The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
**Global Humanitarian Overview
Good morning — good afternoon, rather. Today, the United Nations, in collaboration with hundreds of non-governmental organizations, presented its 2020 Global Humanitarian Overview. Around the world, it is estimated that a record 168 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection next year. According to the Overview, one in every 45 people on the planet is in need of food, shelter, health care, emergency education, protection or other basic assistance in crises spanning 53 countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia. The UN and its partners are planning to provide assistance to 109 million of them and will require nearly $29 billion to do so.
In a video message for the launch of the Overview, the Secretary-General reiterated that conflict, record levels of displacement and the accelerating climate crisis are pushing the number of people in need higher every year. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the number of people in need of assistance has increased by some 22 million over the past year. As for the funding gap continues to widen, the Secretary-General urged donors to help the UN and its partners meet the humanitarian challenges that lie ahead. The Global Humanitarian Overview 2020 is available online.
**United Nations Children’s Fund
Staying on the humanitarian issue, yesterday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released a $4.2 billion 2020 emergency appeal to reach 59 million children with life-saving support in 64 countries around the globe. This is the agency’s biggest request of donors yet, representing 3.5 times the funds requested in 2010. UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children sets out the agency’s 2020 appeal for its work to provide conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services. Overall, including adults, the appeal covers emergency support to 95 million people.
And from Afghanistan, today in a tweet, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned today’s killing of respected Japanese aid worker Dr. Tetsu Nakamura that took place in Jalalabad. Four Afghan nationals were also killed in the attack, which the UN Mission called a senseless act of violence against a man who dedicated much of his life to helping the most vulnerable Afghans. Our Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs colleagues also expressed its revulsion at the attack, stressing that the humanitarian community in Afghanistan is working tirelessly to assist those in need.
As you’ll recall, a staff member with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) was killed late last month in Kabul. The head of the UN Mission, Tadamichi Yamamoto, met on Monday with Afghanistan’s security agencies chaired by President Ashraf Ghani on last week’s attack. Afghanistan’s security chiefs briefed on the state of their investigations and both sides emphasized their determination to bring the perpetrators to account and discussed measures to enhance the safety and security of UN personnel.
**Democratic Republic of the Congo
Yesterday afternoon, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the head of the UN Department of Peace Operations, briefed troop- and police-contributing countries on his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mr. Lacroix was in the country over the weekend to follow up on violent protests in the country’s north-east, including against the UN peacekeepers. The crisis in the Beni area has severely hampered the UN’s ability to carry out its work. In his briefing, Jean-Pierre Lacroix stressed that the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is working with the Congolese authorities to defuse tensions and to improve cooperation with the country’s army and police. The Mission has reinforced the Boikene camp, targeted by protestors last week, and deployed a Quick Reaction Force to secure the Oicha-Béni axis. Working with the Congolese Armed Forces and the Congolese Police, the peacekeeping mission is conducting patrols day and night to prevent further attacks against the population as well as Ebola responders.
Mr. Lacroix emphasized that the protection of civilians and security situation in the Beni area remain a major source concern for the UN. To this end, Lt. General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, of Brazil, the former force commander of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been appointed to assess the ability of the peacekeeping force to effectively deliver its mandate to protect civilians and to neutralize armed groups in the Beni territory, to identify operational deficiencies and gaps in these respects, and to make practical recommendations to enhance the Force's performance.
Also staying in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you saw that yesterday afternoon, we announced the appointment of Lt. Gen. Ricardo Augusto Ferreira Costa Neves of Brazil as the new Force Commander for MONUSCO. He succeeds Lt. Gen. Filho of Brazil, who completed his assignment in October of this year. And we also appointed eight members of the Secretary-General’s High Level-Panel on Internal Displacement, as well as an Expert Advisory Group to help guide the Panel. And the Panel will be co-chaired by Federica Mogherini, the former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. That appointment was also issued last night
And back here, the Security Council passed a resolution on piracy off the coast of Somalia and is now in closed consultations on Syria.
And on Syria, our humanitarian colleagues remain deeply concerned for the safety and protection of more than four million civilians in north-west Syria, following a continued upsurge in violence and hostilities in the area. More than half of these people are internally displaced. In the past few days, dozens of communities have been impacted by air strikes and artillery shelling, resulting in death and displacement. Reports indicate that at least 10 people were killed following an air strike on a local market in the town of Ma’arrat An Nu’man in Idlib Governorate and of at least nine people were killed following artillery shelling in Tal Rifaat in north rural Aleppo Governorate.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has also documented that a 1,000 people were killed between April and August, and an estimated 400,000 people were displaced. The UN calls on all parties to the conflict to de-escalate the situation in the north-west. The UN also continues to remind all parties of their obligations to protect civilians under international humanitarian law, including to follow the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in the conduct of military activities.
And the World Health Organization (WHO) says that more pregnant women and children were protected last year from malaria, but accelerated efforts and funding are needed to reinvigorate the global response. According to the World Health Organization, malaria afflicted 228 million people and killed an estimated 405,000, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. More information online.
**World Tourism Organization
And just a climate item from Madrid: The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) says that transport-related emissions from tourism are expected to account for 5.3 per cent of all man-made CO2 emissions by 2030; that’s up from 5 per cent in 2016. According to a new report from the organization, jointly done also with the International Transport Forum (ITF), as tourist numbers rise and the sector makes progress in achieving low-carbon travel, emissions per passenger kilometre are expected to decline over the coming decade. Against this backdrop, the WTO calls for enhanced cooperation between transport and tourism sectors to effectively transform tourism for climate action.
Tomorrow, Reem Abaza, the Spokeswoman for the President of the General Assembly, will be here to brief you. And then after my briefing, I will be joined by the High Representative for Least Developed, Landlocked, Small Island States, as well as the Deputy Permanent Representative of Paraguay, who is also the Chair of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries at the UN. They will brief you on the “Midterm Review of the Vienna Programme of Action for the Landlocked Developing Countries.”
And we are delighted to announce that Burundi has paid its regular budget dues in full, making it the 139th Member State to do so. That leaves 54 Member States to pay in full. Voila. I leave you in cold silence. Perfect. See you tomorrow.
**Questions and Answers
Question: When will the elevator… the escalator…?
Spokesman: Not this month.
Question: Not this month?
Spokesman: Not this month.
Correspondent: Another 30 days at least.
Question: Not this year?
Spokesman: Not this year, indeed. All right. Cheers.