HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 17 SEPTEMBER 2019
This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the annual international prayer breakfast before the start of the General Assembly, and at a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the death of former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.
The current Secretary-General said that Mr. Hammarskjöld shaped the United Nations into an active force in making and keeping peace.
Antonio Guterres said that one of Dag Hammarskjöld’s most important qualities was his ability to take a step back – and to project his vision into the future.
Mr. Guterres will also speak this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. at the opening of the 74th session of the General Assembly. He is expected to once again congratulate Professor Muhammad-Bande on his election as General Assembly President.
The Secretary-General will also spotlight the crucial role of the General Assembly as a unique and indispensable forum where the world can come together to advance on sensitive and important issues.
The Secretary-General strongly condemned the suicide attacks today at an election campaign rally in Parwan Province and a public square in Kabul, Afghanistan, which caused numerous civilian casualties.
He expressed his deep sympathies to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Afghanistan.
The Secretary-General underscored that all Afghan citizens – whether voters, candidates or election-related staff – have the right to be free from fear, intimidation and violence. Attacks against civilians are unacceptable and those who carry out such crimes must be held accountable.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan also condemned today’s Taliban attack on an election rally at Parwan.
This attack showed despicable disregard for civilian life and fundamental right to participate in democratic processes. This was from the Mission, in a tweet.
The Mission also stressed that such attacks, with scores of civilian casualties, are a violation of international law.
Also, this morning, the council adopted a resolution extending UNAMA’s mandate, decided to extend UNAMA’s mandate until 17 September 2020.
Senior Personnel Announcements
The UN Development Coordination Office announced today that the Secretary-General has appointed two new UN Resident Coordinators in Moldova and Syria, following the confirmations from those governments.
Simon Springett of the United States will be the new Resident Coordinator in Moldova and Imran Riza of Pakistan has just begun his new role as Resident Coordinator in Damascus.
Resident Coordinators boost development coordination among UN agencies, funds and programmes to support countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. As we have announced previously, we remain with full gender parity among all our RCs covering 162 countries.
On Syria, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that unexploded war ordnances continue to put civilians at risk of injury or death, particularly in areas where people have already been uprooted.
In the past three days alone, unexploded remnants of war have killed seven civilians, including four children, and gravely injured eight more.
More than 10 million people across Syria are believed to live in areas contaminated by landmines and unexploded ordnances.
It is estimated that two out of three survivors of an explosive hazard incident in Syria will sustain a life-long impairment.
We call on all parties to the conflict in Syria to allow the clearance of unexploded remnants of war, to safely conduct risk education and ensure the safety of humanitarian staff conducting clearances.
In Ukraine, the UN and humanitarian organizations are urgently calling for $52 million to address the most acute and time-critical humanitarian needs ahead of winter in which temperatures reach between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius below zero.
The funding drive comes as the UN-coordinated Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019, launched at the beginning of the year and requiring $162 million, is only 32 per cent funded so far.
Nearly $16 million of the funding required is for protection, including for mine risk education, victim assistance, marking of mined areas and demining before areas get covered in snow. About 2 million people live in areas under Government control, contaminated by landmines and explosives.
The funding will also give 80,000 people living within 5km of the “contact line” in eastern Ukraine, access to health care through mobile medical teams or by giving them cash for transportation to health centers.