In a message delivered on his behalf by B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Ban said the new Centre – located in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan – “holds tremendous promise” for reducing the potential threat from conflicts and other cross-border challenges, such as drug trafficking, terrorism and environmental degradation.“As we all know too well, dealing with the aftermath of violent conflict is costly,” the message said. “Lives are needlessly lost. Economies are destroyed. Hopes for development are dashed. Resolving conflicts before violence occurs is one of the smartest investments we can make.”Known by its acronym UNRCCA, the Centre is tasked with assisting the Governments of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan “in building capacities to peacefully prevent conflict, in facilitating dialogue, and in catalyzing international support behind projects and initiatives,” according to the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), which has set it up.The Centre will be headed by a senior representative of Mr. Ban and has been awarded an initial budget of $2.3 million and a small international staff contingent. UNRCCA is expected to work closely with existing UN agencies and programmes operating in Central Asia, and also regional groups such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).Mr. Ban noted in his message that “the countries of Central Asia have made great strides in building their independent statehoods and frameworks for mutual dialogue and cooperation,” adding that the best way to deal with the region’s shared challenges is to pursue collective solutions.In his own remarks to the two-day Conference on International Cooperation for Preventive Diplomacy, which also opened today in Ashgabat, Mr. Pascoe stressed the benefits of preventive diplomacy.“There is recognition that if a fraction of the resources that are spent on peacekeeping was spent on prevention, the world would have become a much safer place. Prevention is an investment in peace,” he said.General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim, in his own message to mark the Centre’s inauguration, said that too often in the past the international community had only paid “lip service” to the concept of preventive diplomacy.“In Central Asia we are taking a concrete step now… All this together may serve as a further boost and example for other Member States to take collective action on a regional as well as global level in preventive diplomacy.” 10 December 2007Preventive diplomacy is not an option but a necessity, given the gravity of so many situations worldwide, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, launching the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia.
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — De’Andre Hunter had 20 points and nine rebounds to help No. 4 Virginia beat No. 25 Wisconsin 53-46 on Friday in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game.Ty Jerome added 11 points for the Cavaliers (6-0), who led 33-18 after a strong first half, and then sputtered offensively as the Badgers kept pushing back. Virginia made just 2 of 16 shots out of halftime and shot 26 per cent for the second half.But the Cavs’ usual tough defence was good enough to keep the Badgers and preseason Associated Press All-American Ethan Happ at arm’s distance.Happ finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds and six assists for Wisconsin (5-1), which shot 52 per cent after halftime to cut into the deficit. The Badgers got as close as five four separate times in the second half, but could never overtake the Cavaliers.NO. 7 NORTH CAROLINA 94, NO. 17 UCLA 78LAS VEGAS (AP) — Coby White had 19 points and eight assists, Luke Maye added 16 points and eight rebounds and won the consolation game of the Las Vegas Invitational.Kenny Williams scored 15 points as five Tar Heels reached double figures and North Carolina (6-1) settled for a split in its Las Vegas trip.Kris Wilkes led UCLA (4-2) with 22 points as he converted 7 of 10 from the field.North Carolina now leads the all-time series 9-3 in a game between teams that have combined for 18 national championships.NO. 9 MICHIGAN 83, CHATTANOOGA 55ANN Arbour, Mich. (AP) — Iggy Brazdeikis scored 20 points and Jordan Poole added 14 to lead Michigan to an easy victory.Isaiah Livers added 12 points for the Wolverines, all in the first half. Michigan (6-0) avoided a letdown in its first game back in Ann Arbor after three impressive wins away from home.The unbeaten Wolverines have won each of their games by at least 19 points. They led 42-22 at halftime in this one and held Chattanooga (2-5) to 36 per cent shooting, including an 8-of-30 showing from the field in the first half.Kevin Easley led the Mocs with 21 points.NO. 24 PURDUE 84, ROBERT MORRIS 46WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Carsen Edwards scored 19 points and Ryan Cline had 17 as Purdue routed Robert Morris.The Boilermakers (5-1) bounced back nicely from their first loss of the season Sunday night against No. 13 Virginia Tech. Edwards was 5 for 17 from the field against the Colonials, but also contributed five assists, four steals and a blocked shot.Malik Petteway led Robert Morris with 10 points. The Colonials (3-3) shot 31.5 per cent (17 for 54) from the field.The Associated Press