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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 FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

 

THURSDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2013

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS LOW-CARBON FUTURE WOULD BE POSSIBLE BY TRANSFORMING THE WAY CITIES ARE PLANNED

  • On Thursday, the Secretary-General travelled back to New York from Warsaw, where he was attending the UN climate change conference.
  • In the morning, he took part in a discussion on the crucial role that cities play in tackling climate change. He said more than 50 percent of the world's population is urban, and the proportion is growing, especially in Asia and Africa.
  • The Secretary-General said that, by transforming the way cities are planned, it would be possible to usher in a low-carbon future that benefits people and the planet.
  • The Secretary-General had a wide range of meetings with individual countries and regional groups while in Warsaw.
  • Asked about the divisions between developed and developing nations on climate change issues, the Spokesperson noted the many meetings the Secretary-General had in Warsaw with different groups of States in his effort to bring them together to address the challenge of climate change.

WHILE IN PHILIPPINES, U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF SAYS PEOPLE WITHOUT HOMES WILL REQUIRE LONGER-TERM SUPPORT

  • UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos ended a three-day visit to the Philippines on Thursday.
  • She welcomed the strong coordination among the international community, including partners and military assistance from Member States, in support of national and local responders, to address people's immediate needs.
  • As of Wednesday, the Philippines Government estimates that 13.25 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan, including some 5.4 million children, many of whom face serious protection, health and safety risks.
  • Of the 4.4 million people displaced by the disaster, nearly 90% are in the Eastern and Western Visayas regions. More than 387,000 people are staying in evacuation centres across the six affected regions.
  • Ms. Amos warned that people left without homes will require substantial longer-term support from the international community to ensure they are provided with the means to rebuild their houses.
  • The Government and the World Food Programme have distributed food to nearly 2.7 million people. A mass measles, Vitamin A and polio vaccination campaign is set to start on Monday. 
  • Funding for the humanitarian appeal for the typhoon launched last week stands at nearly 43%, or $129 million.

MORE THAN 9 MILLION PEOPLE NEED HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN SYRIA, U.N. SAYS

  • According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an estimated 9.3 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance, including 6.5 million people who have been displaced.
  • Humanitarian organizations are providing assistance to millions of people in Syria but insecurity continues to threaten their lives and their ability to reach people in need.
  • The World Food Programme has reported that, this month, it has been able to dispatch less than 30 per cent of the planned food rations compared to October, when it reached over 3.4 million people with food supplies. Despite the insecurity, humanitarian convoys have dispatched life-saving assistance to more than 312,000 people in hard-to-reach areas in the past two weeks.
  • Humanitarian partners have vaccinated 1.4 million children against polio and another 473,000 children against measles so far, but they face access constraints in Dar’a, Damascus and governorates in the northeast of the country.

WE SHOULD WORK TOGETHER FOR STRATEGIES TO CONFRONT TERRORISM, SECURITY COUNCIL IS TOLD

  • The Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra, spoke at an open session of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council on Thursday morning, on behalf of the Secretary-General, who was on his way back to New York.
  • She said that we must work together for strategies to confront the terrible phenomenon of terrorism; and, in particular, to reach young people and to help them see a world of fairness and justice, of opportunity and empowerment.
  • She said that, ultimately, it falls on each of us to cultivate greater understanding through outreach and education.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Asked about reports concerning a drone strike in Pakistan, the Spokesperson recalled that the Secretary-General has made clear that the use of unmanned aerial vehicles should be in conformity with international law.
  • In response to questions, the Spokesperson reiterated that the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is looking into reports of possible reprisal attacks in Bunagana and Kiwanja.

 

*** The guests at the noon briefing were Stefan Feller, the United Nations Police Advisor, and Hester Paneras, also of UN Police Service (UNPOL). They briefed reporters about the participation of women in UN police forces around the world.