Earlier this morning, the Secretary-General spoke to about 120 UN Resident Coordinators during their annual meeting this week here at UN Headquarters. He thanked them for their work and commitment to the reforms of the UN development system and acknowledged that much more remains to be done.
He stressed that we cannot chart a road to peace and prosperity without putting development strategies front and centre, and he called on the Resident Coordinators to make full use of their newly empowered role by leading by example, building partnerships with governments, and making the most of the 2030 Agenda by leveraging all its components, including the Paris Agreement.
He added that reform is about results and emphasized the crucial role of the Resident Coordinators in bringing these to life.
The Deputy Secretary-General also addressed the Resident Coordinators this morning.
The objective of this annual meeting is to start readying the UN’s chiefs on the ground for the decade for action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and assess the progress and challenges of the UN development reform.
Speaking at the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Secretary-General reminded participants that the world already enjoys five zones: in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
These nuclear-weapon-free zones, he added, put a permanent end to the possibility of nuclear conflict in a given region.
The Secretary-General said a Middle East zone will need to be a product of the specific circumstances of the region and strengthen the security of all states.
He told the participants we should all take inspiration from the first successful proposal for a denuclearized zone, tabled just a few weeks after the Cuban Missile crisis.
Despite tensions and politics of the Cold War, Latin American and Caribbean countries managed to establish a flexible and durable arrangement, which has served as a model for other zones.
The Security Council this morning held an open meeting on the situation in Libya.
Briefing the Council members via videolink, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ghassan Salame, said that, more than seven months into the conflict and given the dangerous escalation in fighting in and around Tripoli, we are ever more in a race against a time to reach a peaceful solution that would spare many lives.
Mr. Salame said that he was angry and sad that, in what may be a war crime, a biscuit factory in Tripoli was hit today in an air strike, with at least 10 people dead and dozens more injured.
He stressed his determination to see an end to this debilitating conflict, as preparations are underway for the next steps of the initiative announced in July of this year.
I have an update a humanitarian update from our colleagues in Haiti.
Most businesses and schools in the country have been closed since mid-September, due to ongoing protests and unrest. This, as you can imagine, has a negative impact on the economic and social life in Port-au Prince and other urban centers.
Food insecurity is on the rise. According to the latest Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) report, 3.7 million people are currently experiencing crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity. This includes one million people – out of a total population of 11 million – facing emergency levels of food insecurity.
Assessments indicate that food insecurity could affect more than four million people by March of next year.
To facilitate access to people in need, WFP is working to establish a Humanitarian Air Service, using a $1 million allocation from the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund Rapid Response.
Humanitarian needs continue to rise in Haiti and new support is encouraged. Lack of funding has impacted the capacity of humanitarian organizations to deliver assistance to the most vulnerable. The Humanitarian Response Plan for Haiti, which is valued at $126 million, is only funded at 29 per cent thus far.
According to a new report released by UNICEF today, there have been historic gains overall for the world’s children since the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted 30 years ago.
However, many of the poorest children have yet to feel the impact, the agency says.
Citing progress in child rights over the past three decades, the report notes that the global under-five mortality rate has fallen by about 60 per cent and the proportion of primary school-aged children not in school decreased from 18 to 8 per cent.
However, the report notes, this progress has not been even: in low- and middle-income countries children from the poorest households are twice as likely to die from preventable causes before their fifth birthday than children in the richest households.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Union (AU) earlier today signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) cementing their mutual commitment to expand and deepen their relationship and cooperation between the two organizations.
This significant commitment to global health follows the political declaration on universal health coverage, approved by 193 Member States during the General Assembly and the adoption of a global resolution to translate that political commitment into reality in 140 countries shortly thereafter.
The Secretary-General is appointing today Kanni Wignaraja of Sri Lanka as the next Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
She succeeds Haoliang Xu of the People’s Republic of China, who has recently been appointed to head UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.
Kanni recently served as the Acting Assistant Administrator and Director for the Bureau for Management Services at UNDP and as Special Adviser to the UNDP Administrator.
We congratulate her on this well-deserved appointment.
I want to flag today an event that will take place tomorrow.
The UN Inter-Agency Working Group on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, better known as DDR, is set to launch its revised guidance during a high-level event scheduled at 10 a.m. in the ECOSOC Chamber.
The event, called “Journey for Peace and Development”, will gather principals of the working group on DDR, which is made up of 25 UN entities, as well as Member States and the Group of Friends of DDR.
The high-level event will be held simultaneously in New York and in Geneva, and will be webcast on UN Web TV and on the UN YouTube channel.
And we are up to 136 Member States who have paid their regular budget dues in full, and we thank our friends in Mali for having done so.