HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 2 JUNE 2015
EBOLA: ECRETARY-GENERAL TO CONVENE INTERNATIONAL RECOVERY CONFERENCE
- In his remarks at the informal briefing of the General Assembly on Ebola, the Secretary-General stressed that we are in the last mile of the response, but the job is not done.
- He applauded Liberia on being declared Ebola-free on 9 May, but said we cannot celebrate yet. As long as there are Ebola cases in any country in the region, all countries are at risk.
- Community engagement and active surveillance are essential, and any lapse in vigilance could allow the virus to spread, the Secretary-General warned.
- The Secretary-General called on the General Assembly to continue lending its political weight to the effort against Ebola, and on donors to continue their contributions.
- He also said that on 10 July, in New York, he will convene an International Ebola Recovery Conference to help mobilize the resources needed to start early recovery.
- His Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, said it was essential to continue to support communities, for them to become more resilient to win the fight against this outbreak and to deal with potential future health emergencies.
SECRETARY-GENERAL MARKS 65 YEARS OF U.N. RELIEF AGENCY FOR PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
- In his remarks at a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Secretary-General said that in the absence of a just and lasting solution to the plight of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA has become more than an Agency. He added that it is a lifeline and a vital stabilizing factor at a time of turmoil in the region.
- The Secretary-General repeated his call to the leaders of Israel, Palestine and all parties with influence to resume meaningful negotiations without further delay, and put an end to unilateral actions that erode trust.
- The Commissioner General UNRWA, Pierre Krähenbühl, praised the work his Agency has done over the past 65 years. He said that UNRWA is resolute in wanting to provide quality services to the Palestine refugee community.
- However, he warned, the Agency faces serious financial shortfalls on both its core and emergency activities. He called for an urgent mobilization by the UN Member States to help address this situation.
U.N. ENVOY FOR MIDDLE EAST STRESSES NEED FOR GENIUNE PALESTINIAN RECONCILIATION AND UNITY
- The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said today that, one year after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the formation the Government of National Consensus has been able to overcome many obstacles.
- These include the four-month withholding of Palestinian tax revenues and the insufficient disbursement of donor contributions, which has resulted in a contraction of the Palestinian economy.
- Mr. Mladenov welcomed the determination of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to find a solution to the outstanding issue of public sector employees in Gaza. He encouraged all parties to support this effort.
- The Special Coordinator added that genuine Palestinian reconciliation and unity are critical for improving the situation in Gaza, advancing reconstruction, and for addressing the wider political question of a two-state solution.
U.N. OUTRAGED AT KILLING OF AID WORKERS IN AFGHANISTAN
- The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed outrage at the murder of nine aid workers from the People in Need non-profit organization.
- They were killed during an overnight attack at the agency’s compound in the northern province of Balkh. No party has claimed responsibility so far.
LIBYA: U.N. CONDEMNS SUICIDE BOMBING NEAR MISRATA
- The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has condemned the suicide bombing that took place near Misrata earlier this week.
- The mission says that the attack clearly aims to undermine the ongoing dialogue process, which is at a crucial juncture.
- The mission continues to urge all Libyan parties engaged in the political process, to work together to reach a political agreement and establish an inclusive government that can effectively combat the scourge of terrorism and prevent terrorist groups from expanding their reach in Libya.
BURUNDI: U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF URGES RESUMPTION OF CONSULTATIVE POLITICAL DIALOGUE
- The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Said Djinnit, returned to Bujumbura, Burundi, after attending the East African Community Summit on Sunday in Dar es Salam, Tanzania. He is now consulting with Burundian stakeholders with a view to resume the consultative political dialogue.
- The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, met yesterday afternoon with the First Vice President of Burundi, Prosper Bazombanza. Mr. Feltman noted that the recommendations of the East African Summit provided the Government with an additional opportunity to create the conditions for peaceful and credible elections.
- He encouraged the Government to seize that opportunity to take concrete steps, specifically, to ensure security of the electoral process and of political and civil society actors; also the disarmament of armed civilians; strengthening of the national independent electoral commission (CENI); and the vote of refugees. Mr. Feltman encouraged the Government to resume its participation in the consultative political dialogue in good faith.
- The UN remains concerned about the possibility of an escalation of violence and has stressed its call for calm and restraint. It continues to urge Burundians to express their views peacefully and to call on security forces to exercise maximum restraint in their management of public demonstrations. It also stressed the rights of Burundians to express their views, and urge them to do so peacefully.
- The Secretary-General has also spoken on the phone to President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, and President José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola. The Secretary-General expressed appreciation for the Presidents’ respective leadership in helping addressing the political crisis in Burundi.
- He discussed how best the UN, the East African Community and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region could help defuse tensions and support the holding of peaceful and credible elections in Burundi.
CHILD ABUSE COSTS COUNTRIES IN EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC OVER $200 BILLION YEARLY SAYS U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND
- Child abuse and violence is costing countries in East Asia and the Pacific more than $200 billion per year, which is equivalent to 2 per cent of the region’s Gross Domestic Product.
- That is according to new research commissioned by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and is the first time the cost of child maltreatment in the region has been estimated.
- UNICEF’s Regional Director Daniel Toole said that we all know that violence against children must stop because it is morally wrong, adding that the new research shows that inaction about violence results in serious economic costs to countries and communities.
- The social and economic impact of child maltreatment includes an added burden on already stretched health care systems, disability and death, and increased levels of violence and criminality.
- It is difficult for children who experience violence and abuse to grow up to be productive members of society, and their countries also risk losing the potential benefits to their communities these children might otherwise provide.
NEARLY 3 MILLION PEOPLE STILL NEED ASSISTANCE IN NEPAL
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that some 2.8 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the earthquake in Nepal.
- The Nepal Flash Appeal, which has been revised down from $423 to $422 million, is currently under-funded with only $120 million having been received so far.
- The fast-approaching monsoon season is expected to further complicate aid delivery to remote areas, which are among the worst affected.
- Jamie McGoldrick, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Nepal, said that our top priority is to provide vulnerable people of Nepal with the basics, to ensure their survival through the monsoon.