HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOTLIGHTS CENTRALITY OF INDIGENOUS TO GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT
- The Secretary-General spoke at the opening of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples this morning, saying that indigenous peoples are central to the discourse of human rights and global development. He added that the success of this Conference is integral to progress for all humanity.
- Later today, he will chair a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian issue and will co-chair the fourth high-level meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism dealing with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.
- Over the weekend, the Secretary-General attended a special event of the HeForShe campaign, along with UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson.
- The Secretary-General said that one in three women is a victim of violence but this is a men’s issue. Men are responsible for most of the threats and violence against women. He added that it is important to send a message to men and boys: Do not raise your hands in violence – raise your voices to stop it – and to support human rights for all.
ACTIONS TAKEN ON CLIMATE CHANGE CAN BOOST OPPORTUNITY, PROSPERITY, DIGNITY - SECRETARY-GENERAL
- This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the opening of Climate Week NYC at the Morgan Library. Ahead of tomorrow’s Climate Summit, he said that more and more people understand that climate change is happening and that it is affecting communities and economies around the world.
- The Secretary-General added that the world is being forced to do business in a new way, and that by rising to the challenge, we can create a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future for all.
- He said that the actions we take today can open the door to greater opportunity, prosperity and dignity for every person on this planet. He stressed the need to reach a meaningful, universal climate agreement in Paris next year.
- The Secretary-General said at yesterday’s Climate March that he was overwhelmed by the strong power, energy and voice of the people. He stressed that climate change is the defining issue of our time, and that if we do not take action now, we will have to pay.
BAN WELCOMES RELEASE OF TURKISH HOSTAGES IN IRAQ
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomed the release on Friday, 19 September, of the Turkish men, women and children. They were held captive by ISIL since 11 June 2014 following the seizure by the terrorist group of the Turkish Consulate in Mosul. He is relieved that, at the end of a three-month ordeal, they are now home safe and sound.
- The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the immediate release of all hostages in the region and reminds parties that kidnapping is a gross violation of human rights and humanitarian law.
YEMEN: NEW PEACE AGREEMENT NEEDS TO BE IMPLEMENTED FULLY, URGES SECRETARY-GENERAL
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General welcomed the announcement of the signing of the Peace and National Partnership Agreement in Yemen. The Secretary-General expects that the agreement will be implemented in full without delay.
- The Secretary-General called on Yemeni political leaders to ensure that the forces over which they exercise control or influence cease all violent acts, and disengage from the conflict.
- In a separate statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Jamal Benomar, stressed for the need to work responsibly in order to implement the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference and to build the new state agreed upon by the Yemenis.
U.N. WELCOMES CONCLUSION OF PRESIDENTIAL PROCESS IN AFGHANISTAN
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General welcomed the conclusion of the presidential election process in Afghanistan and the agreement between the candidates to form a Government of National Unity. The Secretary-General added that the UN remains committed to working closely with the new government of Afghanistan.
- The Security Council also issued a statement emphasizing on the importance of working within the framework of the Government of National Unity in order to achieve a unified, peaceful and prosperous future for all Afghan people. They called on the new Government to effectively address the issues facing the country, including security, good governance and human rights.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY STEPS UP AID TO HELP SYRIAN REFUGEES IN TURKEY
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is stepping up its response to help the Turkish Government provide assistance to an estimated 130,000 Syrians who have crossed into Turkey since Friday.
- The Turkish authorities and UNHCR are preparing for the possibility of hundreds of thousands more refugees arriving in the coming days, as the battle for the northern Syrian city of Kobani and surrounding areas forces more people to flee.
- The Government of Turkey is accelerating the construction of two camps, with the support of UNHCR, for those who are not being hosted by the local communities and relatives. UNHCR is also preparing an air, sea and land emergency relief response to offer a supply of thermal blankets, sleeping mats and kitchen sets, as well as help to rapidly set up and run registration centres.
NEARLY 150,000 PEOPLE DISPLACED BY CONFLICT IN LIBYA SINCE JULY
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that almost 150,000 people have been internally displaced by the conflict in Libya since July.
- It is estimated that a totally of 2 million people may be affected by the conflict, as intense fighting has caused a rapid deterioration of living conditions, including shortages in food, fuel, water, medical supplies and electricity as well as reduced access to health care and lack of public services.
- Information on humanitarian needs is limited, but the Libyan Government, the Libyan Red Crescent Society and other local partners are preparing to respond to people's needs, with the support of international organizations.
- A humanitarian appeal for Libya is currently being finalized to fund emergency aid and protection assistance to displaced people, conflict-affected communities, as well as migrants and third-country nationals.
EBOLA: U.N. EMERGENCY MISSION ADVANCE TEAM ARRIVES IN GHANA
- On Ebola, members of the advance team of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), arrived in Accra, Ghana, where the Mission will be based, and another detachment has arrived in Liberia. The UN also established today the Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund which will ensure a coherent UN System contribution to the overall response.
- The Fund seeks contributions from Member States, regional legislative bodies, inter-governmental or nongovernmental organizations, businesses and individuals. Donors can also choose to channel their contributions directly to UN agencies participating in the response.
- The Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) wrapped up its second meeting last week, and reiterated that there should be no general ban on travel or trade. Flight cancellations and other travel restrictions continue to isolate affected countries resulting in detrimental economic consequences, and hinder relief and response efforts, according to the Committee.
U.N. AGENCY WARNS AGAINST AVIAN FLU IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today against a recent strain of avian influenza virus in poultry in Southeast Asia. Chinese authorities first reported the virus in poultry in April 2014 and it has since then been detected in Lao and Viet Nam.
- FAO stressed that the virus is highly virulent in chickens and geese and translates into a real threat to poultry-related livelihoods, which contribute to the income of hundreds of millions of people throughout the sub-region.
U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN CALLS FOR END OF HOSTILITIES
- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is calling the parties to immediately cease their military operations and demonstrate the political will to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. The Mission also urges them to sincerely commit themselves to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.
- Over the weekend, the Mission reported intermittent and often sustained shelling and mortar fire by the Opposition in Renk and Meena Port in Upper Nile State from the Western side of the Nile River. The Mission also reports that the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) retaliated with mortar fire.
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS IN U.N. MILLENNIUM CAMPAIGN REACHES 5 MILLION
- The UN Millennium Campaign has announced that 5 million people in 193 countries have participated in the My World survey which asks ordinary citizens what are the issues that would make the most difference to people’s lives.
- This is the biggest survey every undertaken by the UN and the majority of the participants have been people under the age of 30. The top six issues people had voted for as key to improving their lives include a good education, better healthcare, better job opportunities, an honest and responsive government, protection against crime and violence, and affordable and nutritious food.
*** The guest at the noon briefing is Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). He discussed the Special Session of the General Assembly on the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).