HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL BEGINS CHINA VISIT
- The Secretary-General arrived in Beijing earlier today.
- Tomorrow, he is expected to meet with President Xi Jinping, as well as the Premier of China, the Vice Premier and the Foreign Minister, separately, to discuss the implementation of the sustainable development agenda and the Paris climate change conference, among other matters.
SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS SEPTEMBER WORK PROGRAMME, BRIEFED BY U.N. LEBANON ENVOY
- The Security Council adopted its programme of work for September.
- Under other business, the Security Council also received a briefing on the latest developments in Lebanon from the Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag.
YEMEN: HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR, U.N. RELIEF CHIEF SPEAK OUT AGAINST KILLING OF TWO RED CROSS WORKERS
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Johannes Van Der Klaaw, has condemned the killing of two staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Those killings took place in Amran governorate. He expressed his condolences and called on all parties to the conflict to provide aid workers with a safe environment in which to work.
- The Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien also condemned today's attack and repeated his call for all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and to protect aid workers.
- On Saudi Arabia’s funding pledge for Yemen. Last week, UN agencies, funds and programmes signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the following amounts with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: $1.7 million for the UN Development Programme (UNDP); the World Health Organization (WHO) received $22.2 million and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) signed an MoU for a value of $29.6 million. This funding is a matter of formalizing the Saudi pledge of $274 million towards the Flash Appeal that was issued in April. Some of the programmes have already started, based on the pledged funds, and will continue in the coming months with a view of providing relief supplies to Yemenis. Other agreements are still being finalized. The Strategic Response Plan for Yemen calls for $1.6 billion dollars and just $352 million, or 22 per cent of this amount, has been funded.
U.N. LIBYA ENVOY TO CONTINUE URGING PARTIES TO SIGN POLITICAL AGREEMENT AHEAD OF OCTOBER IMPLEMENTATION
- Bernardino León, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, met with representatives of the General National Congress (GNC) in Istanbul yesterday. Afterwards, he said that he had a very frank and open discussion and that he had encouraged the GNC members to continue to engage in efforts to find a solution in Libya as soon as possible.
- Mr. León said that he will continue to press the parties to sign on to an agreement so that it can begin the implementation by 20 October.
GAZA COULD BECOME UNINHABITABLE BY 2020, NEW U.N. REPORT WARNS
- In a report, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 due to ongoing de-development, eight years of economic blockade and three military operations in the past six years.
- In addition to the 500,000 people who have been displaced in Gaza as a result of the most recent military operation in 2014, the report estimates significant economic losses, including the destruction or severe damage of more than 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools and 15 hospitals and 45 primary health-care centres.
SOMALIA: U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS MILITANT ATTACK ON AFRICAN UNION PEACEKEEPERS
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, strongly condemned the attack yesterday by Al-Shabaab militants on an AMISOM base at Janaale, manned by troops from the Ugandan contingent.
- He sent his deepest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in the attack as well as to the people and the Governments of Uganda and Somalia. Mr. Kay said that these courageous peacekeepers sacrificed their lives in the ongoing efforts to bring lasting peace and security to Somalia.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) tells us that humanitarian partners report that more than 40,000 people have been displaced in southern and central Somalia since the beginning of military operations in mid-July.
- An estimated 16,000 people were displaced in the last week alone in the Hiraan, Gedo and Bakool regions of the country.
- The military offensive has also resulted in considerable numbers of refugees crossing the border to reach Dolo Ado Refugee Camp in Ethiopia.
- To date, insecurity has prevented humanitarians from reaching people affected by the offensive.
VISITING EASTERN D.R. CONGO, SENIOR U.N. RELIEF OFFICIAL CALLS MUGUNGA DISPLACEMENT SITE ‘TOUGHEST’ SHE HAS SEEN
- Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang visited a displacement site today in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo today, which hosts some 5,000 internally displaced people.
- She said that though she had visited many displacement sites in her life, Mugunga was the toughest she had seen.
- She said that the level of aid does not match the needs expressed by the people she met, and that she will engage donors to try to boost funding levels. The aid appeal for DRC is currently only 45 per cent funded.
- In response to questions on incidents in Rugari, North Kivu, where some elements of the Congolese Army were reportedly ambushed by FDLR elements, the Spokesman said that troops from the UN Mission, MONUSCO, were not present in the area when the incident occurred.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES FOR TRANSPARENT ACTIONS REGARDING CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS AGAINST GUATEMALAN LEADERS
- In response to a question on the situation in Guatemala, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is aware of recent allegations of corruption involving President Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala, as well as former Vice-President Roxana Baldetti. Those were brought to light by the Office of the Guatemalan Attorney General and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).
- The Secretary-General trusts that Guatemalan institutions will act with transparency and responsibility to ensure accountability and provide due process for all parties involved in these allegations.
NEPAL: SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES CONCERN OVER RECENT VIOLENCE, LOSS OF LIFE
- In response to a question on Nepal, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is following closely the situation in that country and is concerned about reports of violence in recent weeks and saddened by the loss of life in Nepal. He urges all to refrain from the use of force, denounce violence in all forms and engage in dialogue.
- As you know, the UN has supported the Nepali-led peace process, of which a new constitution is an important milestone. The Secretary-General is hopeful that the leaders will share again a spirit of compromise.
- The UN office in Nepal is in regular contact with Nepali leaders and is urging them to seize this historic opportunity to agree on a dispensation that has the widest popular support. The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, has also engaged directly with Nepali leaders and conveyed this message.
AT DECIDATION CEREMONY, DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMEMORATES WWII VICTIMS BY URGING ALL TO LIVE UP TO U.N.’S FOUNDING PURPOSE
- The Deputy Secretary-General spoke this morning at a dedication ceremony for the Tree of Peace and Unity.
- He said that the tree, planted in May, symbolizes in its growth the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
- The Deputy Secretary-General lamented the loss of lives from the tragedy. He called the creation of the UN in 1945 a bold step in a new direction – an act of abiding trust in humanity after so many sacrifices.
- The Deputy Secretary-General said that as we honour the victims of the Second World War, we must resolve again to live up to the founding purpose of the UN: to achieve peace, human rights, justice and social progress for all.
TWO CHILDREN PARALYZED BY POLIO IN SOUTH-WESTERN UKRAINE – WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
- The World Health Organization (WHO) says that two children have been paralyzed by polio in south-western Ukraine.
- WHO says that Ukraine had been a particular risk of the emergence of this due to inadequate vaccination coverage. Last year, only half of children were fully immunized against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Discussions are continuing with national health authorities to plan and implement an urgent response to the outbreak.
FIRST WORLD HEPATITIS SUMMIT KICKS OFF IN GLASGOW
- The first World Hepatitis Summit Today in Glasgow opened in Glasgow today, will continue for three days.
- It aims to help countries enhance action to prevent viral hepatitis infection and ensure that people who are infected are diagnosed and offered treatment.
- Some 400 million people are currently living with viral hepatitis, and the disease claims an estimated 1.45 million lives each year, making it one of the world’s leading causes of death.