Next week, as you know, the Secretary-General will be in Geneva, for the informal 5 + 1 meeting on the Cyprus issue. Those meetings will be held from the 27-29 April.
I wanted to confirm to you that François Fall, the UN Special Representative and head of the Office for Central Africa, has been representing the Secretary-General at the late President Déby’s state funeral today. He will stay on in N’Djamena for several days to initiate contacts and also to meet with a range of stakeholders to encourage national cohesion in these difficult times.
Our current focus remains on the de-escalation of tensions, on sustaining peace and preventing violence and instability.
We understand that the African Union Peace and Security Council met yesterday to consider the situation in Chad. We are working with them, as well as the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), to explore options on how best to support peace and stability in the country.
We are calling on all actors to remain calm and to refrain from any violence that could harm civilians and further complicate an already difficult situation.
Throughout this pivotal moment, the UN Resident Coordinator and the entire UN system in the country continue to support Chad on all issues related to development, peacebuilding and humanitarian response, in coordination with national and international partners.
We are advised by our colleagues in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that there are armed clashes that are still being reported in some areas, including around Abiy Adi in the central region of Tigray, restricting humanitarian movement and response. There are also critical water shortages in most parts of the region.
In response, humanitarian partners and the regional government have deployed 123 water trucks to several areas, including Mekelle and Shire, targeting some 280,000 people. An additional 285 water trucks are required over the next three months, based on recent needs assessments.
The Government has also reported the arrival of 75,000 newly displaced people in Shire over the past week. This brings the total number of internally displaced people in Shire to nearly half a million men, women and children. Most of the displaced are living with host communities. Others are in 15 displacement sites, most of which have reportedly not received any assistance over the past two to three months.
While there have been some improvements in humanitarian access in Tigray, we continue to call for safe, unimpeded and sustained access to scale up the humanitarian response to help all people in need. More funding is also urgently needed.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The UN Mission in the Central African Republic says that the Deputy Head of Mission, Denise Brown, met with the President of the National Electoral Authority in Bangui earlier this week. They discussed the 23 May legislative elections, including security-related issues.
Ms. Brown reiterated the Mission’s readiness to provide support to secure the polls and assume the responsibility for the deployment of electoral materials. Our Mission colleagues will bring this material from Bangui to the prefectures, and then to local offices of the national electoral authority. The Mission will also assist in the repatriation of the results, in line with the Mission’s mandate.
The UN team in Myanmar today reiterated its call for the protection of health facilities and health workers.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since 1 February, there have been 120 recorded attacks on healthcare facilities, resulting in 11 deaths and 48 injuries. This comprises three-quarters of all attacks on health care worldwide in the same period.
The UN team is also deeply concerned over the reported continued occupation by security forces of at least 38 health facilities across the country. Many of these sites have reported a drop in the number of people seeking, voluntarily, medical help.
At least 139 doctors, including highly specialized health personnel, believed to be participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement have reportedly been charged under the Myanmar Penal Code.
Our colleagues stress that hospitals are, and must remain, a place of sanctuary and neutrality so that patients seeking care and health professionals providing care are able to do so without fear or hesitation or any sort of harassment or imprisonment, and that these people and their facilities are safe at all times.
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
The first members of the UN Migration Agency’s emergency response team arrived in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines today to deliver essential shelter and emergency items to thousands of people who were forcibly displaced following the eruption of La Soufrière volcano.
The team will also provide technical guidance at shelters where more than 6,000 people now live. A shipment of approximately 1,200 hygiene kits and cleaning equipment will also arrive from Trinidad and Tobago in the next few hours.
GREEN INVESTMENT FORUM
Today, the Secretary-General spoke, via a pre-recorded video message, to the European Union-Africa Green Investment Forum. He said that, as the world works to address the pandemic and combat climate change, the Forum is an opportunity to strengthen partnerships and boost investment in Africa for the benefit of all.
He said that the two region’s agendas converge around financing a green transition and greater resilience and he underscored the need to accelerate investments in key areas such as coupling job creation with green technologies, creating incentives for industry to transition to green energy solutions, investing in adaptation and resilience, as well as investing in start-ups and providing risk guarantees for private investments.
Yesterday, we issued a statement on the situation in Pakistan, where we condemned the attack that had taken place at the Serena Hotel in Quetta on 21 April.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and he is actually in Goma today, in the east, where he met with people who have been displaced by violence in that area, especially in the northeast of the DRC.
Earlier this week, the High Commissioner travelled to the region bordering the Central African Republic. According to authorities, 92,000 refugees arrived there in the past four months, following post-election violence in the Central African Republic.
Mr. Grandi said that poor road conditions make delivering humanitarian assistance in this isolated area a huge challenge. He praised local villagers, who have shared their shelters and food with refugees.
As he concludes his three-day visit in the country, Mr. Grandi is calling for stepped up international support and solidarity.
UNHCR’s 2021 appeal for the area is for $204.8 million, and it is only 16 per cent funded.
Today, Moldova has received its third shipment of COVAX vaccines. These doses will target the elderly, teachers, social workers, security officers and journalists. As of today, more than 100,000 people have received their first dose.
The number of COVID-19 infections among medical staff has dropped 75 per cent over the six weeks of the vaccine campaign.
Moldova is expected to receive another shipment from COVAX in two months.
In Mexico, the Pan-American Health Organization, says authorities yesterday received more than 1 million doses of vaccines to support the national vaccination campaign.
LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC/COVID-19
In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, our UN team there, led by the Resident Coordinator, Sara Sekkenes Tollefsen, continues to support the national COVID-19 prevention and vaccination campaigns.
WHO and UNICEF in Laos are working on communications campaigns, including on safe behaviour during the pandemic, which has reached millions of people so far.
Our team has also worked to ensure that migration occurs safely and that workers in the garment industry know how to prevent COVID-19 infections.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today released research showing that the world's smallholder farmers produce around a third of the world's food. According to FAO, five of every six farms in the world are smaller than two hectares. These farms operate only around 12 per cent of all agricultural land and produce roughly 35 per cent of the world's food.
FAO noted that the analysis highlights the importance of improved and harmonized data to obtain a more granular and accurate picture of agricultural activities for policymakers.
SENIOR PERSONNEL APPOINTMENTS
The Secretary-General is appointing Leonid Frolov of the Russian Federation as Executive Director of the Office of the UN Register of Damage caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (UNRoD).
He succeeds our friend Vladimir Goryayev of the Russian Federation, who retired in 2020. The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Goryayev’s leadership of the Register of Damage and his dedicated service to the United Nations for over three decades.
Mr. Frolov has served since 2017 as Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the State of Israel. He previously served in the Foreign Service of the Russian Federation since 1994. We welcome him.
Yesterday afternoon, we sent out a senior personnel appointment that said that Achim Steiner of Germany has been confirmed as Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for a further four-year term.
Achim, as you know, has championed sustainability, economic growth and equality, and has been a vocal advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals. We congratulate Achim and we are happy he will be with us for another four years.
Today is the World Book and Copyright Day. It is celebrated on April 23rd because that is the day on which William Shakespeare, and Miguel de Cervantes passed away – different years, same day.
Today is also English Language Day and Spanish Language Day.
Tomorrow is the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.
It is also the first day of a very important week, and that is World Immunization Week. With the theme ‘Vaccines bring us closer,’ the week this year will show how vaccination connects us to people, goals and moments that matter to us the most, helping to improve the health of everyone, everywhere throughout life.
Sunday is World Malaria Day, as well as International Delegate's Day.
We thank our friends in Barbados and Egypt for their contributions, taking us to 92 Member States which have paid in full.