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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 FARHAN HAQ,

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

THURSDAY, 21 MAY 2015

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS HIGH-LEVEL PANEL ON HUMANITARIAN FINANCING

  • In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General appointed a high-level panel on humanitarian financing. He has appointed Ms. Kristalina Georgieva and Sultan Nazrin Shah as co-chairs of the Panel.
  • This initiative also brings together distinguished individuals with a wide range of experience and expertise including Ms. Hadeel Ibrahim, Mr. Badr Jafar, Mr. Trevor Manuel, Ms. Linah Mohohlo, Mr. Walt Macnee, Ms. Margot Wallström and Mr. Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah.
  • The Panel will examine humanitarian financing challenges and will identify ways in which the gap between rising needs and the resources available to meet them can be closed. It will work on generating solutions around the issues of more timely and predictable funding, as well as ways in which resources can be used more effectively.
  • The Panel is expected to submit its recommendations to me in November 2015 and these recommendations will help frame the discussion at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.
  • The Secretary-General said that one of the most important challenges facing the humanitarian system today is the growing gap between the increasing numbers of people in need of assistance and sufficient resources to provide relief.
  • The number of people in need has more than doubled since 2004 to over 100 million today, and current humanitarian funding requirements for 2015 stand at $19.1 billion, up from $3.4 billion in 2004.  

DEPUTY U.N. CHIEF DISCUSSES MIGRANTS ISSUE WITH HEAD OF ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

  • The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, and the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Le Luong Minh, discussed today the situation of migrants and refugees stranded on vessels in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.
  • The Deputy Secretary-General encouraged rescue operations and efforts to reach a durable long term solution.

SYRIA: U.N. OFFICIAL URGES PROTECTION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE SITE OF PALMYRA

  • The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, yesterday said that she was deeply concerned by the situation at the site of Palmyra, in Syria. She said that the fighting is putting at risk one of the most significant sites in the Middle East and its civilian population.
  • Ms. Bokova called on the international community to do everything in its power to protect the affected civilian population and safeguard the unique cultural heritage of Palmyra.
  • She said that it is imperative that all parties respect international obligations to protect cultural heritage during conflict, by avoiding direct targeting, as well as use for military purposes.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME CONTIUNES TO PROVIDE AID IN LIBYA DESPITE CHALLENGES

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) has reported that it is currently providing assistance for 51,000 of the most vulnerable Libyans who have been displaced in the west of the country.
  • Through its partner, Shaikh Tahir Azzawi Charity Organization (STACO), WFP is supporting affected families in towns including Wadi ash-Shati, Misrata, Sebha and Traghen.
  • The organization plans to help nearly quarter of a million internally displaced people in Libya with life-saving food assistance over the next six months.  So far, 10 trucks have crossed the Tunisian border carrying food to STACO’s warehouse in western Libya for distribution.
  • It is currently working with another Libyan charity to distribute food to those who have fled eastern Libya, especially Benghazi.
  • Despite the needs, WFP’s emergency operation in Libya is only 33 percent funded so far. It needs to raise an additional $14 million to ensure that its operation inside Libya continues uninterrupted.

U.N.-FACILITATED CONSULTATIVE POLITICAL DIALOGUE RESUMES IN BURUNDI

  • The consultative political dialogue between Burundian stakeholders, including representatives of the Government, opposition parties and religious organizations, facilitated by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, resumed today.
  • It is critical that all parties participate in the dialogue so that it can help defuse tensions, and lead to a consensus on the steps necessary to create a conducive environment for peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in Burundi.
  • It is also essential that the Government, with the cooperation of all other actors, urgently creates the conditions for the electoral process to move forward smoothly and peacefully and that all actors recommit to non-violence.
  • To this end, Said Djinnit continues to work closely with the region, including with the high level delegations currently in Bujumbura.
  • Meanwhile, following a cholera outbreak among Burundian refugees gathered along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has rushed relief supplies to the north-western border with Tanzania. The outbreak has so far claimed 27 lives. Burundi’s current unrest has forced more than 110,000 people to flee to neighbouring countries.

U.N. MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN REPORTS HEAVY FIGHTING IN MELUT

  • The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has reported that heavy fighting between Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and Opposition forces resumed this morning around Melut in Upper Nile State. It remains unclear who is in control of the town.
  • Some 1,600 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are seeking protection in the UNMISS base in Melut. As reported earlier, the UNMISS compound and the protection of civilians site have been caught in the cross-fire and the death toll reached now seven IDPs.
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that some 20,000 displaced people who were previously sheltering in two sites outside the UN base have scattered.
  • An estimated 600 people who moved into the UN base at Melut for protection are receiving life-saving assistance but supplies are running low.
  • The Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, called on all combatants to respect the sanctity of the UN base and civilians seeking shelter inside, particularly women and children.
  • In the UN base in Malakal, humanitarian assistance is being provided to more than 17,000 displaced people. However, movements outside the UN base are restricted for aid workers due to insecurity, and so it is difficult to gauge the level of needs of people outside the base.
  • In Southern Unity State, all aid activities have been suspended since early May due to insecurity. As a result, over 300,000 people in need are without lifesaving assistance, including critical food and medical services.

DARFUR: U.N.-A.U. MISSION CONTINUES TO FACILITATE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES

  • The Joint AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) continues to engage with relevant government authorities and local community stakeholders to facilitate a cessation of hostilities and reconciliation between the Ma’alia and Rezeigat communities in East Darfur.
  • The Mission had called for restraint over rising tensions between the two tribes and the subsequent outbreak of violence in Abu Karinka.
  • In addition to supporting mediation efforts, UNAMID assisted in putting in place measures to mitigate the impact of the clashes on the civilian population.
  • This was implemented in coordination with the UN Country Team, through the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those affected by the fighting, provision of medical supplies and evacuation of the wounded.

MALI: AID ORGANIZATIONS REMAIN CONCERNED OVER ATTACKS AROUND TIMBUKTU

  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) remains concerned that attacks by armed groups and individuals around Timbuktu in northern Mali are forcing people to flee their homes.
  • Humanitarian partners estimate that more than 20,000 people have fled since 15 May to Gourma Rharous, Timbuktu and Goundam. Humanitarian workers are monitoring these new displacements but insecurity is preventing access to some of the areas affected.

WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY APPROVES GLOBAL MALARIA STRATEGY AND NEW PROGRAMME BUDGET

  • The Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) approved the Organization's proposed programme budget for 2016-2017. They also agreed on a new global malaria strategy for 2016-2030 that aims to reduce the global disease burden by 40 per cent by 2020, by at least 90 per cent by 2030, and to eliminate malaria in at least 35 new countries by 2030.
  • Between 2000 and 2013, the global malaria mortality rate dropped by 47 per cent but millions of people are still unable to access prevention and treatment, and most cases and deaths continue to go unregistered and unreported. In 2013, the disease killed an estimated 584,000 people.
  • The new strategy provides a comprehensive framework so countries can develop tailored programmes that will sustain and accelerate progress towards malaria elimination.

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ADOPTS INCHEON DECLARATION TO PROMOTE INCLUSIVE, EQUITABLE EDUCATION FOR ALL

  • The Incheon Declaration was adopted today at the conclusion of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Education Forum in the Republic of Korea.
  • The Declaration will underpin the education targets in the Sustainable Development Goals to be ratified in September at the UN. It encourages countries to provide inclusive, equitable, quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all.  

***The guest at the noon briefing was UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown.