HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 1 JULY 2020
FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT
This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the first of a series of virtual roundtables on “Rebirthing the Global Economy to Deliver Sustainable Development.” This first roundtable focused on listening to the insights of women leaders.
The Secretary-General said that as the world crafts a comprehensive global response to the pandemic action on finance must be central. “If countries lack the financial means to fight the pandemic and invest in recovery, we face a health catastrophe and a painful slow global recovery,” he said.
Mr. Guterres added that we must also address the debt concerns of the – mostly – developing countries and a large number of middle-income countries that have lost the capacity to access financial markets.
The Secretary-General also noted that while just ten percent of global leaders are women, many of these leaders have launched decisive and effective responses to the pandemic. He stressed the need to incorporate the insights and perspectives of all, if we are to create the inclusive, resilient and gender-equal societies that can address the global challenges we face today.
For her part, the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said we need to imagine a new global economy in which finance becomes a means and not an end, one that balances the shareholders’ interests with people and planet in all areas and especially in trade, debt vulnerability and external finance.
The text of all those remarks have been shared with you already.
Today, the Secretary-General spoke by phone with Faiez Serraj, the President of the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord. He spoke to him about the situation in Libya. The Prime Minister indicated his commitment to a dialogue within the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission and expressed his interest in a political solution based on elections.
The Secretary-General and the Prime Minister also discussed the need to reopen blocked oil terminals and oil fields in the country. The Secretary-General expressed his shock at the recent discovery of mass graves in Libya and stated that the United Nations was ready to assist in efforts to ensure accountability.
The Secretary-General reiterated the support of the United Nations to the Government of Libya in its efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, was in Saudi Arabia over the last two days, as you know. And there, he met with Yemeni President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi. He also met with Prime Minister Mouin Abdel Malek and other Yemeni political figures. He discussed the latest developments in Yemen and stressed the need to advance all efforts that would lead to the resumption of the political process, including by agreeing on a ceasefire across Yemen and addressing critical economic and humanitarian circumstances.
Mr. Griffiths is now travelling to Oman and we will update you on his activities there.
Yesterday in Brussels, the international community confirmed $5.5 billion in funding to support the humanitarian, resilience and development activities in 2020 for the Syria crisis response. That funding includes pledges towards the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), and the Red Cross’s Syria crisis appeals.
The international community also confirmed $2.2 billion in funding for humanitarian, resilience and development activities in 2021 and beyond for the Syria crisis response. This multi-year commitment is important in demonstrating a clear commitment to continue to support those most affected by the Syrian crisis and ensuring that humanitarian and development agencies are able to plan ahead.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The Peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic reports that, yesterday, there were simultaneous attacks against its temporary base in Koui as well as heavy exchange of fire between peacekeepers and a group of 3R insurgents. No casualties were reported.
The Peacekeepers have deployed helicopters from Bouar to provide necessary air support and increased its operational posture in the Bocaranga and Koui areas, including the establishment of a temporary operating base in Yade. Peacekeepers have also reinforced positions around Koui, which is a 3R stronghold. A number of displaced people remain in the proximity of the MINUSCA temporary base.
The Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Alain Noudéhou, condemned the killing of an aid worker in Lakes State. On 28 June, a clearly marked ambulance was shot while transporting an injured person to a hospital following intercommunal violence in the area. The driver of the ambulance, who worked for an international NGO providing health services, was killed. The Humanitarian Coordinator said that these violent acts against humanitarian workers are outrageous and unacceptable, especially during a time when health workers are taking significant risks, personally, to assist those South Sudanese people who are impacted by COVID-19, preventable diseases and injuries related to armed violence. The Humanitarian Coordinator stressed that aid workers need a safe and secure environment to provide people with the assistance they need. This is the fifth aid worker killed in South Sudan this year alone, bringing the number of humanitarian workers killed in the country since 2013 to 120.
In Kazakhstan, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Norimasa Shimomura, is focusing on saving lives and livelihoods, while also providing technical advice on a safe and gradual reopening. New UNICEF guidelines are helping to ensure the right of every child to education, health and safety while returning to school. School closures have also increased the burden of unpaid work at home for women. UN Women and the UN Population Fund found that, while men have spent more time caring for children and older family members, they were much less focused on daily domestic chores. The amount of time women spend on these chores has jumped from 18 to 41 per cent during the pandemic in Kazakhstan. The World Health Organization is working to reduce the impact of the virus on sexual reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services. We are also providing legal assistance to more than 1,500 migrants and their families and has trained 1,000 civil servants to help vulnerable people. In support of our Verified initiative, the UN has trained 40 editors and journalists on addressing misinformation with tips for fact-checking.
The UN Information Centre IN BRAZIL will support the organization of a special tribute Mass for the victims of COVID-19. The Mass will feature a message from Pope Francis, and will be broadcast at 6:00 p.m. New York time, live from the Christ Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro. The Mass will be shown on YouTube live, as part of the Verified campaign. The UN Information Centre in Brazil and Purpose have also launched a new website to provide Digital First Responders from Lusophone countries around the world with reliable information materials in Portuguese. You can find out more on their website.
Today, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued recommendations for the European Union (EU) to ensure refugee protection during the pandemic and beyond. UNHCR is also calling on the German Presidency of the European Union (EU) for this part of the year to keep refugee protection high on the agenda. UNHCR added that development and cooperation aid are key, so refugees are included in national systems and safety nets. This is necessary to limit the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 and for refugees to thrive not just survive.
UNESCO has received many reports that African cultural property is being illicitly trafficked using false UNESCO documents. These false documents fraudulently bear UNESCO's name and logo, sometimes using fake business cards and usurping the names of officials of the Organization. The majority of the victims of this fraud reside in France and the cumulative damage is estimated at more than one million euros. UNESCO is considering legal action and calls on people who receive such offers to be vigilant and very careful.
More on UNESCO’s website.
In response to questions about the recent legislation brought forward in Gabon, the spokesman said that we welcome the adoption of a bill by the Senate in Gabon that decriminalizes homosexuality, in line with several resolutions of the Human Rights Council and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to “leave no one behind”.
At 2:30 this afternoon, Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, and the President of the Security Council for July, will brief journalists on the Council’s Programme of Work for the month. And tomorrow, the guest at the Briefing will be Elliott Harris, the UN’s Chief Economist and Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at DESA. He and a youth social entrepreneur will brief you on the 2020 World Youth Social Entrepreneurship and the 2030 Agenda.