Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

WEDNESDAY, 4 JUNE 2014

 

UKRAINE: U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF TO REPRESENT SECRETARY-GENERAL AT PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION

  • The Secretary-General has asked the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, to represent him at the inauguration of President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine which will take place on Saturday in Kyiv.
  • While in Kyiv, Mr. Feltman is also expected to hold meetings with senior government officials and others in the spirit of the good offices of the Secretary-General.
  • The Spokesman is not aware of requests from the Government for international humanitarian aid but the United Nations is on hand to provide aid as needed.

SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS BRIEFINGS ON SYRIA, IRAQ AND SOMALIA

  • Sigrid Kaag, the Special Coordinator of the Joint OPCW-UN Mission working in Syria, briefed the Security Council this morning in consultations on the Joint Mission’s work and addressed the media at the stakeout after that.
  • Following her briefing, Nickolay Mladenov, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, briefed Council members on the work of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, also in closed consultations.
  • This afternoon, the Security Council has scheduled an open meeting, followed by consultations, on the work of the UN Mission in Somalia.

NEW PANEL TO ADVISE ON USE OF TECHNOLOGIES AND INNOVATIONS IN U.N. PEACEKEEPING

  • The Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping Operations and for Field Support, respectively, Hervé Ladsous and Ameerah Haq, today announced the appointment of a five-member Expert Panel to advise them on how best to use new technologies and innovations to benefit United Nations peacekeeping.
  • The Panel will be led by Jane Holl Lute of the United States, a seasoned expert on peace and security who is currently the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Relocation of Camp Hurriya Residents Outside of Iraq.
  • The four other members of the Expert Panel are: Lieutenant General (retired) Abhijit Guha of India, Major General (retired) Michael Fryer of South Africa, Major General (retired), Ib Johannes Bager of Denmark and Dr. Walter Dorn of Canada.
  • The Expert Panel will visit field missions and consult widely with Member States, partner organizations, non-governmental and governmental research institutions and think tanks, as well as industry leaders. The Panel will convene in early June and its final report is expected to be released by November 2014.
  • It will recommend how the two Departments can benefit from ongoing technological innovations in a systematic and integrated manner in the longer term.

LIBYA: U.N. MISSION CONDEMNS VIOLENCE AND KIDNAPPING OF CONGRESS MEMBER

  • The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) issued a statement today expressing deep concern over the violence in the east, particularly in Benghazi. The mission condemned the attacks against civilians and called for an end to the bloodshed.
  • The Mission said that the political efforts must take their course and highlighted the need for an agreement on precise means and mechanisms to counter terrorism within the framework of the state institutions.
  • UNSMIL also issued another statement condemning the kidnapping of Dr. Abu Bakr Mdwar, a General National Congress member, and called for his immediate and unconditional release.
  • On the United Nations support for the upcoming Council of Representatives elections expected to take place on 25 June, the UN-led Electoral Support team, comprising of UNSMIL and the UN Development Programme, has been providing electoral assistance, including strategic policy and technical advice, to the Libyan High National Elections Commission.
  • It has been helping with the establishment of the voter registration process, education campaigns, logistics and more. It has also been advising national electoral authorities on ways to include women in the electoral process.    
  • The UN Mission continues to coordinate the international assistance efforts of UN funds, agencies and programmes as well as Member States and NGO partners. 

NIGERIA: U.N. SAYS SAFE SCHOOLS INITIATIVE ATTRACTS SIGNIFICANT FUNDING

  • Today marks 50 days since the school girls were abducted in Nigeria. The Secretary-General’s  Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, announced that the Safe Schools Initiative in Nigeria has attracted over $23 million in initial support to ensure that schools, particularly in the north, are protected from attack and measures are taken to improve the safety of education for girls and boys.
  • Moreover, he will continue to work with the government to monitor the education situation and develop plans to ensure the 10.5 million out of school children have safe spaces to learn. No child should be prevented from learning and no child should face the threat of abduction for wanting to go to school, said Mr. Brown.

HEAD OF PEACEKEEPING VISITS HAITI TO DISCUSS GRADUAL HANDOVER

  • The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, today for a three-day visit.
  • Mr. Ladsous is in the country to engage with the UN Mission’s (MINUSTAH) senior leadership and staff, the UN Country team and Haitian officials on the strategic assessment of the UN's presence in Haiti and the gradual handover of the Mission’s functions.
  • During his trip, he will meet with the country's President, Prime Minister and other officials to discuss the latest political developments and underline the need for long-awaited elections to be held as soon as possible.

DEPUTY HUMANITARIAN CHIEF CONCLUDES VISIT TO COLOMBIA CALLING FOR LASTING PEACE AND RECONCILIATION

  • The Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang wrapped up a four-day visit in Colombia. She said that the armed conflict in the country continues to affect new people every day.
  • Colombia is also vulnerable to natural disasters including floods which have a serious impact on communities with high poverty rates and limited access to basic services.
  • Ms. Kang called for lasting peace and reconciliation with the participation of all sectors of the Colombian society.

SOUTH SUDAN: U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE CALLS ON AUTHORITIES IN JONGLEI TO ENSURE SAFE RETURN OF DISPLACED PEOPLE

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, visited Bor in Jonglei State on Tuesday. In meetings with state officials, she urged them to take concrete steps so that internally displaced persons can feel safe to return to their homes. She also called on the Government to hold the perpetrators of the 17 April attack on the United Nations site in Bor accountable.
  • Ms. Johnson also visited the protection site, where more than 3,000 civilians are seeking shelter. There, she met with community leaders and other internally displaced persons and urged them and other South Sudanese citizens to put their ethnic divisions behind them and unite as citizens of their country.
  • Meanwhile, the UN Mission in South Sudan reports fighting between Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition forces in parts of the country, including south of Bentiu in Unity State as well as in Upper Nile State.
  • The Mission once again stresses the importance of implementing the Agreements, as signed by both parties on 23 January and 9 May this year, and to accelerate the momentum for peace and to end the violence.

HEADS OF U.N. AGENCIES CALL FOR MORE SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE OF CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • The head of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, and the High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, urged donors today to support the response to end the suffering of thousands of people fleeing into Cameroon from the Central African Republic.
  • Up to 2,000 people a week, mostly women and children, reach Cameroon through more than 30 entry points along the border. The Head of WFP said they are arriving in a shocking state, after weeks, sometimes months, on the road, foraging for food. Acute malnutrition rates among refugees are between 20 and 30 percent according to WFP and UNHCR screening, well above the emergency threshold of 15 percent.
  • The agencies are providing assistance but say that funds are nearly exhausted as the number of refugees continues to grow with each new round of fighting inside the Central African Republic.

E.U. SIGNES DECLARATION ON MORE SUPPORT FOR U.N. PALESTINE REFUGEE AGENCY

  • Earlier today in Brussels, European Union (EU) officials signed joint declaration on EU support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for the period 2014-2016, with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl. 
  • Under the agreement, the EU contribution to the UNRWA General Fund for core services in 2014-2016 will amount to some EUR 246 million (US$ 335 million).

PHILIPPINES: HEAD OF U.N. DISASTER RISK REDUCTION EMPHASIZES NEED TO BUILD BACK BETTER AFTER HAIYAN

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction is today in the Philippines, where she is speaking at a conference, bringing together participants from Asia and Europe, on lessons learned from Typhoon Haiyan.
  • Margareta Wahlström noted that opportunities exist now to address underlying risks to ensure that the next disaster will not cause similar devastation, in line with President Benigno Aquino’s policy to ‘build back better.’
  • The conference is expected to produce the Tacloban Declaration, outlining new proposals for better disaster risk management which will contribute to the post-2015 framework.
  • While in the Philippines, Ms. Wahlström is also scheduled to meet with the country’s Foreign Minister and Executive Director of the National Disaster Reduction and Management Council.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND EXHIBIT OPENING ON POLAND’S POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT SINCE 1989

  • The Secretary-General will attend the opening of a photo exhibit organized by the Polish Permanent Mission marking the 25th anniversary since the events of 1989. He is expected to note how a quarter of a century ago, the people of Poland lined up to vote in multi-party elections and paved the way for democracy.
  • The Secretary-General will also point out that we can all be inspired by the determination of the Polish people to turn a new page in its history.  They showed that peaceful democratic transition can take place even in the most difficult of situations.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW DEPUTY FOR RECOVERY AND GOVERNANCE IN LIBERIA

  • The Secretary-General has appointed Antonio Vigilante of Italy as his Deputy Special Representative for Recovery and Governance in the United Nations Mission in Liberia.  Mr. Vigilante will also serve as the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.
  • Mr. Vigilante will succeed Aeneas Chuma of Zimbabwe, who has recently taken up a new assignment with the International Labour Organization.  The Secretary-General is grateful to Mr. Chuma for his outstanding performance in Liberia.  Mr. Vigilante is currently Director of the UN Office and UNDP Representation Office in Brussels. 

SPOKESMAN: U.N. HOPES BURUNDI GOVERNMENT WILL REVERSE DECISION ON U.N. STAFF MEMBER

  • Asked about a UN staff member who is facing expulsion in Burundi, the Spokesman said that on 25 May, the staff member, who is a member of the Special Representative’s close protection team, went through a metal detector at the airport and two pieces of ammunition which had not been declared were found. He then left the country and returned to Bujumbura on 2 June.
  • Since then, the Spokesman said, the Burundians have said that they want to declare him persona non grata. He added that the United Nations hopes that the decision would be reversed. Mr. Dujarric said that the act was an oversight, and nothing more.

 

*The guest at the noon briefing today was Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, who briefed on Syria