HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2019
This morning, the Secretary-General received this year’s Global Sustainable Development Report from the co-chairs of the Independent Group of Scientists. The report is entitled “The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development.” The two co-chairs, Mr. Mukherjee, Chief of the Integrated Policy and Analysis Branch, of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and Mr. Messerli, the Director of the Centre for Development and Environment at the University of Bern in Switzerland, will be brief journalists tomorrow as guests at the noon briefing.
And this afternoon at 3:15 p.m., the Secretary-General will address the High-level Dialogue on “Reaffirming the Commitment to Multilateralism through Strengthening of International System and Institutions on the Occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations.”
This morning, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, briefed the Security Council on the situation in the country.
In his remarks, Mr. Yamamoto stressed that the escalation of violence in the past few weeks have shown the urgency for finding a political settlement to the long Afghan conflict. He also highlighted that it can only be resolved by direct and inclusive talks between the Afghan people. It is imperative therefore that the direct talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban commence as soon as possible, he added.
Also, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Mr. Yury Fedotov, told the Council the drug production, trafficking and transnational organized crime situation in Afghanistan remains complex.
The persistent challenges posed by illicit drugs, economic and financial crime, corruption, money laundering and the financing of terrorism continue to undermine the stability of the country, he said.
Later in the afternoon, the Council will hold a meeting on the situation in Guinea-Bissau.
From Ethiopia, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, has wrapped up a two-day visit, calling for additional funding to support the Government-led response to the displacement crisis and other humanitarian needs.
Mr. Lowcock said that Ethiopia has had to cope with persistent and multi-faceted humanitarian problems, including drought, flooding, disease outbreaks, and inter-ethnic violence that has forced millions of people to flee their homes.
He was joined in his mission by the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary.
The three reaffirmed their commitment to help the Government ensure that all displaced people are able to return home voluntarily in a safe and sustainable way, or integrate into new settlement areas, including accessing housing, land, livelihood, and opportunities and schools.
According to OCHA, more than 8 million people in Ethiopia need food, shelter, medicine or other emergency assistance. The Ethiopian Humanitarian appeal plan calls for $1.3 billion, but is only 51 per cent funded.
In the Bahamas, the government has registered approximately 4,800 evacuees in Nassau. Sixteen hundred of these evacuees are in shelters and receiving assistance. The official death toll remains at 43, although the number of casualties is expected to increase as many people remain missing.
The UN and humanitarian organizations continue to conduct missions on Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama to assess needs in support of national authorities, while delivering assistance to various locations. As the situation remains fluid, regular assessments are required. And for now, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says water, sanitation, health and food are priority needs, as well as debris clearance on roads to increase access to the impacted areas.
Today, the UN Refugee Agency, the African Union and the Government of Rwanda have agreed to set up a mechanism to help evacuate some of them out of the country.
The Government of Rwanda will receive and provide protection to refugees and asylum-seekers currently held in detention centres in Libya.
The first to be evacuated are scheduled to be a group of 500 people mostly from the Horn of Africa. This group will include children and youth at risk. Evacuation flights are expected to begin in the coming weeks.
According to estimates, there are about 4,700 refugees held in dire conditions inside detention centres in Libya.
After their arrival in Rwanda, the UN refugee agency will continue to look for longer term solutions for the evacuees.
As part of the agreement, the African Union will provide assistance with evacuations, strategic political support with training and coordination, and help to mobilise resources. UNHCR will provide protection services, and necessary humanitarian assistance including food, water, accommodation, education and healthcare.
The agency urges the international community to contribute resources to help implement the agreement.
Today, El Salvador has paid its budget dues in full, which brings us up to 118 Member States who have paid their regular budget contributions in full.