HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC​,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 26 AUGUST 2021

AFGHANISTAN
The Secretary-General is following with great concern the ongoing situation in Kabul, especially at the airport. He condemns this terrorist attack which killed and injured a number of civilians, and extends his deep condolences to the families of those killed. He stands in solidarity and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
This incident underscores the volatility of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan but also strengthens our resolve as we continue to deliver urgent assistance across the country in support of the Afghan people.

ETHIOPIA 
This afternoon, the Secretary-General will speak on Ethiopia at the Security Council meeting on Peace and Security in Africa. In his remarks, he will underscore his appeal for action for all parties to immediately cease hostilities, ensure unrestricted humanitarian access everywhere, fully re-establish public services and create the conditions for the start of an Ethiopian-led political dialogue to find a solution to this ongoing crisis.  
He will emphasize that the unity of Ethiopia and the stability of the region are at stake and the human price of this war is mounting by the day.

LEBANON
In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General expressed his deep concern about the rapidly deteriorating socio-economic situation in Lebanon. He noted that the people of Lebanon are struggling every day with hyperinflation, acute shortages of fuel, electricity, medicine and even access to clean water.
The Secretary-General called on all Lebanese political leaders to urgently form an effective government of national unity that can bring immediate relief, justice and accountability to the people of Lebanon and also drive an ambitious and meaningful course for reform to restore access to basic services, restore stability, promote sustainable development and inspire hope for a better future for Lebanon and its people.

VENEZUELA
On Venezuela, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today said that 10 out of 24 states in the country have been seriously affected by heavy rains since May. In support of the local response in Merida, UN Agencies are coordinating the delivery of emergency kits, hygiene and sanitation supplies, as well as drinking water.
An interagency mission – including UN agencies and NGOs – is also underway today in Merida delivering assistance and conducting a rapid needs assessment in coordination with local and civil protection authorities.

MYANMAR
Yesterday, the Secretary-General issued a statement to mark four years since the beginning of the massive refugee influx of Rohingya people and other communities from Myanmar’s Rakhine State into Bangladesh. He noted that nearly one million Rohingya refugees continue to live in dire conditions and called for urgent action to help bring about meaningful progress in creating the conditions for safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of refugees to Myanmar. Addressing the root causes of systematic discrimination, disenfranchisement and communal violence in Myanmar is critical, he said.
The Secretary-General also called on the international community to continue to act in solidarity with Rohingya refugees, as well as with the Government and people of Bangladesh, who are generously hosting them. The UN remains committed to continued active support. The plight of the Rohingya must not become a forgotten crisis.

CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT
Today marks the anniversary of a report that’s had a profound impact on our understanding and work to address the plight of children impacted by conflict. Twenty-five years ago, with the publication of her report on the impact of war on children, Graça Machel illustrated that ‘the impact of conflict on children is everyone’s responsibility and must be everyone’s concern’.
Since then, we verified 266,000 cases of grave violations against children and worked relentlessly to end these violations and to secure the release of children associated with armed forces and groups.
In a statement today, the Executive Director of UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore, and the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, reiterated their commitment to work directly with families and communities to provide children the support they need to recover from war. They also urged parties to conflict to take concrete actions to end and prevent grave violations against boys and girls.

COVAX
Barbados has today received 33,600 vaccine doses through COVAX. This is the third allocation for the country, which brings the total doses of vaccines delivered to 100,800. 
And Honduras just received 99,450 vaccine doses out of a total of some 3.7 million vaccines received in the country through that facility.

ENERGY 
The Secretary-General will convene a UN High-level Dialogue on Energy on Friday, 24 September, under the auspices of the General Assembly.   
The Dialogue, which will be held virtually, is an opportunity to mobilize action and cooperation to ensure that all people can access clean, affordable energy by 2030 and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.  
The Dialogue will feature Heads of State and Government as well as other global leaders, many of whom are expected to announce commitments in the form of “Energy Compacts” that show how they will achieve net-zero emissions and universal energy access.
On 20th September. there will also be a Secretary-General High-Level meeting on climate.

***The guests at the Noon Briefing were the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ramesh Rajasingham, and the Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti, Bruno Lemarquis, who briefed reporters on the situation in Haiti.