HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 21 OCTOBER 2021
WOMEN, PEACE AND SECURITY
This morning, the Secretary-General spoke to Council members at the open debate on women, peace and security. He said that women are peacebuilders, changemakers, leaders and activists and yet, too often they remain on the periphery of formal peace processes and are excluded from rooms where decisions are made.
Women’s leadership must be the norm, he said.
He also noted how women have been impacted by conflict and violence all over the world, and he called on Council members to support the UN’s work to strengthen partnerships with local women leaders, help protect women human rights defenders and activists, and promote women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes.
And earlier today, the Secretary-General visited the “In their Hands: Women Taking Ownership of Peace”.
The exhibit features work by women photographers and showcases women’s work around the world. It’s at the Delegates Entrance. The exhibit is also being shown in Brooklyn at the Photoville festival until December 1st.
AFGHANISTAN/ UN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME CRISIS RESPONSE INITIATIVE
The UN Development Programme today launched a crisis response initiative that will contribute to preventing a humanitarian catastrophe and the breakdown of Afghanistan’s economy. This is part of the UN’s overall response to the situation in the country.
The initiative is called ‘ABADEI,’ which denotes hope for a better future in local languages. It will channel funding into community activities, including grants to support small and micro businesses, especially those owned by women, and cash-for-work projects offering short-term income for the unemployed, and restore local and small infrastructure. It will also support people with disabilities, the elderly, and the most vulnerable, through temporary basic income.
All assistance will be provided and delivered to the beneficiaries directly, based on impartial assessments carried out in conjunction with local community leaders, and independently of authorities.
The activities will be funded from contributions to UNDP, as well as through the newly created “Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan”, which is a UN inter-agency and multi-partner funding mechanism to enable UN agencies and non-governmental organizations to coordinate their support for community-level initiatives.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said today that a COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Afghanistan began this week in Kandahar, targeting people in at-risk areas across the province. On November 8th, a Polio vaccination campaign will also be carried out alongside the provision of Vitamin A in Kandahar. WHO, UNICEF and other partners are coordinating those efforts.
We, along with our partners, continue joint needs assessments throughout Afghanistan to identify humanitarian needs and prioritize immediate assistance.
Our humanitarian colleagues also noted that civilians continue to be injured by explosive devices in the country, with incidents reported in Nangahar and Laghman areas.
The Flash Appeal for Afghanistan, which is over $606 million, is now 45 per cent funded.
Turning to another humanitarian crisis, this one in Ethiopia, where the situation in the northern part of the country remains unpredictable and volatile.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is alarmed by the intensification of conflict, including the airstrikes on Mekelle this week, and reports of growing numbers of people being displaced by recent fighting in Amhara.
We once again remind all parties to the conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.
In Tigray, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate because of the restrictions on the delivery of aid into the region through the only available route from Afar.
Between the 13th and 19th of October, we did get 215 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies into Tigray, a slight increase from the previous week.
Some 1,111 trucks have entered Tigray since July 12th, which is just 15 per cent of the number of trucks that are needed to enter the area. As you know, we need 100 trucks a day to enter Tigray every day.
Fuel has still not been allowed into the province. Fourteen fuel tankers are currently sitting in Semera in Afar province.
Several of our organizations and NGOs have been forced to reduce or shut down programmes due to the depletion or shortages of fuel, cash and other supplies.
Last week, about 52,000 people were reached with food aid, with half of them receiving only one or two food items. At least 870,000 people on average per week need food assistance.
Since early August, our partners have provided food to more than 807,000 people in Amhara and more than 76,000 internally displaced people in Afar.
We urgently call on all parties to allow for the unimpeded and sustained access to people in Tigray, Amhara and Afar.
Rosemary DiCarlo, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs is continuing her travels in Libya. She spoke today at the Libya International Stabilization Conference, which is taking place in Tripoli.
She urged all Libyan parties to exert every effort to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on December 24th, as called for by the Roadmap and Security Council Resolutions 2570 and 2571.
She urged all Member States and regional organizations to consider sending observation teams, in coordination with relevant Libyan authorities and institutions, to help ensure the credibility of the electoral process and acceptability of the results after the vote. The UN will continue providing technical assistance for the holding of elections in accordance with its mandate.
She also reported that, in line with the request by the Libyan authorities and the mandate from the Security Council, the first group of UN monitors to support the Libyan-led ceasefire monitoring mechanism are arriving today.
SECURITY COUNCIL MALI
The UN Security Council will be embarking on a scheduled trip to Mali and Niger from the 22nd to the 26th of October. During the trip, Council members will meet various leaders from the two countries, as well as civil society.
The key objectives are ensuring that the transition in Mali carries on as planned, continuing the conversation on terrorism and climate change effects in the Sahel as well as seeing how best the Council can support the region.
The UN Environment Programme today released a report which says that we need to see a drastic reduction in plastic to address the global pollution crisis.
The authors are not optimistic about the chances of recycling our way out of the plastic pollution crisis. They warn against damaging alternatives to single-use and other plastic products, such as bio-based or biodegradable plastics, which currently pose a chemical threat similar to conventional plastics. The report calls for the immediate reduction of plastics and encourages a transformation across the whole plastic value chain.
On Tuesday at 9:15 a.m., in the Press Briefing Room, the Secretary-general will launch the UN Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Report. He will be joined virtually by the Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen.
Now in its 12th year, the report provides a yearly review of the difference between where greenhouse gas emissions are predicted to be in 2030 - and where they should be - to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
UN DAY CONCERT
At 7 o’clock this evening, the UN Day concert will take place in a hybrid format and under the theme “Building Back Together for Peace and Prosperity”.
The Secretary-General will deliver remarks and will reiterate the importance of solidarity to overcome the pandemic, conflict, the climate crisis, and other challenges the world is confronted with.
The concert today is sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea and will feature classical music and performances by K-pop stars.
Uruguay became the 132nd Member State to have paid its dues in 2021.
The guest at the noon briefing today was Christine Schraner Burgener, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar.
PRESS BRIEFINGS TOMORROW
Tomorrow at 11 o’clock, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Tomas Ojea Quintana, will brief reporters in the Press briefing room.
The guest at the noon briefing will be WFP’s Regional Director for Western Africa, Chris Nikoi. He will brief reporters virtually on the situation in Nigeria.