HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2020

 
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
This morning, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the Central African Republic and Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission there, Mankeur Ndiaye, briefed members of the Security Council.
He stressed that this is a crucial year for the country as its citizens will head to the polls in December and said that the Government remains in place despite many difficulties. There has also been a clear reduction in violence against civilians and the disarmament process continues in the West of the country.
However, he warned that armed groups continue expand their areas of influence and he reiterated the determination of the Peacekeeping Mission to fulfill its mandate and protect civilians. Mr. Ndiaye also urged the international community to provide technical, logistical and financial support to the election process.
 
SYRIA
The UN remains very alarmed about the safety and protection of over three million civilians in Idlib and its surrounding areas in northwestern Syria, as reports of airstrikes and shelling continue to take a heavy toll on the civilian population.
There was no respite for families in Idlib and Aleppo in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, at least 15 communities were reported hit by airstrikes, and 11 communities were reportedly struck by shelling.
Most markets have been closed and supply routes are disrupted due to the hostilities.
A massive cross-border operation in the northwest of the country is currently underway to assist civilians as needs are growing. A total of 1,227 trucks of humanitarian assistance crossed from Turkey through Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam cross-border checks last month compared to 928 trucks in December.
This is the largest amount of aid the United Nations has sent across the Syrian-Turkish border in any month since the operation was authorized in 2014.
Nearly 900 trucks carried food assistance that will help 1.4 million people. Other trucks carried health supplies for almost half a million people, and non-food items for more than 230,000 people.
 
PEACEBUILDING
At 3p.m. today, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, will address members of the Peacebuilding Commission to discuss the 2020 review of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture.
She is expected to stress that the review of the peacebuilding architecture is a critical opportunity as the reform of the United Nations unfolds. Accelerating transitions out of crises is a key part of the picture, she is expected to say, and effective United Nations support for transitions is crucial.
 
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL
Tomorrow, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, will head to Zimbabwe to participate in the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development. The Deputy Secretary-General will also meet with Government officials and United Nations colleagues working in the country as well as regional offices, with a focus on ensuring a robust collective response in Africa to support the Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals.    
She will be back in New York on 27 February.
 
SOUTH SUDAN
About 6.5 million people in South Sudan – that’s more than half of the country’s population - could be in acute food insecurity at the height of this hunger season, which is traditionally May to July, that’s according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Children's Fund and the World Food Programme.
The three agencies warned that the situation is particularly worrying in the hardest hit areas by the 2019 floods, where food security has deteriorated significantly since last June. Hunger is projected progressively worsen between now and July, mainly in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Warrap and Northern Bar el-Ghazal, with over 1.7 million people facing an emergency level of food insecurity due to the impacts of devastating floods and low level of food production.
The three agencies are helping to deliver emergency livelihood support. This year, FAO will distribute seeds, farming tools, fishing and vegetable kits, and provide cash assistance to people most in need. UNICEF is focusing on treating malnourished children and intensifying prevention efforts. WFP will assist some 5 million people, providing life-saving food to the most vulnerable.
 
RESIDENT COORDINATORS
The UN Development Coordination Office announced new Resident Coordinators in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Namibia and Tajikistan. These appointments follow confirmations from the respective Governments.
Ingrid Macdonald of Australia will serve as the UN Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sen Pang of China will serve in the Republic of Namibia and Sezin Sinanoglou of Turkey will be the new Resident Coordinator in the Republic of Tajikistan.
Resident Coordinators seek to boost the development coordination among UN agencies, funds and programmes, which, as you know, is fundamental to support countries in this Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
We are also pleased that we continue to have full gender parity among all our Resident Coordinators, covering 162 countries and territories.