Today is World Refugee Day. We mark it first by acknowledging the sobering fact that close to 70.8 million people around the world are fleeing war, persecution and conflict. This is the highest level UNHCR has seen in its almost 70 years of existence.
In his message to mark the day, the Secretary-General “recognized the humanity of countries that host refugees, even as they struggle with their own economic challenges and security concerns.
But he also reiterated his call to the international community to work towards political solutions to end the conflicts that are fueling this crisis. “What refugees need most is peace,” he said.
This year, to show solidarity with refugees, UNHCR is inviting people around the world to take a “Step With Refugees” to honour their resilience. Every year, refugees walk over 2 billion kilometres to safety, according to the UN refugee agency.
One of the various events to mark the Day is a social media takeover of the Youth Envoy accounts by a young Syrian refugee who now lives in Za’atari camp, in Jordan.
This morning a statement was issued in which the Secretary-General welcomed the Comprehensive Development Plan that translates the efforts spearheaded by Mexico to respond to the fundamental causes of human mobility coming from Central America and to guarantee access to asylum for those in need of international protection in close collaboration with the governments of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The Secretary General expressed his appreciation for the invitation that the government of Mexico has extended for agencies, funds and programmes to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Development Plan elaborated together with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean known, as ECLAC, as well as humanitarian and protection responses.
The United Nations reiterated its commitment to support the coordinated action of all agencies, funds and programmes to ensure the implementation of the Plan in close collaboration with the four countries involved.
This morning, the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed spoke at the African Centre for Strategic Studies Emerging Security Sector Leaders’ Seminar.
She told participants that Africa’s conflicts today are unconventional, involve a wide range of non-state actors, and affect huge civilian populations – especially women, children and the elderly.
She stressed that only by focusing on human security can we achieve the ‘people-centred’ vision of the “Africa We Want” and to ‘leave no one behind,’ she said. For this, she noted that it is essential to develop a shared vision between host governments, national and international partners, jointly identifying the key needs and objectives to consolidate peace gains and prevent a relapse into conflict.
She also reiterated the UN’s readiness and commitment as a strategic partner and ally, to support Africa’s efforts at national and regional levels to prevent conflict and tackle existing ones.
Nickolay Mladenov, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, briefed the Council today and said that the expansion of Israeli settlements has no legal effect and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, as stated in Security Council resolution 2334. It must cease immediately and completely, he said.
The Special Coordinator reported on what he called a very dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza, and continued violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. He reiterated his deep concern for the continuing economic crisis in Gaza, saying that it is crucial that the current calm be sustained in order to gradually introduce longer-term projects that will support Gaza’s development.
On its own, he said, no amount of humanitarian or economic support will resolve the conflict. That requires a political solution.
This year, there are twice as many people who are food insecure as there were last year in the country, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Some 2.6 million people are estimated to be food insecure, including 571,000 in “emergency phase”.
This increase in food insecurity is due in part to two important factors: the signiﬁcant deterioration of the economic situation and a reduction in agricultural production brought on by dry spells.
The situation is expected to worsen in the coming months.
With the hurricane season from June to November, humanitarian and development organizations are supporting the authorities prepare the country for the hurricane season. However, they note that more resources are needed to prepare adequately.
The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Haiti requires $126 million to meet the urgent needs of the 1.3 million most vulnerable but it is only 11 per cent funded.
This afternoon, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., the 2019 United Nations Population Award ceremony will be held in the ECOSOC Chamber. The National Peace Hut Women of Liberia is the institutional laureate for the award this year, and Mamadou Tangara, Gambia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, is the award’s individual laureate.
NOON BRIEFING GUEST TOMORROW
Tomorrow the noon briefing guest will be Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). He will brief ahead of the annual UNRWA Pledging Conference, which takes place at UN Headquarters on June 25th.
Tomorrow is International Day of Yoga and there will be an event this evening at 5:30 p.m. in the North Lawn entitled ‘Yoga with Gurus’, organized by the Permanent Mission of India and the Department of Global Communications. The Deputy Secretary-General will speak at the event.