HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 30 NOVEMBER 2015
‘WE CANNOT AFFORD INDECISION,’ SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS WORLD LEADERS AT PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
- This morning in Paris, the Secretary-General told the more than 150 leaders gathered for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) that they were here to write the script for a new future - a future of hope and promise, of increased prosperity, security and dignity for all. He added that a political moment like this may not come again. The Secretary-General said that the national climate plans submitted by more than 180 countries covering close to 100 per cent of global emissions were a good start. But we need to go much farther and much faster if we are to limit the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius. He called for durability, dynamism, solidarity and credibility, stressing that we cannot afford indecision, half measures or merely gradual approaches. He said that our goal must be transformation and that history is calling. His full speech has been shared with you and is online in English and in French.
- The Secretary-General also participated in a high-level meeting on climate resilience, during which he said that three out of four humanitarian disasters are now climate-related, hitting the poor and the vulnerable the most. Therefore, we must anticipate climate risks and absorb them in new development models.
- In the afternoon, the Secretary-General also spoke at the launch of the International Alliance for Solar Policy and Applications, hosted by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. He said that solar energy offers major potential for reducing poverty and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
- For his part, Ambassador Oh Joon, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), said today that we are at a tipping point in the Paris Climate Change Conference. He said that there is no turning back and that a global decision needs to be taken for a low carbon agreement.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES PEOPLE OF BURKINA FASO FOR ‘ENTHUSIASTIC’ PARTICIPATION IN YESTERDAY’S POLLS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the peaceful conduct of the presidential and legislative elections in Burkina Faso on 29 November. He congratulates the people of Burkina Faso for their enthusiastic participation, which shows their strong commitment to the democratic process. In particular, the Secretary-General salutes the strong participation of women in the electoral process.
- As Burkina Faso awaits the results, the Secretary-General encourages all political leaders and national stakeholders to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed on Election Day. He calls on all parties to resolve any dispute that might arise through established legal procedures.
D.R. CONGO: SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ATTACK ON U.N. MISSION BASE, MOURNS DEATH OF BLUE HELMET
- In a statement, the Secretary-General condemns the attack by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) against a United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) base yesterday in Makembi in North Kivu.
- One peacekeeper from Malawi was killed and another was wounded during a heavy exchange of fire. Four FARDC soldiers and a number of civilians were also killed yesterday in two other ADF attacks in the area.
- The Secretary-General calls for swift action to bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice. He is extremely concerned by the series of attacks by the ADF in North Kivu, which have already resulted in more than 500 known civilian deaths since October 2014. Such attacks on civilians are a clear violation of international human rights and humanitarian law.
- The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to support the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in their efforts to neutralize armed groups and end impunity, in line with MONUSCO’s mandate.
- The Secretary-General offers his condolences to the family and to the Government and people of Malawi. He wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that aid agencies are concerned over the impact of yesterday's violence in Eringeti, in North Kivu.
- The fighting caused population displacement, with some people crossing into neighboring Ituri Province. However, specific numbers of people are not yet available.
- The clashes also further delay humanitarian aid distributions for some 15,000 internally displaced persons living in Eringet, with distributions already having been delayed several times due to insecurity.
- This is the latest incident in a cycle of violence that over the past year – since October 2014 – has seen over 500 people killed, and only three days after hundreds more civilians arrived in Eringeti, having fled violence in other locations.
U.N. ENVOY TO UPDATE SECURITY COUNCIL ON BURUNDI
- In Resolution 2248, the Security Council asked for an update on Burundi from the Secretary-General, including by presenting options on the future presence of the United Nations in that country. The Secretary-General's Special Adviser, Jamal Benomar, will brief the Security Council on Burundi in consultations this afternoon.
- In recent days, Mr. Benomar has consulted with the Government of Burundi, African Union and other partners and relevant UN entities to assess the situation in Burundi and develop options to address political and security concerns. On 17 November, he travelled to the region to hold consultations with the African Union in Addis Ababa, as well as with Ugandan Government officials in Kampala.
- Last week, he was in Burundi, where he held meetings with the full range of Burundian stakeholders, including President Nkurunziza and other Government officials, political parties and civil society organisations. The Special Adviser also met with the UN country team, officials from the African Union and the diplomatic community in Bujumbura.
U.N. PEACEKEEPERS ASSIST WITH POPE FRANCIS’ VISIT TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- On the Central African Republic, the UN Mission there (MINUSCA) reports that today, His Holiness Pope Francis concluded his two-day visit to the country which was the final leg of his first visit to Africa.
- MINUSCA supported the efforts of the CAR authorities in securing the city as part of the Pope’s visit, including with the deployment of a special unit of 250 peacekeepers from the UN Mission in Cote d’Ivoire (ONUCI) which will remain in the country for a period of eight weeks. The Mission also built the pope’s vehicle for this visit to Bangui.
- His planned schedule was accomplished without incidents.
- Pope Francis delivered messages of peace and reconciliation to members of the Christian and Muslim communities including victims of violence.
- He ended his trip this morning with a visit to the Mosque in the Muslim enclave ‘PK5’ where he called for peace between Christian and Muslim communities. The Mission reports that following his visit to PK5, crowds followed the Pontiff to the Bangui Stadium where he concluded his tour by officiating a mass.
- The Mission also reports that today that its Force Commander, Major General Martin Chuma Tumenta of Cameroon, passed away today. Maj. Gen. Tumenta had been on medical leave for the past month.
MALI: SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ATTACK U.N. MISSION WHICH KILLED TWO PEACEKEEPERS, ONE CONTRACTOR
- In a statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General condemned the attack on a camp of the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in Kidal that claimed the lives of two peacekeepers and one civilian contractor.
- Twenty peacekeepers and civilian personnel were injured, including four seriously. MINUSMA has taken immediate steps to assist the wounded and continues to strengthen the safety and security of its personnel.
- The Secretary-General conveyed his sincere condolences to the bereaved families and to the Governments of Burkina Faso and Guinea. He expresses his profound sympathy and support to those wounded and wishes them a speedy recovery.
- The Secretary-General reiterated that these asymmetric attacks against the Mission will not impede the determination of the United Nations to support the Malian Government, the signatory parties to the peace agreement, and the people of Mali, in their efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability.
- The Secretary-General stressed the urgent need to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice and reiterates that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.
SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL VISITS MISSIONS IN SUDAN, SOUTH SUDAN
- The Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare, is in Entebbe, Uganda today, the first-stop of a visit that will include Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan.
- Mr. Khare is expected to meet with government officials and regional partners and visit the UN Missions in South Sudan (UNMISS), Darfur (UNAMID) and Abyei (UNISFA) and the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe (RSCE).
GENERAL ASSEMBLY HOLDS DEBATE ON AFGHANISTAN
- Today, the General Assembly is holding a debate on the situation in Afghanistan, following the Secretary-General’s report which was submitted on 1 September.
- Next month, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Nicholas Haysom is expected to brief the Security Council.
MEETING YEMEN’S VICE PRESIDENT, SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES CONCERN OVER CONTINUING CONFLICT, HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
- The Secretary-General met yesterday in Paris with the Vice President of Yemen, Khaled Bahah. He reiterated his deep concern regarding the continuing conflict in Yemen and the desperate humanitarian crisis in the country as a result, despite strong calls in the international community for an end to hostilities.
- He urged the Government of Yemen and the Houthis to engage as soon as possible in dialogue, without preconditions, through talks in Geneva, organized by his Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
NEPAL: SHORTAGE OF SUPPLIES THREATENS 3 MILLION CHILDREN WITH DEATH, DISEASE, U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND WARNS
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today warned that more than 3 million children under the age of 5 in Nepal are at risk of death or disease this winter due to a severe shortage of fuel, food, medicines and vaccines.
- In recent weeks, vital imports of essential commodities have been severely restricted at Nepal’s southern border due to unrest over the country's new constitution.
- The government’s regional medical stores have already run out of vaccines against tuberculosis, while stocks of other vaccines and antibiotics are critically low.
- UNICEF cautions that children still recovering from two major earthquakes in April and May could be the worst hit.
- UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said that the risks of hypothermia and malnutrition, and the shortfall in life-saving medicines and vaccines, could be a potentially deadly combination for children this winter.
- Earlier this month, the Secretary-General expressed his growing concern over the blocking of essential supplies on the Nepal-India border, and called on all sides to lift these restrictions without further delay and underlines Nepal’s right of free transit.
IN IRAQ, SENIOR U.N. AID OFFICIAL URGES STEPPED UP SUPPORT TO ADDRESS HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
- Deputy UN humanitarian relief chief Kyung-wha Kang today called for the international community to do more in response to Iraq’s humanitarian crisis, as she wrapped up a two-day visit to the country.
- She said after visiting communities in Baghdad and Erbil that the human cost of the crisis is devastating, with all indicators pointing to a dramatically worsening situation in the months ahead. The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator added that insecurity puts the whole aid operation in Iraq at risk.
- Less than 50 per cent of the prioritized aid plan of $498 million launched in June has been funded so far, forcing aid agencies to close scores of lifesaving programmes. Ms. Kang called for funding to keep programmes open and help rebuild areas retaken from Da’esh so families can return home.
- The United Nations estimates that 10 million people in Iraq are now in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.
U.N. LIBYA ENVOY WELCOMES SUPPORT VOICED FOR POLITICAL PACT
- Over the weekend, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, Martin Kobler, welcomed the recent declaration by 92 members of the House of Representatives endorsing in principle the Libyan Political Agreement and the proposed Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord.
- The Special Representative also welcomed the calls by the majority of the members of the General National Congress to reach a positive conclusion to the dialogue process and expedite efforts to bring an end to the suffering and hardship of the Libyan people.
- Mr. Kobler is in Tunis today and will be travelling to Algeria tomorrow to attend a meeting with neighbouring countries.
SECRETARY-GENERAL NAMES NEW SENIOR OFFICIALS
- On Friday, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of Edmond Mulet of Guatemala as his Chef de Cabinet and Patrick Carey of Ireland as his Deputy Chef de Cabinet ad interim. The Secretary-General reiterates his deepest gratitude to outgoing Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra of Argentina, for her tireless support, outstanding leadership and admirable dedication.
- The Secretary-General also announced the appointment of Catherine Pollard of Guyana as Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management. She will succeed Tegegnework Gettu of Ethiopia, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service and able leadership.
- He also appointed Robert Glasser of Australia as Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Mr. Glasser will succeed Margareta Wahlström of Sweden, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her dedication and leadership.
- The Secretary-General announced the appointment of Rashid Khalikov of the Russian Federation as Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Partnerships with the Middle East and Central Asia. He will be working in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva.
EXPANDING ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY KEY TO ENDING A.I.D.S. EPIDEMIC WITHIN A GENERATION – WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
- Ahead of World AIDS Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized that expanding antiretroviral therapy to all people living with HIV is key to ending the AIDS epidemic within a generation.
- According to a new report by WHO, expansion of antiretroviral therapy has resulted in a stark reduction of AIDS-related deaths. Moreover, increasingly effective prevention efforts have reduced numbers of new HIV infections.
- Since the epidemic’s peak in 2004, the number of deaths has fallen by 42 per cent, and the number of new infections has fallen by 35 per cent since the turn of the century.
- In the Asia-Pacific region, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned of a ‘hidden epidemic’ of HIV among adolescents.
- A new report says that in 2014, there were an estimated 50,000 new HIV infections among adolescents aged 15 to 19, accounting for 15 per cent of new infections. An estimated 220,000 adolescents are living with HIV in the region.
CLASHES FORCE 40,000 PEOPLE FRO HOMES IN SOMALIA’S MUDUG REGION, U.N. RELIEF WING REPORTS
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that NGOs in Gaalkacyo, Somalia’s Mudug region, have reported that an estimated 40,000 displaced people have fled settlements in the area due to renewed fighting between Galmudug and Puntland armed forces on 28 November.
- More than 30 people are estimated to have been killed. Local NGOs are providing mobile health care, water and sanitation services.
- UN agencies and international NGOs have temporarily relocated because of the fighting. This has left a gap in provision of basic services for vulnerable communities in Mudug, Galgaduud and Hiraan regions.
- OCHA continues to warn that the humanitarian needs in Somalia remain immense, with an estimated 4.9 million in need of assistance and 1.1 million people displaced around the country.
***The guest at the Noon Briefing was Simon Bland, Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) Office in New York.