HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY ERI KANEKO,​
ASSOCIATE SPOKESWOMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 20 AUGUST 2021

VICTIMS OF TERRORISM
This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the High-Level Event to Commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. The actual Day is tomorrow. 
He said that on this Day, we remember and honour the individuals, families, communities and societies that have been traumatized by terrorist acts. 
The theme this year is “Surviving Terrorism: the Power of Connections”.  The Secretary-General said that focusing on connections is particularly important in the current pandemic environment, which restricts our movements and limits our ability to see loved ones. He said that “today we say to all victims and survivors of terrorism: you are not alone. We recognize your pain and the invaluable benefits of support, care, and connection for your mental and physical health and well-being.”
The Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, also spoke at the event. He urged all Member States to establish comprehensive assistance plans for victims of terrorism and their families that can address their short- and longer-term needs.

DSG/HAITI
The Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed is in Haiti to express solidarity with the Haitian people following the earthquake and storm that impacted the country six days ago.
Today, Ms. Mohammed, who is accompanied by the UN Development Programme Administrator, Achim Steiner, will be visiting the South Department, one of the most affected by the earthquake. 
Yesterday evening, she met with Prime Minister Ariel Henry and reiterated the UN’s support for the government. 
“We stand here in solidarity with Haiti and are in awe at the incredible work the national authorities and the UN agencies are doing to help in these difficult times,” she said.
Ms. Mohammed also met with the UN Country Team, as well as with members of civil society. She offered words of encouragement to national and international employees working alongside national institutions for a better response to the crisis.
Today she will hold a press briefing at 2:30 p.m. and you will be able to watch that live on UN WebTV.

HAITI/HUMANITARIAN
Ramesh Rajasingham, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, will visit the country from August 23rd to 25th, to draw international attention to the increasing humanitarian needs following the devastating earthquake that struck the country’s south peninsula on August 14th.
During field visits, he will meet with internally displaced people, local authorities, and national and international responders. He is also expected to meet national authorities and diplomatic representatives in Port-au-Prince.
And the ECOSOC Ad Hoc Advisory Group released a statement today expressing its solidarity with the people of Haiti and called on the international community to remain engaged in the country.
 
BURKINA FASO
In a statement we issued last night, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the attack perpetrated by unidentified gunmen on 18 August on a convoy near the town of Arbinda in Burkina Faso, where dozens of people were killed and several wounded. He conveys his condolences to the bereaved families and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured. 
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the spiral of violence orchestrated by extremist groups in the Liptako-Gourma area. He calls on the Burkinabé authorities to spare no effort in identifying and swiftly bringing the perpetrators to justice.
The Secretary-General reiterates the solidarity of the United Nations with the Government and people of Burkina Faso and the Sahelian countries in their efforts to counter and prevent terrorism and violent extremism, promote social cohesion and achieve sustainable development.

CLIMATE CHANGE
UNICEF today released a report which says that one billion children are at extremely high risk of the impacts of the climate crisis.
The report says that climate change threatens the health, education, and protection of children, particularly those in the Central African Republic, Chad, and Nigeria, among other countries.
The report ranks countries based on children’s exposure to climate and environmental shocks, such as cyclones and heatwaves, as well as their vulnerability to those shocks, based on their access to essential services.
UNICEF warns that the number of children at risk will likely increase as the impacts of climate accelerate and is calling on governments to increase investment in climate adaptation and resilience in key services for children.

MYANMAR
From Myanmar, our colleagues on the ground remain concerned over the dire humanitarian situation in the country. Armed conflict and insecurity since February 1st have led to the displacement of more than 210,000 people in various parts of the country. More than half the people have been displaced by conflict and violence in the south-eastern parts of the country. 
The humanitarian situation is compounded by the impact of monsoon flash floods, which have reportedly impacted more than 125,000 people across the country, as well as an ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases, which continues to exacerbate people’s vulnerabilities. 
The United Nations and our humanitarian partners are working to deliver life-saving assistance and protection services to a total of 3 million people affected by conflict, violence, natural hazards and food insecurity. These efforts, however, are hampered due to overall insecurity, access constraints, including road blockages, bureaucratic impediments, and COVID-19-related restrictions.
We call on all sides to facilitate safe and unimpeded access by humanitarian partners to all the people in need. The UN and humanitarian partners’ relief efforts are always guided by the internationally recognized principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence.

CENTRAL AMERICA
We, along with the Governments of El Salvador and Guatemala launched the Humanitarian Response Plans to address the critical needs of more than 2.5 million of the most vulnerable people in these countries.
The Plan for El Salvador responds to the needs of 912,000 people and is appealing for $156 million. The focus will be on addressing critical needs in areas prone to the impact of disasters and violence and restoring essential services and systems.
The Plan for Guatemala targets 1.7 million people and is appealing for $210 million. The response is focused on areas affected by hurricanes Eta and Iota, communities subject to recurring climate shocks, and areas with a high presence of people on the move.
More information on this is available on OCHA’s website.

AFGHANISTAN
The UN Development Programme in Afghanistan said today that they are alarmed that the current trajectory of conflict, uncertainty, drought and the pandemic could endanger fragile development gains, including the rights of Afghan women and girls. 
The unfolding humanitarian and development emergency, accelerated by paralysis of state institutions, could erase hard-won development progress over the past twenty years.
The UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said that the Afghan people need development and humanitarian support now more than ever, and we are committed to continue our efforts to address early recovery, the COVID-19 response, and prevent large scale displacement and vulnerabilities. UNDP says it is our moral imperative to stay and deliver, responding to these critical needs.

AFGHANISTAN REPORT
We’ve been asked by many of you about a report on Afghanistan that’s referenced in an article by the New York Times.
We can tell you that the source of the paper is a Norwegian non-governmental organization and not the United Nations. It is not a UN document.