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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 VANNINA MAESTRACCI

ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2014

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES PLEDGES FOR GREEN CLIMATE FUND

  • In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General welcomed the pledges of up to US$9.3 billion made by Governments towards the initial capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the Berlin Pledging Conference today.
  • These pledges go far to kick-start the operationalisation of the Fund, and follow on the heels of other significant climate actions such as the United States-China joint announcement and the decision by the European Union, as well as positive commitments reaffirmed by other leaders in recent meetings, including at the G20 and the September Climate Summit.
  • The Secretary-General added that these developments demonstrate that Governments increasingly understand both the benefits derived from climate action and the growing risks of delay. It also provides much needed public finance which is key to unlocking investments at a much larger scale from private sources.
  • The Secretary-General underscored the importance of climate finance for securing a meaningful, universal climate agreement in Paris in 2015 and for catalysing action on the ground. He urged all developed countries that have not yet pledged to the Fund to do so by COP 20 in Lima. He also encouraged those developing countries that are in a position to do so, to consider making voluntary contributions to the Fund in Lima.

IRAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR FLEXIBILITY AT NUCLEAR TALKS

  • In a statement on the occasion of the resumption of talks between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Secretary-General called on all participants to demonstrate the necessary flexibility, wisdom and determination to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion that meets the concerns and interests of all sides.
  • The Secretary-General added that he hoped that reaching a mutually-acceptable and comprehensive agreement will restore confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. He remains convinced that such an accord can contribute to the strengthening of regional and international peace and security at a time when global cooperation is needed perhaps more than ever.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CHAIRS U.N. SYSTEM-WIDE MEETING

  • The Secretary-General is in Washington D.C. today, where he opened a meeting of the United Nations Chief Executives Board (CEB), hosted by the World Bank Group.
  • During this two-day session, the heads of the UN system will particularly focus on their coordination on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
  • Tomorrow, they will also discuss our common effort to counter the Ebola outbreak and after that session, the Secretary-General and other CEB members will hold a brief press encounter at approximately 12:45 p.m. tomorrow.

EBOLA: MASSIVE EFFORT IN CONTACT TRACING UNDERWAY IN MALI

  • Latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) report a total of 15,145 Ebola-related cases and 5,420 deaths, so far. In the three countries with widespread and intense transmission, reported case incidence is no longer increasing nationally in Guinea and Liberia, but is still increasing in Sierra Leone.
  • In Mali, there have been six reported confirmed and probable cases, and five deaths.
  • A massive effort is currently underway to identify all potential chains of transmission, monitor contacts, and prevent the outbreak from growing larger.
  • WHO reported that as the successful experiences in Senegal and Nigeria show, aggressive contact tracing can support a rapid end to the outbreak.
  • The Ministry of Health, with support from WHO, has also strengthened the number of staff engaged in contact tracing by drawing on polio surveillance teams and using local medical students with training in epidemiology.
  • The organization has also deployed 10 epidemiologists and Mali is ramping up its capacity to perform exit screening at the Bamako airport.
  • The Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, visited Mali yesterday to see how UNMEER could support the government not only in its efforts to end the current crisis, but also to put in place the necessary capacity to react quickly, should there be any new cases in the future.
  • Tomorrow at 3 p.m., the Security Council is expected to hear a briefing by Dr. David Nabarro, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, and Anthony Banbury.

NEW HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT SAYS CIVILIANS CONTINUE TO BE KILLED, DETAINED AND TORTURED IN UKRAINE

  • The latest United Nations human rights monitoring report in Ukraine has found that civilians have continued to be killed, unlawfully detained, tortured and disappeared in the country’s east.
  • The new report, issued today, has also found that the number of internally displaced people has risen considerable despite the ceasefire that was announced on 5 September 2014.
  • It also noted that since the ceasefire began, nearly 1,000 people have been killed and that the number of displaced has risen sharply from over 275,000 to more than 466,000.
  • The report said that accountability and an end to impunity are at the core of ensuring peace, reconciliation and long term recovery, adding that crimes must be promptly investigated, perpetrators held accountable and victims provided with an effective remedy. This is the seventh report produced by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission.

U.N. WELCOMES COMMITMENTS MADE BY SOMALIA’S PARTNERS

  • The High-Level Partnership Forum (HLPF) on Somalia concluded in Copenhagen, Denmark, today. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, commended the successful discussions of the forum, the endorsement of a communiqué mapping out key successes of the forum and next steps and the recommitment to the New Deal through the Somali Compact progress report.
  • Speaking at the Forum yesterday, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman welcomed the participants’ commitment to review Somalia’s political and security progress within the next six months.
  • He noted that although the work of the Forum has been conscious of the urgency of delivering on political unity, stability, security and prosperity, the international community’s partnership with Somalia needs to be stepped up in all areas.

IMPORTANCE OF U.N. POLICE HAS GROWN UNPRECEDENTEDLY, SAYS HEAD OF PEACEKEEPING

  • The Security Council met on the role of policing in peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding. Speaking at the meeting, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, noted that the past fifteen years have seen an unprecedented growth in the scale, scope and importance of United Nations Police and highlighted the critical linkages between all elements of the criminal justice chain - police, justice and corrections.
  • There are currently more than 12,000 UN Police from 91 Member States deployed to thirteen peacekeeping operations and four Special Political Missions.

INNOVATION CAN DRIVE CHANGE FOR DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN, SAYS NEW UNICEF REPORT

  • In a message to mark Universal Children’s Day and the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Secretary-General called on the world to stand up for the rights of children everywhere.
  • Also marking the Day, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched the latest State of the World’s Children report, calling for urgent action to prevent millions of children from missing out on the benefits of innovation.
  • UNICEF’s Executive Director Anthony Lake said that in our ever-more connected world, local solutions and innovation can have global impact, benefiting children in every country who still face inequity and injustice every day.
  • Earlier today, UNICEF unveiled the #IMAGINE project in the General Assembly Hall. The project brings together artists such as Yoko Ono, David Guetta as well as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Katy Perry and Angélique Kidjo to highlight the tremendous challenges children face globally.
  • Other UN organizations, including the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), are commemorating the day by highlighting the plight of refugee children, whose rights are often denied.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • In response to a question on Malakal, South Sudan, the Spokesperson said that the Mission in that country (UNMISS) had reported that the situation at the town’s protection of civilians site was tense over the weekend after a series of clashes between Nuer and Shilluk displaced people that resulted in injuries to civilians.
  • Three UNMISS peacekeepers were also injured when they intervened to contain the situation.
  • When asked about the bombings in Darfur, the Spokesperson said that the Joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has received local reports that Kornoi and Abu Leha in North Darfur were struck by aerial bombs on 16 and 18 November 2014, respectively.
  •  The Mission has not received any reports of casualties. It remains concerned by the reports and is in the process of verifying that information.

*** The guest at the noon briefing was José Ramos Horta, Chair of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations ***