HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 2 JUNE 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES U.S. INITIATIVE CURBING GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General welcomes the important initiative announced today by President Obama to limit emissions from the United States’ power plants, calling it a significant step toward reducing global greenhouse gas emissions that are disrupting the climate, exacerbating extreme weather patterns, and threatening human health, sustainable economic growth and development.
- The Secretary-General calls on all countries to accelerate their efforts to reduce emissions and strengthen adaptation and resilience. He calls on world leaders to take advantage of the unique opportunity provided by the Climate Summit he will host in September by bringing bold announcements and actions they will undertake nationally as well as in multilateral and multi-stakeholder settings to address climate change.
- The head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, also welcomed President Barack Obama’s new initiative to more tightly regulate emissions from power plants.
- She said that this will send a good signal to nations everywhere that one of the world’s biggest emitters is taking the future of the planet and its people seriously.
- Ms. Figueres said that this also bodes well for the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September and towards securing a new meaningful agreement on climate change by 2015.
- Asked further about the announcement, the Spokesman said that it shows the kind of determination and commitment needed to address climate change.
SPAIN: SECRETARY-GENERAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO EFFORTS OF SPANISH KING TO PROMOTE U.N. GOALS
- In a statement, the Secretary-General expresses his sincere gratitude to His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain for his personal engagement and valuable contributions to the work of the United Nations, including in the context of the Alliance of Civilizations and the global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
- The Secretary-General pays tribute to the outstanding public service that His Majesty has rendered over the past thirty nine years, recalling, among other achievements, his instrumental role in Spain’s transition to democracy.
- The Secretary-General looks forward to continuing his cooperation and that of the United Nations with His Royal Highness Prince Felipe and wishes him every success in fulfilling his important duties.
BAN KI-MOON TO MEET NEW YORK CITY MAYOR
- The Secretary-General will pay a courtesy call to New York City Mayor Bill di Blasio this afternoon, in City Hall.
SPEAKING TO NEW UKRAINE LEADER, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES PEACEFUL REASSERTION OF FULL SOVEREIGNTY
- The Secretary-General spoke to President-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine on Saturday.
- The Secretary-General said while he fully understood the Ukrainian Government's need to reassert full sovereignty over its territory, he underscored that this needs to be done through peaceful means.
- The Secretary-General also urged the President elect to initiate a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- Asked about violence in Ukraine, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General made the call to assert the need by the Ukrainian authorities to regain full control of the territory of Ukraine through peaceful means.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR STEPPED UP YOUTH EFFORTS IN SHAPING POLITICS
- The Secretary-General delivered remarks at the Economic and Social Council’s Youth Forum today, calling young people the leaders of today who want and deserve a real voice in shaping the politics that affect their lives.
- He thanked the youth engaged in the Forum for showing how young people from diverse circumstances and backgrounds can unite to help shape the post-2015 development agenda.
- He also thanked the first-ever Special Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, for helping to raise awareness about the challenges young people face globally, and in making sure that their voices are reflected in the work of the UN.
SYRIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL THANKS OUTGOING ENVOY FOR ‘TIRELESS’ EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE POLITICAL SOLUTION
- On Saturday, the Secretary-General spoke by telephone with Lakhdar Brahimi, to thank Mr. Brahimi for his work on the last day of his mission as Joint Special Representative for Syria. He appreciated Mr. Brahimi’s tireless efforts over the past two years to achieve a political solution in Syria.
- He also sent Mr. Brahimi a letter, saying that he regretted that the parties, especially the Syrian Government, have proven so reluctant to take advantage of the opportunity to end the tragic suffering of the Syrian people. He noted that Mr. Brahimi had made history by bringing the Syrian sides to the table for the first time. The Secretary-General added that he looks forward to continuing to count on Mr. Brahimi’s wisdom, advice and unique experience on issues of concern to the United Nations.
U.N. MISSION REPORTS NEARLY 800 KILLED IN IRAQ IN MAY DUE TO TERRORISM, VIOLENCE
- The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has reported that at least 799 Iraqis have been killed and an estimated 1,400 people have been injured in May alone due to acts of terrorism and violence.
- The majority of those killed and injured have been civilians. Some of the worst affected areas include Baghdad with 932 civilian casualties and Anbar with nearly 700 casualties.
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned the attacks and urged political leaders to work swiftly to form an inclusive government within the constitutionally mandated time frame and to find a sustainable solution to the situation in Anbar.
- In response to further questions, the Spokesman said that the UN Mission in Iraq was working with the parties to resolve problems, including fighting in some areas and the redirection of water supplies.
LOW NUMBER OF SURRENDERS RECORDED IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO, U.N. MISSION REPORTS
- On the announcement last week by a representative of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) that the armed group would lay down its weapons in two locations in North and South Kivu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesman said that, so far, reports indicate that no such activity took place in South Kivu, and that an insignificant number of low ranking combatants have surrendered in North Kivu.
- In a joint statement issued on Sunday, the Head of the UN Mission in the country (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, and Envoys of the African Union, of the European Union and of the United States in the region, stressed that members of the FDLR who choose not to surrender will remain subject to military action by the Congolese Army and MONUSCO, in line with the Mission’s mandate to neutralize armed groups.
- Asked about efforts for the surrender of FDLR troops in eastern Congo, the Spokesman said that the UN Mission had been prepared to receive surrendering troops, but added that the surrender had not happened.
AID NOT MATCHING PACE WITH STEPPED UP SUDAN HUMANITARIAN NEEDS - U.N. AID OFFICIAL
- The Humanitarian Coordinator Ali Al-Za’tari in Sudan has expressed alarm over the increased humanitarian needs in the country which are not being met with a sufficient level of humanitarian aid. He said this puts at risk hundreds of thousands of people throughout Sudan.
- Ali Al-Za’tari noted that in the first quarter of 2014 alone, close to 300,000 people in Darfur were displaced from their homes by violence. These people join the 2 million people in Darfur who are already living in camps and depend on international humanitarian aid to survive.
- The UN and its partners have only received 33% of the US$ 995 million needed in 2014 to meet the country’s humanitarian needs.
U.N. CONDEMNS RAPE AND MURDERS OF TEENAGE GIRLS IN INDIA
- Over the weekend, the United Nations in India condemned the gang-rape and murder of teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh.
- In a statement, the UN Resident Coordinator in the country and the representatives of UN Women and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that this latest act of violence also highlighted the dangers girls and women all over India are exposed to due to a lack of toilets.
- The victims were attacked while going into fields near their home to relieve themselves.
- Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF Representative in India, stressed that around 65% of rural population in India defecates in the open and women and girls are expected to go out at night, which not only threatens their dignity, but their safety as well.
HEAD OF U.N. ATOMIC WATCHDOG SPOTLIGHTS ISSUES IN IRAN, D.P.R. KOREA
- In Vienna, Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), briefed the body’s Board of Directors today on nuclear verification issues in Iran, Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
- The IAEA is also celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Nuclear Data Section (NDS).
- Nuclear and atomic data are international resources produced and used globally for applications in research, education, medicine and industry, ranging from cancer radiotherapy to exploration for oil and other minerals.
CONFLICT, ERRATIC WEATHER WORSENING SOMALIA FOOD SECURITY SITUATION
- A new Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report warns that late rains and erratic weather patterns could worsen the food security situation in Somalia, as food stocks from the last harvest become depleted and food prices continue to rise sharply.
- The situation is being exacerbated by conflict and inadequate funding for efforts to assist hard-hit communities. FAO and its partners need $18 million urgently to scale up assistance to prevent the further deterioration of food insecurity. An estimated 860,000 people in Somalia need assistance, including more than 200,000 malnourished children under the age of five.
U.N. ENVOY FOR MIDDLE EAST TO MEET PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER ON TUESDAY
- Asked about the new Palestinian unity government, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General’s Representative on the ground, Robert Serry, hopes to meet with the new, confirmed Prime Minister Hamdallah on Tuesday. Mr. Serry hopes to discuss how the new Government can bring tangible improvements for the people both of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and provide opportunities for progress towards a two-state solution.
- Dujarric said that the UN continues to view Palestinian unity in line with the commitments of the PLO – recognition of Israel, non-violence, and adherence to previous agreements – as a positive development. Today’s formation of an interim Government of national consensus on this basis is an important step to implement the intra-Palestinian unity agreement of 23 April.
- Asked about allegations of enforced disappearances in the Central African Republic, the Spokesman said that the UN Mission in the CAR has seen the report by Human Rights Watch on the disturbing allegations of enforced disappearance of civilians in the Central African Republic. The UN Mission is in contact with the AU Mission to urge that they look into the allegations and to offer the UN’s full support to look further into these allegations.
- Asked about the General Assembly’s election for its next President, the Spokesman said that the decision is made by the Member States, without any role by the Secretary-General. But he noted, regarding controversial laws in Uganda concerning homosexuals, that the Secretary-General has worked to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people enjoy full human rights and has criticised the Ugandan legislation.
***The guests at today’s noon briefing were Martin Sajdik, the President of the Economic and Social Council, and Ahmad Alhendawi, the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth. They briefed journalists on the Youth Forum on “#Youth2015: Realizing the future they want.”