HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
MONDAY, 22 MAY 2018
 
 
JOYCE MSUYA OF TANZANIA APPOINTED AS DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF U.N. ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME

  • The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Joyce Msuya of Tanzania as Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  She will succeed Ibrahim Thiaw of Mauritania, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his leadership and dedicated service during his tenure.
  • Ms. Msuya has since 2017 served as Adviser to the World Bank Vice President, East Asia and Pacific Region in Washington, D.C. She brings to the position more than 20 years of extensive experience in the field of international development, spanning corporate, strategy, operations, knowledge management and partnerships, with diverse assignments in Africa, Latin America and Asia. 

 

U.N. SUPPORTING DR CONGO WITH VACCINATIONS AGAINST EBOLA
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners are supporting the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo in preparing to vaccinate high-risk populations against Ebola.
  • Health workers operating in affected areas are being vaccinated today and community outreach has started to prepare for the ring vaccination.
  • The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator in the DRC, Kim Bolduc, was in Mbandaka today with the Minister of Health to witness the launching of the vaccination campaign.
  • More than 7,500 doses of the vaccine have been deployed to conduct vaccination in the northwestern Equator Province where 46 suspected, probable and confirmed Ebola cases and 26 deaths have been reported (as of May 18).
  • Most of the cases are in Bikoro, a remote rural town, while four confirmed cases are in Mbandaka, the provincial capital with a population of over 1 million people.
  • WHO has sent special vaccine carriers, which can keep their contents in sub-zero temperatures for up to a week, and has set up freezers to store the vaccines in Mbandaka and Bikoro.
  • The Organization is also deploying both Congolese and Guinean experts to build the capacities of local health workers.
  • WHO and partners need US$26 million for the Ebola Response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo over the next three months.
  • The UN Mission in the country, MONUSCO, is now operating flights between Mbandaka and Bikoro, setting up a logistics base at Mbandaka airport and supporting the establishment of the Emergency operation centre, with IT and communications support.

 

U.N. OFFICIAL CALLS ON SECURITY COUNCIL TO SUPPORT POLITICAL PROCESS IN LIBYA
  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Ghassan Salamé, briefed the Security Council this morning. He told Council members that National Conference meetings have spanned the country without a single security incident. Some points of consensus have begun to crystalize, he said, including a yearning for a united and sovereign nation and a belief that, to achieve this, the state must be more decentralized; an urgent need for a fairer distribution of public resources; a strong desire for unified state institutions; and a call for elections which can unite the country.
  • Mr. Salamé said this is why the advancement of the political process is so vital. At the core of the public mood is a strong desire of renewal of the political scene, the assertion of local power, and a return to a more normal life with more regular institutions. But he said that while elections must be held as soon as possible, the proper conditions must be in place. A new round of voter registration, prior commitment to accept the results, appropriate funds and strong security arrangements, are needed.
  • Mr. Salamé called for support from Council members, noting that when Libya hears conflicting messages, it only adds to division and gives opportunity to those seeking to derail the process.

 

SYRIA: U.N. WARNS HUMANITARIAN SITUATION INSIDE EASTERN GHOUTA REMAINS DIRE, CALLS FOR ACCESS
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that between 15 and 19 May, more than 4,400 of some 44,000 displaced people in collective sites in Rural Damascus reportedly returned to eastern Ghouta. They had been displaced since March when military operations resulted in mass displacement.
  • The humanitarian situation inside eastern Ghouta remains dire. Most of those in the area rely on humanitarian assistance for their basic needs, and the areas visited by the United Nations on 14 May showed widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure. Shelter interventions and other non-food humanitarian assistance are urgently needed to support returnees and those who did not leave eastern Ghouta.
  • The United Nations is providing support through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent but stands ready to deliver humanitarian assistance to eastern Ghouta as soon as access is granted by the Syrian authorities.
  • Also, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) says that the Yarmouk camp in Damascus lies today in runs, with hardly a single building that has not been destroyed or damaged. The fighting has been particularly intense in the last month or more. Almost all the Palestine refugees who were there have fled. This just points to the need for UNRWA’s emergency appeal for Syria to be funded.

 

HEAD OF JOINT AFRICAN-UNION AND U.N. MISSION IN DARFUR EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER RECENT CLASHES, CALLS FOR RESTRAINT
  • Yesterday, the Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, Jeremiah Mamabolo, concluded a two-day visit to oversee progress on the establishment of the Mission’s temporary operating base in Golo, in Jebel Marra.
  • Mr. Mamabolo expressed concern about the recent clashes between the Government of Sudan forces and Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid elements and urged both sides to exercise restraint and consider the impact of renewed fighting on vulnerable civilians. He urged all parties to resolve outstanding issues through dialogue and the peace process, adding that a political solution is the best way forward to satisfy the interests of the people of Darfur.

 

SOMALIA: U.N. SUPPORTING THOUSANDS AFFECTED BY TROPICAL CYCLONE SAGAR
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the Tropical Cyclone Sagar made landfall in Somalia and Djibouti this weekend resulting in heavy rainfall and dangerous flash flooding.  They estimate that tens of thousands of people have been impacted, with at least 16 deaths reported so far.
  • In Somalia, the UN and its partners are working with the Government to assist affected communities by providing food, water, sanitation supplies, health services and shelter. However, OCHA said that Somalia’s Humanitarian Response Plan remains significantly underfunded, and this may affect their capacity to deliver aid. In Mogadishu today, the UN and the Government launched an $80 million-dollar appeal to help people affected by the floods, this appeal is part of the broader $1.5 million appeal made earlier this year.
  • And in Djibouti, flash flooding caused by the cyclone has affected some 30,000 people, largely in Djibouti City and Balbala.
  • While no significant needs have been reported, the storm has damaged key infrastructure and increased the risk of environmental pollution. Djibouti remains on alert ahead of predictions of another weather system that could impact the country later this week.

 

OPIUM CULTIVATION IN AFGHANISTAN REACHED RECORD HIGH IN 2017 – U.N. SURVEY
  • In Afghanistan, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today released a survey which says that opium cultivation in the country reached a record high last year.
  • In 2017, an estimated 328,000 hectares of opium were cultivated, up 63 per cent compared with 201,000 hectares in 2016.
  • The agency warned this record opium production creates multiple challenges for Afghanistan, its neighbours and the many other countries that transit or destinations for Afghan opiates. It fuels instability, insurgency and increases funding to terrorist groups.
  • According to the report, opiates have also created an illegal economy that has permeated the rural society to the extent that many communities - not only farmers - have become dependent on the income from opium poppy to sustain their livelihoods. UNODC said reducing the Afghan opium production requires an international approach that targets the supply chain of opiates along all its stages, from source to destination.
  • Over the weekend, a statement was issued in which the Secretary-General condemned the attack that has been taking place in Jalalabad.

 

U.N. AND NEPAL SIGN AGREEMENT TO HELP VULNERABLE FARMERS ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE
  • The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Nepal today signed an agreement that will help vulnerable communities in the Karnali region protect their crops and livelihoods from climate change.
  • In recent years, Nepal’s food production has been affected by climate-related hazards, including droughts, landslides, floods and hailstorms. The agreement, will focus on training vulnerable farmers to diversify and strengthen their livelihoods over a four-year period. The project is being funded by a $9.5 million-dollar contribution from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Adaption Fund.

 

ON INTERNATIONAL DAY, U.N. HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY
  • Today is the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. In her message for the Day, the Executive Director of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay said the Day invites us to go beyond the acknowledgement of diversity and to recognize the benefits of cultural pluralism, regarded as an ethical and political principle of equal respect for cultural identities and traditions.

 

FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA, VANUATU AND VIET NAM PAY U.N. BUDGET DUES
  • Three new Member States are joining our Honour Roll today, having paid their budget dues in full: the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Vanuatu and Viet Nam, bringing it up to 98.