HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 2018
SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN KUWAIT FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF IRAQ CONFERENCE
- The Secretary-General has arrived in Kuwait, where tomorrow morning he will speak at the opening session of the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq.
- He has had a few bilateral meetings today in Kuwait, including with Federica Mogherini, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO SWEDEN FOR SUMMIT ON ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN
- The Deputy Secretary-General will depart New York today for Stockholm, Sweden, to give a speech at the inauguration of “The first Agenda 2030 for Children: End Violence Solutions Summit”, a high-level conference convened by the Government of Sweden.
- Tomorrow and Thursday, she will attend an Informal High-level Meeting on the Funding Compact, as part of the consultations on the review of the UN development system. The Deputy Secretary-General will also have bilateral meetings with senior Swedish and foreign Government officials during this visit.
- The Deputy Secretary-General will return to New York on Thursday.
IN SECURITY COUNCIL, U.N. OFFICIAL HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO ADDRESS ROOT CAUSES OF CRISIS IN MYANMAR
- Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Miroslav Jenča, briefed the Security Council this morning on Myanmar.
- He said that although large-scale acts of violence have subsided, concerns about threats and intimidation against the remaining Rohingya population persist, and humanitarian access in affected areas of Rakhine State continues to be severely curtailed.
- Mr. Jenča also reiterated the importance of a voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced people to their places of origin or choice.
- He stressed that overall, addressing the root causes is fundamental to ensuring a durable, genuine solution to this crisis. We have consistently said the problem is statelessness. This must be addressed, he said.
- Mr. Jenča also expressed concern that fighting in Kachin and northern Shan states has escalated in recent months, casting a shadow on peace negotiations, and provoking a number of serious human rights and humanitarian concerns.
- Finally, he reiterated the calls by the Secretary-General for the release of the two Reuters journalists in Myanmar and urged the authorities to respect the right to freedom of expression and information.
- The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, also addressed the meeting. He noted that some 688,000 Myanmar refugees had gone to Bangladesh in the past six months.
U.N. ENVOY HOLDS MEETING ON ‘NAME’ ISSUE
- Today, Matthew Nimetz, Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, met jointly with Nikos Kotzias, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, and Nikola Dimitrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, at the United Nations Office at Vienna.
- Following a constructive meeting as part of the efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution to the “name” issue, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs agreed to continue their efforts under the auspices of the United Nations.
SAUDI ARABIA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES TO TRANSFER $930 MILLION FOR YEMEN HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE BY END OF MARCH
- In a statement, Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had agreed with the United Nations on the modalities to transfer, by 31 March, $930 million in support of the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been clear that the funds are to be used on the basis of humanitarian need alone, without regard for other considerations. An additional $70 million will be provided bilaterally by the two countries to support port rehabilitation and infrastructure in Yemen.
- Mr. Lowcock thanked Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and expressed his hope that this generosity will encourage more donors to contribute to the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, including ahead of the international pledging conference on Yemen to be held in Geneva on 3 April. He renewed the UN call on all parties to cease hostilities and to engage meaningfully with the United Nations to achieve a lasting political settlement.
U.N. AGENCY SADDENED BY DEATH OF CONGOLESE REFUGEES AS GROWING NUMBERS SEEK SAFETY IN UGANDA
- The UN Refugee Agency said today it is deeply saddened by reports of four Congolese refugees who drowned as they were seeking safety in Uganda, after their boat capsized on Lake Albert.
- Last week, over 22,000 Congolese crossed Lake Albert to Uganda, bringing the total number of arrivals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the country to about 34,000 since the beginning of the year.
- UNHCR works with Ugandan authorities for the registration and the relocation of new arrivals to settlements further inland.
- Meanwhile, crossings through Lake Tanganyika towards Burundi and Tanzania declined significantly last week but UNHCR is afraid that flows could soon pick up again.
- From the US$368.7 million requested for the DRC refugee situation, only 1 per cent has been funded so far.
U.N. REITERATES CALL FOR DIALOGUE, LIFTING OF STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE MALDIVES
- The UN continues to be very concerned about the unfolding situation in the Maldives. We are getting more information about the recent events, including the reported house arrest of SDG youth leader Safaath Ahmad.
- We reiterate our calls for the lifting of the state of emergency and a dialogue to solve the current crisis.
WITH JAPANESE CONTRIBUTION, U.N. EXPANDS TRAINING ON PEACEKEEPING CAPABILITIES
- The Triangular Partnership Project for Enabling Capabilities for Peacekeeping, which was launched by the Department of Field Support in 2015, is set to expand. This project brings together troop-contributing countries interested in receiving training, Member States that can contribute to the training and the UN with a common goal to strengthen UN peacekeeping through professional training and equipment.
- The planned expansion is made possible by the Government of Japan’s recent decision to contribute a further $ 40.9 million to the Department of Field Support to conduct engineering training in Asia and the surrounding regions and medical training in Africa. Reconnaissance visits for the expansion will begin this week to identify appropriate locations for the training.
- After participating in the training, the military engineers and medical personnel are expected to deploy to peacekeeping missions, where they will fill critical gaps in current UN engineering and medical capabilities.
- The Triangular Partnership Project receives financial assistance from Japan and is supported by Switzerland, Brazil and Kenya.
U.N. HEALTH AGENCY UPDATES LIST OF PRIORITY DISEASES FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
- The World Health Organization presented its 2018 annual review of the Blueprint list of priority diseases.
- The Blueprint is a global strategy and preparedness plan that allows the rapid activation of research and development activities during epidemics.
- Experts consider that given their potential to cause a public health emergency and the absence of efficacious drugs and/or vaccines, there is an urgent need for accelerated research and development for the following diseases: Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever; Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease; Lassa fever; Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome; Nipah and henipaviral diseases; Rift Valley fever; Zika; and finally, disease X.
- Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease: the Blueprint explicitly seeks to enable cross-cutting research and development preparedness to such a possibility.
ON WORLD RADIO DAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS RADIO CAN UNITE, EMPOWER COMMUNITIES
- Today is World Radio Day. The theme this year is “Radio and sports” and highlights the values of fair play, teamwork and equality in sport as well as the power of radio to combat racist and xenophobic stereotypes on and off the field.
- In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General said that “in an era of dramatic advances in communications, radio retains its power to entertain, educate, inform and inspire.” He added that this medium can also unite and empower communities and give a voice to the marginalized.