HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
MONDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER 2020
U.N. AT 75
At the ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN, the Secretary-General – there in person - highlighted some of the Organization’s accomplishments. Never in modern history have we gone so many years without a military confrontation between the major powers, he said.
Most recently, he added, unanimous support for the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement provided an inspiring vision for the 21st century.
But, today, the Secretary-General said, we have a surplus of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions. He welcomed the General Assembly’s 75th anniversary Declaration and highlighted that the more than one million people who participated in the global conversation this year expressed how they see the United Nations as a vehicle to make the world a better place.
He called for a networked multilateralism, in which the UN family, international financial institutions, regional organizations, trading blocs and others work together more closely and more effectively.
The Secretary-General concluded by saluting all staff, past and present, for their dedication in bringing the ideals of the United Nations to life.
And a quick note to add that the UN75 Report, launched today, is also available online
WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and their partners today launched the FOCUS-Africa – an $8.2 million initiative funded by the European Commission to increase resilience and adaptation in Southern Africa over the next four years.
FOCUS will deliver tailored climate services in four key sectors: agriculture and food security, water, energy and infrastructure.
The project, which embraces about 10 partners from Africa and 10 from Europe, will benefit not just African countries but the European consortium partners who will enhance their scientific knowledge and climate know-how.
In Malawi, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres Macho, continues to work to save lives and livelihoods.
On the health front, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided storage for medical and personal protective equipment supplies, while the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is working with universities on a contact tracing mobile app to map outbreaks and hotspots.
The UN team is reaching more than 2 million people through communications campaigns and community engagement. The UNDP has created more than 4,000 campaign products in braille and the UN has also produced a COVID-19 prevention song in local languages to reach a wider and younger audience.
For its part, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) helped spread prevention messages through community theatre and broadcast media. Ahead of schools reopening, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is working to prevent sexual and gender-based violence, while UN Women is providing bicycles and sanitary supplies to vulnerable women and girls.
Our colleagues in the UN Development Coordination Office (DCO) tell us that we have two new UN Resident Coordinators. One in Angola and the other in Sierra Leone. These appointments follow the confirmations by their respective host Governments.
The Secretary-General appointed Zahira Virani of Canada as the new Resident Coordinator in Angola, while Babatunde Ahonsi of Nigeria will serve as the new Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone.
They will work to enhance coordination among UN entities to support national and local efforts to tackle and recover better from COVID-19 and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
We remain with full gender parity among all our Resident Coordinators covering 162 countries and territories.
The UN Sustainable Development Group website has all details.
In Mali, we take note of the nomination of a President and Vice-President for the Transition by the CNSP. We understand that ECOWAS is expected to meet on this issue tomorrow and we continue to monitor the situation closely.
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) continues to implement its mandate as well as [its support] to national and local authorities to the fight the COVID-19 virus.
Over the weekend, in the town of Gao, members of the UN Police conducted a joint patrol with Malian security forces. The patrol was focused on increasing "community policing", which aims to bring the police closer to the populations and acts as an opportunity to exchange information to better understand their security concerns.
In addition to joint patrols, the UN Mission continuous to provide technical and material support for the Malian security forces. For example, the UN Mission recently rehabilitated the Gao Police Station as part of its support through the peace and security trust fund for Mali.
I am delighted to say thank you to our friends in Eswatini. They have come on our list of fully paid-up Member States. We are now at 118 members.