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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, 9 FEBRUARY 2015

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES FIRST BINDING LIMITS ON EMISSIONS FROM AVAITION INDUSTRY

  • In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General welcomed the announcement today by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) proposing the first binding limits on emissions from the aviation industry.
  • The proposed rules, which would limit carbon emissions and strengthen the efficiency of all new commercial and business airliners after 2028, build on the strong momentum coming from the Paris Agreement and represent the latest in a series of successful multilateral efforts to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change.
  • Carbon emissions from aviation are growing rapidly, with the number of flights worldwide expected to double in the next 15 years. The ICAO’s new rules come after years of negotiations and are the first time that governments have set emissions standards for the aviation industry.
  • The Secretary-General commended this first step to reduce carbon emissions from air travel and calls for further strengthening of emissions standards as quickly as possible, in line with the scientific imperative for action.

NO ONE MUST BE LEFT BEHIND, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL AT LAUNCH OF HIS AGENDA FOR HUMANITY REPORT

  • The Secretary-General launched his report called One Humanity: Shared Responsibility earlier today ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), which will take place in May in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Speaking to Member States, the Secretary-General stressed that the Summit is the moment for us to come together to renew our commitment to humanity, and to the unity and cooperation required to prevent and end crises, and reduce people’s suffering and vulnerability. He added that no-one in conflict, no-one in chronic poverty, and no-one living with the risk of natural hazards and rising sea levels must be left behind.
  • The report provides some core responsibilities for action – it urges leaders to assume their responsibility to prevent and end conflicts; calls on States to affirm their responsibility to uphold the norms that safeguard humanity; underscores need to focus delivering aid to ending need; and calls for more investment in humanity, including enhancing local capacities, reducing risk and building effective and inclusive institutions.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SADDENED BY PASSING OF FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF NEPAL
  • In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General said that he is saddened by the passing of former Prime Minister and Nepali Congress leader Sushil Koirala, a widely respected political leader who guided Nepal through its complex transition and constitutional process.
  • Mr. Koirala worked tirelessly to unify people and bring parties together in a spirit of compromise; he greatly contributed towards Nepal's democratization and peace process.
  • The Secretary-General extended his condolences to the Koirala family and the people of Nepal.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS INNOVATION AND REFORM CRITICAL FOR ACHIEVING 2030 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

  • The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson addressed the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), today. 
  • Speaking to high-level officials gathered at the Summit, he said that the event has become a welcome annual occasion to promote partnerships across traditional sectors, taking advantage of the innovative, reform-minded and forward-looking environment of the UAE.  
  • Moving forward, the Deputy Secretary-General said that innovative reform efforts will be crucial now if we are to live up to the two landmark agreements of 2015 - the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  • He added that the Agenda is strongly connected to vital sectors and themes identified by the Summit, including education, health, technology, labour markets and sustainability.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONCLUDES VISIT; NOTES PROGRESS AFTER NEARLY 30 YEARS OF CONFLICT IN SRI LANKA

  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, spoke to the media in Colombo today, concluding his four-day visit to Sri Lanka.
  • Stressing that there has been progress in the country, he added the ‘white van’ abductions that operated outside all norms of law and order, to instil fear in the hearts of journalists, human rights defenders and others, who dared criticise the Government or State security institutions, are now very seldom reported.
  • He said that after nearly 30 years of conflict and acrimony, that not only cost tens of thousands of lives but also eroded so many vital components of the State, Sri Lanka is still in the early stages of renewal.
  • The High Commissioner also highlighted that several recent highly symbolic steps have been taken that have had a positive impact on inter-communal relations, including the decision to sing the national anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil on Independence Day, for the first time since the early 1950s.

U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON LATEST REPORT ON THREATS POSED BY DA’ESH

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, briefed the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s recent report providing a strategic-level assessment of the threat posed by Da’esh.
  • It highlights that Da’esh’s emergence has been facilitated by the protracted conflicts and instability in Iraq and Syria, as well as the weakening of State institutions and the inability of the States to exercise effective control over territory and borders. The report adds that the group’s global expansion strategy may be a reaction to recent territorial losses inflicted by international military efforts.
  • Mr. Feltman said that, in the context of countering the financing of terrorism, Member States should ensure the timely exchange of information and financial intelligence, implement relevant Security Council resolutions, and strengthen their collaboration with private sector actors to address the threat.
  • Among other steps, he added, Member States should criminalize the travel of foreign terrorist fighters in accordance with relevant resolutions and take measures to strengthen their border-management regimes.
  • The Security Council also adopted a resolution adding 68 corrections officers to the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

U.N. SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR MIDDLE EAST WELCOMES ONGOING PALESTINIAN UNITY TALKS HOSTED BY QATAR

  • The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, today welcomed the ongoing Palestinian unity talks hosted by Qatar. The United Nations supports all efforts undertaken to advance genuine Palestinian reconciliation on the basis of non-violence, democracy and PLO principles.
  • Mr. Mladenov urged all sides to follow up on these discussions in good faith and implement previous agreements, in particular those brokered by Egypt. The formation of a National Unity Government that abides by the PLO programme and the conduct of long-overdue elections are important elements of this process.
  • The Special Coordinator added that the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza, have suffered enough. They deserve to see the West Bank and Gaza reunited under a single, democratic and legitimate Palestinian authority.

SYRIA: U.N. FOOD PROGRAMME DISTRIBUTES AID IN NORTHERN ALEPPO

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) has started distributing urgently needed food to people displaced by the recent surge in violence in northern Aleppo in Syria. The food was transported on cross-border convoys from Turkey into the small town of A’zaz, about 30 kilometres northwest of Aleppo city. Over the following days, distributions are to reach another 21,000 people.
  • WFP is extremely concerned about the situation on the ground, with access and supply routes from the north to eastern Aleppo being cut off.  The agency is urging all parties to the conflict to provide immediate access to the affected communities, so that it can distribute food to families.
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that NGOs in northern Aleppo have been providing assistance and humanitarian relief to internally displaced people (IDPs). Turkey has also been providing assistance and has accepted a number of vulnerable, wounded persons into Turkey.

SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES CONDOLENCES FOLLOWING EARTHQUAKE IN TAIWAN

  • In the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Taiwan, Province of China, which reportedly, killed more than 30 people, the Secretary-General expresses his sympathies to all those affected, especially the loved ones of those who have lost their life.
  • The Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has been in touch with the relevant authorities on the island but no request for international support has been made.

HAITI: U.N. FOOD PROGRAMME WARNS OF FOOD INSECURITY DUE TO DROUGHT

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that a third consecutive year of drought in Haiti, exacerbated by the global El Niño weather phenomenon, has driven people deeper into poverty and hunger, and doubled the severely food-insecure population.
  • Some 3.6 million Haitians are facing food insecurity, among them more than 1.5 million people who are severely food insecure.
  • In some areas of Haiti, up to 70 per cent of the population is facing hunger and a recent study conducted by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Government revealed that in several communes, malnutrition rates are above emergency levels.
  • Based on the results of these new studies, WFP intends to scale up its food assistance programmes to address the most critical and immediate needs of 1 million drought-affected people by distributing cash and food rations.

U.N. ACADEMIC IMPACT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SOLUTIONS NETWORK COLLABORATE TO MOBILIZE UNIVERSITIES

  • The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) have this week finalised a statement of collaboration, providing for both networks to work together in mobilizing universities and other knowledge institutions to promote teaching, applied research, and problem solving around the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The Secretary-General welcomed the collaboration of those networks as an important new way to mobilize universities in our historic effort to realize a life of dignity for all.

U.N. AGENCY UNDERSCORES HUMAN AND FOOD SAFETY IN EFFORTS TO COMBAT SPREAD OF ZIKA VIRUS

  • As the leading UN agency on animal health and pest control, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today that it could assist countries impacted by the Zika virus with targeted interventions, while ensuring that people and the environment are not exposed to health and other risks stemming from the inappropriate use of potentially dangerous chemicals.
  • At least in the short term, a dramatic increase in the use of insecticides to spray mosquito populations or treat waters is likely.
  • However, the FAO stresses that a more immediate and relatively [simple] set of actions can be taken to combat the spread of the Zika virus. That is to ensure the removal of stagnant water used by mosquitos to breed.
  • If the intensive use of insecticides is indeed required, FAO said it is then essential that it be done with great care to promote safety for humans and to protect the food chain from contamination.

**The guests at the noon briefing will be the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien, who briefed on the launch of the Secretary-General’s “One Humanity: Shared Responsibility” report.