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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 STEPHANE DUJARRIC,

SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

MONDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

AFGHANISTAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES NEW PRESIDENT’S INAUGURATION, URGEST SWIFT GOVERNMENT FORMATION

  • In a statement, the Secretary-General congratulated Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on his inauguration as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He further extended his congratulations to Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on being sworn in as Chief Executive Officer.
  • The Secretary-General notes the serious challenges facing Afghanistan and calls for the new government to be formed quickly and to work with all Afghans in a spirit of national unity. He applauds the great determination, patience and strength demonstrated by the Afghan people, and encourages the new government to uphold these virtues as it moves the country forward.
  • The Secretary-General notes that this is a historic event and reaffirms the continued commitment of the United Nations to support the government and the people of Afghanistan in the new period of transition and beyond.
  • The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also welcomed the inauguration of Dr. Ghani as the new President of Afghanistan and reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with the government of national unity. The Mission welcomed pledges made by President Ghani and the Chief Executive Officer to work together to serve all Afghans through the national unity government and looks forward to the speedy formation of a new government.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO GENEVA

  • The Secretary-General travel tomorrow to Geneva.
  • Upon his arrival, he will attend a public forum entitled “Why Trade Matters to Everyone” at the Headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The forum is an annual event organized by WTO which attracts over 700 participants – delegates, media, academics, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
  • The Secretary-General will then address a special session of the Executive Committee of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which meets once a year in Geneva.
  • Later, the Secretary-General will visit the Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) at the Headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) and he will be briefed by the Ebola outbreak response operations team.
  • On Thursday, the Secretary-General will visit the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and swear in its new Executive Secretary, Christian Friis Bach.
  • He will also visit the visit the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), before returning to New York.

NEW U.N. EBOLA RESPONSE MISSION CONTINUING DEPLOYMENT IN WEST AFRICA

  • The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) is continuing to deploy in West Africa.
  • The Head of UNMEER, Anthony Banbury, landed in Accra, Ghana, just a few hours ago for the official opening of the Headquarters of the Mission, which as you know will be based in Accra.
  • Over the week, he will travel to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to open all three regional offices for the Mission.

U.N.-BACKED POLITICAL DIALOGUE KICKS OFF IN LIBYA

  • The political dialogue in Libya, facilitated by the UN, began today in the town of Ghedames. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya Bernardino Leon said that it was a historic day for Libya as the parties have shown commitment to engage in a political process to overcome their differences peacefully and through dialogue.
  • Yesterday, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General continued with his efforts to pave the way for the talks. He travelled to Tobruk for a meeting with the first Deputy Parliament President as well as to Tripoli for discussions with some of the parliamentarians who had boycotted the parliament sessions in Tobruk.

NEARLY 300,000 PEOPLE UPROOTED IN UKRAINE – U.N. RELIEF WING

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that nearly 300,000 people have been displaced in Ukraine, with more than 5 million people living in conflict-affected areas.
  • Humanitarian needs in areas under the control of armed groups are reportedly significant, with local organizations and Red Cross teams having nearly exhausted their supplies and with only limited amounts of aid having been delivered due to insecurity.
  • Items such as winter clothing, shoes, medicine, and food are also in short supply.
  • Some areas in the east have only limited or no access to drinking water and diesel generators are needed to power water pumps and treatment units.
  • In response to questions about the next report on Ukraine by the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Spokesman said that report is scheduled to be released in Geneva on Friday and that it will cover the period from 18 August to 16 September.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY ISSUES WARNING ON RISKS OF OVERLOOKING AFRICAN HUMANITARIAN CRISES

  • The High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned the international community about the risks of overlooking humanitarian crises in Africa.
  • Speaking at the opening session of the a high-level meeting on refugees in Africa at the start of the annual session of UNHCR's Executive Committee, High Commissioner António Guterres, called for a renewed commitment to preventing conflict and ending protracted displacement in the continent.
  • He said that there are more than 3 million refugees, 12.5 million internally displaced and some 700,000 stateless people in Africa. Mr. Guterres added that a spate of new conflicts in Central African Republic, northern Nigeria, Libya and South Sudan had displaced more than 2.5 million people during the first six months of 2014 alone.

RAPID MANGROVE LOSS RESULTS IN LOSSES OF BILLIONS – NEW U.N. ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME REPORT

  • Lastly, mangroves are being destroyed three to five times faster than the average rate of forests loss, resulting in emissions which cost billions of dollars annually, according to a new report launched today by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
    Mangroves are also threatened by climate change, which could result in a further loss of 10 to 15 per cent of mangroves by the year 2100.
  • Mangroves are also threatened by climate change, which could result in a further loss of 10 to 15 per cent of mangoves by the year 2100.
  • Mangroves are found in 123 countries and more than 100 million people worldwide live within 10 kilometers of large mangrove forests, allowing them access to fisheries, clean water, and protection from erosion and extreme weather events, among other benefits.
  • The new report says that despite the mounting evidence supporting the many benefits of mangroves, they remain one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet.