The Secretary-General has been in contact with a number of world leaders in recent days concerning Ethiopia. And today, he had a telephone conversation with the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, who had recently visited Addis Ababa and Mekelle, the capital of the regional state of Tigray and who briefed the Secretary-General on the recent efforts to resolve the Ethiopia conflict. 
The Secretary-General said that he was delighted that after over a year of armed conflict which has affected millions of people across Ethiopia and the rest of the region, there is now a demonstrable effort to make peace. He reiterated his call on all parties to move rapidly towards cessation of hostilities as a critical step in the right direction for peace-making.  
He also called once more on all sides in the conflict to support and facilitate local and international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to those in need.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that in Tonga, following the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano, about 84,000 people – more than 80 per cent of the population - have been impacted by the disaster, with three confirmed fatalities to date. Injuries have also been reported.
The most pressing humanitarian needs are safe water, food and non-food items. The re-establishment of communication services including for international calls and the internet is also a priority.  
All houses have been destroyed on the island of Mango and only two houses remain on Fonoifua island, with extensive damage reported on Nomuka. Evacuation of people from these islands is underway.  
The clean-up of the international airport continues, and it is hoped that it will be operational on Thursday. As for the port, it is understood that ships will be able to dock. 
Relief efforts are scaling up, but it is difficult to reach remote areas to assess people’s needs and provide assistance, and there are logistical challenges with shipping relief items internationally by air or by sea. 
In addition, the country has strict COVID protocols that must be adhered to. 
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is shipping water and other supplies with Australia’s Royal Navy Ship, the HMAS Adelaide, which is expected to leave for Tonga on 21 January. The 23 UN staff members who have been on the ground and were living in Tonga are working with the government and local NGOs and are adapting to the changing needs in the country.

The Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, is still in Riyadh today, where he continues his discussions with senior Yemeni and Saudi officials on options for de-escalation.   
Mr. Grundberg has been in close contact with all sides and urges them to exercise maximum restraint and to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. He also called on the warring parties to engage constructively with his Office to facilitate the immediate de-escalation of violence.

The International Support Group for Lebanon, which includes the United Nations and concerned Member States and regional bodies, issued a statement today in which it took note of steps to reconvene the Council of Ministers, and pressed for the resumption of its meetings as soon as possible. The Support Group urges expeditious and effective government decisions to initiate the direly needed reforms as well as measures that would enable an agreement with the IMF to support a way out of the macro-economic and fiscal crises. 
The International Support Group further calls on the Government of Lebanon to take the necessary steps to ensure fair, transparent and inclusive elections in May of this year as scheduled, including by enabling the Supervisory Commission for Elections to carry out its mandate.

Tor Wennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Security Council this morning that violence continues unabated across the occupied Palestinian territory, including settler violence, leading to numerous Palestinian and Israeli casualties and increasing the risk of a broader escalation. Settlement activity, demolitions, and evictions also continue, feeding hopelessness and further diminishing prospects for a negotiated solution, he warned.  
Mr. Wennesland, who briefed the Council by VTC, said that he remains concerned by the potential eviction of a number of Palestinian families from homes they have lived in for decades in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem and the risk that such actions pose for escalating violence. 
He called on Israeli authorities to end the displacement and eviction of Palestinians, in line with Israel's obligations under international law, and to approve additional plans that would enable Palestinian communities to build legally and address their development needs. 
The Special Coordinator emphasized once more the urgent need for a coordinated approach to address political, economic and institutional obstacles blocking the way to a meaningful peace process.

In Rwanda the one billionth dose of COVAX-backed vaccines distributed globally landed over the weekend. This was part of a shipment with 1.1 million vaccines for the country, which is enabling authorities to continue rolling out the national vaccination campaign for 9.1 million people aged 12 and above.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) brought in these supplies as the logistics and procurement partner of COVAX in the country. The UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Fodé Ndiaye, has been supporting health authorities to review, tailor and contextualize delivery strategies through detailed national vaccination planning, costing and implementation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF also continue to provide surge capacity to identify obstacles to the vaccination, including by boosting campaigns to combat misinformation and address hesitancy. A total of 17 million doses have landed in the country so far through COVAX, with over 43 per cent of the population fully vaccinated. 
And Haiti has received nearly 40,000 doses of vaccines donated by the United States through COVAX, with the total number of vaccines there topping 800,000 through COVAX alone. Also, Guyana received nearly 29,000 single-dosed vaccines as a donation from Spain, bringing the total number of COVAX vaccines to more than 290,000 in the country.
For its part, the Government of Peru purchased nearly 2 million doses through COVAX, which landed yesterday.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) today said that although average global temperatures were temporarily cooled by the 2020-2022 La Niña events, 2021 was still one of the seven warmest years on record. This is according to six leading international datasets consolidated by the Organization. WMO said that global warming and other long-term climate change trends are expected to continue as a result of record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. 
WMO Secretary-General, Petteri Taalas, said that climate change impacts and weather-related hazards had life-changing and devastating impacts on communities on every single continent.  He added that 2021 will be remembered for a record-shattering temperature of nearly 50°C in Canada, comparable to the values reported in the hot Saharan Desert of Algeria.   
There was also exceptional rainfall, and deadly flooding in Asia and Europe, as well as drought in parts of Africa and South America.

Tomorrow the Noon Briefing guest will be the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez. He will join the briefing virtually to give an update on the situation in the country following Typhoon Rai.

On Friday, at 1:30 p.m., there will be a press conference by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, following the remarks on his Priorities for 2022 he will deliver at the General Assembly at 10:00 a.m. on the same day.

Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Netherlands and Switzerland have paid their regular budget dues in full, which takes us to 14 countries on the Honour Roll.