HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 26 MARCH 2014
IN GREENLAND, SECRETARY-GENERAL SEES FIRST-HAND IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
- The Secretary-General has been in Greenland today to see first-hand the impacts of climate change. He spent the morning in the town of Uummannaq, which is several hundred kilometers above the Arctic Circle.
- The Secretary-General, together with the Prime Ministers of Denmark and Greenland, hoisted flags and observed a prayer ceremony in a local church.
- He went dog sledding and met with indigenous people.
- In the afternoon, the Secretary-General will tour the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site, by boat.
- In the evening, he will be briefed on solutions that are available and innovations that are under way to address climate change in Greenland.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on Thursday.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON SIERRA LEONE OFFICE BEFORE ITS CLOSURE
- Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General for Sierra Leone, briefed the Security Council this morning on the work being done by the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in that country (UNIPSIL) before its mandate ends at the end of this month.
- He said that the Peacebuilding Office is in the final stages of its drawdown before it ends next Monday. Mr. Toyberg-Frandzen said that Sierra Leone has made remarkable strides in post-conflict recovery, democratic transition and peace consolidation.
- He added that the general atmosphere of peace that now prevails is the culmination of more than fifteen years of successive Security Council mandated peace operations in the country.
- Mr. Toyberg-Frandzen said that, although Sierra Leone is continuing on the right path, it still faces a number of challenges linked to the root causes of the war that require sustained attention and support. These include pervasive poverty and unemployment, especially among the youth; endemic corruption; upholding the rule of law; and the need for the authorities to widen the political space.
- This afternoon, the Security Council has scheduled consultations on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Golan and the UN Office in Burundi.
U.N. ENVOY IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC CALLS TO END SPIRAL OF VIOLENCE
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the Central African Republic, Babacar Gaye, called on all Central Africans to put an end to the spiral of violence in their country. This was at a press conference he held in Bangui today, along with the Deputy Special Representative and the Humanitarian Coordinator for the country.
- Gaye asked all armed groups to stand ready to answer the call for talks by the transitional authorities. And he in turn asked that these authorities take measures to start a political dialogue aimed at addressing the root causes of instability in the Central African Republic.
- He said the security and social situations in the country were deteriorating, adding that homes of officials had been attacked. He said that people were being harassed on the basis of their religious affiliation and that entire communities were besieged.
- Asked about preparations for a peacekeeping presence in the Central African Republic, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations regularly does planning for a range of contingencies.
- Any advanced planning, however, would require a mandate from the Security Council, which is currently considering the Secretary-General’s recommendations on a Central African Republic presence.
DARFUR: A.U.-U.N. MISSION PROVIDES ASSISTANCE TO DISPLACED PEOPLE SHELTERING AT ITS BASES
- The Joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reports that a Mission convoy with relief items from UN agencies arrived in Khor Abeche, South Darfur, on Tuesday. The Mission's peacekeepers, with the support of community leaders, began the distribution of food to thousands of internally displaced persons, who are taking refuge at the Mission's base there.
- And in Korma, North Darfur, an integrated team consisting of UNAMID and the UN Country Team conducted a security and humanitarian assessment of the situation there on Tuesday.
- The Mission reports that the number of displaced persons gathered next to its base for protection has increased to more than 3,000. The Mission continues to provide security and water to the displaced persons, and is working with humanitarian actors to deliver necessary emergency assistance.
U.N. MISSION IN IRAQ FULLY SUPPORTS INDEPENDENT HIGH ELECTORAL COMMISSION
- The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has reiterated its full support for the independence and the integrity of the Independent High Electoral Commission. The Commission's independence and integrity are provided by the Constitution and all political entities have the responsibility to respect it.
- Special Representative Nickolay Mladenov urged the Board of Commissioners to continue their work and for everyone to cooperate in addressing existing concerns within the Constitution and the legal process.
- Mr. Mladenov said that the people of Iraq must not be prevented from voting and choosing their representatives on 30 April. Any delay for political or other reasons will set a dangerous precedent for the country.
HUMANITARIAN OFFICE, I.G.A.D SIGN AGREEMENT ON DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
- The Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Kyung-wha Kang, signed today an agreement with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa to strengthen humanitarian and disaster preparedness efforts in the region. This was at IGAD’s Drought Resilience Summit which took place in Kampala, Uganda.
- Ms. Kang noted the need to strengthen the linkage between humanitarian and longer-term interventions in the collective work towards building the resilience of communities dealing with drought and other emergencies.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that several countries in the region, including Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda, receive less than 600 mm in rainfall every year. The devastating drought in 2010-2011 affected more than 13 million people in the region and brought food insecurity to fatal levels in many areas.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS STRESSED NEED FOR D.P.R.K. TO REFRAIN FROM PROVOCATIVE ACTIONS: Asked about the missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Spokesperson recalled that, following a missile launch earlier this month, the Secretary-General emphasized the need for the DPRK to refrain from any provocative acts and instead to work with its neighbours to build a political atmosphere conducive for the resumption of dialogue.
SECRETARY-GENERAL INTENDS TO BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL ON UKRAINE: Asked about a proposed meeting of the Security Council on Ukraine this Friday afternoon, the Spokesperson said that the format of that session was still being discussed. He said that the Secretary-General intended to brief the Security Council on his recent travel to Ukraine and Russia.