HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 2020
Civilians remain in harm’s way as hostilities continue in Idlib and Aleppo.
Reports from the ground indicate that thousands of civilians are on the move, from around the M5 highway, with most people moving further north and northwest towards the Turkey-Syria border.
Inclement weather, including snowfall, is exacerbating the situation, both for civilians on the move and for those who remain in unfinished buildings and camp settings.
The UN and our humanitarian partners are continuing to scale-up operations on the ground to respond to the needs of civilians, including by providing food, shelter and other forms of essential assistance.
A 2-day forum of health experts from around the world has concluded yesterday at the World Health Organization in Geneva.
The participants agreed on a set of global research priorities. They also outlined mechanisms for continuing scientific interactions and collaborations coordinated and facilitated by WHO. They worked with research funders to determine how necessary resources can be mobilized so that critical research can start immediately.
“This outbreak is a test of solidarity -- political, financial and scientific,”said Dr. Tedros, the Director-General of the World Health Organization.
And also today, WHO said that the COVID-19 advanced team and their Chinese counterparts have now finalized the scope of work and design for the mission. They expect the rest of the international team to start to arrive in China over the weekend.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
And the UN mission in the Central African Republic says it has taken steps to assist the country as it prepares for presidential and legislative elections, scheduled to take place late this year and early next year.
Thirty-four electoral advisers have now joined the UN mission to provide support with security, operations and logistics, particularly to facilitate access to remote areas, and by coordinating international electoral assistance.
The electoral advisors will be deployed in Bangui and in the 16 prefectures to support the National Elections Authority. Other deployments will follow in the next months.
The World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee on Ebola was scheduled to meet in Geneva.
The committee concluded that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo still constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
The Committee revised the outbreak’s risk assessment. It is high at national and regional levels, but low at the global level.
The Committee was concerned that by withdrawing the global emergency status for the outbreak might have adverse consequences for the response efforts. They said the country continues to need support to combat infectious diseases, as well as to strengthen its health system.
Dr. Tedros, will be in the Democratic Republic of the Congo today, where he is scheduled to meet with the President of the country and other senior ministers to discuss how to support and strengthen the country’s health system.
Between the 3rd and 9th of February, there were only 3 new confirmed cases, reported in the Beni Health Zone.
In a tweet Dr. Tedros said the latest developments are very positive. He added that he hopes that by the time the Emergency Committee reconvenes, they will be able to declare an end to the Ebola outbreak in the DRC.
Leila Zerrougui, the head of the UN mission in the country, was in the Kasai region this week, where she invited the local population to "turn the page on conflict and to work together for the return of stability in order to stimulate development.”
In the past few years, this region has been deeply affected by inter-communal conflict. Since then, the UN has increased its efforts to promote reconciliation, and to help restore State authority.
In addition to meetings with local officials and community members, Ms. Zerrougui also visited a center that houses former child soldiers and works to reunite them with families and reintegrate them into society.
She stressed the need to support community reintegration for children and adults formerly associated with armed groups.
The Security Council is holding an open debate on transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Briefing members from Geneva, Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that lasting peace is interlinked with justice, development and respect for human rights.
Transitional justice processes, she added, have repeatedly shown they can help to address grievances and divisions.
And yesterday afternoon, the Security Council adopted a resolution that welcomed the Berlin Conference and the commitment of the participants to refrain from interference in the armed conflict or in Libya’s internal affairs.
WORLD RADIO DAY
Today is World Radio Day, marked this year under the theme of diversity, both in the newsroom and on the airwaves.
In his message, the Secretary-General said that in an era of rapid media evolution, radio retains a special place in every community as an accessible source of vital news and information.
Radio brings together people, he added. As such, radio has a key role to play as we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and tackle our climate crisis.
And on World Radio Day, the Secretary-General concluded, let us recognize the enduring power of radio to promote diversity and help build a more peaceful and inclusive world.
Today, we say thank you to our friends in Thailand and in the United Arab Emirates. They have both paid their regular budget dues in full, Which brings us up to 48.