HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 3 MARCH 2021
In Nigeria, humanitarians are concerned about the situation of thousands of internally displaced people and civilians in Dikwa, Borno State. following the recent attack there.
Following intense attacks in Marte and surrounding areas since February 14th, nearly 3,400 displaced people, including more than 2,000 children, arrived in Dikwa. It is estimated that there are more than 76,000 internally displaced people in the town of Dikwa, due to the ongoing conflict since 2009.
As of now, and following ongoing military operations on the ground, the UN, along with its partners, are unable to assess further the humanitarian situation.
The UN reiterates its call on all armed parties to immediately stop the violence and ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, humanitarian assets as well as personnel.
David Shearer addressed the Security Council for the last time as Head of the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.
He noted the first anniversary of the transitional government, adding that despite some positive steps, progress has been slow. There has been minimal progress on constitution-making, transitional justice, and economic reform, he said.
Mr. Shearer also pointed out that the unification of forces has yet to happen, despite multiple self-imposed Government deadlines. As a result, thousands of troops are festering in cantonment sites without adequate shelter, health care or food.
Ending on a personal note, Mr. Shearer told Council members that at the end of his four years in South Sudan, he looks back with a certain level of comfort about how far the country has come.
There is a ceasefire, he said, a peace deal, a transitional Government, a Presidency, a Council of Ministers, Governors, and local leadership is slowly being installed. However, the reality is that the peace process remains extremely fragile. It is for those people that we, the international community, must remain united and committed to pushing the peace process forward, he said.
The Deputy Secretary-General took part yesterday in the first annual meeting of a group of UN entities called the Regional Collaborative Platform.
She said that Africa’s regional know-how, assets and policy expertise will be more systematically channeled to the Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams across the continent as they help countries ensure an inclusive and sustainable transition out of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Regional Collaborative Platform brings together all UN entities working on development for the 2030 Agenda, addressing key challenges that transcend country borders - such as health and environment. It is chaired by Amina Mohammed.
UNICEF released a report showing that schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for an entire year due to lockdowns.
According to UNICEF, around 214 million children globally – or 1 in 7 – have missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning.
UNICEF warns that the most vulnerable children and those unable to access remote learning are at an increased risk of never returning to the classroom, and even being forced into child marriage or child labour.
Some good news from UN teams on the African continent, who helped ensure today’s arrival of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility.
The vaccines have now arrived in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Gambia, Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal.
More than a million doses arrived in Kenya today, transported by UNICEF. The vaccine roll-out kicks off on Friday.
Rwanda received 340,000 doses today, with UN Resident Coordinator Fode Ndiaye hailing this historic moment as a big boost for hope and recovery.
Senegal, 320,000 doses today. That will help authorities’ efforts to vaccinate 20 per cent of the population.
The DRC received more than 1.7 million doses of vaccines, with the UN team’s support.
In the Gambia, the first shipment of 36,000 doses of COVAX-backed vaccines arrived last night. With the support of the UN team, the Government is preparing to kick start the vaccination with health care workers, those with underlying medical conditions, and aged 65 years and above.
Also, yesterday over 620,000 doses arrived in Angola, with the UN’s support. This will help cover an initial 10 percent of the country’s first phase of vaccine needs. The vaccination effort began yesterday with a 71-year-old lady receiving the first shot.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
Monday is International Women’s Day.
The theme this year is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world on the way to the Generation Equality Forum.”
In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General says that the pandemic has erased decades of progress towards gender equality. He stresses that as we recover from the pandemic, support and stimulus packages must target women and girls specifically, including through investments in women-owned businesses and the care economy. He adds that the pandemic recovery is our chance to leave behind generations of exclusion and inequalities.
UN Women will be hosting a virtual event that day at 10 a.m. and the Secretary-General will take part.
WORLD WILDLIFE DAY
Today is World Wildlife Day. This year’s theme is "Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet." The planet’s forests are home to some 80 per cent of all terrestrial wild species. Forests help regulate the climate and support the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people.
In his message, the Secretary-General says that the unsustainable exploitation of forests harms communities and contributes to biodiversity loss and climate disruption. He urges governments, businesses and people everywhere to scale up efforts to conserve forests and forest species, to support and to listen to the voices of forest communities. In doing so, we will help and contribute to achieving the SDGs for planet and people.
The Department of Global Communications is organizing a series of events ahead of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The Day will be marked on March 25th.
Tomorrow, there will be an online discussion titled “Return to the Root: Exploring Racism Through Dance”. The event is organized with Lehigh University and will explore the themes of systemic racism, the legacy of slavery throughout the African diaspora populations and how we can participate in the conversation globally through multiple art forms.
More information and links are available at https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/note6541.doc.htm
In response to questions about Libya, the Spokesman that the UN deployed a small advance team to Libya. The team arrived overnight.
The advance team will help advance UN planning, in close consultation with the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, and provide the foundation for scalable UN support to the Libyan-led and Libyan-owned Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism (LCMM). The team will also prepare inputs for the report that was requested of the Secretary-General by the Security Council.
The advance team will report its findings to the Special Envoy through the UN’s Mission Coordinator.
Meanwhile, over the course of the past few days, the Special Envoy for Libya, Ján Kubiš, has continued his efforts to mobilize regional and international support to the Libyan-owned, Libyan-led dialogue process. The Special Envoy paid visits to Italy and Turkey and met, among others, with the foreign ministers of those two countries.
PRESS BRIEFING TOMORROW
Tomorrow, the Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ramesh Rajasingham, will be the guest at the noon briefing. He will discuss his recent visit to Burkina Faso.
With Algeria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, there are now 65 Member States who have fully paid their 2021 budget dues.