HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 07 JANUARY 2021
LONDON VIRTUAL TRIP ANNOUNCEMENT
This Sunday, January 10th, the Secretary-General will begin a virtual visit to the UK to mark the 75th anniversary of the first Session of the UN General Assembly, which took place in London’s Central Hall in Westminster.
The visit will begin at noon, New York time (5 p.m. in London), with a commemorative event entitled “We the Peoples”, which will also be the main event of the Secretary-General’s first virtual official visit.
In his remarks the Secretary-General is expected to highlight the achievements of the UN’s 75-year history and will also call for a renewed global partnership to address the many challenges we face. The event aims to reach a global audience, and especially young people and civil society from around the world.
On Monday, the visit will focus on climate change. As you know, the United Kingdom is hosting the next Climate Change Conference (COP26), now scheduled to take place in November in Glascow, in Scotland. The Secretary-General will deliver remarks at the “COP26 Virtual Roundtable on Clean Power Transition”. The event is designed to showcase and generate more commitments and action to accelerate the transition to renewable, affordable and resilient power systems in Africa and European countries, as well as the importance of a just transition to ensure green job opportunities. He will be joined by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, and COP26 incoming President, Alok Sharma, as well as representatives from several countries.
During the virtual visit, the Secretary-General will also have bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, as well as the COP26’s Alok Sharma.
In addition to these meetings, the Secretary-General will have a conversation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, who is also, as you know, a member of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation.
All of the public events will be webcast live on UN Web TV.
NOON BRIEFING GUEST TOMORROW
In relation to that, tomorrow, the guest at the noon briefing will be Fabrizio Hochschild, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Preparations for #UN75. He will brief reporters virtually on the commemoration event scheduled on Sunday, as well as on the UN75 final report. And we will try to share that with you either later today or early tomorrow, so you have a chance to look at it before the briefing.
Martin Griffiths, the Special Envoy for Yemen has just concluded today a visit to Aden, which included meetings with the Yemeni Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, members of the Cabinet, as well as the Governor of Aden.
During his meeting with Prime Minister Abdulmalik, Mr. Griffiths once again stressed his strong condemnation of the heinous attack on the Cabinet ministers when they arrived at the Aden Airport. As you will recall, that attack killed 25 civilians. He also said the attack was devastating, not only due to the tragically heavy civilian toll, but also because it has political implications that could stir deep distrust.
Mr. Griffiths congratulated the Prime Minister on the formation of the Cabinet and its arrival in Aden and commended the resolve of the Government in the aftermath of this attack. He further expressed hope that the arrival of the ministers will mark the beginning of recovery after a perilous year.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
In the Central African Republic, the peacekeeping mission has increased its patrols in Bossangoa, in the Ouham prefecture, after two Anti-Balaka factions clashed yesterday over the issue of tax collection.
UN peacekeepers are continuing their work to protect civilians and we are maintaining a robust posture, that includes daily patrols, to secure the Bangui-Beloko axis. The Mission’s military troops and police are also working in close coordination with national defense and security forces to secure the capital, including through joint patrols.
An update on Ethiopia from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on the findings of the two joint Government-inter-agencies’ needs assessment missions that deployed in Tigray late last year, on December 20th.
According to the Southern Tigray mission, life in Alamata, Mehoni and Mekelle is gradually returning to normal, with the resumption of some basic services, including electricity and telecommunications. Most of the displaced people have returned or are in the process of returning to their homes in those areas. However, most of their belongings have been looted or destroyed. Regional authorities estimate that at least 90,000 people have been displaced due to the conflict.
According to both missions, food supplies are very limited, and only locally produced food items are available and at increasing prices. Infrastructure also needs to be urgently restored as many buildings, including schools, hospitals and administrative offices, have been looted and damaged.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs continues to engage with the Government for the unrestricted and safe passage of humanitarian personnel and supplies to all parts of the Tigray province.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Secretary-General said in a statement that he is shocked by the massacre of civilians, during recent attacks attributed to the ADF in the villages of Tingwe, Mwenda and Nzenga, near Beni territory in the province of North Kivu. He strongly condemns such violence against the civilian population and calls for the perpetrators of these atrocities to be swiftly brought to justice. He offers his condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Secretary-General reiterates his call for a global ceasefire and calls on all armed groups to lay down their weapons. He encourages the authorities of the DRC to take concrete steps to address the drivers of conflict in the eastern part of the country.
The Food and Agriculture Organization today said that world food prices rose for the seventh consecutive month in December. The FAO Food Price Index averaged 107.5 points last month, that’s 2.2 per cent higher than in November.
This increase was led by high demand in dairy products and concerns that drier and warmer conditions would impact milk production in Oceania. Concerns about short supplies of palm oil as well as prolonged strikes in Argentina also led to an increase in the vegetable oil price index.