HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 23 JANUARY 2020

 
MYANMAR
First off, I’ve been getting questions and I can say that the Secretary-General welcomes the Order of the International Court of Justice, indicating provisional measures in the case of The Gambia against Myanmar on the alleged breaches of the Genocide Convention.
The Secretary-General strongly supports the use of peaceful means to settle international disputes.
He further recalls that, pursuant to the Charter and to the Statute of the Court, decisions of the Court are binding. He trusts that Myanmar will duly comply with the Court’s Order.
In accordance with the Statute of the Court, the Secretary-General will promptly transmit the notice of the provisional measures ordered by the Court to the Security Council.
 
SECRETARY-GENERAL IN DAVOS
The Secretary-General is delivering his special address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Secretary-General arrived in Davos today to attend the annual World Economic Forum.
Earlier, he participated in the informal gathering of World Economic Leaders, where he was joined by a number of world leaders. He focused his remarks at the closed-door meeting on how to bring about a cohesive and sustainable world.
The Secretary-General then dropped by a lunch organised by the UN Global Compact. He told the attendees to be not just business leaders, but also leaders in society for essential values. He encouraged them to put pressure on their governments to price carbon, embed climate risk and implement policies of inclusion. 
If we are going to solve the global challenges, he said, we need to make multilateralism, including the UN, more inclusive and open to the private sector, civil society, youth groups and local governments.
Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will meet with a group of young global leaders to hear their thoughts and ideas about the UN and its future as we mark our 75th anniversary. He’s also expected to have a number of bilateral meetings.
The Secretary-General will be back in New York on Friday.
On Saturday, he will attend a special service at Park East Synagogue to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
 
YEMEN
The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is deeply alarmed by the latest round of violence in Yemen, which resulted in the death of many innocent civilians.
Mr. Griffiths has been in contact with the parties, reiterating his call for de-escalation.
In a statement issued yesterday, Mr. Griffiths called on the parties involved to take all necessary measures to de-escalate all military activities, including movement of troops, airstrikes, missile and drone attacks.
He calls on the parties to adhere to the implementation of the initiatives they have undertaken to de-escalate and to further enhance these initiatives. Reduction of violence is crucial for sustaining the progress made so far on de-escalation.
He said, “We all have to work towards advancing the peace process, not setting it backwards. Yemen has suffered enough.”
 
ABYEI
The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) reports that a group of armed members of the Misseriya community attacked a Dinka community in the Kolom area, north-west of Abyei town, yesterday, killing at least 32 people, including women and children, and wounding dozens. Three children are also reportedly missing.
Five people were apprehended by peacekeepers after the attack, and the Mission continues to patrol the area and investigate the incident.
A similar attack occurred on 19 January in the same area, in which three people were killed.   The Mission says that, prior to that attack, it had been engaging with the Dinka and Misseriya communities to discuss how to prevent tensions and conflict, and afterwards, and met with Misseriya leaders to de-escalate tensions and prevent retaliatory attacks.
The Mission also increased its efforts to protect civilians after 19 January to prevent further attacks.
 
EAST AFRICA
The UN’s Humanitarian Chief, Mark Lowcock, has released $10 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help scale up the response to the devastating desert locust outbreak in East Africa.
This outbreak is affecting the Horn of Africa, Southwest Asia and the Red Sea. It is the worst of its kind in 25 years for Ethiopia and Somalia and the worst Kenya has seen in 70 years. Crops are being wiped out in communities that were already facing food shortages.
The outbreak is exacerbating the impacts of climate change already being felt in this region.
The allocation will go to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and will fund an increase in pesticide aerial spraying operations.
Mr. Lowcock said that we must act now, noting that, if left unchecked, this outbreak has the potential to spill over into more countries in East Africa with horrendous consequences. A swift and determined response to contain it is essential, he has stressed.
 
SOMALIA
On Somalia, the UN, the Somali Government and humanitarian partners have launched the 2020 Humanitarian Response (HRP) in Mogadishu, calling for $1 billion to provide life-saving assistance and livelihood support to 3 million people, nearly half of whom are internally displaced.
The Plan says that some 5.2 million people need humanitarian assistance, including 1.7 million people displaced by conflict, insecurity, forced evictions, droughts, and floods.
Our humanitarian colleagues say that Somalia is one of the most complex longstanding humanitarian crises in the world. Climatic shocks, coupled with conflict, widespread poverty and protracted vulnerability, have exacerbated the situation.
 
REPUBLIC OF CONGO
About 170,000 people across the Republic of Congo – that’s Congo-Brazzaville – have been affected by heavy rains in the past 4 months, including 30,000 Central African and Congolese refugees.
Over 6,300 hectares of agricultural fields have been destroyed. 
The rains continue to fall in sections of the country below the Equator, leading to fears of an increase in flooded areas, population displacements and a higher risk of waterborne diseases.
The UN and humanitarian partners are supporting the Government-led response with food, non-food items, shelter, water, hygiene and sanitation.
Over 80,000 people have received food assistance.
Approximately $30 million is required to respond to the situation. As of today, $11 million has been received, including $7 million from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund.
 
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF IN D.R. CONGO
Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for a five-day official visit.
She spent the day in the north-eastern province of Ituri, where she met people displaced by the ongoing violence.
In a Tweet, she said she heard heart-rending stories from displaced Hema people in the province and told them this is a meeting she will never forget. This tragedy has lasted too long and it needs to end, she added.
Tomorrow, Ms. Bachelet is scheduled to fly to the capital Kinshasa, for three days of discussions, including a meeting with President Tshisekedi.
 
CORONAVIRUS
An update from Geneva, where the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee is meeting again today to determine whether the Coronavirus outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and what recommendations should be made to manage it: yesterday, WHO’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the committee had an excellent discussion, but he added it was also clear that, to reach a decision, they needed more information.
 
FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS
Today, we are delighted to welcome Fiji, Norway and the Republic of Korea to the Honour Roll. Their full payments to the regular budget – arriving before the first of February – takes the total to 25.