HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 18 DECEMBER 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL TRAVELS TO WEST AFRICA TO VISIT EBOLA-AFFECTED COUNTRIES
- The Secretary-General is on his way to West Africa, where he will visit the Ebola-affected countries over the next two days. He is accompanied by World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Margaret Chan and his Special Envoy dealing with the Ebola response, Dr. David Nabarro.
- He will arrive shortly in Accra, Ghana, where he will meet with President John Dramani Mahama. This evening, he will also meet with officials and staff of the Accra-based UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).
- Meanwhile, new contributions to the Ebola Trust Fund include those from Israel, for $8.75 million; from China, for $6 million; from Germany, for an additional $5.3 million over their earlier contribution; from Switzerland, for $5.1million; from Bolivia, for $1 million; and from Brazil, for $600,000.
AFGHANISTAN SEES HIGHEST CIVILIANS DEATH TOLL
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, and the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, spoke at the Security Council’s quarterly debate on Afghanistan.
- Mr. Haysom said that stability and prosperity in the country will not be achieved in the absence of sustainable peace. He added that the UN Mission in the country stands ready to support Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation and political processes.
- Mr. Haysom also warned that civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict. This year’s figures are the highest ever recorded by UNAMA since it started fully documenting civilian casualty data in 2009.
- Talking about the drug control efforts in Afghanistan, head of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, said that illicit drug production and use remains a formidable challenge facing Afghanistan’s new leadership and the international community. Afghan opium accounts for 80 per cent of global production and the prevalence of opiate use is one of the highest in the world.
- He added that eradication can only be successful if supported by meaningful alternative development programmes that focus on reducing the vulnerability of farmers and communities.
- Earlier today, the Security Council adopted a resolution unanimously to renew the mandate of the UN Disengagement Force (UNDOF) for 6 months.
U.N. AND PARTNERS LAUNCH $8.4 BILLION AID PLAN FOR SYRIA AND NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES
- As Syria’s war heads towards a fifth year, the United Nations and its partners launched a major new humanitarian and development appeal today, requesting more than $8.4 billion in funds to help nearly 18 million people in Syria and across the region in 2015.
- It was presented in Berlin today by Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos. Of that amount, $2.9 billion is for people living inside Syria and $5.5 billion is intended to help Syria refugees and those hosting them.
- The appeal includes two main elements: supporting more than 12 million displaced and conflict-affected people inside Syria and addressing the needs of the millions of Syrian refugees in the region and the countries and communities hosting them. The 2015 appeal incorporates, for the first time, significant development aspects in addition to the life-saving humanitarian needs of the largest number of displaced people in the world.
YEMEN: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS BOMB ATTACK IN RADAA
- In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the Tuesday bomb attacks in Radaa in Yemen’s Al Bayda province, which killed more than 25 people, including at least 15 schoolchildren.
- The Secretary-General expressed his sympathies and sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these heinous attacks.
- As he made clear in the statement, as well as in an earlier statement on the Tuesday school attack in Pakistan, there is absolutely no justification for such cowardly terrorist acts that brutally take the lives of innocent civilians, including children.
- The Secretary-General calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
U.N. MISSION IN MALI ARREST TWO FOLLOWING ATTACK ON ONE OF ITS VEHICLE
- Early today in Mali, a vehicle of the UN Mission in that country (MINUSMA) hit an explosive device in the vicinity of its camp in Aguelhok, in the Kidal region. The Mission reports that three peacekeepers were injured.
- Following the incident, MINUSMA arrested and detained two men found in possession of an anti-personnel mine and grenades. The men will be taken to Bamako today.
DONORS PLEGED OVER $418 MILLION TO SUPPORT LIFE-SAVING OPERATIONS IN 2015
- Donors on Wednesday pledged US$418.6 million for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support critical, life-saving humanitarian operations in 2015.
- This year so far, CERF funding of $450 million has supported emergency aid operations in 44 countries.
- Approximately a third of the funding went to emergencies in 22 of the world’s most neglected crises, including Chad, Haiti and Yemen.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR GREATER ATTENTION TO SITUATION OF MIGRANTS
- Today is International Migrants Day.
- In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General calls for the fulfilment and protection of the human rights of the world’s 232 million migrants.
- He urges Member States to ratify and implement all core international human rights instruments, and adopt comprehensive and human rights-based migration policies that promote legal migration channels.
- He says that the world needs to devote greater attention to the precarious situation of the world’s migrants, many of them living and working in unjust conditions.
*** The guest at the Noon Briefing today was Mr. William Lacy Swing, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).