HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 31 MARCH 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES FINDINGS OF U.N.-BACKED REPORT CONFRIMING EFECTS OF HUMAN-CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report on the impacts of climate change that was released today in Yokohama, Japan.
- The report confirms that the effects of human-caused climate change are already widespread and consequential, affecting agriculture, human health, ecosystems on land and in the oceans, water supplies, and some industries. The report concludes that at present, the world is largely ill-prepared for climate change risks.
- Managing the risks of climate change will be increasingly difficult with higher levels of warming. To reduce these risks, substantial reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions must be made, along with smart strategies and actions to improve disaster preparedness and reduce exposure to the events caused by climate change.
- The Secretary-General urges all countries to act swiftly and boldly at every level, to bring ambitious announcements and actions to the Climate Change Summit on 23 September 2014 and to make every effort needed to reach a global legal climate agreement by 2015.
SPEAKING WITH MYANMAR LEADER, SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF ALL CIVILIANS
- On Myanmar, the Secretary-General spoke by telephone with President Thein Sein of Myanmar late last night.
- This call came in the wake of developments in Rakhine State’s Sittwe, where staff and property of the UN and international NGOs came under attack.
- The Secretary-General called for the protection of all civilians and the full respect for the rule of law.
- In the light of the subsequent and ongoing humanitarian and human rights concerns in Rakhine State, the Secretary-General requested that the Government help establish a strong UN and NGO presence.
- On the nation-wide census, the Secretary-General underlined that it must be undertaken in a peaceful and, above all, credible manner. He expressed hope that the conduct of census in Rakhine and elsewhere in the country will meet established international technical and human rights standards.
- The Secretary-General reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to provide continued support to the national reform efforts in a constructive manner.
HEADS OF U.N. FOOD, REFUGEE AGENCIES MEET THOSE AFFECTED BY CONFLICT IN SOUTH SUDAN
- The heads of both the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) arrived in Juba, South Sudan today on a joint trip to meet conflict-affected people and to review the response and needs there, amid a spiralling humanitarian crisis.
- More than 800,000 people have been displaced in South Sudan by the conflict, which flared up on 15 December 2013. This includes 68,000 people who are sheltering in UN peacekeeping bases. A further 254,000 refugees have crossed into neighbouring countries seeking shelter and food.
- The WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, will spend two days in South Sudan to meet displaced people, partners and local authorities, before crossing over the border to meet some of the more than 80,000 refugees that are currently in Ethiopia. An inter-agency appeal led by UNHCR is calling for more than $370 million to fund the refugee response in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTINUES TO URGE DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION IN UKRAINE
- On diplomatic efforts regarding Ukraine, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is continuing to call for a diplomatic solution to the crisis and that the United Nations supports all initiatives underway.
- The Spokesperson also noted that the United Nations is closely studying the recent resolution adopted by the General Assembly on Ukraine.
- In response to a question on the Secretary-General’s recent visits to Moscow and Kyiv, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General’s motives were clear: he pushed for a diplomatic solution and encouraged the parties to speak to each other.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. MISSION CONDEMNS ATTACK ON ELECTION COMMISSION
- Over the weekend, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the attack on the Kabul headquarters of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan, the IEC and confirmed that its own neighbouring base was hit by small arms fire.
- The Mission denounced this latest violent attack on a civilian location. It reiterated that electoral institutions and their staff should not be the targets of deliberate attacks.
LUXEMBOURG’S MARCH PRESIDENCY OF SECURITY COUNCIL ENDS
- The Security Council wrapped up its work for the month under the Presidency of Luxembourg. Nigeria will replace Luxembourg in the rotating Presidency of the Security Council starting tomorrow 1 April.
- In response to a question on online media, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General has spoken out on the need for freedom of information and access to information.
- On polls in Turkey and in India, the Spokesman said that the United Nations follows all elections closely.