HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2021

THE GAMBIA
The Secretary-General welcomes the completion of the work of the Gambian Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission and the submission of its final report on 25 November to the President of the Republic of The Gambia. The Secretary-General commends the Commission for its tireless work and urges the Government to ensure speedy follow-up action on the recommendations contained in the report.
The United Nations remains a staunch partner in the transitional justice process in The Gambia and stands ready to continue supporting national efforts towards the full implementation of the Commission’s recommendations to ensure justice, reparations for victims and closure, as necessary steps towards national reconciliation and social cohesion.
As Gambians prepare to exercise their civic right to vote for their next President, the Secretary-General calls on the electoral management body, candidates, political party leaders and their followers, through their conduct, to ensure a peaceful environment conducive to a credible, inclusive and transparent presidential election.
An additional note on The Gambia, just to add that the Head of our Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, and Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa here in New York have begun a visit to the country. 
They are there to support The Gambia in its efforts to organize a peaceful, inclusive and transparent presidential election. This election, as you know, is scheduled for tomorrow as I mentioned.
They will meet with the election observation missions deployed to The Gambia, civil society organizations, and the UN country team.

ETHIOPIA
Moving to the other side of the continent in Ethiopia, in the northern part of the country, our humanitarian colleagues have advised us that the conflict there continues to drive large-scale displacement, loss of livelihoods and limited access to markets, food and basic services.
The latest numbers of people impacted are: 3.7 million people in Amhara, more than 500,000 people in Afar, and 5.2 million people in Tigray. Of those at least 400,000 are believed to be facing famine-like conditions.
Our humanitarian partners have limited access to a large segment of the population across these regions, though there have been some improvements in the past week.
As the Secretary-General and we have told you, between November 24th and 30th, four convoys with 157 trucks loaded with humanitarian supplies arrived in Mekelle. Those were the first deliveries since 18 October.
Fuel, however, has still not arrived in Tigray via the Afar route since August 2nd, with eight tankers currently in Semera in Afar waiting for clearance to proceed.
On November 24th, the UN’s Humanitarian Air Service resumed twice-weekly flights between Addis [Ababa] and Mekelle, following their suspension on October 22nd. As a result, we along with our and humanitarian partners were able to rotate staff in and out of Tigray and transfer a limited amount of operational cash.
Despite significantly reduced capacity, our partners in Tigray have continued to deliver life-saving assistance. Water and sanitation assistance was provided to more than 27,000 people with water trucking in Central Tigray in the past week, and health assistance has reached more than 23,000 people. Some 179,000 people have also received food assistance in the current round of food distribution. 
In Amhara and Afar, our partners are scaling up response, including food, nutrition and health services. More than 35,000 people in Dessie and Kombolcha have received food assistance, and more than 79,000 internally displaced people received health services in the past week. In Afar, more than 86,000 people have received food assistance in the current round of distributions.
We will have a funding shortfall of about $1.2 billion remains to respond to the humanitarian needs across Ethiopia, including $335 million for the response in northern Ethiopia. Requirements for humanitarian operations in Ethiopia are expected to increase for next year, due to growing needs in the northern part of the country, as well as other parts.
 
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The UN Mission in the Central African Republic reports that positions belonging to the Central African army in the Ouaka Prefecture, were attacked yesterday by a large number of combatants from the UPC armed group (Unité pour la Paix en Centrafique).  
Three civilians were injured, and one policeman was killed. The attack also prompted the displacement of over 1,500 people as well as national army soldiers, who sought refuge in a nearby UN peacekeeping Temporary Base. The UN mission deployed a Quick Reaction Force to reinforce security at the base while patrols have been increased in the area to ensure the protection of civilians. 

UN/AU CONFERENCE FINAL COMMUNIQUÉ 
In a joint communiqué which followed the UN/African Union Conference which took place earlier this week and which was just approved last night, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Secretary-General expressed concern over the emergence of the new Omicron variant. They renewed their call on the international community to scale up the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to accelerate vaccine distribution on the continent.
The Annual Conference also reviewed current challenges to peace, security, development, and human rights across Africa. 
On Ethiopia, the Chairperson and the Secretary-General underlined the need for a ceasefire as a matter of urgency and called on the parties to prioritize the welfare of civilians, including by ensuring safe and unhindered humanitarian assistance and ensuring human rights protections.
And on climate, Mr. Guterres and Mr. Faki emphasized the importance of increasing efforts to integrate climate change considerations into conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. 

MYANMAR
Update from Myanmar, where the International Labour Organization in the country today called on employers in Myanmar to take action and measures to prevent violence and harassment in the workplace.
This comes as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which started last week.
ILO said that violence and harassment in the workplace can constitute a human rights violation and harm the health, dignity and wellbeing of everyone at work. It threatens equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work. 
Since the military takeover of the Government in Myanmar in February, ILO is increasingly hearing reports of violence and harassment in the workplace. In addition, since the COVID-19 pandemic, reported cases of violence and harassment in the workplace, particularly among women and vulnerable groups, have increased globally.

SOLOMON ISLANDS
From the Solomon Islands, the UN team in the country, led by Resident Coordinator Sanaka Samarasinha, stands ready to support the Government to assess needs and the displacement of people following more than a week of political unrest in the country.
This turmoil was fuelled by poverty, unemployment, and inter-island rivalries.  You will recall that we issued a statement last week in which the Secretary-General urged dialogue and peaceful means to address differences.
Our team in the Solomon Islands says that more than 1,500 migrants have reportedly been displaced in the violence, while dozens of buildings were burned and looted, leading to the loss of more than 1,000 jobs.
Subject to funding, the International Organization for Migration is ready to help deliver food and shelter to displaced people, as well as provide technical support to coordinate camps for uprooted people.

MALAWI/COVID-19
Our UN team in Malawi is stepping up its support for surveillance and prevention, following the emergence of the Omicron variant.
While Omicron has not been confirmed in Malawi so far, UNICEF is training scientists on genomic sequencing to identify COVID-19 variants. It is also working with the Government and the World Health Organization to screen travellers.
UNICEF has distributed oxygen concentrators, oxygen monitors, and ventilators to hospitals, and plans to bring in more oxygen concentrators this month. It is also providing classroom tents to 40 schools across Malawi for 20,000 students. To support Malawi’s new recovery plan, the World Food Programme continues to provide insurance payouts for more than 65,000 farmers after last season’s failed harvests.
To date, Malawi has received 2.6 million vaccine doses from COVAX, and 1.4 million have been administered.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year the theme is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.” 
In his message, the Secretary-General says that a disability-inclusive pandemic response and recovery should be guided by persons with disabilities themselves, forge partnerships, tackle injustice and discrimination, expand access to technology and strengthen institutions to create a more inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world. 
He urges all countries to fully implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, increase accessibility, and dismantle legal, social, economic and other barriers with the active involvement of persons with disabilities and their organizations.