HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 25 APRIL 2018
U.N. CHIEF CALLS ON INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO STRENGTHEN HUMANITARIAN SUPPORT FOR SYRIA
- The Secretary-General delivered a video message to the Brussels Conference on Syria and said that in this eighth year of war, the scale of humanitarian needs in Syria remains staggering. More than 13 million people are living in desperate conditions, exposed to relentless violence and persistent violations of international law.
- He said that, at the recent Security Council retreat just a few days ago in Sweden, he sensed a strong commitment to humanitarian access and to overcoming the obstacles to the delivery of aid to all Syrians. And he appealed for the remarkable generosity shown by humanitarian donors last year to be sustained and indeed, if possible, increased.
- Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said that he expected pledging by donors to reach $4.4 billion for 2018 by the end of today – the second day of the Brussels Conference.
- Ursula Mueller, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, briefed the Security Council on Syria this morning. She once more expressed concern that medical items have been removed from UN aid convoys by the Syrian Government.
- Today, the Fact Finding Mission team carried out a visit to a second location in Douma. It also collected samples at this site. These samples will be brought back, together with other samples, to the OPCW laboratory in Rijswik. They will be split and dispatched for analysis by the OPCW designated labs.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ADDRESS SECURITY COUNCIL ON PEACEBUILDING
- The Secretary-General will speak at 3 p.m. at the Security Council meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.
- As he made clear in his remarks to the General Assembly yesterday, we need the strong support of both the Security Council and the General Assembly to build and sustain peace across the continuum, from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and long-term development.
- And he will underscore that the central message of his report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace is that we need to enhance the coherence of international efforts in support of national governments and their people.
U.N. RELIEF AGENCY DEEPLY CONCERNED BY ESCALATION OF CONFLICT IN MYANMAR’S KACHIN STATE
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is deeply concerned by the escalation of the conflict in Kachin State in Myanmar.
- Thousands of civilians have been displaced by renewed fighting between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army, while many others are trapped in conflict-affected areas, unable to flee. There are grave protection concerns for these communities as a result.
- A United Nations assessment team met with displaced civilians in one area, Namti, on Monday and identified high levels of immediate need – notably food, shelter, healthcare, water and sanitation.
- The local authorities and humanitarian partners are now moving to respond but access for the UN and international humanitarian partners to civilian populations in need continues to be extremely limited in Kachin, notably in non-Government controlled areas.
- The United Nations calls on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and end the violence.
- Humanitarians must be able to access and provide assistance to those in need, the parties must take constant care to spare civilians, and civilians should be able to safely and voluntarily return to their homes as soon as conditions allow.
ON INTERNATIONAL DAY, U.N. SPOTLIGHTS FIGHT AGAINST MALARIA
- Today is World Malaria Day and on this occasion, UNICEF recalls that every two minutes, a child dies of malaria.
- Although preventable and treatable, malaria remains, in many regions of the world, a major public health problem. 91 countries currently experience ongoing malaria transmission and in 2016 alone, 216 million new cases were reported, and approximately 445,000 people died of the disease – most of them children.
- Progress on global malaria control is slipping, with cases on the increase. Four out of five malaria deaths occur in one of 15 countries, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, with more than one in three deaths in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo only.
- On the bright side, six countries have been certified as having eliminated malaria in the last decade, meaning they have achieved at least 3 consecutive years with no local cases: Morocco, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan.