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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, SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

WEDNESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 2016

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR WIDE-RANGING DISCUSSION ON DRUG POLICY IN ALL ITS ASPECTS

  • The Secretary-General spoke today at an informal stakeholder meeting of the General Assembly’s special session on the World Drug Problem.
  • The Secretary-General said that around the world, illicit drugs continue to promote violence, impede sustainable development, endanger communities and undermine people’s health. He added that the problem is interconnected with corruption, terrorism and illicit flows of money.
  • The Secretary-General underscored the importance of the special session in providing an opportunity for the international community to enter into an informed and wide-ranging discussion on drug policy in all its aspects.
  • He stressed that only shared responsibility can ensure the delivery of balanced and comprehensive drug policies with a renewed focus on human rights and public health, including prevention, treatment and care.

YEMEN: AFTER MONTHS OF BLOCKAGE, 20 TONNES OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES DELIVERED TO TAIZ

  • Following months of blocked access to Taiz City, Yemen, and in response to mounting emergency health needs, the World Health Organization (WHO) has successfully delivered more than 20 tonnes of life-saving medicines and medical supplies.
  • These supplies are critical to meet the most urgent needs in a city where more than 200,000 people continue to live under siege with limited access to humanitarian aid.
  • The health supplies, which had been blocked from entering the city for eight weeks, were finally delivered to four hospitals in Taiz as of 31 January.

BAN KI-MOON AND PRESIDENT OF ITALY DISCUSS LIBYA, SYRIA AND LEBANON

  • The Secretary-General earlier today met with H.E. Mr. Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy. The Secretary-General emphasized that the political process is key to addressing the political, security and humanitarian challenges in Libya.
  • The Secretary-General and the President exchanged views on the situation in Syria and related challenges arising from the large-scale arrivals of refugees and migrants and the spread of violent extremism. In addition, they discussed the importance of the follow-up and implementation of the 2030 development Agenda, as well as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • Finally, the Secretary-General acknowledged Italy’s key role in advocating the universal abolition of the death penalty and thanked Italy for its contribution to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Southern Lebanon as well as the support it provides to the numerous United Nations entities that it hosts.

MIDDLE EAST QUARTET ENVOYS CONCERNED BY CURRENT TRENDS ON THE GROUND

  • On Monday and Tuesday, Envoys of the Middle East Quartet met in Oslo as part of their continued engagement with key regional and international stakeholders.
  • The Quartet Envoys condemned in the strongest possible terms all acts of terror and violence against civilians. They also expressed concern about current trends on the ground that pose a threat to the two-state solution and reiterated the call for concrete steps that resume the transition contemplated by the Oslo Accords.
  • The Envoys look forward to the forthcoming Principals meeting that will take place in Munich.

SITUATION GENERALLY CALM IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AS PREPARATIONS FOR ELECTIONS CONTINUE

  • From the Central African Republic, the UN Mission in that country, MINUSCA, reports that the security situation continues to remain generally calm in the country ahead of Sunday's presidential and legislative elections.
  • Sensitive electoral material has been distributed to voting centres throughout the country yesterday, as well as to refugee voting sites in Cameroon and Chad.
  • MINUSCA also reports that the Authorité Nationale des Elections (ANE) has suspended 17 district managers allegedly implicated in electoral irregularities.

SOUTH SUDAN: $220 MILLION URGENTLY NEEDED BEFORE RAINS START

  • From South Sudan, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, is appealing for $220 million in urgent funding before the dry season ends in May.
  • In the rainy season most roads become inaccessible in South Sudan for around six months and partners are forced to rely on air transport, significantly raising the cost of aid delivery.
  • So far, only about two per cent of the $1.3 billion needed to provide life-saving assistance and protection to over 5 million people in the country has been received.

OFFSHORE DETENTION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS: CHILDREN’S RIGHTS MUST BE RESPECTED IN ALL SITUATIONS

  • UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and Pacific, Daniel Toole, issued a statement following the Australian High Court finding on offshore detention of asylum seekers.
  • Mr. Toole stressed that the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a signatory, underscores that the best interests of a child must be a primary consideration in all decisions and actions impacting that child.
  • Any action that increases the risks a child faces, including removal to a place where a child’s rights are less protected, is clearly not in the best interest of that child, he added. The rights of children must be respected in every situation, including in actions to protect sovereign borders.

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION CALLS FOR ACTION ON ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE

  • At a conference in Amsterdam today, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) called for a globally coordinated effort to counter the risks posed to food security by antimicrobial resistance.
  • Aside from the human health considerations, the emergence of microbes resistant to antibiotics and other pharmaceutical agents puts animal health at risk and consequently has an impact on rural livelihoods and food security.
  • While resistance develops as part of natural adaptation, it is exacerbated by inappropriate use of pharmaceuticals, and the prevalence of resistance in the agricultural sector is generally higher in animal species reared under intensive production systems.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL EN ROUTE TO MUNICH SECURITY CONFERENCE

  • The Deputy Secretary-General is on his way to Munich, where he will lead the UN delegation to the Munich Security Conference, as well as to the International Syria Support Group meetings.