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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

WEDNESDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2014

*The UN headquarters in New York will be closed on Thursday, 27 November 2014.

SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES GRATITUDE FOR WORK OF OUTGOING U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF

  • In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General said that the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, has informed him of her intention to step down. The Secretary-General has expressed my utmost gratitude for her outstanding service to the UN, and the humanitarian community and people in need.
  • He noted that Ms. Amos has led the humanitarian response of the UN and partners, including Non-Governmental Organizations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, national authorities, civil society, the private sector and many others to devastating natural disasters and conflicts. Her extensive experience, leadership and work in partnership with Principals from the humanitarian community, has helped find solutions for people who are facing the worst experiences in their lives.
  • The Secretary-General said that Ms. Amos has tirelessly advocated for people around the world affected by disaster and conflict. For her, people have always come first. She also worked closely with humanitarian workers who often risk their own lives to serve people most in need.
  • The Secretary-General added that at a time when the humanitarian system is particularly stretched, Ms. Amos also led the preparations for my World Humanitarian Summit, to be held in 2016, which will identify new ways to tackle humanitarian needs in our fast-changing world and set a new agenda for global humanitarian action.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW CRISIS MANAGER FOR EBOLA RESPONSE IN GUINEA

  • The Secretary-General has announced the appointment of Abdou Dieng of Senegal as the Ebola Crisis Manager for Guinea, as part of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), succeeding Marcel Rudasingwa.
  • In this role, Mr. Dieng will continue the Missions work with the Government of Guinea, along with key stakeholders, in ensuring a rapid and effective international response to the Ebola crisis in the country. He brings to the position significant international experience with the World Food Programme (WFP).
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Mali, Ibrahima Soce Fall, formally started work as the head of the UNMEER office in Mali.

SECRETARY-GENERAL, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT AGREE ON NEED TO IMPLEMENT MINSK AGREEMENT

  • The Secretary-General spoke yesterday over the telephone with the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. He thanked the President for his tireless efforts to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in south-east Ukraine.
  • They discussed the severe challenges surrounding the delivery of funds and essential supplies to parts of eastern Ukraine, and the President’s efforts to find an adequate solution.
  • The Secretary-General and the President agreed that the Minsk agreements provided a clear path towards peace and their implementation was essential.
  • The Secretary-General informed the President that in continuation of his good offices he had asked Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman to return to Kiev in mid-December for further consultations with the Government and key stakeholders.

NEW PANEL MEMBERS APPOINTED TO PROMOTE INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY IN LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

  • The Secretary-General today announced the members of a High-level Panel to advise on the organizational and operational aspects of the proposed Technology Bank and Science, Technology and Innovation Supporting Mechanism dedicated to the least developed countries (LDCs). 
  • The Secretary-General has appointed Romain Murenzi, Executive Director of the World Academy of Sciences in Trieste, Italy, and former Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Scientific Research of the Republic of Rwanda, as the chair of the Panel. The full list of Panel members, which includes five women and five men from least developed countries and their development partners from the North and the South is in a press release.
  • The Secretary-General has asked the High-level Panel to prepare practical recommendations on this important matter, which can provide a strong impetus to accelerating structural transformation and sustainable development of the least developed countries.
  • The High-level Panel is constituted in response to a request to the Secretary-General by the UN General Assembly, during its 68th session, to establish a panel to examine the scope and functions of the proposed Technology Bank, its organizational aspects and its institutional linkages with the United Nations.  
  • The Panel will hold its first meeting in February 2015. It is expected to submit its report to the Secretary- General during summer next year, for transmission to the General Assembly during its 70th session.

SUCCESSFUL ELECTORAL PROCESS COULD LEAD TO GENIUNE DIALOGUE IN BAHRAIN, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL

  • The Secretary-General has been following the situation in Bahrain closely and has noted that the first round of parliamentary elections passed off peacefully. He hopes the conclusion of the process with the run-off on 29 November will be equally peaceful. 
  • The Secretary-General believes a successful electoral process could help open the way for a genuine dialogue between the Government and the opposition, aiming at national reconciliation based on respect for the concerns and interests of all Bahrainis. 

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF SAYS MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE FOR SYRIA

  • Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, briefed the Security Council yesterday afternoon on efforts to obtain humanitarian access in Syria since the passage earlier this year of resolution 2139.
  • She added that the progress that has been made is still not enough. She added that humanitarian workers have faced considerable challenges in implementing resolutions 2139 and 2165, and continue to fall short of meeting the humanitarian needs of all the people they need to reach in Syria.
  • Ms. Amos said that no more than two besieged locations have been reached in any month since the adoption of resolution 2165 and only one location has been reached in each of the past two months.
  • She noted that, when resolution 2139 was passed in February, there were 220,000 people besieged by either Government or opposition forces, while 212,000 people remain besieged today. The Security Council this morning wrapped up its session for the month of November.

SECRETARY-GENERAL AND SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR END TO VIOLENCE IN LIBYA

  • In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General expressed deep concern over the recent escalation of violence in Libya, including the air strikes in Tripoli, Benghazi and the Nafousa Mountains.
  • He called on all parties to end the attacks and prevent a further escalation of the violence. He also reminded them of their moral and legal obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. The Security Council has also just issued a statement, condemning the ongoing human rights violations and abuses in Libya, and the use of violence against civilians and civilian institutions, including United Nations personnel.
  • Security Council members join the Secretary-General and his Special Representative for Libya, Bernardino Leon, in reiterating the need for dialogue to resolve Libya’s political crisis.
  • Mr. Leon continues with his mediation efforts on the ground. Yesterday, he discussed with Prime Minister and head of Libya’s interim Government Abdullah al-Thinni possible options for ending the armed hostilities, including a cessation of aerial attacks against Mitiga Airport in Tripoli, and other areas in western Libya.
  • Mr. Leon also informed the Prime Minister of his intention to convene a new round of talks in Ghadames at the earliest opportunity.

U.N. ENVOY SAYS ABDUCTED WOMEN AND GIRLS ARE IRAQ’S BLEEDING WOUND

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, marked the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence by drawing attention to the hundreds of abducted women and girls who are suffering unspeakable abuses and atrocities by terrorist groups.
  • He said that they are Iraq’s bleeding wound and pledged that the UN would continue to push to obtain their release and to support the Government of Iraq in its efforts to bring them back home.
  • Mr. Mladenov also urged the relevant authorities to create safe shelters for survivors of violence, ensure that justice is served and that the perpetrators of violence against women come before the law.

U.N. MISSION IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC ARRESTS ANTI-BALAKA LEADER

  • On 24 November, as per its Urgent Temporary Measures mandate and its support to the national authorities in their fight against impunity, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) arrested the well-known anti-Balaka leader “Chocolat” also known as "Choco" in Bangui. "Chocolat" who had been based in Bangui area known as "Combatant", is accused of a series of serious human rights violations.

SPOKESMAN’S OFFICE MOURNS DEATH OF HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS AT U.N. MISSION IN CYPRUS

  • The Spokesman expressed deep sadness over the passing of Michel Bonnardeaux, the Spokesperson and Chief of the Public Information Office for the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the Good Offices Mission in Cyprus.
  • He said that Mr. Bonnardeaux had worked for the UN in New York as well as in the field, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Haiti.
  • The Spokesman said that Mr. Bonnardeaux was a wonderful colleague and friend to many people at the UN. He was a professional who knew the organization inside out and got along with pretty much everyone. He was known for being caring and easy going, for his great and sometimes irreverent sense of humor and his contagious laugh.
  • He added that Mr. Bonnardeaux had a gift for languages and many of you might have interviewed him in French, English or Spanish but he also managed to routinely amaze us by speaking in just about any language we could think of – even if just a few sentences. He said that our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.