HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 22 JANUARY 2021

TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS  
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has entered into force today. This is the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty in more than twenty years.
In a video message issued early this morning, the Secretary-General said that the TPNW is an important step towards the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and a strong [demonstration] of support for multilateral approaches to nuclear disarmament.  
He commends the States that have ratified it and welcomes the instrumental role of civil society in advancing the Treaty’s negotiation and entry into force. The survivors of nuclear explosions and nuclear tests offered tragic testimonies and were a moral force behind the Treaty, he said. Entry into force is a tribute to their enduring advocacy.  
The Secretary-General looks forward to carrying out the functions assigned by the Treaty, including the preparations for the first Meeting of States Parties.   
Just to add that nuclear weapons pose growing dangers and the world needs urgent action to ensure their elimination and to prevent the catastrophic human and environmental consequences they would cause.  
The Secretary-General calls on all States to work together to realize this ambition to advance common security and collective safety.  
  
NEW START TREATY  
Also, on nuclear disarmament, I just wanted to make some comments relating to the latest developments surrounding the new START treaty. The Secretary-General welcomes the decision by the United States to seek a five-year extension of the “New START” treaty, as well as the Russian Federation’s reiteration that it also seeks a five-year extension. 
A five-year extension will not only maintain verifiable caps on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals, but it will also provide time to negotiate new nuclear arms control agreements to grapple with our increasingly complex international environment.  
The Secretary-General encourages both States to work quickly to complete the necessary procedures for “New START’s” extension before the 5 February expiration and move as soon as possible to negotiations on new arms control measures.  
 
MOZAMBIQUE AND SOUTHERN AFRICA 
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is supporting governments across the region to prepare for, and respond to, the approaching Tropical Cyclone Eloise. 
According to the World Meteorological Organization, the cyclone is expected to make landfall near Beira, in central Mozambique, early tomorrow, local time. As you will recall this is the same area that was hit by Cyclone Idai less than two years ago and the Secretary-General has visited Beira in July of 2019.
We are obviously concerned about the prospects of significant flooding, particularly in Mozambique, where rivers are already at alert levels and flooding has been reported in several locations ahead of Eloise's landfall. 
The Government of Mozambique is carrying out evacuations and we and our partners have deployed personnel and supplies in advance, to be ready to respond quickly. After landfall in Mozambique, the cyclone is expected to weaken but could bring heavy rains to neighbouring countries, including Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana. 
Humanitarian organizations in the region are already overstretched by ongoing operations, especially in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It is expected that more funding will be urgently needed. 

ETHIOPIA 
While we have been able to send some supplies, mainly to refugee camps, the assistance to date is insufficient in the face of the rapidly rising needs generated by the conflict.  
Constrained humanitarian access continues to limit much-needed aid to get to people in Tigray, nearly three months since the conflict began. This includes basic medical supplies. We urgently need blanket clearances to send more staff and supplies to Tigray, so that we can ramp up the response and ensure it is commensurate with the needs. 

MALI
The Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, ended his visit to Mali, where he took stock of recent political and security developments, and discussed progress made to implement the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, and the political transition currently underway in Mali.
In Bamako, alongside the Head of Mission, Mr. Annadif, Mr. Lacroix met with a number of Malian senior officials, including the President and Vice President of the transition, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the President of the National Transitional Council, all this with the aim of strengthening partnership between the UN and transitional authorities during this crucial period.
He also visited the new headquarters of the G5 Sahel Joint Force in Bamako, which was built by the UN Mission with financial support from the European Union. Mr. Lacroix also took part in a ceremony to honour the memory of peacekeepers killed in last week’s attacks.
He then also travelled to Timbuktu and Niafunké, where he was briefed by peacekeepers on the operations there. Mr. Lacroix also went to Menaka, before returning to Bamako, where he met with the President of the Regional Youth Council and civil society members. Mr. Lacroix welcomed efforts that are key to peace and security in Mali.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO 
The Humanitarian Coordinator there, David McLachlan-Karr, is condemning recent massacres, abductions and other human rights violations committed against civilians by armed combatants in North Kivu’s Beni Territory. 
In a statement, he said the situation is alarming and unacceptable. More than 150 people – most of them women and children - have died because of violent attacks between December 11th and January 10th. At least 100 people were kidnapped and injured over the same period. Looting of health facilities, natural resources, and burning down of homes have also been reported. 
Since November 2019, violence in Beni territory has increased and spread to the Irumu and Mambasa territories in the neighboring Ituri province. 
As of last week, more than 67,000 people have been displaced as a result of this violence. 
Humanitarian assistance is being provided but the needs are immense, and more funding is needed to scale up the response. 
 
SAHEL 
Sadly, a new grim milestone has been reached in the Sahel, which includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Niger. More than 2 million people have now been forced to flee violence and are displaced within the borders of their country.    
Needs are surging across the region where multiple crises are converging. 
The UN Refugee Agency said today the communities hosting the displaced have reached a breaking point. The humanitarian response is dangerously overstretched. UNHCR is urging the international community to redouble its support for the region. 
 
DARFUR 
The UN Refugee Agency and the UN Human Rights Office today expressed their concern over recent deadly intercommunal clashes in the region.
Of the more than 200 people that died, three of them were humanitarian workers. 
The UN Human Rights Office fears that the lack of security and chronic impunity in the region leaves it vulnerable to further serious violence.
UNHCR said the recent violence has forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes, including across the border into Chad.  
UNHCR is of course mobilizing resources. Some 3,500 Sudanese have arrived in Ouaddaï Province in eastern Chad. And they are living in four very remote locations that lack basic services or public infrastructure.  
UNHCR is rushing supplies to respond to their needs. Before this latest round of clashes, Chad was already hosting more than 360,000 Sudanese refugees.  

IRAQ 
Yesterday afternoon we strongly condemned the deadly double suicide bombing targeting civilians at a market in Baghdad.  
The Secretary-General appealed to the people of Iraq to reject any attempts to spread fear and violence aimed at undermining peace, stability and unity.
 
LIBYA 
The UN Support Mission in Libya announced the start of a one-week period for the submission of candidacies for the positions of a three-member Presidency Council, and of Prime Minister. That period ends on 28 January. 
The Mission also developed and released technical guidance and related forms for the submission of candidacies, in accordance with the eligibility criteria adopted by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in mid-November.  
Following the end of the nomination period, the UN Mission will convene the Political Dialogue Forum in Switzerland for the voting process from 1 to 5 February.  
 
PRESS BRIEFING MONDAY 
On Monday, at 11 a.m., there will be a virtual press briefing here by Elliot Harris, the Chief Economist and Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development. He will brief on the launch of the latest World Economic Situation and Prospects report. On Monday, the Secretary-General’s three major remarks will be to the Davos Forum, the Adaptation Summit hosted by the Netherlands and in the evening he will partake in the annual Holocaust Remembrance ceremony in the Park Avenue East Synagogue.

HONOUR ROLL 
Four more Member States have joined the Honour Roll, taking it to a healthy 16. They are Bulgaria, Ireland, Nauru and Singapore.