HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
FRIDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 2012
U.N. DECLARES END OF FAMINE IN SOMALIA BUT HUNGER REMAINS A THREAT
- The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, welcomed the news that famine conditions are no longer present in Somalia, according to analysis today released by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and Famine Early Warning System.
- But she says she is very concerned that the situation remains critical for at least 2.34 million people in Somalia. In southern parts of the country, 1.7 million people need food, clean water, shelter and other assistance just to survive – mortality rates remain among the highest in the world.
- While sustained humanitarian efforts and a good harvest have helped to mitigate the crisis, we must not forget that the progress made is fragile. Without continued and generous support from the international community, these gains could be reversed. Continued conflict and lack of access to people in need remain major operational challenges.
- Ms. Amos says that need to focus on building up people's ability to cope better with future droughts and food crises. We have to keep our attention firmly focused on Somalia and ensure that we do not fail the most vulnerable.
- The head of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, said that hunger remains a threat in the Horn of Africa unless long-term measures are taken to restore food security.
- And the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says that improved farming prospects have prompted several thousand Somali refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya to return home temporarily.
- The agency reports that some 7,000 refugees in January, mainly returning to the previously famine-affected regions.
SOUTH SUDAN: HUMANITARIAN CHIEF SAYS INSECURITY, RESTRICTIONS SLOW DOWN RESPONSE
- The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, is wrapping up today her visit to South Sudan.
- Yesterday she travelled to Jonglei State and meet with state officials in Bor, the state capital. She discussed the measures needed to protect civilians and prevent future violence through sustained community reconciliation.
- She also travelled to Walgak and Pibor where aid agencies have identified almost 3,000 people in need of help. She said: “The problems are enormous. They can only be solved if we all work together.”
- She said that continued insecurity, restrictions on movements, and lack of operational partners continue to slow the humanitarian response.
U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO MAYENDIT COUNTY INCIDENT
- Asked about an incident in Mayendit County, South Sudan, the Spokesperson said the United Nations was not in a position to confirm a death toll.
- He said that the UN Mission in the country, UNMISS, was urging the Government of South Sudan to investigate the incident and to bring the perpetrators of the attack to account.
- Nesirky explained that on 1 February a team comprising seven staff from the UN Mission in South Sudan along with three state government officials travelled by helicopter from Bentiu, in Unity State, to meet with the County Commissioner of Mayendit county in order to investigate recent inter-communal violence along the border between Warrap and Unity states.
- During the course of the meeting, the County Commissioner from the neighboring Maper County in Lakes State, appeared and interrupted the meeting with some angry remarks directed to his Mayendit counterpart in a local dialect. Four pick-up trucks carrying armed men then appeared and started shooting indiscriminately at the Mayendit County Commissioner's compound.
- The Spokesperson said that it did not appear that the UN team was the target of the attack. He said that one staff member of the UN mission was wounded in the cross fire.
- He added that when the shooting stopped, the wounded staff member along with the rest of the team were flown to Bentiu by helicopter with force protection from the mission.
- Subsequently, the injured staff member was evacuated to Juba where he is undergoing medical treatment, he noted saying he was in stable condition.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY ALARMED BY KILLINGS IN CAMPS IN EASTERN D.R.CONGO
- The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is alarmed by recent reports that internally displaced people have been tortured and killed in the camps for the internally displaced, in North Kivu province, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- The agency says that since the last quarter of 2011, armed groups have been intruding on the camps, violating their civilian character.
- The refugee agency calls on all parties to respect the civilian character of these sites. It is also appealing to the provincial authorities to increase security in and around the camps.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAID IRANIAN NUCLEAR QUESTION CAN ONLY BE RESOLVED THROUGH DIALOGUE
- Asked about Iran, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had stated that it was incumbent on Iran to prove to the satisfaction of the international community that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.
- The Secretary-General has also said that Iran needs to fully comply to existing resolutions on this matter, which mean cooperating fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, added Nesirky.
- He said that the Secretary-General had been very clear in saying that this matter can only be resolved through peaceful dialogue.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS FULL CONFIDENCE IN CYPRUS ADVISER: Asked about discussions in Cyprus on the role of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had full confidence in Alexander Downer.
U.N. POLITICAL MISSION HEADS TO MALDIVES: A mission from the Department of Political Affairs, headed by Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, will visit the Maldives beginning on 9 February. Mr. Fernandez-Taranco will meet with Government officials, opposition leaders and representatives of civil society to discuss the current situation and identify opportunities to support the country’s process of democratic transition.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
4 – 10 FEBRUARY 2012
(This document is for planning purposes and is subject to change.)
Monday, 6 February
This morning, the Security Council will hold consultations on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Today, the latest edition of the World Youth Report -- entitled “Youth Employment: Youth Perspectives on the Pursuit of Decent Work in Changing Times” will be published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
At 12 p.m., at the North Lawn Building 2nd floor stakeout, Marty Natalegawa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, will meet with press on the hand-over ceremony for the deposit of Indonesia's instrument of ratification to the CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty).
Tuesday, 7 February
Today, the Security Council will hear a briefing and hold consultations on the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall, there will be a special event to mark the end of the World Interfaith Harmony Week (1–7 February 2012). The President of the General Assembly and the Deputy Secretary-General will deliver opening remarks.
The guest at today’s noon briefing will be Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. She will speak about her recent mission to South Sudan.
Wednesday, 8 February
This morning, the Security Council will hold a debate on the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
The guest at today’s noon briefing will be Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous. Mr. Ladsous has recently attended the African Union Summit and visited the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). He will update media on UN peacekeeping’s focus for 2012 and its current activities in its 16 operations around the world.
Thursday, 9 February
This morning, the Security Council will hold consultation son the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). This afternoon, it will hear a briefing by the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
At 1 p.m., there will be a press conference in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium with Jan McAlpine, Director of the UN Forum on Forests.
At 3 p.m., the French Mission will be sponsoring a press conference on the Tara Oceans Expedition. Tara is a scientific research vessel – 118’ schooner – which will be in New York from 5-12 February. Speakers will include agnès b, fashion designer and main sponsor of Tara; Dr. Eric Karsenti, Scientific Director of the expedition; Philippe Kridelka of UNESCO, and Andrew Hudson of UN Oceans.
The Security Council will hold consultations on its 1718 Committee this morning and will receive a briefing by the Department of Political Affairs.