HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2018

 

DSG
In China, the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed spoke to students at Tsinghua University on climate change. She told them young people’s ideas and innovations are key to ensure a more sustainable future and urged them to help accelerate climate action. She said that the Paris Agreement was a great start for countries to commit to lower their emissions but added that the Agreement’s full potential has yet to fully unleashed and this can only be done if countries raise their ambitions and implements their own national contributions. “I am counting on young people like yourselves to hold leaders and decision-makers accountable to ensure a secure future for yourselves and future generations,” she told students.
 
YEMEN
The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, is in Sana’a today and will be in Hodeidah tomorrow.
He seeks to finalise the arrangements in the lead-up to the talks in Sweden, to revisit a UN supervisory role for the port, and to draw attention to the continued need for a pause to the fighting.
 
SYRIA
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs remains deeply concerned by reports of hostilities throughout northwest Syria, including in areas believed to be in or near the demilitarized zone, that are affecting the protection and safety of civilians. 
Clashes in several areas between Syrian Government forces and non-state armed groups have reportedly resulted in several civilian casualties, as well as temporary displacement. This includes reports of fighting in southern rural Aleppo governorate, and shelling in northern Aleppo, eastern and Southern Idlib, as well as in northern Hama governorate.
With three million women, children and men in Idlib and surrounding areas at risk, an escalation of hostilities in northwest Syria must be averted at all costs. Failure to do so will bring about humanitarian suffering at a scale not yet seen in the conflict.
The United Nations continues to urge all parties to respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law, to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to exercise restraint.
 
AFGHANISTAN
A statement was issued yesterday in which the Secretary-General strongly condemned yesterday’s attack targeting Afghans gathered in Kabul to celebrate a day of special religious significance. 
The Secretary-General said that the deliberate targeting of civilians is a clear violation of international humanitarian law and that every effort should be made to bring perpetrators to justice.
 
LIBYA
The Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Maria Ribeiro, has expressed regret over the turn of events in the port of Misrata, Libya, where 79 refugees and migrants who had remained onboard a commercial vessel since 10 November were yesterday forced to disembark.
Refugees and migrants on board included Ethiopian, Eritrean, South Sudanese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Somali nationals. Some of those onboard were reportedly injured during the forced disembarkation and transferred to the public hospital.
In a statement, Ms. Ribeiro said since the onset of the impasse, the humanitarian community has provided assistance daily to alleviate the suffering of the people onboard the vessel and has strongly advocated for a peaceful solution to the situation, including with the refugees and migrants themselves.
The Humanitarian Coordinator called for alternatives to detention to be implemented in Libya, for the transfer of individuals from disembarkation points to appropriate reception facilities for assistance and screening, and for continued humanitarian access to all the individuals forcefully disembarked.
 
CAMEROON
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that urgent humanitarian concerns remain in Cameroon, with at least 437,000 people currently displaced in the South-West, the North-West and in neighboring departments due to hostilities between armed groups and security forces.
The humanitarian presence and response is slowly increasing in the affected areas, with priority given to the South-West region , with 246,000 internally displaced people. OCHA has strengthened its capacity in Cameroon, while other UN humanitarian agencies are establishing a presence in the two regions. 
OCHA says insecurity is affecting access to populations in these areas, adding that the response is also limited by a shortage of funding.
The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Cameroon -- seeking $320 million -- is underfunded at less than 37 percent, while a response plan requesting US$15 million to urgently address the needs of 160,000 people has only received a $5 million rapid response grant from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
 
TV DAY
Today is World Television Day, which celebrates not the tool, but rather the philosophy which it represents. Television represents a symbol for communication and globalization in the contemporary world. TV also has an important impact on the process of decision-making and is a major tool in informing, channeling and affecting public opinion.