HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 20 MARCH 2019
The Secretary-General arrived in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, early this morning.
He met with President Mauricio Macri, congratulating Argentina for successfully hosting the Second High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation and commending the Government’s leadership concerning other UN global priorities, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Secretary-General addressed the opening of the Conference, saying that the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, which resulted from the landmark international conference on South-South cooperation 40 years ago, has transformed the dynamics of international cooperation.
He stressed that South-South cooperation can provide solutions to several issues central to combating climate change and promoting sustainable development, including rising inequality; infrastructure and energy; and gender.
The Secretary-General also met with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera this morning.
He will arrive back here in New York early tomorrow morning.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL’S TRAVELS
Tonight, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, to attend the opening of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regional Forum for Sustainable Development and meet with UN Resident Coordinators in the region. While in Geneva, she will also brief Member States, participate in an Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, convene a Principals’ discussion on the Sustainable Developemt Goal 3 Global Action Plan and visit UNAIDS.
On Friday, the Deputy Secretary-General will proceed to Marrakesh, Morocco, to attend the 20th session of the Africa Regional Coordination Mechanism meeting, and the Ministerial Segment of the United Nations Economic Commission Annual Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. She will also meet with UN Resident Coordinators in Africa and senior Government officials.
On 25 March, she will fly to Bangkok, Thailand, to attend the Asia Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism meeting and the Sixth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development and she will meet with UN Resident Coordinators from the region. She will also meet with senior United Nations and Government officials.
The Deputy Secretary-General will return to New York on 29 March.
Our humanitarian colleagues report that the UN’s humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, yesterday allocated US$20 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to complement the efforts of the governments of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi to provide assistance to communities affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai.
The bulk of the funding will kickstart the response in worst-hit Mozambique. Mr. Lowcock noted that the allocation would be insufficient to respond to the expected rise in the level of need, and urged donors to contribute to the response.
In Mozambique, according to the Government, at least 202 people are confirmed dead following Cyclone Idai’s landfall; the death toll is expected to rise. An estimated 260,000 children have reportedly been affected, according to UNICEF.
The main roads into and out of Beira remain impassable due to flood waters and extensive damage to the road network.
The World Food Programme (WFP) continues to airlift high-energy biscuits and other vital supplies, while Emergency Telecommunication partners have deployed to support the humanitarian community in the affected areas. Yesterday, shelter kits and family tents arrived in Mozambique to shelter up to 38,000 people.
In Malawi, nearly 840,000 people have been affected by the floods. Close to 94,000 people are displaced and sheltering in displacement sites.
In Zimbabwe, at least 102 deaths and over 200 injuries have been reported, and more than 200 people are reportedly still missing. Relief trucks carrying shelter, non-food items and water and sanitation supplies have arrived, and distribution is underway in some areas. WFP has pre-positioned food stocks ready to deploy and other agencies are mobilising stocks, particularly for health and water and sanitation interventions.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has more information on the humanitarian response.
This morning, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, Ghassan Salamé, briefed the Security Council via video teleconference on the situation in that country.
Mr. Salamé told the Council that the National Conference will be held from 14 to 16 April inside Libya, adding that the Conference represents a critical opportunity to end the country’s eight-year long transitional period.
Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, as of yesterday, nearly 123,000 people were affected by flooding caused by heavy rains earlier this month in Afghanistan.
Dozens of people have been killed or injured.
The United Nations and our humanitarian partners are helping the Government-led relief efforts, providing emergency health kits, food, emergency shelter, non-food items and hygiene kits.
The Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan needs $611.8 million to help 4.5 million people in 2019 and is currently only 4 percent funded.
DEMOCRACTIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Just to let you know that the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, the UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, and the Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, El Hadj As Sy, concluded today their joint mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The delegation, along with the country's Health Minister, visited a site for internally displaced people in Bunia, Orientale province, where thousands of families sought refuge from violence. They also visited child protection projects run by UNICEF.
Mr. Lowcock and Mr. Sy went to another displacement site where Red Cross personnel are conducting community information campaigns on Ebola, before visiting an IFRC-managed Ebola center.
An estimated 12.8 million people are in need of assistance in the country.
The Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, acknowledged today’s final appeal judgement by the Hague Branch of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, largely upholding the verdict issued in 2016 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) against Radovan Karadzic and increasing his sentence from 40 years to life imprisonment.
Special Adviser Dieng underlined that this appeal judgement confirms that accountability rather than impunity will prevail. Justice alone, however, will not bring genuine reconciliation to communities divided by violence, and it cannot be imposed from the outside.
During his visit to the region in February, Mr. Dieng consistently underscored that “genocide denial is a direct barrier to reconciliation.”