HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 04 MAY 2016
SECRETRY-GENERAL TO OPEN CLIMATE ACTION 2016 SUMMIT IN WASHINGTON D.C.
- The Secretary-General will leave for Washington DC today. Tomorrow morning, he will co-host the Climate Action 2016 summit together with the World Bank and other partners.
- Following the opening session of the summit, the Secretary-General will speak to the media with Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank; Ms. Ségolène Royal, the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs of France; as well as Mr. Stephen Catlin, Executive Deputy Chairman of the XL Group.
- The summit brings together representatives from governments, businesses, philanthropy, civil society and academia, to take the climate action agenda forward. Later tomorrow, he is expected to visit a middle school (Brookland) with DC Mayor Muriel Elizabeth Bowser. He will visit green projects that the school is implementing.
U.N. RELIEF AGENCY PLAYS A STABILISING ROLE IN SUPPORTING PALESTINTIAN REFUGEES – SECRETARY-GENERAL
- The Secretary-General today spoke on the need for the sustainability of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) which he said is vital and plays a stabilising role in supporting Palestine refugees in a volatile region.
- There is no doubt, he said, that sustaining UNRWA’s operations for Palestine refugees is in our collective interest. Yet, barely nine months after his appeal to the General Assembly for UNRWA support the Agency is again in dire need of resources.
- The Secretary-General appealed to the Member States to do their utmost to support and sustain UNRWA in its work. He said that the current deficit of $81 million must be overcome as a matter of priority for 2016.
- He added that it is far more financially responsible to put UNRWA on a sustainable footing, which is not only good management, but will also allow people to better plan their lives under the intense stress that they already endure each and every day.
U.N. OFFICAL IN MIDDLE EAST CONCERNED OVER RECENT SECURITY INCIDENTS ALONG GAZA BORDER
- The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said he was concerned about the security incidents that have taken place along the border with Gaza over the past 24 hours.
- He called upon all to exercise maximum restraint and to take all necessary action to prevent the risk of escalation. He said that it is critical that peace be maintained to ensure the safety and security of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
VIOLENCE IN ALEPPO CONTINUES TO CAUSE “ENDLESS SUFFERING” – SPECIAL ADVISOR ON SYRIA
- The Special Advisor to the Special Envoy for Syria, Jan Egeland, briefed the press in Geneva today on humanitarian efforts in that country, saying that the fighting and bombardment in recent days, especially in and around Aleppo, is creating new areas with endless suffering and no access for humanitarian workers.
- On the other hand, he said, during April, humanitarian workers reached more than 40 percent of all of the people in the besieged areas, compared to about 5 percent of people in such areas being reached during all of 2015.
- Altogether, Mr. Egeland said, 778,000 people in hard-to-reach and besieged areas have been reached. In one of the key achievements, virtually all of the civilians in the city of Deir Ezzour received aid from 22 air drops that have been conducted successfully in recent days. Meanwhile, following an enormous effort over the weekend, the four towns of Madaya, Zabadani, Foah and Kefraya were reached, following weeks of obstacles.
- Moving forward, he added, requests to reach besieged areas have only been granted for about 25 percent of the affected people, with another 25 percent of beneficiaries being approved only with a significant number of conditions.
- The Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, is in Berlin today, where he will be meeting separately with the German and French foreign ministers.
- This afternoon at 2 p.m., Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will brief the Security Council in a meeting on Syria, and he will discuss the situation in Aleppo, among other topics.
DIRECT TALKS ON YEMEN RESUME IN KUWAIT – U.N. ENVOY
- The Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, confirmed that direct talks among the parties have resumed today in Kuwait.
- The Yemeni parties had plenary discussions this morning in Kuwait and agreed upon the creation of three committees: one to look into political issues, another for military and security issues and a third one dealing with prisoners. The parties plan to continue discussions on that topic this evening.
SOUTH SUDAN: SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE STRESSES NEED TO ADDRESS URGENT HUMANITARIAN SITUATION
- The head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Ms. Ellen Loej, spoke to the press today in Juba.
- Following the recent positive developments in the implementation of the Peace Agreement, she said it was now incumbent on the Transitional Government to move with speed to complete the establishment of all the transitional institutions articulated in the Peace Agreement.
- She added that it was particularly important to establish and operationalize the Joint Operations Centre and the Joint Integrated Police are as soon as possible.
- Ms. Loej also stressed the need to address the urgent humanitarian situation in South Sudan and said the Transitional Government could help to ensure the free movement of humanitarian assistance.
- She called for appropriate public financial management reforms and institutions to help tackle the deteriorating economy in the country. She underscored that concerted efforts in relation to national reconciliation and healing should be a priority for all.
U.N. MISSION IN D.R.CONGO INVESTIGATES RECENT FIGHTING IN NORTH KIVU
- The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) reported that yesterday, 3 May, suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) elements attacked the village of Luna, in Beni territory, in North Kivu.
- According to initial reports, 16 civilians were reportedly killed, at least seven injured and several were abducted. Some houses were also apparently looted and burned down.
- The attack caused the displacement of some 1,500 civilians from the area towards Ituri province. The UN Mission is deploying a fact-finding mission to gather more details about the incident.
ARMED MEN ATTACK CAMP FOR DISPLACED PEOPLE IN SOUTH DARFUR
- In response to a question on an attack on the Kalma camp for internally displaced persons in Darfur, the Spokesman said that the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reported that during the night on 30 April, armed men on camels entered the Kalma IDP camp in South Darfur and shot and injured one of its residents.
- The injured person received emergency medical treatment from the Mission at its patrol site in Kalma, and was then transferred to the Mission's advanced hospital in Nyala.
- Further shootings were reported in another part of the camp by armed men in a vehicle, although no casualties were reported. The Mission is investigating the incidents.
- The UNAMID Joint Special Representative, Martin Uhomoibhi, visited Kalma camp today. He met with IDP community leaders and representatives and assured them of the Mission's continued efforts to ensure their protection.
U.N. GOODWILL AMBASSADOR ORLANDO BLOOM VISITS CONFLICT-AFFECTED EASTERN UKRAINE
- A new report, commissioned by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and partners reveals that 462 million children live in countries affected by crises and nearly one in six, or 75 million children aged 3 to 18, are in desperate need of educational support.
- UNICEF says that a new fund “Education Cannot Wait” will be launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23 May. It aims to raise nearly US$4 billion to reach 13.6 million children in need of education in emergencies within 5 years, before reaching 75 million children by 2030.
- On a related topic, UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom travelled to conflict-hit eastern Ukraine to raise awareness of the global education crisis facing children in humanitarian emergencies.
- Bloom visited classrooms hit by shells just three kilometres from the frontline of the conflict that broke out more than two years ago.
- According to UNICEF, one in five schools and kindergartens in the region have been damaged or destroyed and 300,000 children are in immediate need of assistance to continue their education.
U.N. FOOD AGENCY CONVENES MEETING ON SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IN EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) kicked off a regional conference in Antalya, Turkey focused on the better nutrition and sustainable agriculture in Europe and Central Asia.
- Speaking at the start of the conference, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva noted that the number of hungry people in the region - measured in terms of their calories intake - dropped by at least 40 percent since 1990. However, he said, other forms of malnutrition persist and continue to be a problem.
- For example, in 48 countries in the wider Europe and Central Asia region, the combined overweight and obesity prevalence in the adult population exceeds 55 percent, while relatively high rates of stunting continue to be seen among children in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
NEW U.N. GUIDE HELPS EDUCATORS DISCUSS ISSUE OF VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN CLASSROOMS
- The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched today a guide to help teachers deal with the issue of violent extremism.
- UNESCO says the guide provides practical tips to educators seeking guidance how to discuss this touchy subject in classrooms.
- The publication also recommends resources to develop a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of violent extremism and responds to frequently asked questions. It is initially published in English and French with more language editions to follow.
**The guest at the noon briefing was Yukio Takasu, the Under-Secretary-General for Management, who briefed on the financial situation of the Organization.**