HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 29 JUNE 2015
CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS SLOW, BUT BROAD PARTNERSHIP MEANS ‘STARS ALIGNED’ FOR GLOBAL AGREEMENT – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- The Secretary-General spoke to reporters this morning after speaking at the General Assembly’s High-Level event on climate change.
- The Secretary-General noted that the pace of negotiations is slow and moving at a snail’s pace.
- But, he said, the stars are aligned more than ever before, with governments, business leaders, civil society, and religious groups working together towards an ambitious agreement in Paris in December.
- The Secretary-General reiterated that 2015 is a year for global action, stressing the importance of the twin priorities of sustainable development and address climate change.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST COALITION AIRSTRIKE HITTING U.N. OFFICE IN YEMEN
- The Secretary-General deplores the Coalition airstrikes on a UN compound in Aden on 28 June, which resulted in serious damage to the UNDP office and injured a guard.
- International humanitarian law requires protection by all parties of civilians and civilian facilities, including UN staff and UN premises. The inviolability of UN premises and the important work of all United Nations staff must be respected at all times. The Secretary-General urges a full investigation into this incident and that anyone found to be responsible for any breaches be held to account. Ensuring accountability is indispensable in preventing such incidents.
- The Secretary-General strongly believes that this incident only underscores the imperative that all the parties to the conflict must end the fighting and return to the negotiation table as the only possible way to achieve a durable peace in Yemen.
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says it has serious concerns about public health in Aden governorate in Yemen, where the local authorities are reporting cumulative figures of over 8,000 cases of dengue and 586 deaths in the governorate, and 11 deaths on a daily basis. There are also concerns over outbreaks of measles, rubella and polio in governorates that are affected by conflict.
- Also in Aden, an oil storage tank in Al Buraiqeh District caught fire on 27 June after being hit. Fuel is an important yet scarce commodity linked to the humanitarian needs of Yemenis, including for pumping water and running generators, particularly at hospitals.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND CARICOM SUMMIT, SPOTLIGHT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN BARBADOS
- The Secretary-General will visit Barbados from Wednesday, 1 July, to Friday, 3 July, to address the opening of the 36th Summit of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
- This will be the Secretary-General’s 2nd visit to the region to attend a CARICOM Summit. In 2010 he travelled to Jamaica and was the first UN Secretary-General to address such a high-level regional summit in the Caribbean.
- During his two-day visit, the Secretary-General is expected to open the Caribbean Sustainable Development High-level Dialogue which will focus on partnership between the UN and CARICOM on the Post-2015 development agenda and climate change.
- He is scheduled to hold bi-lateral meetings with the Prime Minister of Barbados and incoming Chair of CARICOM, Freundel Stuart. The Secretary General will also meet with the Heads of the regional organizations coordinating CARICOM’s response to climate change.
- On 2 July, he will visit two local initiatives that focus on promoting sustainable development and addressing climate change in the region and country – the Caribbean LED Lighting Inc., which manufactures and exports energy efficient lighting across the Caribbean, and the Hastings Boardwalk, a public-private partnership project that helps to mitigate disaster risk and protect the coastline.
- The Secretary-General will also attend an event on ending gender-based violence in Barbados, organized by UN Women and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
- On 3 July, he will deliver remarks at the launch of the Lancet Caribbean HIV/AIDS report as well as hold an interactive session with young people in the region at the University of the West Indies.
IN NORWAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND EDUCATION SUMMIT, VISIT ARCTIC REGION
The Secretary-General will leave New York on Sunday 5 July for Norway to attend the Oslo Summit on Education for Development and visit the Arctic region.
Upon arrival in Oslo, on Monday 6 July, the Secretary-General will participate in the global launch of the Millennium Development Goals Progress Report. He will first address via VTC the launch ceremony at Headquarters in New York, before holding a joint press conference with Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and Ms. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, both members of the MDG Advocacy Group.
- He will also attend a humanitarian forum on the “Role of Civil Society in Humanitarian Emergencies” with Borge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.
- On Tuesday 7 July, the Secretary-General will participate in the Oslo Summit on Education for Development. He will also meet with H.R.H Crown Prince Haakon and other high-level officials.
- The Secretary-General will then depart for Longyearbyen, the largest populated area on the territory of Svalbard, located in the high Norwegian Arctic, to board the research vessel RV Lance.
- In the run-up to the Paris Conference, the Secretary-General will be briefed by scientists and observe first-hand effects of climate change on the region, which he visited in 2009. This visit will include an excursion to the Blomstrandbreen glacier to see first-hand the dramatic changes to the ice, as well as briefings at the Kings Bay Marine Laboratory and the Svalbard Satellite Station.
- The Secretary-General will be back in New York on Thursday, 9 July.
VIOLENCE CONTINUES UNABATED IN SYRIA, SENIOR U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL
- Kyung-wha Kang, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, briefed the Security Council this morning on the question of humanitarian access to Syria, and she warned that the violence that has so far killed more than 220,000 Syrians has not abated. She said that the use of barrel bombs in populated areas by the Syrian Government continues, causing hundreds of civilian deaths. And she noted that indiscriminate attacks on Government-controlled areas in Aleppo killed at least 116 people in April and May, nearly half of them women and children.
- Despite the challenges, Ms. Kang said, each month, the World Food Programme (WFP) feeds approximately 4.1 million people, the World Health Organization (WHO) distributes medicine and supplies for some 2.7 million people and UNICEF provides water, sanitation and other support to about 2.2 million people. But she warned that aid deliveries to 4.8 million people in hard-to-reach areas remains a serious challenge as a result of active conflict, insecurity and deliberate obstruction by the parties to the conflict.
BURUNDI: SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED BY GOVERNMENT’S INSISTENCE ON PROCEEDING WITH POLLS
- In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General expressed his concern about the Government of Burundi's insistence on going ahead with elections today despite the prevailing political and security environment.
- The Secretary-General deplores the intransigence of the parties that caused important efforts by the International Facilitation team to be inconclusive.
- He also emphasizes the responsibility of the Government of Burundi to ensure that elections take place in a secure environment and also to guarantee the safety and security of UN observers so that they can perform their mandated responsibilities free from intimidation or harassment.
- Condemning recent attacks reported in the country, he appealed to all Burundians to refrain from violent acts, in line with the Charter of Non-Violence agreed by all parties.
- Over the weekend, he spoke with President Kikwete of Tanzania, President Zuma of South Africa and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ms. Dlamini Zuma about the situation in the country.
U.N. LIBYA ENVOY NOTES AGREEMENT AMONG PARTIES ON POLITICAL PACT
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, Bernardino León, spoke to the press today in Skhirat, Morocco, where Libyan parties have been meeting on the political agreement.
- Mr. León said that there is an agreement amongst the parties on the majority of the elements of the proposal. However, the parties need to go back to Libya to consult with their respective constituencies, he added.
- The Special Representative is expecting them to get back on Wednesday and to initialize the agreement on Thursday this week.
U.N. MISSION REPORTS CLASHES IN SOUTH SUDAN’S MALAKAL
- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reports that heavy fighting erupted in Malakal in Upper Nile State on Saturday between SPLA and armed opposition forces, and continued throughout the night.
- Mortar rounds landed near the UNMISS compound that evening and stray bullets entered the protection-of-civilians site, wounding an infant in the leg. Sporadic gunfire continued in Malakal yesterday.
CYPRUS: LEADERS DETERMINED TO KEEP PACE OF MEETINGS, SAYS U.N. ENVOY
- The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, today said that the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities met today in a positive and results-oriented atmosphere.
- Mr. Eide said that they are determined to keep the pace of their meetings and in line with their joint commitment to a leader-led process.
- He said that the leaders are now immersed in substantive negotiations and are focusing on unresolved core issues.
- With substantive negotiations now at the centre of their work, the leaders reiterated their resolve to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.
- The next leaders’ meeting will be on Friday, 10 July.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES COURT DECISION TO COMPENSATE VICTIMS OF WAR-TIME SEXUAL VIOLENCE
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, today welcomed the decision by a court in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Kotor Varoš case to secure conviction for and award compensatory damages to victims of war-time sexual violence.
- She says that even though the war there ended two decades ago, the court has sent a strong signal that there will be no sanctuary for perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence.