HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER 2020

 

JOBS AND SOCIAL PROTECTION
This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the High-Level Meeting on Financing for Development in the Era of Covid-19 and Beyond: Jobs and Social Protection for Poverty Eradication. He said that almost two years into the COVID-19 crisis, a huge divergence in the recovery is undermining global trust and solidarity as the pandemic has not only confirmed but deepened existing inequalities. 
In developed countries, access to vaccines has allowed economies to reopen, while stimulus payments and investments herald projected growth of 5 or 6 percent this year. However, across the developing world, the pandemic has caused lasting damage, while debt burdens prevent governments from investing in recovery. The Secretary-General said that global solidarity is needed to build a recovery that benefits all. He also announced the creation of a new Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for a Just Transition, in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO). This Global Accelerator will aim to create at least 400 million jobs by 2030, primarily in the green and care economies, and extend social protection floors by 2025 to 50 per cent of people currently not covered.

SECRETARY-GENERAL/ ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS 
At the General Assembly High-level event to mark the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the Secretary-General called on the international community to reject the poisonous and flawed logic of endless nuclear competition, adding that the nuclear threat has reached its highest level in close to 40 years. 
But, he added, we must seize every opportunity to move closer to our goal of eliminating these weapons. 
He welcomed the decision by the Russian Federation and the United States to extend the New START Treaty and to begin a strategic dialogue.   
He also urged States to support the goals of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to recognize its place in the global disarmament architecture.    
Turning to the long-delayed Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Secretary-General said that we are at a critical moment to reaffirm and build on past commitments.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL/SECURITY-COUNCIL 
This afternoon, at 3:00 p.m., the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, will brief the Security-Council on her visit to Somalia. She is expected to say that there is real concern that in the current elections to the House of the People, the levels of women’s representation will decrease, despite promises and stipulations in electoral agreements.  
The Deputy Secretary-General is expected to stress that women’s participation and representation in political life is a precondition for lasting peace in Somalia and that the 30% quota is a crucial first step towards the equal representation of women in all sectors of life, from business to public service, elections to appointments.

SYRIA 
Geir Pedersen, the Special Envoy for Syria, briefed the Security Council this morning. He recalled that the High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated that more than 350,000 people can be confirmed, individually - by name, date and location - as having been killed in the first decade of the conflict. Given the vast numbers still unaccounted for, the actual figure is likely much, much higher, Mr. Pedersen warned. 
He said that with military frontlines largely frozen for eighteen months, and concerns from parties regarding the status quo, the time to push for a political process is now. 
Today, he said, there is some good news to report. Following eight months of intensive facilitation with the Co-Chairs, Mr. Pedersen announced that agreement is in place on methodology, and invitations have been issued for a sixth session of the Constitutional Committee. While we are still in the process of confirming logistics, the Small Drafting Body will convene in Geneva as of 18 October, he added.

GUINEA 
The Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, is calling on authorities in Guinea to abide by their commitment towards impartial and independent justice. 
This, she added, must include justice for the massacre of 28 September 2009, in which at least 156 people were killed or disappeared and at least 109 women and girls were subjected to sexual violence. 
Today marks the 12th anniversary of this massacre. 
The Special Representative said that the political transition offers a unique opportunity to place justice and the rule of law at the centre of Guinea’s new chapter in history, and she reiterated her office’s commitment to support efforts towards justice and accountability for the victims of the 2009 massacre.

MALI 
To strengthen security in Mali’s central region, UN peacekeepers are working in close coordination with the Malian defence forces – as part of Operation “BUFFALO”. In addition to improving security, this operation aims to restore free movement on Route Nationale 15 (RN15), which crosses central Mali East to West.  
Since the beginning of the month, peacekeepers based in Sévaré have been conducting regular patrols and have also set up checkpoints to help secure bridges and improve the safety of people who use this important road. Land operations are periodically reinforced by overflights of helicopters and surveillance drones. 
In addition to this, military engineers from the Mission have conducted assessments of bridges damaged in previous attacks. This was done with a view to repairing these vital infrastructures.

COVAX 
Earlier this week, Nicaragua received nearly 500,000 doses of vaccines through COVAX - donated by Spain. This was the fourth batch the country has received this year, bringing the total from COVAX this year to more than 1.1 million.  
Argentina received a shipment of more than 500,000 doses through COVAX from Canada. With more than 68 million vaccines received, Argentina aims to fully vaccinate 50 per cent of its population by early October.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY 
Of the 193 Member States, 191 Member States participated in the General Assembly high-level plenary this year.
That included 99 Heads of State, 3 Vice Presidents, 51 Heads of Government and 1 Deputy Prime Minister. In addition, 34 Member States were represented at the ministerial level and 3 at the chief of delegation level. 
Eighteen women were among the high-level participants. 
And 81 of the statements that were delivered were pre-recorded, including those of 42 Heads of State, 30 Heads of Government, one Vice President and five ministers. 
As for bilateral meetings, this year, the Secretary-General had 113 meetings from the weekend before the plenary until yesterday.  He might still have a couple more before the week is done. By contrast, he had totals of 135, 130 and 139 bilateral meetings during his first three years as Secretary-General, from 2017 to 2019.

NOON BRIEFING GUEST TOMORROW 
Tomorrow our guest will be Rebeca Gyrnspan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). She will brief reporters on the forthcoming UNCTAD-15 conference.

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION 
Kenya has now paid its regular budget dues.

***The guests at the Noon Briefing were Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Alicia Barcena, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). They spoke to reporters about the High-Level Meeting on Financing for Development in the Era of Covid-19 and Beyond: Jobs and Social Protection for Poverty Eradication.