HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 1 OCTOBER 2014
IN GENEVA, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES STEPPED UP ACTION TO PREVENT FORCED DISPLACMENT
- The Secretary-General is in Geneva, where he addressed the Executive Committee dealing with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), telling the Committee that never before in United Nations history have we had so many refugees, displaced people and asylum seekers.
- He added that the world must do more to prevent forced displacement, address its root causes, and support solutions for those affected by it. This requires greater resources and more political leadership.
- The Secretary-General also welcomed UNHCR’s plans to launch a global campaign to end statelessness in the next decade and called on all States to support it.
- He also spoke at a public forum of the World Trade Organization, saying that trade can and should benefit everyone. That is why the international community needs to avoid protectionism. He called for an open, fair, rules-based and development-oriented international trading regime in the spirit of the Doha Development Round.
SECRETARY-GENEARL VISITS WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION’S EBOLA RESPONSE TEAM
- The Secretary-General paid a visit to the World Health Organization (WHO) and its Ebola Outbreak Response Operations team in Geneva to express his appreciation for the work done since March in response to the outbreak in West Africa.
- On the ground, Karin Landgren, head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), reiterated during a press conference for the 11th anniversary of the Mission that the UN Mission will remain and support the country through the crisis, lending its resources to fight the Ebola outbreak.
- She said that last week, a Liberian staff member passed away from probable Ebola. She stressed it was a sad reminder of the ever-present risk, and that the Mission has actively taken steps since March to educate all personnel and help them protect themselves against the disease.
- Meanwhile, Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), is also in Liberia today to discuss with the Government and other partners the priorities for filling the gaps in the response. He will hold a press conference there tomorrow and we will see if we can get you a sound or a video.
- Mr. Banbury also said one priority for the Mission would be keeping its staff healthy and making sure no one else is at risk of catching Ebola.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL LAUDS AFRICA’S ‘REMARKABLE’ PROGRESS, ECONOMIC GROWTH
- The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, spoke at a meeting of the African Regional Economic Communities with the Member States today, and he applauded Africa’s remarkable progress and economic growth. He noted that more African children go to school than ever before. There are great advances on women’s empowerment and gender equality. Participatory governance and institutions are also on the rise, he said.
- The Deputy Secretary-General also commended the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union in quickly mobilizing resources and awareness to reduce the impact of Ebola. He said that the United Nations has mobilized to a degree rarely seen.
IRAQ: MORE THAN 1,100 KILLED IN SEPTEMBER – U.N. MISSION
- The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has released new casualty figures. In September, a least 1,119 Iraqis have been killed and another 1,946 people have been injured in acts of terrorism and violence.
- However, the figures do not include casualties in Anbar Governorate, where UNAMI has not been able to verify the numbers and where ISIL and other groups have been active.
JOINT MISSION TO ELIMINATE SYRIA’S CHEMICAL WEAPONS WRAPS UP OPERATIONS
- The OPCW-UN Joint Mission on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons has completed its mandate, and its operations drew to a close yesterday.
- Ahmet Üzümcü, Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said that the work of the Joint Mission has been vital to the success of international efforts to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons programme.
- From this point on, the OPCW will continue to deal with the destruction of chemical weapon production facilities and clarification of certain aspects of Syria’s initial declaration.
MARKING INTERNATIONAL DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES END TO BIAS AGAINST OLDER PERSONS
- Today is the International Day of Older Persons.
- In a message marking the Day, the Secretary-General said that older persons are playing an increasingly significant role in society as they grow in number and as healthcare improves in some parts of the world.
- They are expected to more than double in number – from 841 million in 2013 to more than 2 billion in 2050.
- The Secretary-General noted that discrimination and social exclusion persist, adding that we must overcome this bias in order to ensure a social and economically active, secure and healthy aging population.