HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 29 JANUARY 2021
The Fifth Session of the Constitutional Committee Small Body has just concluded.
The Special Envoy, Geir Pedersen, said in a press conference he has spoken frankly to the Committee and expressed that the current mode of working is not effective.
He noted that the co-chair nominated by the SNC submitted proposals on the working methods and that these had been rejected by the co-chair nominated by the Government of Syria. He also noted that he had submitted proposals as the facilitator and these had also been rejected by the co-chair nominated by the Government of Syria and accepted by the co-chair nominated by the SNC.
Mr. Pedersen believes that what has transpired in the week only underscores that the current mode of work needs to change.
The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum will convene in Switzerland next week from the 1st to the 5th of February. The session will be facilitated by the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and Head of mission, Stephanie Williams.
The Forum is expected to vote on the positions of a three-member Presidency Council and the Prime Minister is in accordance with the roadmap adopted by the Forum in Tunis in mid-November. This interim unified executive authority will be primarily tasked to lead Libya to national elections set for December 24th,, 2021 and to reunify state institutions.
A verification committee composed of three members of the Political Dialogue Forum will verify the candidacies submitted for the executive authority, in accordance with the new relevant requirements. That committee will then compile the final lists of candidates for the Presidency Council for each region and for the post of Prime Minister.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
In the past 2 months, over 200,000 people have fled violence and insecurity in the Central African Republic.
More than 90,000 of these people have sought refuge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Another 13,000 have crossed into Cameroon, Chad, and the Republic of Congo.
The others are displaced within the Central African Republic.
The UN Refugee Agency warns that tens of thousands of people are facing dire conditions and they are calling for more support for assistance to the displaced people and refugees.
The UN Mission in Mali is continuing to support capacity-building for the country’s national armed forces. Earlier this week, 38 members of a battalion of the reconstituted Malian army, deployed in Timbuktu, have now completed a five-week training course.
Trainees were able to improve capacities in several operational areas, including the reaction to explosive devices. They followed training modules with instructors from the UN Mission’s Ivorian contingent.
Due to the pandemic, training is being done in groups, and will be offered to 130 members of the Malian army, over the next 5 months.
Today, the International Organization for Migration announced its 2021 Crisis Response Plans. IOM said it aims to assist an estimated 50 million people around the world who have been displaced or affected by crises. This will require $3 billion.
The Head of the IOM, António Vitorino, said that COVID-19 has tragically increased the suffering and insecurity facing hundreds of millions of people around the world. He also called on the international community to step up their efforts by supporting the organization’s 2021 Crisis Response Plans.
In a statement about Myanmar issued yesterday, the Secretary-General said he is following recent developments in the country with great concern.
He urges all to desist from any form of incitement or provocation, to demonstrate leadership, and to adhere to democratic norms and respect the outcome of the November 8th general election. All electoral disputes should be resolved through established legal mechanisms, he said.
He also reaffirmed the support of the United Nations to the people and Government of Myanmar in their pursuit of peace, inclusive sustainable development, humanitarian action, human rights and the rule of law.
In a statement yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General welcomed the announcement of the Biden-Harris Administration to restore funding to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The decision will transform and save women's and girls' lives across the world, from the most pressing humanitarian emergencies to the most remote and hard-to-reach communities, and everywhere in between.
The Secretary-General got the first dose of his COVID-19 vaccine yesterday.
He received the Moderna vaccine at the Adlai E. Stevenson High School in the Bronx.
Afterwards, he expressed his gratitude to the City of New York and the wonderful staff at the vaccination center.
The Secretary-General underscored how important it is for everyone, everywhere, to be vaccinated and he appealed for all to be vaccinated as soon as they can.
He thanked the city for including the United Nations and UN diplomats in their vaccination programme.
The United Nations and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research are hosting an online discussion on how to prioritize scientific research to recover more equitably from the pandemic.
The Deputy Secretary-General spoke at the event, which is bringing together more than 100 participants from 60 countries. They include representatives from research funders around the world who are responsible for more than $100 billion annually in global research investments.
Today’s event is based on the UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery. It’s designed to immediately address the complex health, humanitarian and socio-economic consequences of COVID-19. It also calls on boosting a speedy recovery efforts and encouraging targeted research for data-driven responses that focus particularly on the needs of people being left behind.
In answer to questions on Venezuela, about the detention since January 12th of five members of the NGO Azul Positivo, the Spokesman said the United Nations are deeply concerned about the detention of the five humanitarian workers of the Venezuelan NGO.
The United Nations are following up with the authorities and have requested their immediate release.
Azul Positivo is an important partner of the United Nations, including UNAIDS, which has also called for their release, and also for the return of essential equipment seized at the time of their arrest.
The UN urges the Venezuelan authorities to facilitate the space for humanitarian action and ensure the protection of aid workers, including for civil society organizations.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also expressed concern, recalling that a free, diverse and active civil society is crucial for any democracy and must be protected. People must not be targeted for performing legitimate work, including humanitarian assistance.
And in response to questions about the meeting earlier this week between the Secretary-General and the Permanent Representative of Cuba, Ambassador Pedro Pedroso Cuesta, which took place on the 26th of January.
The Spokesman said they discussed the inclusion of Cuba on the US State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The Secretary-General expressed his disagreement and hoped that the new US administration would consider rescinding the listing.
Today is the last day of the Tunisian presidency at the Security Council.
This afternoon, at 3 p.m., the Council is expected to hold an open video meeting to announce the outcome of the vote on the mandate renewal of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. Following the adoption of this resolution, Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis will hold an in-person stakeout.
And on Monday at 1:00 p.m., the next Council President, the new UK Permanent Representative, Barbara Woodward. She will be in this room to brief you on the programme of work for February. That briefing will be hybrid.
Malta, Mongolia and Sweden have all paid their regular budget dues in full. Twenty-three Member States have now paid up their regular budget dues.