HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 11 MAY 2017
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: MISSING MOROCCAN U.N. PEACEKEEPER FOUND DEAD
- We have sad news from the Central African Republic. The Moroccan peacekeeper that had been missing has been found dead. We extend our condolences to his family and to the people and Government of Morocco.
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, will leave for Bangui later today to attend the memorial ceremony for the five peacekeepers who were killed in Monday’s attack. The ceremony will take place tomorrow. Mr. Lacroix will convey the Secretariat’s strong support for the UN Peacekeeping Mission to assist the authorities and people of the Central African Republic in their efforts to bring lasting peace and stability to their country. Mr. Lacroix is also expected to meet with senior officials of the CAR during the visit.
IN LONDON, U.N. CHIEF CALLS ON PARTNERS TO STEP UP RELIEF EFFORTS IN SOMALIA
- The Secretary-General is in London today for the Somalia Conference. In his opening remarks to the event, he said the Conference was an opportunity to listen to Somalia’s leadership – and agree on a framework for cooperation.
- The Secretary-General said that Somalia has to rebuild security, foster transparency and accountability, deal with a crippling drought, and avert a famine, adding that he also saw an opportunity to build on the momentum of the electoral process and achieve lasting stability.
- Mr. Guterres said the UN is now seeking $900 million in aid this year to help the country tackle its most pressing challenges.
- He urged all partners to align their support to Somalia’s National Development Plan, and reiterated that the UN will do everything possible to make this the start of a new chapter of sustainable prosperity and lasting peace, he said.
- Earlier today, he also participated in a meeting on humanitarian assistance, saying that the lean season is coming in Somalia and that hunger conditions are expected to worsen over coming months. The 2011 famine in Somalia killed 260,000 people, he recalled – half of them children, which the Secretary-General said was a stain on the conscience of humanity. This time, he added, we must save lives before it is too late.
- The Secretary-General also gave a joint press conference with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and President Farmajo of Somalia.
- The Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour also addressed the Conference today. He stressed that there are still major human rights problems in the country and called for the outcome document of the Conference to commit to scaling up efforts to protect human rights.
- He added that human rights protection and also accountability for human rights violations are crucial for lasting peace in the country.
U.N. ENGAGING IN COMMUNITIES IN SOUTH SUDAN FOLLOWING REPORTS OF INCREASED FIGHTING
- The Head of the Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, spoke to the press earlier today in Juba. He said that over the past four weeks, there has been an increase in the amount of fighting throughout the country. Among other issues, he highlighted the deteriorating security situation in the Bor–Pibor area between Dinka Bor youth and Murle youth, noting concerns that it might spark more widespread fighting between those two communities. Mr. Shearer said that the UN has been engaging with communities there over the past few weeks and that it was supporting peace efforts by the government and the First Vice President to decrease tensions in the area.
BRIEFING BY U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY ON SYRIA ON PREPARATION FOR NEW ROUND OF TALKS NEXT WEEK
- Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, told reporters in Geneva today about the preparations for the new round of talks between the Syrian parties next week.
- He said the talks will be business-like and rather short compared to other meetings, adding that “we wanted to hit the iron while it’s hot” following the recent Astana talks. He said those talks yielded some outcomes that are potentially promising.
- Mr. de Mistura added that the holy month of Ramadan will begin soon, which he admitted does have an impact on the timing of talks.
U.N. HEALTH AGENCY SCALES UP EFFORTS TO TACKLE UPSURGE OF CHOLERA IN YEMEN
- The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners are responding to an upsurge in cholera transmission in several parts of Yemen that has claimed 51 lives. According to the Yemeni Ministry of Health, the number of suspected cholera cases is 2,301, of which 58 have been confirmed by laboratory testing.
- WHO has rapidly distributed medicines and medical supplies, including cholera kits, oral rehydration solutions and intravenous (IV) fluids, as well as medical furniture and equipment for diarrhoea treatment centres. Ten new treatment centres are being established in affected areas.
- WHO is also supporting health authorities to establish oral rehydration therapy corners to treat mild and moderate dehydration due to diarrhoea. Starting with 10 oral rehydration therapy corners in Sana’a, this approach will be replicated across all affected areas.
U.N. FOOD AGENCY AND WORLD BANK ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT IMPROVE RURAL LIVELIHOODS
- In Rome, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Bank have announced a new agreement to help countries improve rural livelihoods and protect their natural resources.
- The agencies said the agreement will help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by using FAO’s technical expertise and the World Bank’s resources to fund projects in areas in need, especially in situations of protracted crises and in fragile states.
U.N. FOOD FESTIVAL TO SHOWCASE REFUGEES’ COOKING TALENTS, FACILITATE INTEGRATION
- Our colleagues at UNHCR today announced that a Refugee Food Festival will be taking place in 13 major European cities this summer. The festival seeks to showcase refugees’ cooking talents and facilitate integration into their new countries.
- Between 15 and 30 June, some 50 restaurants will be opening their kitchens to refugee chefs from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran, Somalia, Syria and Ukraine to name a few.