HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY ERI KANEKO,
ASSOCIATE SPOKESWOMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 23 AUGUST 2019
The Secretary-General will depart this evening for a three-country trip that will take him to France, Japan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
His first stop will be France, where he will attend the G7 Summit in Biarritz, where he will participate in sessions on climate biodiversity and oceans, on fighting against inequalities and on the partnership with Africa and the Sahel. He will also hold bilateral meetings with world leaders on the sidelines of the G7 Summit.
The Secretary-General will then travel to Yokohama, Japan, on the evening of Tuesday, 27 August, to participate in the 7th Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD).
There, he will speak at the opening session, a special conference on peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and the neighbouring region, and a thematic session on climate change and disaster risk reduction. He will also meet with the Japanese Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, as well as with other leaders attending the Summit.
Then on Saturday, 31 August, the Secretary-General will arrive in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a three-day visit to take stock of and mobilize additional support for the response to the Ebola outbreak.
In the province of North Kivu, he will meet with Ebola survivors and health workers during a visit to an Ebola Treatment Center and also assess the implementation, by the UN peacekeeping mission there (MONUSCO) and its Intervention Brigade, of its mandate to protect civilians and support the authorities of the DRC to consolidate peace and stabilize the country.
In Kinshasa, the Secretary-General will meet with the President of the DRC, other senior government officials, members of the opposition and representatives from civil society organizations.
He will be back in New York on 3 September.
In a briefing to the Security Council yesterday afternoon, the head of the Office for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, warned Member States that the recent collapse of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty removed one of the few constraints on the development and deployment of a destabilizing and dangerous classes of missiles.
She added that the end of the INF Treaty should not be the catalyst for renewed and unconstrained competition in missile development, acquisition and proliferation.
In her remarks, Ms. Nakamitsu echoed the Secretary-General’s call for all States to avoid destabilizing developments and to urgently seek agreement on a new common path for international arms control.
Increased attention by the Security Council to these challenges could give impetus to these efforts, she concluded.
In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Secretary-General welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda. The agreement, signed in Angola on 21 August, aims to normalize bilateral relations between the two countries.
The Secretary-General encourages the parties to implement the agreement in good faith, with a view to restoring friendly relations and cooperation between the two neighbouring states, in the interest of peace, stability and sustainable development in the region.
The Secretary-General also recognized the important role of the Presidents of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in facilitating the signing of the Memorandum.
The Secretary-General stands ready to support the momentum generated through this and other initiatives to advance peace, cooperation and integration in the region.
On Sudan, since the beginning of July, Sudan has been hit by heavy rains and flash floods that have affected close to 194,000 people.
As of today, 54 people are reported to have died, mainly because of collapsed roofs and electrocution.
More than 37,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged in 15 of of the country’s 18 states.
Critical infrastructures such as water points, schools and latrines have been damaged and some roads have become impassable, cutting off entire villages and communities, especially in the worst-affected state of White Nile.
With the rainy season expected to last until October, and more rainfall in the forecast, our humanitarian colleagues say affected people urgently need emergency shelter, food, health services and clean water and sanitation.
Central African Republic
The World Food Program (WFP) called for additional funding to respond humanitarian needs in Central African Republic (C.A.R.).
Almost 3 million people require humanitarian assistance in the country ranking it the third largest humanitarian crisis in the world, after Yemen and Syria.
According to the agency, more than 600,000 people are displaced and more 500,000 fled to neighbouring countries.
The expansion of WFP’s response will include scaling up its general food distributions and nutrition activities to include targeting children aged between 0-5 and also pregnant and lactating mothers in order to tackle childhood malnutrition at its source.
This means that a further USD 35.5 million is needed by the end of this year 2019 to achieve WFP's target of more than doubling its support across the C.A.R. by December 2020.
Today, UNICEF said that more than 1.9 million children have been forced out of school in West and Central Africa due to an upsurge in attacks and threats of violence against education across the region.
According to a new report, as of June 2019, 9,272 schools were closed in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger and Nigeria as a result of insecurity, tripling the number recorded at the end of 2017.
This report warns that deliberate targeting of schools, students and teachers is sweeping across the region, denying children their right to learn, and leaving them, and their communities, in fear for their lives and futures.
The full report is online.
There is an update today on Mediterranean arrivals from the International Organization for Migration.
According to IOM, over 45,500 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea since the beginning of the year. This represents about a 30% decrease from the nearly 65,000 that arrived in Europe in the same period last year.
In 2019, most of the migrants and refugees landed in Greece and Spain, with smaller number of people arriving in Italy, Malta and Cyprus. The number of deaths at sea has also decreased compared to the same period a year ago.
859 people have died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean, compared to 1,558 last year.
IOM warns that the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher, because of the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths.
More information is available online
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
Today is International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), this observance is intended to inscribe the tragedy of the slave trade in the memory of all peoples.
The Secretary-General said the transatlantic slave trade is one of the most appalling manifestations of human barbarity.
On his Twitter account he recalled that more than 15 million people were victims of this despicable crime for over 400 years.
The Secretary-General also highlighted that their memory must be honoured and the fight against racism and prejudice must be continued.