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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, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

TUESDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2015

 

NEW DEVELOPMENT AGENDA HERALD START OF NEW ERA – SECRETARY-GENERAL

  • The Secretary-General spoke this morning at the General Assembly to hand over the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to be endorsed at the Summit later this month.
  • He called today the start of a new era, noting that Member States overcame differences in the interest of a common good.
  • The Secretary-General said that the new agenda aims high, putting people at the centre of development and aiming to foster human well-being, prosperity, peace and justice and a healthy planet.
  • At this month’s Summit, the Secretary-General said, he expects Heads of State and Government to not only endorse the new Agenda but to affirm their strong political commitment to its timely implementation.

AS SECRETARY-GENERAL TRAVELS TO CHINA, U.N. LAUNCHES FLAGSHIP HANDBOOK IN CHINESE FOR FIRST TIME IN NEARLY THREE DECADES

  • The Secretary-General is traveling to China today.
  • For the first time in 29 years, the flagship UN handbook Basic Facts has been published in Chinese. The UN thanks the Institute of Interpretation and Translation at Shanghai International Studies University which was key in preparing this translation for us.
  • The Chinese edition of Basic Facts will be available through print-on-demand from UN Publications, and later as an e-book. An electronic version of the volume is also being prepared for publication.

SYRIA: U.N. SATELLITES CONFIRM DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLES IN WORLD HERITAGE SITE OF PALMYRA

  • Analysts at UNOSAT have used commercial satellite imagery over Syria to confirm reports that the Temples of Bel and the Baal Shamin in Palmyra have been destroyed. Only hours earlier, on Monday, some in Syria believed the Temple of Bel was still standing despite rumours of its destruction. But after acquiring rush imagery from one of its partners, UNOSAT confirmed the loss of the ancient monument overnight.
  • The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, expressed profound dismay as she condemned the destruction of the Temple. Ms. Bokova said that the destruction of Palmyra constitutes an intolerable crime against civilization, but 4,500 years of history will never be erased.
  • She said that each of these attacks invites us to share ever more widely the heritage of humanity, whether in museums, schools, the media and our homes. This is the sense of the initiatives launched everywhere in the world by UNESCO and countless citizens of all nationalities, religions and origins, particularly in the Arab and Muslim world.
  • The Secretary-General joins Ms. Bokova’s voice in strongly condemning this wanton destruction of this global heritage.

U.N. ENVOY DISCUSSES SITUATION IN SYRIA WITH IRANIAN OFFICIAL

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, met today in Beirut with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Arab African Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hussain Amir Abdullahian. The meeting was an opportunity to analyse the evolving situation with a key regional player and to discuss efforts in follow-up to the Security Council Presidential Statement supporting the recent UN initiative to operationalize the Geneva Communiqué.
  • Mr. de Mistura elaborated on the usefulness of the Working Groups aimed at facilitating the political solution to the ongoing Syrian conflict.
  • The Special Envoy will proceed from Beirut to Brussels, where he will continue his consultations with European Union officials and relevant Member States.

U.N. RELIEF CHIEF TO DEPART FOR TURKEY

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien will be in Turkey from tomorrow until Friday.
  • In Ankara, Mr. O’Brien is scheduled to meet senior Turkish officials, including Prime Minister Davutoglu, and senior representatives from Turkish NGOs and the Turkish Red Crescent. He will discuss the Syria refugee crisis and the World Humanitarian Summit which will be held next May in Istanbul.
  • In Gazientep, Mr. O’Brien will meet representatives from local authorities and from Turkish and Syrian NGOs, and he will visit the UN hub for cross-border shipments.
  • In Istanbul, he is scheduled to meet the Governor, Vasip Sahin, and the Mayor of Istanbul for talks on the World Humanitarian Summit.

MORE THAN 1,300 IRAQIS KILLED IN AUGUST, U.N. MISSION REPORTS

  • The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said today that a total of 1,325 Iraqis were killed and another 1,811 were wounded in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in August.
  • Jan Kubis, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Iraq, highlighted the steadily increasing number of casualties and stressed the importance of the Government’s reform plan to restore order, legality and social justice in the country and renew confidence in the fair participation of all Iraqis.

U.N. LIBYA ENVOY HOLDS MEETINGS IN ISTANBUL ON MOVING POLITICAL DIALOGUE FORWARD

  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Bernardino León, is holding consultations in Istanbul today with representatives of the General National Congress to discuss ways to move forward the dialogue process, with a view to reaching a peaceful solution to the current political, military and humanitarian crisis in Libya.
  • The meeting in Istanbul, which is taking place ahead of the new round of planned dialogue on 3 September, will discuss GNC concerns with respect to the political agreement and ways to overcome them.
    Mr. León reiterates his call to all the Libyan parties to uphold the national interest of Libya and engage constructively in the discussions to expedite the dialogue process.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS WING SPEAKS OUT AGAINST RESUMPTION OF DEATH PENALTY IN CHAD

  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said it deeply regretted the resumption of the death penalty in Chad. 
  • Ten people were executed by firing squad on the morning of 29 August, after being sentenced to death under the new anti-terrorism law.   It was the first use of the death penalty in the country since 2003.
  • The Human Rights Office has called on the Government of Chad to introduce an official moratorium aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY RESUMES AID DELIVERY TO NON-GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED AREAS OF EASTERN UKRAINE

  • The UN Refugee Agency said today that last month saw heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine.
  • Since the start of the conflict, some 40 per cent of the population of the town of Horvlika has now left.
  • This past weekend, the Agency delivered humanitarian aid to Horvlika and nearby areas not controlled by the Government for the first time in several weeks, [with] 13 UNHCR trucks carrying 260 metric tons of shelter and basic relief items for more thousands of people.
  • The Agency said that in recent weeks, access to the conflict zone has remained challenging, greatly restricting the delivery of much needed aid to those in need. With the imminent arrival of the cold season, preparations for autumn and winter are becoming a priority, especially for towns and villages with a high level of destruction.
  • In response to a question on recent violence in Ukraine, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is following with concern the recent developments in Kyiv, following a vote in the Rada to amend the constitution in relation to decentralization. He deeply regrets that the events resulted in loss of life and serious injuries. The Secretary-General urges all concerned to exercise maximum restraint and calls for differences to be resolved through peaceful means, in accordance with the laws of Ukraine. 

NEW U.N.-BACKED PROGRAMME TO HELP DEVELOPING COUNTRIES CLIMATE CHANGE

  • A new UN programme funded by Germany will help eight developing countries revamp and strengthen their adaptation responses.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) will work with ministries of agriculture in Nepal, Kenya, the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, Uruguay, Viet Nam and Zambia to incorporate agricultural sectors into their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).