HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
 
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
 
WEDNESDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2020

 
SECURITY COUNCIL
The Security Council today marked the International Day against the use of child soldiers with a briefing attended by the King and Queen of the Belgians, which also marked the launch of the Practical Guidance for mediators to protect children in situations of armed conflict.
Speaking at the session, the Secretary-General said this new guidance is the next step in the UN’s strategy to put children at the heart of protection, peacebuilding and prevention efforts.
The Guidance is based on principles that put children first and recognizes that the needs and rights of boys and girls must be considered during all phases of conflict.
But it is our fundamental duty as leaders to do everything in our power to protect children from the chaos and madness of wars that have nothing to do with them, the Secretary-General said. Guterres urged all Member States to take concrete actions to prioritize the protection of children affected by conflict at the national and regional and global level.
The members of the Security Council also welcomed the new Guidance in a presidential statement.
At 3p.m. the Economic and Social Council Chamber, there will be a high-level event to launch the Guidance that will include the participation of a former child soldier, who will share his experience from the Colombian peace process. 
 
YEMEN
In response to questions about UN humanitarian aid to Yemen, the Spokesman said the following:
The Secretary General is following the humanitarian situation in Yemen closely. He reiterates the importance of sustaining the humanitarian operation, which is being implemented in challenging conditions but is providing life-saving assistance to millions of Yemenis.
The Secretary-General supports continuing dialogue with all the interested parties to ensure that help reaches all those who need it, in accordance with humanitarian principles.
 
SYRIA
Ongoing hostilities in Idlib and Aleppo continue to pose grave risks to civilians in Syria, that’s according to our humanitarian colleagues.
Between 1-10 February, the UN Human Rights Office has recorded incidents in which at least 85 civilians, including 20 women and 27 children, were killed. Most of these casualties were in the Idlib ‘de-escalation area’.
In January, the UN Human Rights Office recorded incidents in which at least 191 civilians, including 33 women and 67 children, were killed.
Reports indicate that some 1,710 civilians, including 337 women and 503 children, in northwest Syria have been killed since the escalation began in April 2019. 
 
LIBYA
The UN in Libya regrets that its regular flights, which transport its staff to and from Libya, have not been granted permission by the Libyan National Army to land in Libya. This practice has been repeated on several occasions in the past weeks.
The UN is very concerned that preventing its flights from traveling in and out of Libya will severely hinder its humanitarian and good offices efforts at a time when all its staff are working relentlessly to push forward the ongoing three-track intra-Libyan dialogue and to provide much-needed humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable conflict-affected civilians.
 
TERRORIST FIGHTERS
In Vienna today, a two-day high-level regional conference on challenges posed by foreign terrorist fighters finished today.
The conference was organized by the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as Switzerland, gathered more than 400 participants from over 70 countries. The event aimed to address the challenges posed by foreign terrorist fighters, such as their expected return from Iraq and Syria, as well as the repatriation of women and children associated with them.
The Under-Secretary-General for counter-terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, reiterated that “the international community must reaffirm and be guided by the principles of individual criminal responsibility, presumption of innocence, right to appeal, and the internationally recognized standards of justice.”
This event was part of a series of regional conferences that will feed into the Second UN High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States, scheduled to take place in this very city in July.
 
CLIMATE CHANGE
Tomorrow, the UN Development Programme is launching ‘Mission 1.5’ a major climate change engagement campaign that will connect global citizens with their governments and policymakers on climate action.
The campaign is built around an online video game that educates people about climate policy and provides a platform for them to vote on the solutions they want to see happen.
The votes will then be compiled and delivered to government leaders, with the aim of helping climate policymakers gain confidence to take the ambitious action necessary to tackle the climate crisis.
The game will be live as of tomorrow in all UN languages at www.Mission1Point5.org.
 
WHAT IT TAKES CAMPAIGN
This Valentine’s Day, the UN will launch ‘What It Takes’, a global campaign recognizing the generosity, hard work, heart and hope that goes into humanitarian responses - from the donors who contribute essential funding - to the women and men who put themselves on the front lines to deliver aid.
This year, 168 million people will need humanitarian assistance. That’s1 in every 45 people worldwide.
“The outlook for 2020 is bleak. said Mark Lowcock, the head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.  But there is every reason to be hopeful, he added. The humanitarian system is more effective today than it has ever been.
Last year saw record levels of humanitarian funding, enabling medicine, food and shelter to reach the majority of those in need. But needs are growing faster than funding.
The campaign will encourage continued contributions and support to allow the UN and the organizations it works with to keep delivering lifesaving aid to women, men and children in desperate need.
 
HONOUR ROLL
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Lithuania have paid their budget dues in full. This takes the number of fully paid-up Member States to 46.