HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 4 MAY 2015
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO RUSSIA, UKRAINE AND POLAND
- The Secretary-General will travel to Moscow, Russian Federation, for the celebration of Victory Day on 9 May. The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, will accompany the Secretary-General.
- On his way to Moscow, the Secretary-General will stop on 7 May in Gdansk, Poland, to attend the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II there. He will also meet with President Bronislaw Komorowski and other senior officials present at the commemoration.
- The Secretary-General will also be in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 8 May, where he will meet with President Petro Poroshenko and other Ukrainian Government officials. While in Russia, he will meet with President Vladimir Putin as well as a number of heads of delegations also attending the commemoration.
- We expect the Secretary-General back on 10 May in New York.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR FURTHER SOLIDARITY BETWEEN U.N. AND REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
- The Secretary-General addressed the General Assembly high-level debate on strengthening cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations this morning.
- He called for further solidarity in advancing common values, stressing that developing common strategies and joint programmes have enhanced our ability to serve the world’s people.
- He added that working together to promote conflict prevention and mediation has increased our powers of persuasion to press parties to make peace. It has also reinforced collective efforts to defend human rights and uphold the values of the UN Charter.
- The Secretary-General held a retreat with the heads of some 18 regional and other organizations over the weekend in New York.
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW DEPUTY SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
- The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Robert Piper of Australia as Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, at the level of Assistant Secretary-General. Mr. Piper will also serve as UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
- Mr. Piper will succeed James Rawley of the United States to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his distinguished service and in particular for his dedicated contribution to Gaza’s reconstruction efforts.
- Mr. Piper brings over 25 years of humanitarian and development experience with the United Nations, leading efforts in peace building, conflict prevention and disaster risk reduction in a number of complex situations. He has been serving as the UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel region since 2013.
DEPUTY U.N. CHIEF OPENS CURRENT SESSION OF FORUM ON FORESTS
- The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, spoke at the opening of the 11th Session of the UN Forum on Forests earlier today.
- He said that over the next two weeks, Member States have a formidable task of creating a strengthened International Arrangement on Forests. He urged them to balance ambitious vision with practical structure, design and function.
- In shaping the agreement beyond 2015, it will be important to define ways in which the future arrangement will advance forest-related Sustainable Development Goals.
SYRIA: INTENSIVE FIGHTING IN YARMOUK CONTINUES TO AFFECT CIVILIANS
- The Security Council met this morning and agreed on its programme of work for May. The Council President, Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite of Lithuania, will talk to you in this room about the programme of work at about 12:30 p.m.
- The members of the Security Council received an update this morning on the situation in Yarmouk, Syria, from the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. They also heard from Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director of Affairs in Syria for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
- UNRWA reported that the situation inside Yarmouk continues to be marked by intensive armed conflict, placing the lives of civilians in jeopardy. Several days of calm were shattered by protracted armed engagements during the nights of 28 April and 1 May.
- UNRWA has not been able to trace civilian casualties, but it has received credible reports of serious damage to civilian property consistent with the use of heavy weapons. Since yesterday and until this afternoon, there has been relative calm inside Yarmouk.
- Mr. de Mistura, is expected speak to the press in Geneva tomorrow when he will start with various parties to consult on the current crisis in Syria and the road ahead.
INSECURITY AND LACK OF FUEL HINDER AID DELIVERY IN YEMEN
- The conflict in Yemen, insecurity and shortage of fuel continue to hinder the delivery of urgently needed assistance to displaced families and other vulnerable, conflict-affected communities.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that aid partners have reported difficulty providing medical services as result of the current security situation and continued airstrikes targeting Haradh, Sa’ada and Sana’a. Food partners have reported they have had to suspend assistance in Haradh district and Al Hudaydah due to lack of fuel.
- Casualties and the number of displaced continue to rise. In Aden, where violence has continued, local authorities report that 98 per cent of Khormaksar district’s 62,869 residents had left and that the remaining families are trapped and awaiting secure conditions to leave. In Aden, local sources report continued widespread violence. A two hour truce proposed by the Southern Resistance Movement has not been observed.
- The Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Johannes van der Klaauw, is strongly urging the coalition to stop targeting Sana'a airport and to preserve this important lifeline so that humanitarians can reach all those affected by the armed conflict in Yemen.
WE MUST WORK MORE EFFICIENTLY AND EXPEDITIOUSLY, SAYS HEAD OF W.F.P. CONCLUDING VISIT TO NEPAL
- The World Food Programme’s Executive Director (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, has concluded her visit to earthquake-affected regions of Nepal
- During her three-day visit, Ms. Cousin visited the Gorkha district and witnessed first-hand the extent of the earthquake’s destruction. She saw first-hand the achievements, and challenges, of the complex relief operation.
- She said that organization and its partners are committed to working more efficiently and expeditiously, especially before the monsoon seasons starts. WFP has, so far, dispatched enough food for 250,000 people in some of the hardest-hit areas and more assistance is expected in the coming days.
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working with government authorities to vaccinate more than half a million children against measles. The agencies warn that the lack of shelter and sanitation remain huge risk factors for the disease.
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says families are urgently in need of food medicine, tarpaulins and shelter repair tools as they continue to stay in the open. Landslides have challenged transportation of relief items to some areas. Many affected villages are without road access at all.
HUMANITARIAN CHIEF VISITS GUATEMALA FOR REGIONAL CONSULTATIONS
- The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, arrived in Guatemala today for the Latin American and the Caribbean regional consultation of the World Humanitarian Summit, and the Seventh Regional Meeting on International Humanitarian Assistance Mechanisms, which is a key element of the region’s contribution to the Secretary-General’s global action agenda to reduce suffering from conflicts and disasters.
- During her visit, Ms. Amos is expected to meet Government officials, representatives of regional bodies and humanitarian partners to discuss ways of strengthening capacities to meet humanitarian challenges in Latin American and the Caribbean.
BANGUI FORUM AIMED AT RECONCILIATION OPENS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
- The Bangui Forum opened earlier this morning in the Central African Republic. The forum brings together national authorities, political parties, armed groups, civil society, including youth and women groups, as well as religious leaders, to discuss and determine the future of the country.
- It is a vital starting point for a longer term reconciliation process that prepares the ground for the planned constitutional referendum, as well as legislative and presidential elections.
- The forum will also chart the way forward for the disarmament of armed groups, reconciliation, justice, governance, the reconstitution of the security forces as well as the economic recovery.
- The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) is working closely with the authorities to support this critical process.
SOUTH SUDAN RATIFIES INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY ON CHILDREN
- The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomed today South Sudan’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty.
- It was adopted more than 25 years ago and the rights it sets out include children’s right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated against, and to have their views heard.
- The Committee repeated its call for universal ratification of the treaty. The United States and Somalia are the only two remaining countries that have not yet fully ratified this treaty.
PANEL INVESTIGATING DEATH OF DAG HAMMARSKJOLD ARRIVES IN ZAMBIA
- The Independent Panel of Experts appointed by the Secretary-General to assess new information related to the death of former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, arrived in Zambia over the weekend.
- The panel has been tasked to examine and assess the probative value of new information related to the death of former Secretary-General Dag Hammarksjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him.
- The three members of the Panel will meet with witnesses to the final stages of the flight that crashed over Ndola on the night of 17-18 September 1961.
- They will report back to the Secretary-General before the end of June. The Secretary-General will update the General Assembly during the 70th session and the General Assembly will then determine what, if any, further action will be taken.
ROAD SAFETY WEEK STARTS, FOCUSES ON CHILDREN
- The UN Global Road Safety Week started today. Tomorrow in New York, the newly-appointed Special Envoy on Road Safety, Jean Todt, will join the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Anthony Lake and other prominent guests for an event and a street dance performance by 200 children from New York City schools, at the Flatiron Pedestrian Plaza, on 23rd and Broadway.
- The initiative is part of #SaveKidsLives - a worldwide campaign for road safety for children, as each day, more than 500 children and adolescents under the age of 19 lose their lives on roads worldwide.
84 MEMBER STATES PAY DUES
- Sudan has become the 84th Member State to pay its regular budget dues to the UN.