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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 30 MARCH 2015

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL REMAINS EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT INSECURITY AND IMPACT ON CIVILIANS IN IRAQ

  • The Secretary-General arrived in Kuwait, where he will participate in the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria.
  • Earlier today, the Secretary-General visited Baghdad, where he met with President Mohammed Fuad Masum, Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi, and Speaker Saleem al-Jabouri. He also spoke by phone with President Massoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
  • In his press remarks, the Secretary-General recognized and appreciated the commitment of Iraqi leadership to maintaining the momentum for national reconciliation and unity. However, he remains extremely concerned about the security crisis in Iraq and its impact on civilians. 
  • He is also concerned by allegations of summary killings, abductions and destruction of property perpetrated by forces and militias fighting alongside Iraqi armed forces.
  • The Secretary-General said that civilians freed from the brutality of Da’esh should not have to then fear their liberators. One form of violence cannot replace another. The Secretary-General commended the Government and people of Iraq for providing sanctuary and support to so many Syrians fleeing the fighting in their country. 
  • Over the weekend, the Secretary-General addressed the 26th Ordinary Session of the Council of the League of Arab States in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
  • He told the Arab leaders that even when security responses are needed they must be done in a way that protects human rights. He said that fighting extremism while committing abuses is not only wrong, it is counter-productive.
  • The Secretary-General said he shared the Arab leaders’ deep concern at the unravelling situation in Yemen and the tremendous toll it is having on the already suffering population.
  • The Secretary-General also met with a number of leaders on the margins of the summit, including the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with whom he discussed Libya, Syria and Yemen, among other topics.
  • In a discussion on the Middle East peace process, the Secretary-General underlined the importance both of Palestinian reconciliation and of reconstruction in Gaza.

AHEAD OF SYRIA PLEDGING CONFERENCE, F.A.O. APPEALS FOR FUNDING TO PREVENT FOOD INSECURITY

  • The Secretary-General will open the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait tomorrow.
  • Ahead of this conference, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today that it urgently needs $121 million to prevent further deterioration of the food security situation and the collapse of regional food chains affected by the Syrian crisis.
  • In Syria, some 50 percent of livestock have been lost and the cereal harvest has dropped by half since the beginning of the crisis in 2011.

TWO-THIRDS OF WORLD'S POPULATION COULD LIVE IN WATER-STRESSED CONDITIONS BY 2050, WARNS U.N. DEPUTY CHIEF

  • The Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson spoke this morning at the General Assembly’s High-Level Interactive Dialogue on the International Decade for Action “Water for Life.”
  • He said that by 2025, two thirds of the world’s population could live in water-stressed conditions, with global demand for water jumping by 40 per cent by 2050.
  • The Deputy Secretary-General also noted that when communities lack access to water, tensions rise, adding that it is all the more disturbing when parties deliberately withhold water as a weapon of war.
  • He pointed to Da’esh in Iraq exploiting water access to control territory and dominate people.
  • The Deputy Secretary-General emphasized the need for ‘hydro-diplomacy’ – making scarce water a reason for cooperation, rather than a reason for conflict.

U.N. ENVOY SAYS BOKO HARAM WAS UNABLE TO DISRUPT ELECTION PROCESS IN NIGERIA

  • Head of the UN West Africa Office (UNOWA) Mohammed Ibn Chambas and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang briefed the Security Council on Boko Haram today.
  • Mr. Chambas noted that Boko Haram was unable to disrupt the electoral process in Nigeria and said that following the regional forces’ involvement in Eastern Nigeria, the group’s control has been reduced to only a few areas.
  • However, he said that its violence and brutality had intensified, including through the use of children as suicide bombers and human shields, and that its reported allegiance to the so-called Islamic State showed that its agenda went well beyond Nigeria.
  • On the humanitarian consequences of Boko Haram activities, Ms. Kang said that the ongoing violent conflict in north-eastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin had forcibly displaced at least 1.5 million people in Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
  • She added that as many as three million people in northern Nigeria will not be able to meet their basic food needs after July 2015 unless they receive well-targeted humanitarian assistance. In addition to insecurity, lack of donor support is constraining the expansion of the humanitarian footprint, Ms Kang told the Council.
  • Over the weekend, the Secretary-General congratulated the people and Government of Nigeria on the largely peaceful and orderly conduct of the elections.

SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. WELCOMES TEMPORARY DEPLOYMENT OF BRITISH AIRCRAFT TO DELIVER VITAL SUPPLIES

  • The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) welcomed the temporary deployment of a British Royal Air Force C-130 aircraft to South Sudan. The aircraft, which arrived on 28 March in Juba, will conduct daily flights to Malakal in Upper Nile State, to enable the delivery of vital supplies and vehicles to the UNMISS base and its Protection of Civilians’ site. The operation is expected to last until mid-April.
  • The use of such aircraft will temporarily double the C-130 air-lift capacity of UNMISS to Malakal.
  • With the impending rainy season, 60 per cent of the roads in South Sudan will be impassable and Malakal will be mostly reachable by river barges; the timing of the air operation is therefore crucial to re-supply the UN base during the dry season.

U.N. ENVOY FOR CYPRUS REMAINS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT RETURN TO NEGOTIATIONS  

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, will return to the country on 6 April to follow up on the encouraging indications received during his last trip to the island regarding a possible resumption of the negotiations.
  • Mr. Eide will meet bilaterally with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to continue discussions on prospects for the resumption of talks in the spring.
  • He will also meet bilaterally with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot negotiators.
  • The Special Adviser continues to be optimistic about the prospects for a return to structured, results-oriented negotiations, and looks forward to this visit as an important step towards renewing the momentum for the talks.

HUMANITARIAN ENVOY IN VANUATU WARNS OF SECOND EMERGENCY DUE TO LOSS OF CROPS

  • The Humanitarian Coordinator for Vanuatu, Osnat Lubrani, warned today of a potential second emergency due to the destruction of 90 per cent of crops by tropical cyclone Pam.
  • She visited several islands in Tafea Province, and said that there is a possibility of long-term food insecurity on communities that rely heavily on farming as an income source.
  • Aid agencies have started to provide families with seed kits, and will support Government efforts in restoring community infrastructure and reviving economic activities.
  • The UN is seeking nearly $30 million to help 166,000 cyclone-affected people for three months. To date, $9.4 million has been funded since the launch of the Flash Appeal on 24 March, but more support is needed.

AID OFFICIAL IN MYANMAR SADDENED BY DEATH OF RED CROSS VOLUNTEER

  • The Humanitarian Coordinator for Myanmar, Renata Dessallien, said today that she is very saddened by the death of Myanmar Red Cross Society volunteer, Myo Kyaw Than, who died on Friday after sustaining gunshot wounds while working in Kokang.
  • She called on all parties to the conflict to ensure the safety and security of civilians and humanitarian staff, noting that people simply should not have to risk their lives to help others.