HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
MONDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2017
SOMALIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES 'DISGUST' AT BRUTAL TERRORIST ATTACK
- This morning at the Africa Event, the Secretary-General expressed his solidarity with the people of Somalia after the brutal attacks in Mogadishu, and said there must be total unity of action against terrorism in Somalia and around the world.
- Yesterday, in a statement, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the attacks and reiterated the UN’s support to the country. He also tweeted that he said he was disgusted by these unprecedented attacks and sent condolences to the victims and their families.
- The Secretary-General urges all Somalis to unite in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism and to work together in building a functional and inclusive federal state.
- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the UN are providing support to the response, to secure the area and provide help for search and rescue and rubble clearance. UNICEF has delivered antibiotics and medical supplies to the two Mogadishu hospitals today, and UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) technical advisors, medics and explosive-detecting dogs have been deployed to the blast site. UN staff are also participating in a blood drive.
SECRETARY-GENERAL: WORLD MUST SHIFT HOW IT LOOKS AT AFRICA
- This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the High-level inaugural event of Africa Week.
- “The international community must change the way it looks at the African continent. Africa is a land of resilience, and above all it is a land of opportunity,” he said.
- He highlighted the recent progress made by the continent in reducing poverty, diversifying economies, building the middle class and nurturing growth in a variety of sectors, and stressed that the shared challenge of the UN and the African continent is to build on those gains and to continue working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
- And as part of Africa Week, there will be a series of discussions, briefings and side events here at Headquarters.
AMIDST EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS, DEPUTY U.N. CHIEF SOUNDS ALARM ON URGENT NEED FOR CLIMATE ACTION
- This morning, in Fiji, the Deputy Secretary-General spoke at an event on partnerships held ahead of the climate change Pre-COP.
- She told participants that the Pre-COP takes place against a backdrop of a distressing period of extreme weather events that have brought misery and economic damage to many people from Asia to the Caribbean and central America and the United States, underscoring the importance to tackle climate change and increase countries’ resilience to its impacts.
- “While the risks rise, so too does the momentum for change,” she said, noting that the Paris Agreement continues to gain support from all sectors of society from all across the planet. Still, much more can be done, and she pointed to the participation of businesses and investors to help speed up progress.
- “By the 2019 Climate Summit, we must be able to show that climate action works and that transformation is well under way,” she said.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR DIALOGUE IN IRAQ’S KIRKUK TO PREVENT STEPPED UP CLASHES
- The Secretary-General is closely following developments in Kirkuk Governorate. He appeals to the federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to take coordinated steps to prevent and avoid further clashes, escalation, or breakdown of law and order. He calls on the parties to jointly manage the situation and resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution of Iraq.
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that military movements in northern Iraq have displaced of thousands of families from Kirkuk since yesterday evening. The exact numbers of people who have been displaced are still being confirmed.
- So far, two civilians have also been caught in crossfire at a displacement camp in Kirkuk Governorate.
- Aid workers are mobilising and stressing the need for access to all those in need of help. They are also calling on all parties to ensure that civilians are protected and can leave the area if they choose to do so.
JOINT U.N.-RED CROSS AID CONVOY REACHES BESIEGED AREA IN SYRIAN CAPITAL
- Yesterday, a UN-International Committee of the Red Cross-Syrian Arab Red Crescent inter-agency convoy delivered humanitarian assistance for 1,500 men, women and children remaining in the besieged Al-Qaboun area in Damascus. Qaboun was besieged in April this year, and this is the first access to the besieged area since then.
- The UN continues to call for safe, unimpeded and sustained access to close to 3 million people in hard-to-reach and 10 besieged areas, including the facilitation of medical evacuations in line with International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.
U.N. MIDDLE EAST ENVOY DISCUSSES INTRA-PALESTINIAN AGREEMENT WITH SENIOR OFFICIAL
- Today, Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, met with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to discuss the implementation of the intra-Palestinian agreement that was signed in Cairo on 12 October.
- He noted that the agreement provides for the return of the crossings of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority by 1 November. The timely and effective implementation of this provision and concrete steps to alleviate the humanitarian crisis will be critical for effectively empowering the Palestinian Government in Gaza.
- The United Nations will continue working with the Palestinian leadership, Egypt and the region in support of this process, which is critical for reaching a negotiated two-state solution and sustainable peace.
TOP U.N. OFFICIALS ISSUE JOINT CALL FOR INCREASED SUPPORT TO HELP ROHINGYA REFUGEES
- In a joint statement, senior United Nations officials today are urging stepped up support to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, a situation they call the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis and a major humanitarian emergency.
- The High Commissioner for Refugees, the Emergency Relief Coordinator and the head of the UN Migration Agency say that the Bangladeshi Government, local aid groups, the UN and NGOs are working in overdrive, but much more support is needed.
- Efforts must be scaled up and expanded to ensure that the more than half million refugees are provided with basic shelter and basic living conditions, with vulnerable people arriving with very little in Bangladesh every day.
- The pledging conference which will take place on 23 October in Geneva provides Governments around the world with an opportunity to show their solidarity and share the responsibility.
- The statement called on the international community to intensify efforts to bring a peaceful solution to the plight of the Rohingya, to end the desperate exodus, to support host communities and ensure the conditions that will allow for refugees’ eventual voluntary return in safety and dignity. It also noted that the origins and, thus, the solutions to this crisis lie in Myanmar.
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the number of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since 25 August has reached 537,000.
POPE FRANCIS TAKES PART IN U.N.-BACKED COMMEMORATION OF WORLD FOOD DAY
- Today is World Food Day, and to mark the occasion, Pope Francis participated in the global ceremony held at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome. He called for governments around the world to collaborate to make migration a safer and voluntary choice, arguing that assuring food security for all requires tackling climate change and ending conflicts.
- FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva stressed the need to address the root causes of migration, such as poverty, food insecurity, inequality, unemployment and lack of social protection.
- World Food Day is being marked this year as global hunger rises for the first time in over a decade, affecting 815 million people or 11 per cent of the global population. The increase is largely due to the proliferation of violent conflicts and climate-related shocks which are also major drivers of distress migration.
- Ahead of the Day, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley also reiterated that progress in defeating global hunger is being reversed as record numbers of people flee their homes to escape fighting.
- WFP has developed an index on the cost of a basic plate of food to people in 33 developing countries as a share of their average daily income. That index shows that in South Sudan, for example, the cost could be the equivalent of a New Yorker having to pay $321 for a modest lunch cooked at home. At the height of the siege of the Syrian town of Deir Ezzor, the same meal worked out at nearly $200.