HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 28 NOVEMBER 2014
[There was no noon briefing on 28 November 2014. Attached below are highlights of events throughout the UN system on that date.]
UNICEF: STEEP DECLINE IN NEW H.I.V. INFECTIONS AMONG CHILDREN UNDER 15 RECORDED
- An estimated 1.1 million HIV infections among children under 15 have been averted, as new cases declined by over 50% between 2005 and 2013, according to data released by UNICEF today ahead of World AIDS Day.
- This progress is the result of expanding the access of millions of pregnant women living with HIV to services for the prevention of mother to child transmission. These include lifelong HIV treatment that markedly reduces the transmission of the virus to babies and keeps their mothers alive and well.
- The sharpest declines took place between 2009 and 2013 in eight African countries: Malawi, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Ghana.
- However, UNICEF says that the global goal of reducing new HIV infections in children by 90% between 2009 and 2015 is still out of reach, as only 67% of pregnant women living with HIV in all low- and middle-income countries received the most effective antiretroviral medicines in 2013
- Disparity in access to treatment is hampering progress and AIDS mortality trends for adolescents are also of significant concern. While all other age groups have experienced a decline of nearly 40% in AIDS-related deaths between 2005 and 2013, adolescents (aged 10-19) are the only age group in which AIDS-related deaths are not decreasing.
EMERGENCY DECLARED IN GAZA FOLLOWING SEVERE FLOODING
- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza declared an emergency in Gaza City on Thursday, following extreme weather and severe flooding. No casualties or injuries have been reported, but hundreds of residents in the flooded areas around the Sheikh Radwan storm water lagoon have evacuated their homes.
- One UNRWA school and an UNRWA Collective Centre in Gaza City have been affected by the rising waters.
- The Agency has established an Area Emergency Operations room in Gaza City following contingency planning undertaken last week.
- UNRWA is in close consultation with all of its partners, the Palestinian Government and the local municipality who are monitoring the level of rain across the Strip.
- "We are very concerned about such severe storms this early in the season and on the back of unprecedented damage and destruction caused by the recent conflict,” said UNRWA’s Director of Operations, Robert Turner, in Gaza. “We are particularly concerned for those families still seeking adequate shelter and preparing for the winter months, and for the impact the flooding is already having on children unable to attend school.”
NEW ATTACK IN NIGERIA DISPLACES THOUSANDS TO NEIGHBOURING NIGER
- The UN refugee Agency, UNHCR, says that an attack earlier this week on Damassak, a town in Nigeria’s Borno State, killed up to 50 people and forced at least 3,000 to flee for their lives in neighbouring Niger. Dammasak, which lies just a few kilometres from the Niger border, was reportedly captured by Boko Haram on 24 November.
- UNHCR teams in Niger say that people are still arriving from Nigeria as a result of the attack. According to the new arrivals, many displaced, mostly women, children, elderly and some injured people, are still waiting on the Nigerian side of the river to cross over to Niger.
- The new arrivals say that many civilians were killed during the attack on Damassak, especially young men, but that insurgents were also shooting at women and children.
- UNHCR also says that many children have been separated from their parents during the attack and the escape to Niger. Refugees said they had no time to collect any of their belongings and had to leave everything behind. With its partners and the local community, UNHCR has been providing plastic sheeting and blankets to help people put up temporary shelters and protect against the night-time cold.
IN MOVE LAUDED BY U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY, ASIA-PACIFIC NATIONS AGREE ON CIVIL REGISTRATION
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) welcomed today’s adoption of an Asia-Pacific ministerial declaration proclaiming a shared vision of civil registration for all – including refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless people – by the year 2024.
- The adoption took place in Bangkok, Thailand, at a conference organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), UNHCR and other development partners.
- The declaration recognizes the need to reduce barriers to civil registration faced by marginalized and hard-to-reach populations.
- UNHCR says this is first time that states in the region have reached consensus on, including people of the Agency’s concern within civil registration and vital statistics systems, adding that birth registration can help to prevent statelessness.
- The Agency voiced hope that civil registration and vital statistics will allow displaced and stateless people to be included in policy development and planning in the post-2015 development agenda.