HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
THURSDAY, 1 MAY 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL TRAVELING TO UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, ITALY
- The Secretary-General will depart New York tomorrow, 2 May, in the evening for a trip which will take him to the United Arab Emirates and to Italy.
- The Secretary-General’s first stop will be Abu Dhabi, where he will co-host the Abu Dhabi Ascent, which aims to prepare for and build momentum ahead of his Climate Summit on 23 September in New York.
- The two-day Ascent, which begins on Sunday, 4 May, will bring together governments, the private sector, civil society and other partners to discuss how to take concrete action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change.
- While in the UAE’s capital, the Secretary-General will hold talks with government officials and representatives from a wide range of groups, such as business, finance and civil society. The Secretary-General will also visit the Shams Solar Power Plant.
- The Secretary-General will then travel to Italy, where he will chair in Rome the twice-yearly meeting of the UN System Chief Executives Board (CEB), which brings together top officials from across the UN system. The meeting will be hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with strong support from the city of Rome.
- Together with the members of the CEB, the Secretary-General will have an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis.
- The Secretary-General will hold bilateral meetings with top Italian officials, including the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano; the President of the Council of Ministers, Matteo Renzi; and the President of the Senate, Pietro Grasso.
- The Secretary-General will also address the Committee on Food Security in Rome and meet with the heads and representatives of the Rome-based United Nations specialized agencies and funds: the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
- The Secretary-General will return to New York on Saturday, 10 May.
FOR PRESS FREEDOM DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOTLIGHTS THREATS TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
- This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at an event commemorating World Press Freedom Day, which falls on Saturday this year.
- The Secretary-General said that the fundamental freedom to receive and impart information and ideas through any media is under assault, to the detriment of us all.
- He said that journalists are singled out for speaking or writing uncomfortable truths – kidnapped, detained, beaten and sometimes murdered.
- The Secretary-General noted that such treatment is completely unacceptable in a world ever more reliant on global news outlets and the journalists who serve them.
- Last year 70 journalists were killed, with 14 more having suffered the same fate this year.
- The Secretary-General said that there must be no impunity for those who target journalists for violence, intimidation or distorted uses of legal procedures to disrupt or impede their work.
- He said that media freedoms must continue to be at the centre of our work to promote security, dignity and prosperity for all, he said.
- Asked about the importance of media for peace and security, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had made clear the impact journalists have in keeping the public well informed. He noted the ways the Secretary-General relies on the media to disseminate messages of peace, including his recent radio message in the Songo language appealing to the people of the Central African Republic to halt fighting.
ACCOUNTABILTY CRUCIAL FOR POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- The Secretary-General spoke at the President of the General Assembly’s interactive dialogue on an accountability framework, in which he said that the contours of the new post-2015 development agenda are coming into view.
- He said that, in order to succeed, it is necessary to have actions that can turn commitments into results and to monitor, review, and evaluate those results and make them accessible to policy-makers and the public.
- He underscored that accountability is essential to assess progress and achieve results; that the vision of the world’s people must be taken into account; and that the accountability system must be universal.
U.N. ENVOY LAUDS RESILIENCE OF IRAQI PEOPLE FOR VOTING
- The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, has congratulated all Iraqis for showing incredible resilience by turning out in significant numbers on Election Day to vote. He also commended the efforts made by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), as well as the dedication of security personnel across the country.
- As the vote counting begins, Mr. Mladenov strongly encourages the Electoral Commission to provide the results to the party agents, which will only increase the credibility and transparency of the process.
- Mr. Mladenov also welcomed the well managed Governorate Council Elections that took place yesterday in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
- In a press statement issued yesterday by the Security Council members, they welcomed the elections and called on all political entities to work together in an inclusive and timely political process.
IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF MEETS STAFF OF NEW MISSION
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, has now arrived in the Central African Republic to meet with local authorities and UN staff of our newest peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
- As part of his efforts to develop regional dialogue and to build support for MINUSCA, Mr. Ladsous was also yesterday in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, where he met with President Denis Sassou Nguesso and other Government officials.
- Earlier this morning, he was in N’Djamena, Chad, where he had an audience with President Idriss Déby and senior officials.
SHOTS FIRED NEAR U.N. BASE IN SOUTH SUDAN’S BOR
- Yesterday, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reported firing in the vicinity of its compound in Bor, Jonglei State.
- The Mission was informed it was a case of friendly fire between the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and Auxiliary Police. As a result of the firing, some internally displaced persons fled into the adjoining UNMISS Compound. The Mission reports that its peacekeepers calmed the situation, and also provided medical treatment to one displaced person who was wounded in the crossfire. Currently, the Mission is protecting some 4,800 displaced persons at its site in Bor.
- The Mission has received reports of fighting yesterday between Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition forces in Panyagor and Wanyar Payam, also in Jonglei State.
- In Unity State, a Mission patrol in Bentiu observed Opposition forces occupying Lich University. The Mission has raised this issue with Opposition authorities, reminding them that the use of educational institutions for military purposes is a violation of international humanitarian law.
- The Mission also continues to report violations to the Status of Forces Agreement, including harassment and detention of its staff as well as restrictions on movement in various parts of the country, which is preventing the Mission from carrying out its activities as mandated. The Mission calls on all parties to respect the lifesaving work of the United Nations.
SUDAN: CLASHES IN SOUTH KORDOFAN, BLUE NILE UPROOT 16,500 PEOPLE, U.N. RELIEF WING REPORTS
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that fighting in parts of Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states over the past two weeks has displaced or affected an estimated 16,500 people, according to the Sudanese Government.
- In response, the World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners have already distributed one-month emergency food rations to 8,500 people.
- And the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), has established two emergency health clinics in Rashad town. In addition, the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) and the WHO supported the South Kordofan health ministry with emergency medicine and equipment, including basic health kids to cover 10,000 people for three months, nutritional supplements and water and sanitation services.
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari, expressed his concern today about the increasing number of people from South Sudan seeking refuge in Abyei.
- Over the past few days, at least 3,000 people have arrived in Abyei fleeing violence in South Sudan’s Unity State, bringing the total number of South Sudanese in the area to 6,000. The influx is stretching the existing resources to people in need.
DARFUR: BLUE HELMET RELEASE AFTER 54 DAYS IN CAPTIVITY
- A peacekeeper from the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), who had been abducted in Nyala on 9 March, was freed today after 54 days in captivity.
- The Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, expressed the Mission’s gratitude to the Government of Sudan, the Wali of South Darfur, and the Government of Nigeria for their valuable assistance in securing the safe release of Sergeant Awesu Soleiman.
- SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS ETHIOPIAN AS NEW U.N. ENVOY FOR SAHEL
- The Secretary-General has appointed Ms. Hiroute Guebre Sellassie of Ethiopia as his new Special Envoy for the Sahel and Head of Office (OSES).
- Ms. Guebre Sellassie most recently served as Director of the Political Affairs Division and Head of the Goma Regional Office in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- She succeeds Mr. Romano Prodi of Italy who completed his assignment on 31 January this year. The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Prodi’s accomplishments in developing the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and in mobilizing the international community in support of the region.
- Asked whether Lakhdar Brahimi might resign his post, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General very much appreciates the ongoing role that Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi plays in trying to end the appalling violence in Syria. He added that Mr. Brahimi was expected to meet with the Secretary-General on Friday.
- In response to questions, the Spokesperson reaffirmed that Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman has been working for the Secretary-General as an international civil servant.
***The guest at the Noon Briefing was John Ging, the Operations Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and he briefed reporters on his recent visit to the Central African Republic.