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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 STEPHANE DUJARRIC,

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 30 OCTOBER 2014

 

BURKINA FASO: SECRETARY-GENERAL GREATLY CONCERNED BY DETERIORATING SECURITY SITUATION

  • In a statement, the Secretary-General said that he is following with great concern the deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso. He calls on all parties to end the use of violence, exercise calm and restraint, and use dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues.
  • The Secretary-General is saddened over the loss of life resulting from recent events. He has requested his Special Representative for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, to visit Burkina Faso tomorrow and welcomes that this mission will be undertaken jointly with the African Union and ECOWAS.

IN NAIROBI, SECRETARY-GENERAL LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO END FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

  • The Secretary-General is in Nairobi today.
  • He launched the Global Media Campaign to End Female Genital Mutilation‎ with The Guardian and the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. He said that the media had a critical role in adding their voice to help end female genital mutilation in a generation. He paid tribute to the women and girls who fought against FGM and said they now need to be the norm rather than the exception. He said that ending female genital mutilation is part of the UN’s unwavering campaign for the health, human rights and empowerment of women and girls.
  • Earlier, the Secretary-General addressed the first Ministerial and Experts Conference on Sustainable Transport in Africa, along with President Uhuru Kenyatta. The Secretary-General ‎said that, as the economies of Africa continue to grow, we have an opportunity to avoid the environmental, social and economic impacts of unsustainable transport. He called on the ministers present to come up with a strong, forward-looking and concrete sustainable transport roadmap for Africa.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO DENMARK, AUSTRIA

  • The Secretary-General will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark, on Saturday, 1 November. 
  • On Sunday, the Secretary-General will participate in the launch of the Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  The Secretary-General is also scheduled to meet with the Danish Prime Minister and other senior Government officials.  He will also speak at the opening session of the Copenhagen Energy Security Dialogues.
  • The Secretary-General will then travel to Vienna, Austria, where on Monday he will address the Second UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries.  He will also meet with Conchita Wurst, winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. On Tuesday, the Secretary-General will speak at the 2nd UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Forum on Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development.  He will meet with Lamberto Zannier, OSCE Secretary General, and Thomas Greminger, Chairperson of the OSCE Permanent Council, before speaking at a meeting of the Council.
  • While in Vienna, he will hold talks with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, as well as with Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation.
    The Secretary-General will return to New York on Tuesday evening.

WORLD BANK TO CONTRIBUTE ADDITIONAL $100 MILLION FOR EBOLA RESPONSE

  • The World Bank announced today an additional $100 million funding in its Ebola crisis response to speed up deployment of foreign health workers to the three worst-affected countries in West Africa.
  • Current estimates by the United Nations indicate that about 5,000 international medical, training and support personnel are needed in the three countries over the coming months to respond to the Ebola outbreak, including 700-1,000 foreign health workers to treat patients in the Ebola treatment centers.
  • The World Bank’s additional financing will help set up a coordination hub in close cooperation with the three countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response to recruit, train and deploy qualified foreign health workers.
  • The latest figures from the WHO report a total of 13,703 cases and 4,922 deaths.
  • The most intense transmission continues to occur in the Montserrado area, a region that takes in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, but WHO stresses that the capacity to capture a true picture of the situation in the country remains hamstrung by the underreporting of cases.
  • The UN Dag Hammarskjold Library (DHL) launched an online Ebola Research Guide.
  • The quick-start research guide brings together key information sources with a focus on policy and political issues around the epidemic.

VIOLENCE CONTINUES TO ESCALATE IN SYRIA, U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL

  • The Security Council held a meeting this morning on Syria, including on Resolution 2139, concerning humanitarian access to that country.
  • Speaking by videoconference from Geneva, Kyung-wha Kang, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that armed violence continues to escalate in Syria and the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. She said that 24 percent of the hospitals in the country were deemed not to be functioning, while medical personnel suffered from attacks.
  • Ms. Kang said that in the past month, more than 3.9 million people had received food aid and hundreds of thousands had received other assistance. Cross-border assistance has allowed the UN and its partners to reach more people in need. She added that humanitarian access to civilians in areas controlled by Da’esh continues to be difficult.

IRAQ: U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES LIBERATION OF TOWNS FROM DA’ESH

  • Nickolay Mladenov, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, welcomed the recent liberation of the towns of Jurf al-Sakhr and of Zumar from Da’esh and associated armed groups.
  • He said that Iraqi citizens in many other towns and villages are still fighting to defend their homes and neighbourhoods from the control of terrorists.  The people of Dhuluhiya and elsewhere have heroically resisted Da’esh for months and should receive immediate support.
  • Mr. Mladenov said that military operations reinforced by international and Iraqi air support must be conducted with the utmost care to avoid civilian casualties, and with full respect for fundamental human rights principles.  He urged the Government to investigate and hold accountable those who may have committed human rights violations.

GAZA: SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGED BY FIRST SALES OF CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS

  • In response to questions on the issue of reconstruction and the reconstruction mechanism in Gaza, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is encouraged by today’s first sales of construction materials for shelter rehabilitation to individual beneficiaries in Gaza under the framework of the Gaza reconstruction mechanism as led by the Palestinian Government of National Consensus. In addition, the entry today of cement, seven trucks of iron bar and many trucks of aggregate construction materials into Gaza is a further positive development.
  • What is needed now is to continue to scale up the entry and sales of construction materials in order to expedite much needed reconstruction for Gaza before the onset of winter.
  • We continue to count on the cooperation of all parties concerned to realize in good faith the implementation of the mechanism at the scale required. It is now all the more important for donors to honour their pledges at the Cairo conference in order to commence with much needed infrastructure projects, including some 106,000 shelters in need of repair, now that the mechanism has started to deliver construction materials to Gaza.

SOUTH SUDAN: CHILD SHELTERING IN U.N. MISSION KILLED BY STRAY BULLET

  • From South Sudan, colleagues from the UN Mission in the country (UNMISS) report that since yesterday, one child from the Mission’s protection site in Bentiu in Unity State has been killed by a stray bullet, as a result of clashes between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition forces. Six displaced civilians have also been wounded by stray bullets and are receiving medical treatment inside the protection site.
  • Meanwhile, the UN Mission says that fighting continued today in Bentiu and Rubkona, with clashes again reported in close proximity to the UNMISS protection compounds. The Mission is protecting nearly 50,000 displaced civilians in its Bentiu camp.
  • DR CONGO
  • UN staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo issued a new report today, saying that with a 10-fold increase in the number of displaced people since late 2011, Katanga Province remains largely off the radar of the international community.
  • A spiral of violence, borne largely from attacks by the Mayi Mayi armed group since late 2011 has forced more than 580, 000 people from their homes in Katanga, leaving a bleak future for the province.
  • Donors have given large sums to enable aid organizations to deliver aid to those in need but now more funding is needed to cover remaining needs, including for some 300, 000 returnees who want to pick up the pieces of their lives and return home.

CHINA: U.N. RELIEF CHIEF DISCUSSES EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS WITH CHINESE OFFICIALS

  • Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos is in China. In Beijing today, she met with Government representatives to discuss ways of strengthening emergency preparedness and response.
  • Among the officials she met was the Administrator of China's Earthquake Administration, Mr. Chen Jianmin.
  • She also met with students at the Communications University of China.

U.N. DISASTER RISK REDUCTION ENVOY ATTENDS MEETING ON BUILDING SAFER SCHOOLS

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, is in Istanbul, Turkey, to attend the first meeting of the Safe School Leaders.
  • These Leaders are countries which are politically committed to making safe schools a priority.
    Children and teachers are killed when schools collapse due to natural calamities and disasters, and these deaths account for a significant proportion of total disaster mortality.
  • Education is also interrupted when thousands of schools are damaged in smaller-scale disasters.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW CONTROLLER

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, born in Uruguay and a United States national, as Controller and Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts in the Department of Management
  • She will succeed Ms. María Eugenia Casar, who has been appointed as Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).  
  • Ms. Bartsiotas has most recently served as Director of Budget and Finance and Chief Financial Officer at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.  She brings with her a wealth of senior level international experience in programme planning, budgeting and financial management.