HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2018

 

CAR
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the Central African Republic and head of the UN Mission there (MINUSCA), Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, briefed the Security Council this morning.
He said that despite ongoing challenges, he was hopeful that the necessary foundations for a lasting peace in the country had been established. Together with the Central Africans, we must now help move the country from a phase of containment to one of transformation, where the dividends of peace can be felt by all communities and all citizens, he added.
The Special Representative also said the path towards peace and reconciliation would not be an easy one and that the international community must work with the Government of the Central African Republic to ensure that this peace process is people-centered and does not fail.
He stressed the importance of putting in place the conditions that will give the African Initiative the greatest chance to succeed – that means ensuring that the parties enter into negotiations in good faith and with a true commitment to the dialogue and its outcomes; having the buy-in of the Central African people; putting in place security conditions conducive to the dialogue and the enforcement of its outcomes; and having the unified political support of the members of the Security Council, the countries of the region, and the international community at large.
 
NIGERIA
The UN in Nigeria is expressing concern over news of renewed killings by the armed insurgent group, Boko Haram, with reports of close to forty lives lost in separate incidents over the last few days, when the group attacked civilians in Borno State.
In a statement issued today, UN Resident Coordinator Edward Kallon said he had also learned with sadness about the loss of over fifty lives following communal clashes in Kasuwan Magani area, south of Kaduna State.
Mr. Kallon appealed to the Government of Nigeria and security forces in the region to scale up their efforts to protect civilian communities especially in areas where sporadic attacks have been recorded recently. He warned that left unchecked, these attacks may reverse the gains made so far in securing lives and property in the region.
 
MEXICO
The UN agencies in Mexico have staff in place, with more to be deployed in the coming days, to cooperate closely with local and federal authorities, among others, to attend to migrant needs in Tapachula, Chiapas and nearby towns.
Teams are prepared to help with the registration of those who have been admitted, as well as to help the migrants reach shelters and facilities equipped and waiting for them to give them humanitarian aid.
Rapid assessments are being done by the UN agencies to gather information on the needs of children and their families, as well as people with special needs, including those in nearby towns along the migratory route.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is concerned about the known kidnapping and security risks in areas where the caravan may travel. Stabilizing the situation has become urgent. It is essential that there are proper reception and other conditions for those seeking asylum, as well as for others on the move.
UNHCR emphasizes that in any situation like this it is essential that people have the chance to request asylum and have their international protection needs properly assessed, before any decision on return or deportation is made.
 
AUSTRALIA
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today appealed to the Government of Australia to take urgent action to save the lives of refugees and asylum-seekers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
UNHCR noted that elected officials from all sides of politics have highlighted the human cost of so-called “offshore processing” in recent weeks, but decisive action has not been taken.
The agency said that the immediate evacuation of refugees and asylum-seekers from Papua New Guinea and Nauru to Australia does not require legislative change. It added that concerted action, founded upon a clear humanitarian imperative, is needed to prevent further deaths and harm to innocent men, women and children.
UNHCR also stressed that the circumstances of refugees and asylum-seekers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru are entirely distinct from those of nationals and people who have migrated voluntarily. It said that the unique needs of people who have fled war and persecution, have been forcibly transferred, detained and subject to harrowing conditions require an intensive response that is not available locally.
 
SOMALIA
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that inadequate schools, teachers and learning materials, coupled with insecurity and a shortage of food, water and sanitation facilities has left more than 70 per cent of school-age children -- or some 3 million out of 4.4 million children -- out of school in Somalia.
The situation is even more grim in rural areas and in urban Internally Displaced Persons settlements, where just 17 percent of children are enrolled in primary school, according to education partners.
OCHA says funding for Education in Emergencies activities in Somalia is low, currently at just US $8.8 million, 16 per cent of the required $51 million in 2018.
Despite these challenges, humanitarian partners have reached nearly 175,000 children and youth with emergency education services in the worst affected areas of Somalia since the beginning of the year. 
 
LEBANON
The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major General Stefano Del Col, had separate meetings today in Beirut with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.
Discussions focused on the implementation of UNIFIL’s mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and related resolutions, violations and the situation in UNIFIL’s Area of Operations in South Lebanon, with a special focus on continued strong cooperation between UNIFIL, the Lebanese Army and host communities. 
During the meetings, Major General Del Col emphasized the need for UNIFIL to have unimpeded access to the Blue Line. 
 
UNFCCC
In Krakow, Poland, the preparatory meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as pre-COP, began today. The meeting aims to lay the foundation for a successful Conference of the Parties, which will take place in Katowice in December.
At the opening, High-level representatives urged countries to speed up work and to identify possible bridging proposals in the negotiations on the guidelines that will tell the world how to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement fairly and transparently for all.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa strongly urged leaders to make progress, noting that emissions from the energy sector were on the rise.