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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 VANNINA MAESTRACCI,

ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

TUESDAY, 3 MARCH 2015

 

U.N. MISSION IN LIBYA ANNOUNCES NEW ROUND OF TALKS

  • The UN Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) today announced that the next round of political dialogue will take place later this week in Morocco.
  • The mission says that the parties have formally communicated their decision to take part in the dialogue following close consultations with Special Representative of the Secretary-General Bernardino Leon during his visit to Tobruk and Tripoli yesterday.
  • This week’s talks will focus on the formation of a government of national unity, security arrangements to pave the way for a comprehensive ceasefire, and completion of the constitution drafting process within clear timelines.
  • Mr. Leon is expected to brief the Security Council tomorrow morning via video link.

U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF CALLS DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN SRI LANKA INSPIRING

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, today wrapped up a visit to Sri Lanka, where he met with the President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, and acting Foreign Minister Ajith Perera, as well as with leaders of political parties, diplomats and civil society representatives.
  • Speaking to reporters in Colombo, he said that the country’s democratic elections and peaceful transition have not only inspired the citizens of Sri Lanka, but also captured the attention of its many friends in the international community.
  • On the country’s speech to the Human Rights Council (HRC) yesterday, Mr. Feltman said that he was encouraged by the Government’s commitment to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights which, he said, is very much in line with the 2009 joint communique.
  • Mr. Feltman also encouraged national leaders and political stakeholders to work on issues of trust between communities in the spirit of inclusion and consultation. He said that, as requested by Sri Lanka, the UN is committed to assisting in the process of accountability and reconciliation.

ALL MUST REMAIN FULLY ENGAGED UNTIL TASK IS COMPLETED, URGES U.N. EBOLA ENVOY

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, David Nabarro, participated today in the high-level international Ebola Conference in Brussels.
  • He said that the Phase 2 of the response, where we are now, is the hardest part and a bumpy road. He added that all must remain fully engaged until the task is completed, especially as the virus is moving and as some communities are reticent about being engaged in the response. 
  • Dr. Nabarro stressed that communities engage if they trust responders and that the 22 million people living in the affected countries need to be able to access the employment, markets and services that enable them to stay healthy.
  • He added that a gap of around $900 million remained to fund the response in the next six months, with $400 million urgently needed for critically important activities to get to zero cases.
  • Also in Brussels today, the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark, called for international support to the three most affected countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, so that serious development setbacks are as short lived as possible.
  • The Secretary-General in his remarks before the “Stop Ebola and Build for the Future” Concert, said that Ebola can be beaten but that nobody can afford to drop their guard, as the outbreak began with one case and will not be over until all countries are totally free of Ebola.

U.N. AND A.U. CALL FOR MORE EFFORTS TO COMBAT GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN SOMALIA

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nick Kay, and the Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson, Maman S. Sidikou, today made a joint call for increased measures to protect Somalia’s women and girls. They reiterated their commitment to support efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence in Somalia.
  • They also highlighted the importance of providing better, more timely and comprehensive assistance, including health and psychosocial care, to victims of sexual violence and their families.

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF NIGERIAN REFUGEES FLEE TO CAMEROON

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today reported that some 16,000 Nigerian refugees fled to Cameroon’s Far North region over the weekend to escape clashes in north-east Nigeria between regional military forces and insurgents.
  • Starting tomorrow, the Agency will work with Cameroon to relocate refugees to a transit site at Kousseri, 90 km from the border. These refugees will then be transferred to a camp in Minawao.
  • UNHCR also says that given the evolving security situation and the prospect of more refugee arrivals, the possibility of setting up a second refugee camp is being considered.

U.N. DEPUTY CHIEF STRESSES NEED FOR BETTER DATA TO HELP WORLD’S POOR

  • The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, addressed the 46th session of the UN Statistical Commission today.  
  • Noting that the lack of data is affecting poor and marginalized communities unfairly, Mr. Eliasson stressed that in a new era of development, the need for data and information will have to go beyond what statistical offices are currently doing in each country.
  • He added that it will require new ways of gathering data, new data-based partners, new users and new policies for better lives. 
  • The Deputy Secretary-General highlighted that the post-2015 development agenda is our opportunity to make this a living reality for every person on the planet.

THREE QUARTERS OF THE WORLD HAS LIMITED OR NO ACCESS TO PAIN RELEF MEDICATION, WARNS NARCOTICS BOARD

  • The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has warned that three quarters of the world or an estimated 5.5 billion people worldwide have limited or no access to pain relief medications.
  • According to the INCB Annual Report for 2014, which was released today, around 92 per cent of morphine used worldwide is consumed by only 17 per cent of the world population. The INCB added that Governments have an obligation to address the discrepancy in the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes.
  • The report also pointed out that natural disasters and armed conflicts can further limit access to essential medicines, and reiterated that under international humanitarian law, parties to armed conflicts have to allow access to medicines and medical care for the civilians in territories under their control.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO LAUNCH NEW REPORT SPOTLIGHTING DISASTER RISK TRENDS

  • The Secretary-General tomorrow will launch the 2015 Global Assessment Report, which is the UN’s flagship biennial publication on disaster risk reduction. The 2015 edition will offer new analysis on disaster risk trends and guidance on managing risks for sustainable development.
  • The data analysed by the report shows that since 1980, loss of lives to disasters has been comparable to malaria. Over 90 per cent of these human life years are lost in low and middle-income countries.
  • The expected annual average losses from intensive disasters, associated with earthquake, tsunami, tropical cyclone wind and storm surge and riverine flooding alone is now estimated at around $300 billion per year.

52 COUNTRIES PAY THEIR DUES TO U.N. IN FULL

  • Ecuador and Turkmenistan have paid their regular budget assessments, bringing the number of Member States who have paid their dues to the UN in full to 52.