HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 23 JANUARY 2015
OUR WORLD WILL NOT CHANGE UNTIL MEN THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT THEIR ROLES, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL IN DAVOS
- Today in Davos, Switzerland, the Secretary-General began his day with a press conference on UN Women's HeForShe campaign at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
- Speaking at the press conference, which he gave with UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, he said that our world will not change until men think differently about their roles and about what it means to be a man. He added that can be done most successfully when men are enlisted to speak to other men.
- The Secretary-General also participated in WEF’s plenary session on the theme, "Tackling Climate, Development and Growth.
- He said that we are the first generation that can end poverty, and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Future generations will judge us harshly if we fail in upholding our moral and historical responsibilities.
- The Secretary-General took part in an event with business leaders on creating coalitions for concrete action on climate change, followed by meetings with the head of the World Wildlife Fund as well as with finance leaders.
- Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will have several bilateral meetings before leaving Davos for New York.
KING ABDULLAH OF SAUDI ARABIA LEFT A TANGIBLE LEGACY FOR PEACE IN MIDDLE EAST, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General expressed sadness at the death of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia.
- The Secretary-General paid tribute to King Abdullah’s efforts to address regional and international challenges at a time of turmoil and rapid change, and to promote dialogue among the world's faiths.
- As the driving force behind the Arab Peace Initiative, King Abdullah left a tangible legacy that can still point the way toward peace in the Middle East.
- The Secretary-General is also grateful for the King Abdullah’s generous humanitarian and developmental support for people across the Arab region and the wider world.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT DEVELOPMENTS IN YEMEN
- In another statement issued yesterday on Yemen, the Secretary-General expressed his serious concern about developments in the country, where President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah have submitted their resignations.
- In these uncertain times in the country, the Secretary-General called on all sides to exercise maximum restraint and maintain peace and stability.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, is in Sana’a, where he is consulting closely with all sides to help find a way forward from the current crisis. The Secretary-General again urges all sides to remain fully engaged with Mr. Benomar in his efforts.
SECRETARY-GENERAL NOMINATES ADVISORY GROUP OF EXPERTS FOR PEACEBUILDING
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General announced the nomination of members of the Advisory Group of Experts on Peacebuilding following up on a request by the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council.
- The members include Anis Bajwa of Pakistan; Saraswathi Menon of India; Funmi Olonisakin of Nigeria; Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah of Mauritania; Charles Petrie of France; Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala and Edith Grace Ssempala of Uganda.
SUDAN: U.N. CONDEMNS ATTACK AGAINST HOSPITAL RUN BY MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) expressed deep concern about reports that a hospital operated by the international humanitarian organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, in South Kordofan State was directly targeted in an aerial bombardment incident on 20 January. A patient and an MSF staff member were reportedly injured in the attack, which also forced the suspension of medical activities.
- OCHA said that this is the second such attack on the hospital, which is located in the village of Farandela, in the past seven months. It stresses that the targeting of medical facilities is a serious violation of customary international humanitarian law.
- The UN continues to call on all parties in the conflict in Sudan to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular in relation to the protection of civilians and to ensure safe, timely and unhindered access to humanitarian organizations.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ARUSHA AGREEMENT FOR SOUTH SUDAN
- In a statement issued today on South Sudan, the Secretary-General welcomed the Agreement on the Reunification of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed by the South Sudanese parties, in Arusha, on 21 January.
- He called for its immediate implementation, particularly the recommitment of President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to respect the cessation of hostilities agreement, and encourages the signatories to resolve the leadership issues within the SPLM.
- The Secretary-General reminded the parties that time is running out and urged them to use the opportunity of the forthcoming IGAD Summit to reach a final agreement to the end of the conflict, including a power-sharing formula and measures to address its root causes and ensure accountability.
U.N. OFFICIALS IN MALI CALL FOR END TO HOSTILITIES
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Mali, Hamdi Mongi and the Chief of the Mediation, Ramtane Lamamra, held consultations with concerned parties regarding the incidents in Tabankort these last few days and the overall tension in the region.
- They both reiterated the parties’ obligations under International Humanitarian Law and urged them to create the necessary climate for the peace process to resume in February.
- They called for an immediate end to hostilities and for the respect of their commitments under the ceasefire agreements that they have signed on to.
U.N. AGENCIES APPEAL FOR $331 MILLION FOR EFFORTS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its 18 partners presented today the Regional Refugee Response Plan to assist more than 460,000 refugees from the Central African Republic who have fled to the neighbouring countries.
- The plan calls for $331 million to provide food, clean water, shelter, health, and protection and other basic services to refugees from the Central African Republic who are currently in Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo.
- According to UNHCR, nearly 10 percent of the population of the Central African Republic now lives in exile.
OVER 5,000 PEOPLE KILLED IN UKRAINE, WARNS U.N.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said today in Geneva that more than 5,000 people have now been killed since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine.
- OHCHR said that the killing of civilians when an artillery shell hit a bus stopping for passengers in Donetsk yesterday further emphasizes the impact of the ongoing hostilities on civilians.
- The organization remains concerned about the lack of implementation of the 12 provisions of the Minsk Protocol.
- It reminded all parties to the conflict that international humanitarian law prohibits the targeting of civilians and requires that all necessary measures be taken to ensure the safety and protection of civilians.
NEW U.N. ENVOY ARRIVES IN LEBANON
- The new UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, has arrived in Beirut, where she met today with Prime Minister Tamam Salam.
- She said after that meeting that they had discussed the stability and security of Lebanon and the importance of finding an early mechanism to elect a President of Lebanon.
- They reviewed the security situation in the south, as well as the incident in Qunaitra and Ms. Kaag also underscored the statement by the Secretary-General urging all parties to refrain from any actions that could directly or indirectly lead to an escalation of the current situation.
U.N. ALLOCATES MORE EMERGENCY FUNDING FOR SYRIA CRISIS
- The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, has allocated $100 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to boost life-saving relief work in Syria and 11 other countries where humanitarian needs are high but financial support is low.
- In the first of the two annual rounds of CERF funding to support under-funded emergencies, some $77.5 million will go to countries affected by the Syria crisis.
- The highest single allocation will go to Syria with $30 million and the remainder will go to humanitarian agencies in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey, which are hosting a large population of Syrian refugees.
U.N. OFFICIAL EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER DEMOLITIONS OF PALESTINE HOMES
- The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, James Rawley, expressed concern today over the Israeli authorities’ recent spate of demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
- He said that in the past three days, 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have been made homeless.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE WELCOMES PARDONING OF SALVADORIAN WOMAN
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) welcomed the ground-breaking decision of the Salvadorian Legislative Assembly to pardon Carmen Guadalupe Vásquez Aldana - a 23-year-old domestic worker who suffered a miscarriage at the age of 18 after reportedly being raped. She had been convicted of aggravated homicide because of that.
- OHCHR said that it is encouraged by the decision to pardon Guadalupe and welcomed the steps taken to review each case in line with due process standards.
- It hoped that the efforts will be made to reform the legal framework on sexual and reproductive rights in line with the recommendations from a number of human rights bodies.
TWO MORE U.N. MEMBER STATES PAY THEIR DUES IN FULL
- Two additional Member States, Bulgaria and Thailand, have paid their dues to the UN in full to the regular budget, which brings the total number of Member States who have paid in full to 12 so far.