HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS PEACE OPERATIONS REPORT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
- The Secretary-General spoke to the General Assembly on the future of peace operations. The Secretary-General thanked the panel, which he appointed a year ago to assess the operations, for delivering a report that was wise and bold, and for its outstanding service on behalf of all those around the world living under the threat or the reality of conflict.
- The Secretary-General stressed that UN peace operations are a global instrument, adding that renewed investment in UN peace operations is urgent and clear. He said that the operations must be judged by their impact on people and that they must never abuse that trust.
- He also spoke to the 5th Committee of the General Assembly, and the Secretary-General proposed a budget level of $5.57 billion for the biennium 2016-2017, before recosting. This amount is 1.6 per cent ($90.8 million) below the appropriation for the current biennium, and is 0.2 per cent ($10.2 million) above the budget outline figure set by the General Assembly.
- He added that the increase over the budget outline figure is mainly due to the adjustments in light of recent General Assembly decisions on Umoja.
- The Secretary-General also delivered remarks at a meeting marking African Week.
IN BOLIVIA, SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE, PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
- The Secretary-General came back Sunday night from Bolivia, where he spoke at the Peoples’ World Conference on Climate Change and the Defence of Life in Cochabamba.
- He noted that climate change and the defence of life are at the top of the international agenda this year, with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the upcoming COP21, or 21st Conference of Parties, in Paris.
- Our goal is transformation, he said, and no one must be left behind -- no man, no child and especially no woman.
- He said Bolivia was setting a good example, being one of the few countries in the world with as many women as men in Parliament, and he praised its advocacy for the rights of indigenous peoples.
He also praised the inspiring Bolivian principles of vivir bien and Mother Earth. Caring for Mother Earth is a moral issue and we must listen and act now, he said.
Before leaving Bolivia, the Secretary-General inaugurated several social services in the remote village of Vila Vila, alongside President Evo Morales.
C.A.R.: U.N. MISSION REMAINS ON HIGH ALERT TO PREVENT ATTEMPTS TO DESTABILIZE BANGUI
- The UN Mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, reports that the situation in the country remains fragile. The Mission remains on high alert to prevent any attempts of armed ex-Seleka moving towards the capital, Bangui.
- On Saturday, in Kemo prefecture, MINUSCA and Sangaris forces confirmed the presence of approximately 150 ex-Seleka (FPRC - Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de Centrafrique) members.
- MINUSCA engaged with their leader, Nourredine Adam in Kaga Bandoro and conveyed a strong deterring message that the International Forces would not accept any movement of the armed group towards Bangui.
- The Mission says it is very concerned over what it calls the organized infiltration of several armed groups in Bangui and it has condemned all attempts to destabilize Bangui.
- In accordance with its mandate to protect the civilian population from the threat of physical violence, the Mission, with support from Sangaris, has used force in reaction to attacks from FPRC elements around Sibut.
- And in Bangui, unknown persons targeted MINUSCA on two occasions on Saturday near M’Poko airport and at Mission HQ. No casualties were recorded.
- MINUSCA is determined to continue to use all necessary means to protect civilians, strengthen State authority and support the political process.
- On the political front the 'ad hoc Committee on elections' agreed on a preliminary electoral calendar which is scheduled to be presented to the National Transitional Council next week for approval.
U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN CALLS PARTIES TO RESPECT U.N. PREMISES AFTER INCIDENTS AT ITS BENTIU SITE
- On South Sudan, the UN Mission in the country, UNMISS, reports that the town of Mundri, in Western Equatoria is divided between SPLA and an unknown armed militia.
- There are currently approximately 600 Internally Displaced Persons with their own dwellings seeking protection around and in the immediate vicinity of the UNMISS Temporary Operating Base there.
- In Bentiu, in Unity State, the Mission says that on Friday night a number of shots were fired into its protection of civilians site where some 108,000 displaced persons are being protected. Four of them sustained gunshot wounds, including a 13-year old boy. They are being treated by an NGO clinic and are now in a stable condition.
- The Mission reiterates its call for all parties to the conflict to respect the inviolability of UN assets and premises, including the protection of civilians sites, where overall it continues to protect some 185,000 civilians. It appeals to the national authorities to protect those facilities.
U.N. MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN ANGERED AT MURDER OF STAFF MEMBER IN KANDAHAR
- The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed anger at the murder of a staff member today in the southern city of Kandahar.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Nicholas Haysom, has confirmed that the staff member, Toorpaki Ulfat, who has worked for UNAMA for the past five years, was a respected human rights defender.
- Initial reports indicate that Ms. Ulfat was killed by gunfire from unknown persons on a motorcycle. The motive behind this murder is to be determined and UNAMA is working with local authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
- The UN stresses that violence carried out against its personnel constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law.
YEMEN: COMMERCIAL FOOD PRICES RISE, COMMERCIAL FUEL IMPORT ARE DOWN
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that only 1 per cent of the monthly requirements for commercial fuel for Yemen were imported through Red Sea ports during September, down from a low 12 per cent in August.
- Commercial food prices are reported to have increased by 28 per cent during September over August, reaching some 45 per cent above pre-crisis levels.
IN GREECE, HEAD OF U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY STRESSES NEED FOR WUROPE-WIDE APPROACH
- The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, has concluded his visit weekend visit to Lesbos, Greece – the main European Union entry point for nearly 450,000 refugees and migrants so far this year.
- Assessing conditions on the Greek island of Lesbos, Mr. Guterres said that European governments are yet to match the "gigantic effort" that the island and its people have made in trying to cope with the huge influx. He commended the improved relief efforts mounted by Greek authorities and the civil society on the island.
- He stressed that without a Europe-wide approach and an effective strategy in dealing with the influx, criminal networks would continue to thrive. When states are not able to organize the orderly movement of refugees, smugglers take charge, exploiting people further, he added.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES APPROVAL BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF HIS NOMINEE AS HEAD OF OVERSIGHT SERVICES
- The Secretary-General welcomes today’s action by the General Assembly to approve Heidi Mendoza of the Philippines as Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, Office of the Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) for a five-year non-renewable term.
- She succeeds Carman L. Lapointe of Canada, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her dedicated service to the Organization.
U.N. WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME FORCED TO CUT RATIONS TO BHUTAN REFUGEES IN NEPAL
- The World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that most Bhutan refugees in Nepal will receive a 30 per cent smaller food ration from next year as part of an effort by the agency to stretch limited resources to ensure full rations can continue for the poorest and most vulnerable people.
- WFP added that as new, massive refugee crises around the world compete for limited donor funding, it has been faced with a difficult decision to stretch decreasing resources over a longer period of time.
- Refugees from Bhutan have been arriving in Nepal in the 1990s and an estimated 19,000 of them receive WFP food assistance.
COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY OPENS IN ROME
- In Rome today, the Committee on World Food Security opened its plenary, marking the first international gathering on food security and nutrition since global leaders approved the Sustainable Development Agenda.
- Opening the meeting, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva said that the agenda brings new momentum to the international community’s efforts to achieve food security, end hunger and malnutrition in all its forms.