Even sceptics cannot deny that the UN in 2006 is profoundly different from the UN 10 years ago,” said Alexandr Vondra, the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, noting that many reform projects were carried out although some, including the “long-overdue reform of the Security Council” were not.If the UN could succeed in management reform, it will become “stronger, leaner, less bureaucratic and more operational,” he said. “Let us hope that these changes will be backed by the adoption of a new and fair scale of assessments, by adequate budget and payment discipline, and, last but not least, by progress in implementing the Capital Master Plan” for overhauling the UN’s dilapidated Headquarters complex.Anders Lidén, Sweden’s Ambassador said the High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence provides “a unique opportunity to revitalize the support of the United Nations to the developing countries.”This, said, will ultimately serve those States where the Organization operates. “If the UN can become more effective at the country level, it will be able to mobilize more resources and ensure that they will reach the countries in need.”Representing the Observer Mission of the Holy See, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, President of the Governatorate of the Vatican City State, voiced support for reforms that have already been carried out, such as the creation of a new Peacebuilding Commission and Human Rights Council, while stressing the need for further changes.“The need to improve the system for effective humanitarian interventions in catastrophes brought on by war, civil conflict and ethnic strife will be an important test of the UN reform agenda,” he said.Also addressing the Assembly today, Gilles Noghès, the head of Monaco’s delegation, said the Principality’s Princess Stéphanie would soon be designated as a Special Representative of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS. This “will further reinforce her commitment to the battle against this terrible pandemic affecting more and more women,” he said. read more

Doubledecks drive 2016 growth for UK bus and coach market

The UK’s new bus and coach market saw a second consecutive year of growth in 2016, as demand rose 8.0%, according to figures published by SMMT. 8,779 new buses and coaches were registered in total last year, with more than 2,000 registrations made in the last quarter – a 4.6% uplift on Q4 2015.Double-decks continued to drive growth in 2016, with full year demand rising by more than a quarter (27.9%) to 1,927 units. Minibuses, which account for more than half of the market, also made strong gains, with registrations increasing 9.7% to 4,418, counteracting a -6.2% decline in single-deck vehicles.Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,2016 proved to be another strong year for the British bus and coach market, with many operators investing in their fleets over the past 12 months. Getting the latest technology and low emission vehicles on to British roads is essential to help improve air quality in our cities, and 2016’s strong record of fleet renewal will aide that process. New bus and coach market rises 8.0% in 2016, with 8,779 vehicles registered.Sector ends 2016 on a high with 4.6% increase in Q4.Double-decks record strongest performance, with 27.9% growth in 2016. Download the bus and coach press release and data table.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more