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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,

SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

FRIDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2014

 

IN WASHINGTON, D.C., SECRETARY-GENERAL, SENIOR U.N. OFFICIALS DISCUSS EBOLA

  • The Secretary-General and the other top officials are in Washington, holding a meeting of the Chief Executives Board of the UN System. They are meeting on Ebola to discuss how to coordinate efforts in the fight against the spread of the virus.

U.N. OFFICIALS TO BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL ON EBOLA

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, and the Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, will be brief the Security Council this afternoon.
  • Regarding the separate outbreak that affected the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that 42 days had passed since the last case tested negative twice and was discharged from hospital.Therefore, the Organization has officially declared the end of that Ebola outbreak, commending the DRC’s strong leadership and effective coordination of the response.

BURKINA FASO: SECRETARY-GENERAL LOOKS FORWARD TO INSTALLATION OF TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT, NATIONAL COUNCIL

  • The Secretary-General continues to follow the situation in Burkina Faso very closely. He looks forward to the installation of the Transitional Government and the Transitional National Council.
  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, is in Ouagadougou today to attend the ceremony which will officially mark the transfer of power to the Transitional President, Michel Kafando.
  • The Secretary-General reiterates the importance for the transitional leaders and institutions to uphold the aspirations of the people of Burkina Faso and ensure a smooth transitional period leading up to elections in November 2015. He reiterates his encouragement to all parties to continue to use dialogue during the transition period and resolve all outstanding issues.
  • The United Nations will continue to work closely with the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other international stakeholders to support the people of Burkina during this transition period.

U.N. GAZA ENVOY ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT ON GAZA REBUILDING MATERIALS

  • The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Robert Serry, announced today that an agreement has been reached between Israel, the Palestinian Government of National Consensus and the United Nations that, starting next week, some 25,000 homeowners in Gaza can access materials to repair their damaged homes.
  • The Government of National Consensus will soon make a separate announcement on the process to access the building materials.
  • Mr. Serry said that as part of the understandings reached, materials procured under the mechanism may only be used for their intended purpose, and that the UN will undertake spot checks to monitor compliance.
  • He added that the UN will undertake every effort to assist Palestinian Government of National Consensus in reconstructing Gaza, including in providing financial support to home owners, but cautioned that existing resources are insufficient.

U.N. RELIEF OFFICIAL WRAPS UP SOUTH SUDAN VISIT, URGES RESPECT FOR CEASEFIRE

  • The Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Kyung-wha Kang, concluded her three-day mission to South Sudan today. During that time, she visited communities affected by the crisis in Juba and Jonglei State and also met with Government representatives and humanitarian partners.
  • She called on all parties to the conflict to respect their ceasefire commitments and urged the international community to continue providing life-saving assistance.
  • She said the scale of needs was great and said that however much humanitarians scale up their operations, they will not be able to do enough if the conflict continues to destroy lives and livelihoods.
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that despite the extremely difficult situation for aid workers, UN agencies and partners have reached more than 3.5 million people with assistance this year.
  • Aid agencies are planning for next year, and urgently calling for US$600 million by February to kickstart next year’s operations.

IRAQ: U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY AIRLIFTS WINTER SUPPLIES TO KURDISTAN REGION

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) started a new airlift that arrived in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region yesterday. The airlift carried winter aid supplies including thousands of tent insulations kits for displaced Iraqis.
  • Six more flights from Lahore, Pakistan, are scheduled to arrive before 12 December, bringing the total of insulation kits to 25,000.
  • Latest figures from UNHCR show that an estimated 2 million Iraqis have been displaced by the conflict since January. More than 60,000 people are now living in eight tented camps. New camps are being constructed to house more than 300,000 others. And some 700,000 people are still living in unfinished or abandoned buildings, schools, religious centres, and even public parks.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME PROVIDES VOUCHERS FOR 10,000 UPROOTED PEOPLE IN EASTERN UKRAINE

  • The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed food vouchers to 10,000 internally displaced people in northern Donetsk as part of an emergency operation to feed 120,000 people over the next six month.
  • These families have mainly been displaced due to the ongoing fighting in the region, and can redeem the vouchers worth $45 from local shops.
  • This initial distribution of vouchers has injected nearly half a million dollars into the economy of host communities.
  • WFP says access to food continues to be a priority concern. With high unemployment, lack of available hard currency, growing inflation and increased food prices, it is becoming increasingly difficult for families to keep sufficient, nutritious food on the table. With the winter period approaching, the situation is expected to worsen.

EGYPT: U.N. VOICES CONCERN OVER CASE OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION VICTIM

  • The UN in Egypt says it is deeply concerned by recent developments in the case of Soheir El-Batei, the victim of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) who died in June 2013, as a result of the procedure illegally carried out against her.
  • A Misdemeanor Court dismissed the case yesterday, following a settlement between the victim’s family and the accused.
  • That settlement prevented the court from deciding on the guilt of the accused. However, under existing legislation, there is no provision to prohibit such a settlement resulting in the charges being dropped.
  • According to the 2008 Demographic and Health Survey in Egypt, at least 91 percent of Egyptian women between the ages of 15-49 have undergone female genital mutilation.
  • This was the first trial since the law criminalizing FGM was issued six years ago.
  • The United Nations encourages review of current legislation to ensure that it fully protects the rights of women and girls, and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

U.N. AGENCY UNVEILS PLAN TO HELP MILLIONS WORLDWIDE COOK SAFELY

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it will seek to help 10 million people safely prepare and consume the food it provides by 2020.  The agency made the announcement at the Cookstoves Future Summit in New York.
  • Many women and girls as you know spend hours travelling long distances to collect firewood, putting themselves at risk of attack and sexual violence. Fuel-efficient stoves ensure they have the means to properly cook food without jeopardizing the environment or their personal safety. 
  • Through the SAFE initiative, standing for Safe Access to Fuel and Energy, the World Food Programme says it is supporting women with fuel-efficient stoves and livelihood opportunities. To date, the Programme has reached approximately 2.8 million people in Burundi, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW FORCE COMMANDER FOR U.N. MISSION IN ABYEI

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Major-General Birhanu Jula Gelalcha of Ethiopia as Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). 
  • The new Force Commander succeeds a Lieutenant-General who completed his assignment on 19 June 2014.

JOINT AFRICAN UNION-U.N. PATROL LOOKING INTO ALLEGED AIR BOMBING IN NORTH DARFUR

  • In response to a question, the Spokesman said that a patrol from the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) visited Abu Leha yesterday in North Darfur to investigate reports of alleged air bombing in the area.
  • UNAMID observed craters in the area of alleged bombings and is investigating further. The Mission has not ascertained reports of civilian casualties or damage.
  • The Mission is also in the process of verifying reports of an alleged aerial bombing of Abu Gamrah village, in Kornoi locality, North Darfur.