Geir Pedersen, the Special Envoy for Syria, told the Security Council by VTC today that he cannot report any progress on the ground in that country, as heavy air and ground strikes continue.
The ongoing offensive has displaced nearly 900,000 civilians since 1 December, some of them for multiple times, he said.
Mr. Pedersen said all military activity must respect the principle of proportionality and the need to protect civilians. He said that Turkey and Russia must play a key role in finding a way to de-escalate the situation now.
The Special Envoy appealed once again for full respect for international humanitarian law and for an immediate ceasefire in Idlib, ultimately towards a nationwide ceasefire. He urges key international players to continue and intensify their contacts to restore calm.
Mark Lowcock, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, told the Security Council that we are considering all avenues to increase support into the northwest. He said we are working with the Government of Turkey to expand the opening of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing to seven days a week, in order to increase the number of aid trucks coming. In addition, he said, we are asking the Government of Syria for permission for a humanitarian mission from Damascus to areas they have recently taken control of, in order to see who is there and assess their needs.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General expressed alarm at the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in northwest Syria and the suffering of civilians.
The Secretary-General called for an immediate ceasefire, adding that international humanitarian law must be upheld and that the only path to stability is a credible and inclusive UN-facilitated political solution pursuant to Security Council resolution 2254.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) hopes to resume the second round of talks of the Libyan Joint Military Commission (5+5). At the same time, the Mission expresses its strong and renewed condemnation of the bombing of Tripoli’s seaport yesterday by the Libyan National Army, which resulted in a number of casualties and could have led to a real disaster had the vessel transporting liquefied gas been hit.
The Mission calls for an end to the escalation and provocative actions, especially expansion of the conflict area, and urges all parties to resort to dialogue as the only means to end the crisis.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs today said that nearly 3 million people, more than half of them children, are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Niger continues to face simultaneous emergencies that are stretching the capacities of humanitarian partners to respond adequately and the situation is exacerbated by instability in the region, including in neighbouring countries, resulting in an influx of thousands of refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and migrants, all needing access to basic social services and protection for survival.
UNICEF staff in the region have urged for increased attention to the plight of children and their families, adding that the people of Niger have shown extraordinary resilience.
UNICEF and its partners need $59.4 million to deliver vital humanitarian aid to children in 2020.
Today, a Commission convened by the World Health Organization, the UN Children’s Fund and The Lancet said that no single country is adequately protecting children’s health or their environment so they can have a healthy future.
The Commission, which is made up of more than 40 health experts, warned that progress improving child and adolescent health is set to reverse due to the threat of ecological degradation, climate change, and exploitative marketing practices pushing processed foods, alcohol and tobacco to children.
The Commission said countries need to overhaul their approach to child and adolescent health, to ensure that we not only look after our children today but protect the world they will inherit in the future.
Estonia has paid its regular budget dues. The total number of fully paid-up Member States is now 51.
PRESS STAKEOUT TOMORROW
Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. at the General Assembly stakeout area, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Mr. Vadym Prystaiko, will speak to the press following the General Assembly debate on the situation in Ukraine.