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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

THURSDAY, 5 JUNE 2014

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL NOTES EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON SMALL ISLANDS AS HE MARKS WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

  • Today is World Environment Day, and this year’s theme is “Raise your voice, not the sea level.” The Secretary-General noted that this year’s Day falls during the International Year of Small Island Developing States.
  • He pointed out that these States have contributed little to climate change. Their combined annual output of greenhouse gases is less than one per cent of total global emissions, but their position on the frontlines has projected many to the forefront in the negotiations for a new legal agreement in 2015.
  • The Secretary-General urged everyone to think about the plights of Small Island States and to take inspiration from their efforts to address climate change, strengthen resilience and work for a sustainable future.

SECRETARY-GENERAL: SUSTAINABLE ENERGY CAN IMPROVE PEOPLE’S LIVES

  • The Secretary-General spoke at the first annual Sustainable Energy for All Forum on 5 June. He underscored that sustainable energy is the golden thread that links poverty eradication, equitable economic growth and a healthy environment. 
  • The UN Decade on Sustainable Energy for All was launched this morning, which the Secretary-General said can bring us closer to our goals of universal energy and a life of dignity and opportunity for all.
  • He noted how modern energy services are key to changing people’s quality of life, including how clinics can store life-saving vaccines and children can study after dark.
  • The Secretary-General said that at his Climate Summit in September, he counts on all to deliver new and expanded commitments and partnerships that will transform the global energy landscape.

HIGH REPRESENTATIVE BEGINS VISIT TO DISCUSS U.N. SUPPORT IN NIGERIA

SAHEL: UN OFFICIAL WRAPS UP VISIT TO MALI, CALLING FOR MORE SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE AFFECTED BY CRISIS

  • The Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Robert Piper, is wrapping up a five-day visit to Mali. He met with government officials in Bamako and also travelled to Timbuktu and Koulikoro where he met with vulnerable populations and visited projects supporting agriculture and the fight against malnutrition.
  • Mr. Piper said there were still urgent humanitarian needs throughout Mali. He added that the chronic food insecurity and malnutrition crisis was compounded by the security situation in the north and center of the country.
  • One and a half million Malians are affected by food insecurity. Only 20 percent of the humanitarian appeal launched this year for Mali is funded. Mr. Piper called on the international community to remain mobilized to address humanitarian needs in Mali.

SOUTH SUDAN: AID AGENCIES RELOCATE DISPLACED PEOPLE TO IMPROVED FACILITIES IN MALAKAL

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that United Nations aid agencies in South Sudan have begun the relocation of displaced people to upgraded sections of the UN base in Malakal, in Upper Nile State, as part of improving living conditions in the site.
  • An estimated 2,000 people have been relocated so far. Some 5,000 more people will be relocated in the coming days. About 18,000 people are now sheltered in the UN base in Malakal.
  • Asked about talks concerning South Sudan, the Spokesman said that it remains critical for Salva Kiir and Riek Machar sit down productively and for their respective forces to live up to the agreements that have been signed.
  • He also drew attention to the humanitarian needs of the people in South Sudan, who are increasingly suffering while the fighting continues.
  • Asked about funding for humanitarian aid in Somalia, South Sudan and other parts of the region, Mr. Dujarric said there was a possibility of aid cutbacks in the coming months if funding is not found.

SYRIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL RENEWS CALL FOR POLITICAL SOLUTION FOLLOWING ELECTION

  • Asked about the Syrian elections, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General has taken note of the elections and the context in which they were held. He takes the opportunity to renew his call for a political solution to the conflict and reiterate his readiness to help the Syrian parties reach this goal through peaceful means.  
  • Asked about the office of the Joint Special Representative for Syria, the Spokesman said that Martin Griffiths is officer-in-charge of that office following the departure of Lakhdar Brahimi, while a replacement for Mr. Brahimi is being sought.
  • Asked about the replacement, Dujarric said that the Secretary-General was looking to see how the peace efforts in Syria can be served best.

FIRST POLIO CASE OF 2014 REPORTED IN SOMALIA

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that the first case of polio in Somalia this year was confirmed on 4 June in the north-central region of Mudug. A polio response team from Nairobi is expected to arrive to assess the situation.
  • The confirmation comes as a setback to humanitarian partners. The polio vaccination campaign of 2013, which targeted 4 million people, contained last year's polio outbreak and was hailed as an example of providing health services in otherwise inaccessible areas.

U.N. SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR LEBANON REITERATES SUPPORT FOR GOVERNMENT

  • UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salam today to discuss latest developments in the country. 
  • Afterwards, Mr. Plumbly told reporters that his main message had been the need to elect a new President as soon as possible. He also expressed support for Prime Minister Salam and his government in dealing with the challenges it faces.

SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS BRIEFINGS ON WORK OF CRIMINAL TRIBUNALS FOR RWANDA AND FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Asked about the announcement of new settlement activity by Israel, the Spokesman reiterated the Secretary-General’s view that settlement activity is unhelpful. He also noted the recent statement issued concerning the Palestinian unity government.
  • Asked about reports that UN staff had been harassed in Libya, the Spokesman affirmed the importance of allowing the freedom of movement of all UN personnel.
  • Asked about Burundi, the Spokesman recalled the Secretary-General’s recent concerns and reiterated the UN’s intention to forge a positive relationship with the Government of Burundi.
  • Asked about the search for a replacement for High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, the Spokesman noted that an advertisement for a replacement had been published some months ago. The search is continuing.