MONDAY, 23 MAY 2022

Tomorrow, at 9:00 a.m., the Secretary-General will deliver a commencement address to the Class of 2022 at Seton Hall University across the river in New Jersey. In his remarks, that he will deliver at the Prudential Center in Newark, the Secretary-General is expected to highlight issues such as conflict, poverty, exclusion, inequality, hunger and human rights. 
He is also expected to tell graduates that their generation must be the one that succeeds in addressing the planetary emergency of climate change and that they put their hard-earned talents to good use. Those remarks were shared with you under embargo and you’ll be able to watch the remarks live on UN WebTV.

Something else you’ll be able to watch, the Secretary-General will participate in a conversation with Trisha Shetty, the President of the Paris Peace Forum Steering Committee on the theme of Preserving global cooperation in times of war. This is a pre-recorded conversation which they recorded today and the issue of Ukraine did come up.
That will be broadcast tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., New York time, 3 p.m. Paris time and you can watch it on UN Web TV as well as the Paris Peace Forum’s YouTube channel.

This weekend, the Secretary-General spoke by video message at the opening session of the World Health Assembly via pre-recorded video message.  
He said this year’s World Health Assembly arrives at a time when global health continues to be challenged like never before. 
But throughout the crises, Mr. Guterres said, the World Health Organization has been a steadfast source of hope and support.  
The women and men of WHO are not only on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, they are leading the battle against other preventable diseases, safeguarding access to primary health care, and gathering the world around preparedness to address and even prevent future pandemics.   
But across this essential work, the Secretary-General said WHO needs global support and investment.  
He concluded by urging the international community to invest in a healthier future for all.   

The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, is in Indonesia, in Jakarta today where she was also yesterday alongside the UN Resident Coordinator Valerie Julliand, she met with communities disproportionately impacted by disaster, as well as those working to mitigate risk. 
The trip comes ahead of the 25 May convening of the seventh Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which is being held on the island of Bali. 
Yesterday, the Deputy Secretary-General met young people working on projects across the archipelago to mitigate the climate emergency. The Deputy Secretary-General heard presentations from the youth and resolved to convey the young leaders’ energy, frustration, optimism and hopes to delegates meeting in Bali.  
Ahead of a meeting with Indonesia’s Finance Minister, she also met with international development partners today to discuss how to support Indonesia’s transition from coal to clean energy and promote the green and blue economy. She also joined the Minister of Tourism at a roundtable on building back a sustainable tourism sector following the ravages of the pandemic.  
This morning, Rosemary DiCarlo, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, spoke to Security Council members on the topic of “Technology and Conflict.” 
She said digital technologies have created fresh possibilities for our peace and security work, improving our ability to detect crises, to better pre-position our humanitarian stocks, and to design data-driven peacebuilding programming. 
She shared examples of how the UN is using technology to gather information, monitor ceasefires and engage with thousands of people in conflict areas. 
However, Ms. DiCarlo warned of the risks that technology has brought which includes the use of lethal autonomous weapons, using technology to target civilian infrastructure, and using social media to fuel violence and spread disinformation. 
She reiterated the Secretary-General’s own position that machines with the power and discretion to take lives without human involvement are politically unacceptable, morally repugnant, and should be prohibited by international law. 
She also emphasized that tackling these risks will require multilateral actions from Member States.
Quick humanitarian update for you on Ukraine. Our colleagues on the ground telling us that they remain concerned about the impact on civilians by the reported fierce fighting in eastern Luhanska, Donetska and Kharkivska oblasts, which is killing and injuring people, and damaging or destroying homes, residential buildings, and civilian infrastructure.  
In the Government-controlled part of Luhanska oblast, local authorities informed that, on 21 May, a bridge leading to the administrative centre of the oblast – Sievierodonetsk – was destroyed. This left the partially encircled city reachable by only one road. 
While some people have managed to leave Sievierodonetsk over the weekend, local authorities estimate that thousands of civilians remain in the war-affected city and require urgent support.  
Our humanitarian colleagues also tell us that shelling and airstrikes were reported in other areas of Ukraine, including in northern, central and southern parts, claiming civilian lives and damaging civilian infrastructure.  
We remind the parties to the conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and to allow rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need. 

The Head of our Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bintou Keita, has condemned yesterday’s targeted attacks in the province of North Kivu. These attacks were committed by the armed group M23 against members of the Congolese armed forces and UN peacekeepers.  
Following the attack, a joint operation was launched to free the area from the M23, and with the priority objective of protecting civilians.  
There is an assessment underway to determine the consequences of these attacks, as well as humanitarian needs. Ms. Keita deplored the new displacements of populations resulting from these clashes. She also called on the M23 to immediately cease all hostilities and disarm unconditionally.   

The Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, met yesterday with a diverse group of Yemeni women peace activists, experts, civil society and private sector actors and other leaders as part of his efforts to consult on the Framework for the multi-track peace process. During the meeting they also discussed the implementation and renewal of the truce.  
Mr. Grundberg stressed the importance of integrating the views of Yemeni women into the design of the peace process to ensure it is sensitive to the issues that Yemeni women and youth face.

For his part, our Syrian Envoy, Geir Pedersen, was in Damascus yesterday, where he met with Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. They discussed a range of issues related to the implementation of Security Council resolution 2254, including the serious socio-economic and humanitarian challenges affecting the Syrian people. 
Mr. Pedersen told reporters afterward that he was briefed in some detail on the latest amnesty from President Assad, and he said the amnesty has potential and that he is looking forward to seeing how it develops.  
Quick COVID update from our UN team in Nepal led by acting Resident Coordinator Richard Howard, as they continue boosting efforts to tackle the impacts of the pandemic. Since the onset of this pandemic, the UN team has been providing technical assistance to strengthen in-country supply chains systems and to ensure that adequate cold chain capacity is in place, as well as supplying syringes, developing vaccination rollout guidelines, training health workers, and working with communities in addressing misinformation.  
To date, 64 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. Of the more than 53,000 doses of vaccines received in country, some 32,000 doses were received through the COVAX Facility.  
The UN team has also assisted close to 40,000 people to become micro entrepreneurs-- 60 per cent of whom are women.  
Also on the subject of COVID, the International Labour Organization today released a report showing that multiple global crises are causing a marked deterioration in the global labour market recovery, with increasing inequalities within and between countries. The 9th edition of the ILO Monitor on the World of Work finds that after significant gains during the last quarter of 2021, the number of hours worked globally dropped in the first quarter of 2022, to 3.8 per cent below the pre-crisis benchmark. This is equivalent to a deficit of 112 million full-time jobs. 
ILO notes that multiple new and interconnected global crises, including inflation, financial turbulence, potential debt distress, and global supply chain disruption – worsened by war in Ukraine – means there is a growing risk of a further deterioration in hours worked in 2022. 
The full report is available online.                

As you may have seen, the UN Refugee agency is telling us there are now 100 million people forcibly displaced around the world. This is the first time on record that we have crossed this staggering and sobering milestone, which has been propelled by the war in Ukraine and other conflicts. 
In a Tweet this morning, the Secretary-General said that this is not a refugee crisis – because refugees are not the cause. This is a political crisis, he said, and it will only be solved with solidarity and political will. 
Over 1 per cent of the global population, the overall figure is equivalent to the 14th most populous country in the world. It includes refugees and asylum seekers as well as the more than 53 million people displaced inside their own borders by conflict, according to a recent report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. 
Lastly, today is the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, which is one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries. The UN Population Fund notes that the injury has all but disappeared in rich countries but persists in poorer countries with inadequate maternal health care.  
According to UNFPA, an estimated 500,000 women and girls live with the condition. With many partners, UNFPA leads the Campaign to End Fistula, which works in more than 55 countries on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation efforts.