HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 4 MARCH 2015
SUSTAINABILITY STARTS IN SENDAI, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL AT DISASTER RISK REDUCTION REPORT LAUNCH
- The Secretary-General today launched the 2015 Global Assessment Report (GAR) on Disaster Risk Reduction.
- He welcomed the report’s focus on “Making Development Sustainable,” noting that it shows how investing in risk prevention pays high dividends while saving lives and how it charts a path toward a more disaster-resilient future.
- To advance along that path, the Secretary-General said, we will take a major collective step forward at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which will take place in Sendai, Japan, later this month.
- He stressed that “sustainability starts in Sendai,” with other major conferences in the pipeline this year: financing for development in Addis Ababa in July, the post-2015 sustainable development agenda in New York in September, and the climate change conference in Paris in December.
- The Secretary-General will be traveling to Japan next week. He will leave New York on Thursday, 12 March. His first stop will be in Sendai, where he will take part in the World Conference, which begins on 14 March, on Saturday.
- The Secretary-General will meet leaders attending the Conference, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and attend several side events. He will also visit areas and meet with people affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
- The Secretary-General will also visit Tokyo, where he will speak at an event marking the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.
SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES COMPREHENSIVE SETTLEMENT OF CONFLICT IN SOUTH SUDAN
- In a statement issued yesterday on the South Sudan Peace Process, the Secretary-General urged President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar to show leadership and make the necessary compromises to conclude a power sharing agreement that will pave the way for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict.
- The Secretary-General took note of the unanimous passage of Resolution 2206 (2015) by the Security Council this morning, establishing a sanctions regime on South Sudan.
- He reminded both parties that the best way to avoid the enactment of actual sanctions by the Security Council, is to strictly adhere to the Cessation of Hostilities agreement of 23 January 2014, fully comply with International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, extend their full cooperation to United Nations and humanitarian personnel in the discharge of their mandates and duties, and conclude a Comprehensive Peace Agreement that places South Sudan back on the path to stability and prosperity.
DEPUTY SECERTARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED TO COMBAT WILDLIFE CRIME
- The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, today delivered remarks at the General Assembly’s commemoration of the World Wildlife Day.
- Focusing on the need to combat wildlife crime, the Deputy Secretary-General said that illegal wildlife trade has become a mushrooming transnational form of crime.
- He added that such crimes undermine the rule of law and national security, as well as degrades ecosystems. It represents a contempt and lack of respect for life on this planet, whether it is human beings, animals or plants.
U.N. ENVOY CALLS ON LIBYAN LEADERS TO ACT QUICKLY AND DECISIVELY TO ADDRESS CRISIS
- The Security Council today adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts of the Democratic Republic of Korea Sanctions Committee, until 5 April 2016.
- Following that, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, Bernardino León, briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s Special Report on the Strategic Assessment of the UN presence in Libya as well as on the work of the mission.
- He said that the overall situation in Libya is deteriorating rapidly, adding that unless Libya’s leaders act quickly and decisively to address the political crisis, the risks to the country’s national unity and territorial integrity are real and imminent.
- He said that tomorrow’s meeting in Morocco, facilitated by the UN, is an important opportunity to honour the sacrifices that Libyans have made in their quest for a life of dignity and respect. He reiterated the UN’s support for the Libyan people and leaders as they work to resolve their differences through compromise.
PEACE DIALOGUE IS THE WAY FORWARD IN YEMEN, STRESSES U.N. ENVOY
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, is meeting President Hadi in Aden today, following his briefing yesterday to the Security Council in closed consultations.
- In a statement, Mr. Benomar said that he told Council members that progress is being made on the status of the UN-brokered negotiations. He warned that there are extremists within many sides who want for these negotiations to fail.
- Mr. Benomar said that no side has the ability to impose control by force over the entire country, and that any side that would want to pursue a military solution would be inviting a protracted conflict in the vein of a Libya- or Syria-like scenario.
- He also emphasized that peaceful dialogue is the only way forward, adding that we are engaged with all parties in a manner that neither gives legitimacy to those who used force to disrupt the political process, nor diminishes the legitimacy of the President and government, nor harms the impartiality of the UN.
HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES IN IRAQ RUSH TO HELP PEOPLE DISPLACED IN SAMARRA
- The UN and its humanitarian partners in Iraq are rushing aid to thousands of displaced families in Iraq’s Samarra District, following clashes in multiple parts of Salah al-Din Governorate.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) will send emergency food rations tomorrow, while the World Health Organization (WHO) is dispatching emergency medical supplies based on ongoing assessments and will vaccinate children under the age of five against polio.
- For its part, UNICEF delivered three convoys of water and sanitation supplies, while UNHCR is focusing on non-food items.
- The Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande said that the UN is very worried about the humanitarian situation in Samarra, adding that it is working around the clock to get assistance to those in need.
U.N. ENVOY IN LEBANON MEETS DEFENSE MINISTER
- The Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, met today with Defense Minister Samir Moqbel in Beirut. They discussed the security situation in Lebanon, with a particular focus on the country’s eastern border.
- Ms. Kaag praised efforts by the Lebanese Armed Forces and security forces to safeguard Lebanon’s security and stability from the threat posed by extremist militants. She said the international community would continue to stand firmly behind the Lebanese Armed Forces and security forces.
- The Special Coordinator expressed her appreciation for the countries which already provide support and encouraged further assistance.
HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL CALLS ON COUNTRIES TO IMPROVE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE SYSTEM
- The Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonovic, spoke at the opening of the Human Rights Council’s high-level discussion in Geneva today on the question of the death penalty.
- He said that currently, around 160 countries from all regions of the world have either fully abolished the death penalty, or do not practise it. In December last year, a record number of countries supported the General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
- He also noted that we are also seeing moves in some countries towards its preservation, or even reintroduction of the death penalty.
- He stressed that we can do better. We need not kill immigrants, minorities, the poor and those with disabilities to show that we are committed to fight crime.
- Let us work together, Mr. Šimonovic said, to improve efficiency of our justice system without resorting to the death penalty, which he called an inhuman and outdated punishment.
· WHO CALLS ON COUNTRIES TO HELP PEOPLE REDUCE SUGAR INTAKE
- The World Health Organization (WHO) today called on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children to less than 10 per cent of their total energy intake. According to WHO, a further reduction to below 5 per cent or roughly 25 grams, that is 6 teaspoons per day, would provide additional health benefits and reduce risks of obesity, overweight and tooth decay.
- The guideline does not refer to the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, or to sugars naturally present in milk, but to glucose, fructose, sucrose or table sugar, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
- The World Health Organization warns that much sugars consumed today are “hidden” in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweets.
- Based on the quality of supporting evidence, these recommendations are ranked by WHO as “strong”, which means they can be adopted as policy in most situations.
*** The guests of the noon briefing, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, and the Lead Author of the 2015 Global Assessment Report (GAR) on Disaster Risk Reduction, Andrew Maskrey, discussed the GAR report.