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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 MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

 

TUESDAY, 12 NOVEMBER 2013

 

U.N. RELIEF CHIEF ARRIVES IN PHILIPPINES, U.N. AND PARTNERS CALL FOR $300 MILLION FOR DISASTER VICTIMS

  • The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, arrived in the Philippines today to see first-hand the massive destruction left in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
  • She met with President Benigno Aquino and participated in the launch of the Typhoon Haiyan Action Plan in the Philippines today, appealing for $301 million to help the 11.3 million people affected by the disaster.
  • Nearly 700,000 people have been displaced by the Typhoon, half of whom are in evacuation centres while the rest is staying with host communities or in makeshift shelters.
  • Ms. Amos said that millions of families have had their lives torn apart by the typhoon. She has voiced concern that there are thousands of people who need help that have not yet been able to receive assistance.
  • She said that it is still too early to determine the full scale of the destruction, but it is clear that the needs are huge and that much more is required to be done.
  • Ms. Amos spoke to the Secretary-General by telephone this morning. She briefed him on the relief efforts so far. She said that she was intending to visit Tacloban on Wednesday.
  • Asked about coordination of humanitarian efforts, the Spokesperson noted that the Emergency Relief Coordinator had just arrived in the country to help that effort. He said that relief efforts have already been taking place in the Philippines, resulting today in the launch of the Action Plan, bringing together the assessments of 20 UN bodies and non-governmental organizations.
  • He added that the scale of the destruction caused by the typhoon was truly devastating, making it important to get aid to the many people who desperately need it.
  • Nesirky added that Ms. Amos has informed the Secretary-General that she intends to visit Tacloban by helicopter on Wednesday.
  • She has said that there has been a tremendous outpouring of assistance and offers of assistance.

UP TO 150 KILLED IN SOMALIA CYCLONE

  • The authorities in Somalia say that up to 150 people may have been killed in a cyclone that made landfall on 10 November in the Bari and Nugaal regions of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.
  • The Somali President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, has requested international assistance to help an estimated 30,000 people who were affected by the storm, which reportedly destroyed entire villages and killed 100,000 livestock.
  • Relief efforts are being hampered by heavy rains and blocked roads.
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is supporting the task force appointed by the Puntland authorities to coordinate the response.

POLAND: SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT AUSCHWITZ, ATTEND CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT

  • The Secretary-General will leave Lithuania on Monday, 18 November, for Krakow, Poland.
  • The Secretary-General will visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, the former Nazi concentration camp, to pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and to stress the importance of the UN’s work for genocide prevention, tolerance and peace.
  • He will then travel to Warsaw to attend the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where he will speak at the opening of the high-level segment of the conference and at a number of climate-related events.
  • On the margins of the conference, the Secretary-General will hold bilateral meetings with the President, Prime Minister and Minister of Environment of Poland. He will also meet with officials from a range of countries and regional groups attending the conference, as well as business and finance leaders and civil society groups.
  • He will return to New York on Thursday, 21 November.
  • The Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, will participate in the Intergenerational Inquiry, a platform for youth delegates to support climate change movement in Warsaw.

PEACE ENVOYS URGE PARTIES IN CONGO TO REMAIN COMMITTED TO PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT OF CONFLICT

  • Asked about the lack of an agreement in Kampala on Monday between the Congolese Government and the M23, the Spokesperson said that the parties agreed on all substantive points, but did not agree on the wording of the agreement.  The DRC Government wanted to call it "conclusions", while the M23 wanted to call it an "agreement". The matter will be referred to the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region.
  • He added that the envoys dealing with the Great Lakes, including Special Envoy Mary Robinson and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Martin Kobler, noted that there were no differences on substantive points of the draft document. However, the two parties couldn’t agree on the format.
  • Despite a change in the military situation, the envoys reiterated the importance of a political conclusion and urged the parties to remain committed to a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
  • Asked about reports of reprisal attacks in Bunagana and Kiwanja, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission, MONUSCO, was trying to verify such reports.

SECURITY COUNCIL TAKES ACTION ON SOMALIA FORCE, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

  • The Security Council, in a unanimous vote this morning, authorized the Member States of the African Union to maintain the deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 31 October 2014.
  • The Council also requested the African Union to increase AMISOM’s force strength from the current level below 18,000 personnel to a maximum of more than 22,000 uniformed personnel. It also decided to expand the logistical support package for the Mission.
  • In a separate vote on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Security Council authorized Member States acting through or in cooperation with the European Union to establish a multinational stabilization force in Bosnia for a further period of twelve months, starting today.

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT ON LATIN AMERICA LAUNCHED

  • The UN Development Programme (UNDP) will launch its regional Human Development Report on Latin America this afternoon.
  • The report is entitled “Citizen Security with a Human Face: evidence and proposals for Latin America". It finds that the region experienced economic growth and increased crime rates in the past decade.
  • The report shows new data on how crime and violence affect the region and it highlights a series of policy recommendations to improve security.

HEAD OF U.N.E.S.C.O. ELECTED FOR SECOND TERM

  • Irina Bokova was elected today for a second four-year term as Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  • In her first term, she focused UNESCO’s programme on two overarching objectives: forging a culture of peace and promoting sustainable development..
  • The Secretary-General is writing to the Director-General to congratulate her and to say that he looks forward to continuing to work together on many topics, including the Global Education for All initiative and on developing the post-2015 development agenda.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Asked about Latvia’s treatment of “non-citizens”, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General encourages the Government to engage with civil society to follow up on the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review, as well as those of Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies in a holistic manner, and in this context, step up its efforts to address the issue of non-citizenship in the country. 
  • Asked about the voting on the members of the Human Rights Council, the Spokesperson said that was a matter in the hands of the 193 Member States.
  • Asked about the Rights Up Front action plan on human rights, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General discussed the matter with the Member States on Monday and more details will be provided in the near future. He added that, at the moment, it is an internal UN process with external ramifications and the focus is on making sure that it is implemented.