HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
FRIDAY, 24 JANUARY 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST TERRORIST ATTACKS IN CAIRO
- In a statement, the Secretary-General condemns today’s terrorist attacks in Greater Cairo, which reportedly killed at least six people and resulted in a large number of casualties. No cause can justify such acts of terrorism. He conveys his condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the Government and people of Egypt and calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
- In a statement issued on Thursday, the Secretary-General encouraged the Egyptian people to renew their commitment to peaceful dialogue and non-violence.
- He reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to support Egypt in building the future for all Egyptians with dignity, freedom, responsible governance and development that inspired the uprising of 2011.
- Revolutions and political transitions are complex phenomena that can take years to play out. A peaceful and democratic Egypt is what the people of Egypt deserve and is critical for the region and beyond.
SYRIA ENVOY MEETS WITH SYRIAN DELEGATIONS SEPARATELY AHEAD OF JOINT MEETING SATURDAY
- The Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, held separate meetings today, first with the Syrian Arab Republic delegation and then with the Syrian Opposition Delegation, at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
- Speaking to reporters, Mr. Brahimi said that the parties have agreed to meet again on Saturday. He said he never expected the process to be easy, but added that the discussions he has had with the parties have been encouraging.
- Mr. Brahimi said that the Geneva Communiqué is the basis of the discussions taking place and the parties understand that.
ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE CAN PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, BAN SAYS IN DAVOS
- The Secretary-General is returning to New York from Davos, where he attended a number of events related to climate change and agriculture.
- In his speech to a major session at the World Economic Forum, the Secretary-General said that the world faced an existential threat but added that addressing climate change was also a great opportunity to support global efforts on sustainable development.
- The Secretary-General said this was why he would host a Climate Summit in New York in September that would have two goals: to encourage ambitious action to reduce emissions and build resilience, and to mobilize political will for a meaningful global legal climate agreement by 2015. He said the next two years would be critical.
- The Secretary-General also spoke at a session on “green investment”, saying that clean energy, sustainable production and consumption and environmentally sound transport and urban planning are good for the planet, good for people and good for business. They can create jobs, new markets and boost economies.
- At a World Food Programme (WFP) event in Davos on Thursday evening, the Secretary-General invited leaders to join him in signing the Zero Hunger Declaration.
- Those who sign the Declaration are committing themselves to take action to eliminate hunger within our lifetime through sustainable, climate-smart food systems.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND MAJOR CONFERENCES IN CUBA, GERMANY
- On Sunday, 26 January, the Secretary-General will depart New York for Havana, Cuba, where he will participate in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit.
- In Cuba, the Secretary-General will hold bilateral meetings with a wide range of Government officials and regional leaders.
- On Wednesday, 29 January, the Secretary-General will travel to Germany.
- In Berlin, he will meet with senior Government officials including Federal President Dr. Joachim Gauck, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, among others.
- While in Berlin, the Secretary-General will also hold the inaugural meeting of his Scientific Advisory Board, which he set up last year. The Board, which comprises 26 eminent scientists, aims to ensure that rigorous science is reflected in high-level policy discussions within the UN system.
- The Secretary-General will travel to Bonn on Friday, 31 January, and meet with UN staff members as well as local authorities.
- The last leg of his trip will be Munich, where the Secretary-General will attend the 50th Munich Security Conference. He will hold talks in the margins of the Conference with a number of officials in attendance.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on Saturday, 1 February.
- Asked about his meetings in Cuba, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General would be expected to meet with a number of officials present for the CELAC meeting. He added that the Secretary-General would have other stops in Cuba, as well.
SOUTH SUDAN: TOP U.N. OFFICIALS WELCOME CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT, URGE IMMEDAITE IMPLEMENTATION
- In a statement issued Thursday evening, the Secretary-General welcomes the agreement on cessation of hostilities signed yesterday in Addis Ababa by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in opposition. He calls on the parties to immediately implement this agreement.
- The Secretary-General congratulates the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on the successful mediation of this agreement and underscores the necessity to continue without delay a national political dialogue to reach a comprehensive peace agreement, with the participation of all South Sudanese political and civil society representatives, including the Sudan People's Liberation Movement detainees.
- The United Nations stands with the people of South Sudan and will continue to do everything within its means to protect civilians at risk and provide the necessary humanitarian assistance.
- Also welcoming the agreement is the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Hilde Johnson.
- She calls on all the parties to start an inclusive and comprehensive political dialogue to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict, work towards national reconciliation and build effective state institutions so the people of South Sudan enjoy the peace they so much deserved.
- The Security Council issued its own statement Thursday night on this agreement.
- Asked about reports of continued fighting, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission says that sporadic fighting took place in parts of the country today.
- Haq added that it is critical that both parties implement the cessation of hostilities agreement in full and immediately. The United Nations calls on all communities to cease hostilities and refrain from any act that could harm individuals and properties, or lead to further displacement.
- Asked how the ceasefire will be monitored, the Spokesperson said that the establishment of a fully functioning ceasefire monitoring mechanism is essential for the implementation of the agreement.
- The United Nations stands ready to provide critical support to this process. The United Nations will continue to protect civilians at risk and calls on all parties to ensure the safety and security of UN personnel and facilities.
U.N. AID WING VOICES HOPE THAT AGREEMENT WILL LEAD TO IMPROVED HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN SOUTH SUDAN
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the humanitarian community also welcomes Thursday’s agreement.
- It hopes that the agreement will lead to an environment where people feel safe to return to their homes and continue with their daily lives.
- Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos will visit the country from 27-29 January to draw attention to the humanitarian consequences of the current crisis and to mobilize further support for aid efforts.
- Her visit is scheduled to take her to Juba and the states of Lakes and Jonglei.
- In the wake of the signing of the agreement in South Sudan, the World Food Programme (WFP) says that it is poised to seize any window of opportunity to deliver food to areas that have been difficult to reach.
- The World Food Programme says that humanitarian access and the looting of food stocks remain major concerns. Its warehouses in Malakal have been almost entirely emptied by repeated looting incidents, and WFP is urgently working to move more food into the town to help the tens of thousands of people uprooted by the clashes.
- Asked about further WFP attempts to provide food in places where its food stocks have been raided, the Spokesperson said that the onus was on the parties, now that a ceasefire agreement is in place, to halt the looting of humanitarian aid, along with the fighting. He said that, despite the risks, it was important to get food aid to the people who are in need.
- For its part, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and its partners are starting a mass measles immunization campaign in northern Uganda to prevent the spread of measles among South Sudanese refugees.
- The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has conducted 205 military and 37 police patrols in various parts of the country, including in Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile States.
- In Bor, in Jonglei State, the Mission is protecting some 10,300 civilians.
- In Juba, 1,800 troops and police are currently protecting approximately 35,000 civilians at two bases.
- Overall, the Mission continues to protect 76,000 civilians at eight bases across the country.
NEARLY ONE-FIFTH OF PEOPLE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC UPROOTED BY FIGHTING – U.N. OFFICIAL
- The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the Central African Republic says that the country continues to face a crisis of major proportions, with nearly one million people – or one-fifth of the population – displaced and 2.6 million people in need of immediate assistance.
- Abdou Dieng said that the humanitarian community remains committed to continue providing aid to those affected by the crisis. The main focus of the strategy is to save lives and alleviate people’s suffering.
- Mr. Dieng noted that security concerns, including lootings and killings, are hampering the delivery of assistance.
MORE THAN 65,000 PEOPLE FLED CLASHES IN IRAQ’S ANBAR PROVINCE, U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY REPORTS
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that, during the past week, more than 65,000 people have fled the conflict in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in central Iraq's Anbar province.
- Since fighting broke out at the end of last year, more than 140,000 people have been made homeless by fighting, according to Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration. This is the largest displacement Iraq has witnessed since the sectarian violence of 2006-2008.
- The United Nations in Iraq has asked the Iraqi Government to help allow the opening of a humanitarian corridor to reach displaced and stranded families in Anbar province. In recent weeks, several bridges leading into the conflict area and communities hosting displaced people have been destroyed, making access difficult. It is impossible right now to reach the area from Baghdad, and relief agencies are using roads coming from northern Iraq.
HEAD OF I.A.E.A. LABELS IRAN AGREEMENT IMPORTANT, ENCOURAGING
- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) addressed the organization’s Board of Governors today.
- Director General Yukiya Amano called the agreement reached last November on Iran’s nuclear programme an important and encouraging development after several years of little or no progress.
- He voiced hope that all of the work undertaken by the Agency will provide an important contribution to advancing the resolution of the Iran nuclear issue and will lead to further positive developments.
SITUATION TENSE IN MYANMAR’S RAKHINE; U.N. ENVOY URGES GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS CIVILIAN PROTECTION CONCERNS
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has received information pertaining to alleged serious violent incidents that may have taken place in Du Chee Yar Tan village in Maungdaw in Rakhine State earlier this month. The situation remains tense and efforts are underway to obtain further details.
- Special Adviser Vijay Nambiar, presently in Myanmar, has had meetings with government leaders during which he expressed the concern of the United Nations and the need to address civilian protection concerns squarely.
- The United Nations renews its call for calm and urges the authorities to protect human rights and civilian populations at risk, while also working actively to reduce communal tensions.
- The United Nations also stresses the importance of addressing the underlying causes of these tensions and taking preventive measures to avoid any further loss of life.
- The United Nations has urged the authorities to investigate these allegations in a timely and transparent manner.
- The Spokesperson also referred to recent statements by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, and by Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
25 – 31 JANUARY 2014
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Saturday, 25 January
There are no major events scheduled for today.
Sunday, 26 January
The Secretary-General will begin a week of travel to Cuba and Germany.
Monday, 27 January
Today is International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
In the morning, the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution concerning “Threats to International Peace and Security”.
In the morning, the Security Council will be briefed by United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), followed by consultations.
At 11:00 a.m., in the General Assembly Hall in the North Lawn Building (NLB), there will be a memorial ceremony on the theme “Journeys through the Holocaust”, organized by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information.
At 1:15 p.m., in Conference Room 3 in the Conference Building (CB), there will be a panel discussion on “A community saved: The rescue of Jews in Albania”, co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Albania and the B’nai B’rith International.
In Geneva, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will hold the 18th session of the Universal Periodic Review. It will end on 7 February.
Tuesday, 28 January
In the morning, the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution concerning the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions.
In the morning, the Security Council will be briefed on the he United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB), followed by consultations.
In the afternoon, the Security Council will hold consultations on the Middle East (Yemen).
At 11:00 a.m., in the Trusteeship Council Chamber (CB), there will be a panel discussion on “Water based on the strategy for water in Western Mediterranean”, co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Algeria and Spain.
In Geneva, there will be a ceremony commemorating the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
In Geneva, at noon, there will be a press conference on the Global Investment Trends and Prospects by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
In Geneva, at 2:30 p.m., there will be a press conference on the launch of the Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life by the World Health Organization.
Wednesday, 29 January
In the morning, the Security Council will hold an open debate on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security: War, its lessons, and the search for a permanent peace.
At 11:00 a.m., in the Press Briefing Room, there will be a press conference to launch the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2013-2014 Education for all Global Monitoring Report.
Thursday, 30 January
At 1:15 p.m., in the Conference Room 1 (CB), there will be the launch of the “Practical guide on transition, justice, truth and reconciliation processes in the francophone area”, organized by the International Organization of la Francophonie (IOF), in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Morocco and the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Department of Political Affairs.
Friday, 31 January
There are no major events scheduled for today.