HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY ERI KANEKO
 
ASSOCIATE SPOKESWOMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
 
WEDNESDAY, 22 JANUARY 2020
 

SG PRIORITIES
This morning, the Secretary-General briefed the General Assembly on his priorities for the year. He identified four looming threats that can endanger progress and jeopardize our future: the highest global geostrategic tensions in years; the climate crisis, global mistrust and the downsides of new technologies.
The Secretary-General said these four 21st-century challenges require 21st-century solutions. First, he stressed the role of prevention, mediation and peacekeeping to address geopolitical tensions. Second, he called on the main emitters to lead the way and step up ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. Third, to address global mistrust, the Secretary-General said that countries must build a fair globalization and he highlighted the importance of women fully participating in all aspects of society including decision-making.
Finally, he said that we must steer technology for positive change and promote global digital cooperation, noting that the UN is a tailor-made platform for governments, business and civil society to come together to build agile and flexible regulatory frameworks.
The Secretary-General also launched the Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals and stressed that this was the time to listen to people and urgently act for better future for all.
 
TRIP ANNOUNCEMENT
The Secretary-General will take part in this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Tomorrow afternoon, he will deliver a special address on the State of the World on Thursday afternoon.
On Friday, the Secretary-General will take part in a UN75 event in which he will ask young global shapers for their solutions to global challenges. This event will be livestreamed.
The Secretary-General will also attend the launch of a Global Compact scheme to bolster ambition to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
He will also hold bilateral meetings with world leaders on the margins of the World Economic Forum.
 
SYRIA
The UN remains deeply concerned about the safety of over 3 million civilians in Idleb and the surrounding areas in the northwest, amid growing hostilities over the past week.
Airstrikes and shelling reportedly continue to affect communities in western Aleppo and various parts of southern Idleb and northern Hama, with dozens of civilian casualties reported in recent days, including many women and children.
According to the UN Human Rights Office, more than1,500 civilians in northwest Syria have been killed since April, including over 430 children and 290 women. An estimated 358,000 people have been displaced in Idleb over the last two months alone.
The UN continues to urge all parties, and those with influence over them, to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law.
 
LEBANON

In a statement yesterday evening, the Secretary-General welcomed the announcement of the formation of a new Government in Lebanon. He looks forward to working with Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the incoming Council of Ministers, including in support of Lebanon’s reform agenda and to address the pressing needs of its people.
The Secretary-General reiterated the United Nations commitment to support Lebanon’s strengthening of its sovereignty, stability and political independence.
 
LIBYA
The Secretary-General spoke to reporters yesterday afternoon after he briefed the Security Council in closed consultations on Libya.
He called the Berlin Conference, held on Sunday, a “major step,” but he also stressed that it was just the beginning.
The Secretary-General noted that there is a truce, but he underscored the need to move to a ceasefire and then to a real political process. For that, the Secretary-General said, the pressure of the international community, including the Security Council, is essential.
 
DRC
Protecting civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Beni territory requires a comprehensive response, involving all components of the peacekeeping mission, the UN Country Team, as well as external partners. 
This is the main conclusion of an Independent assessment, led by Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, and requested by the Department of Peace Operations to evaluate MONUSCO’s response to the high number of attacks against civilians and Ebola response workers in eastern DRC.
Beyond improved coordination related to military operations, the assessment recommended the development of a comprehensive, joint strategy between the Government and the peacekeeping mission, including at the political level, to address insecurity in the Beni area. 
The Department of Peace Operations is developing an Action Plan to implement the key recommendations of the assessment.  
 
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
On the Central African Republic, the humanitarian situation has continued to deteriorate due to conflict and recent natural disasters that have also affected the capital, Bangui.
The country is experiencing a dire and complex humanitarian crisis and half of the population, 2.6 million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. 
Yesterday, the Government, the UN and humanitarian partners launched the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan, targeting 1.6 million people and requesting $401 million.
The Plan aims to address physical and mental well-being needs, living conditions and protection of the most vulnerable, where civilians continue to bear the brunt of the crisis.
In 2019, the UN and humanitarian partners raised $300.3 million and helped more than 1.1 million people within the Humanitarian Response Plan framework.

CORONAVIRUS
In Geneva, the World Health Organization’s Director General, Dr Tedros, has convened an Emergency Committee to determine whether the Coronavirus outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage it.
[WHO said this meeting will continue tomorrow.]
 
APPOINTMENT
The Secretary-General has appointed Lt. Gen. Daniel Sidiki Traoré of Burkina Faso as the Force Commander of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, or MINUSCA.
Lt. Gen. Traoré succeeds Lt. Gen. Balla Keita of Senegal, who will complete his assignment on 29 February. The Secretary-General is grateful for his tireless dedication, invaluable service and effective leadership.
As the current Military Adviser to the Chief of General Defence Staff of Burkina Faso, Lt. Gen. Traoré had a distinguished career since joining the Army of Burkina Faso in 1977.  He also has extensive Peacekeeping experience.
 
HONOUR ROLL
Eight more Member States have paid their regular budget dues in full – Bahrain, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Nepal and Singapore. That takes the total to 22.