HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 26 JANUARY 2018
U.N. ENVOY MEETS SYRIAN DELEGATIONS AT SPECIAL MEETING IN VIENNA
- The special meeting on Syria has continued at the UN headquarters in Vienna today. Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, continues to meet separately with each delegation.
- As a reminder, the special meeting is a part of the UN-facilitated Geneva political process. The meeting is being held in Vienna this time for logistical reasons.
IN LEBANON, U.N. SENIOR POLITICAL OFFICIAL STRESSES NEED FOR INCLUSIVE ELECTIONS
- Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča visited Lebanon yesterday and today. He met with President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, Minister of Interior Nouhad Machnouk and Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Joseph Aoun, among others.
- Mr. Jenča welcomed ongoing preparations for the parliamentary elections, scheduled for 6 May. He stressed the importance of conducting credible and inclusive elections, with stronger participation of women in the political decision-making process. He confirmed the continued commitment of the United Nations to support the work of Lebanese authorities in voter education, elections management and women’s empowerment.
MALI: U.N. MISSION SPEAKS OUT AGAINST ATTACK ON BUS THAT LEFT OVER 20 PEOPLE DEAD
- The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali today strongly condemned the horrendous attack against a bus travelling from Burkina Faso that took place close to the town of Boni yesterday. The detonation of an explosive device left more than 20 people dead, including women and children. The UN mission also condemned recent attacks against the Malian defense and security forces.
- We join the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, in offering our condolences to the families of the victims and to the Governments of Mali and Burkina Faso. Mr. Annadif also stressed the importance of bringing the perpetrators to justice.
$304.5 MILLION NEEDED FOR HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN CAMEROON
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs launched yesterday Cameroon’s 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan, which is seeking US $304.5 million.
- Some 3.3 million people are in need of emergency assistance in the regions of Adamaoua, East, North and Far North, representing a 14 per cent increase compared to last year.
- The humanitarian situation in Cameroon is characterised by the impact of three crises: growing insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin region, the conflict in the Central African Republic, and a significant increase in food insecurity, malnutrition and epidemics.
YEMEN: WELCOMING ARRIVAL OF TANKERS IN MARIB, SECRETARY-GENERAL REITERATES NEED FOR POLITICAL SOLUTION
- In a statement yesterday, the Secretary-General welcomed the news that five tankers carrying 180,000 litres of fuel reached the Yemeni city of Marib on Wednesday as part of the Coalition’s wider plan to facilitate humanitarian action in Yemen. He also welcomed the generous $1 billion pledge by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to support humanitarian action in Yemen, as well as their commitment to raise an additional $500 million from other donors in the region.
- The most effective way to address humanitarian suffering in Yemen is to end the conflict, he added. The Secretary-General renewed his call on all parties to cease hostilities and to engage meaningfully with the United Nations to achieve a lasting political settlement.
U.N. AGENCIES ‘OUTRAGED’AT DROWNING OF REFUGEES, MIGRANTS OFF YEMENI COAST
- IOM, the International Organization for Migration, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said they are outraged and saddened at the drownings of at least 30 refugees and migrants off the coast of Aden, Yemen earlier this week.
- Survivors of the incident have reported to the UN and partners that an overcrowded boat packed with at least 152 Somalis and Ethiopians departed 23 January from the Al Buraiqa coast in Aden in a boat headed across the Gulf of Aden towards Djibouti. The vessel is believed to have been operated by unscrupulous smugglers who were attempting to take refugees and migrants to Djibouti, while also trying to extort more money from these refugees and migrants. The boat capsized amid reports of gunfire being used against the passengers.
U.N.I.C.E.F. WARNS OF GROWING NUMBER OF MALNOURISHED CHILDREN IN VENEZUELA DUE TO ECONOMIC CRISIS
- UNICEF warned today that a growing number of children in Venezuela are suffering from malnutrition because of the protracted economic crisis affecting the country.
- While precise figures are unavailable because of very limited official health or nutrition data, there are clear signs that the crisis is limiting children’s access to quality health services, medicines and food.
- UNICEF says that the Government has implemented measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis on children’s nutrition, but that more needs to be done to reverse the worrisome decline in children’s nutritional wellbeing.
- It reiterates its readiness to strengthen support for Government and civil society.
U.N. AGENCY SUPPORTS BRAZIL, NIGERIA IN MASS VACCINATION CAMPAIGNS AGAINST YELLOW FEVER
- This week the governments of Brazil and Nigeria launched mass immunization campaigns to protect people against yellow fever. With support from the World Health Organization and partners, an estimated 23.8 million people in Brazil, and 25 million people in Nigeria, are expected to be vaccinated.
- The virus is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America.
- Since the launch of the Yellow Fever Initiative in 2006, significant progress in combatting the disease has been made, especially in West Africa, and more than 105 million people have been vaccinated in mass campaigns.
ON LEPROSY DAY, U.N. SPOTLIGHTS OBJECTIVE OF ZERO CASES OF LEPROSY-RELATED DISABILITIES IN CHILDREN
- This Sunday will be World Leprosy Day, focusing this year on the target of zero cases of leprosy-related disabilities in children.
- Early detection is key to achieving this target, alongside scaling up interventions to prevent leprosy transmission.
- Despite being eliminated globally as a public health problem in 2000, leprosy continues to mar the lives of individuals and impact families and communities.
- In 2015, leprosy had affected an additional 212,000 people globally, 60 per cent of whom were in India. The other high-burden countries were Brazil and Indonesia.
- Among new cases, 8.9 per cent were children and 6.7 per cent presented with visible deformities.
- The World Health Organization stresses that though present numbers are a fraction of what had been reported a decade earlier, they are still unacceptable, as an effective treatment for leprosy — multidrug therapy — has been available since the 1980s and could fully cure the disease.
SEVEN COUNTRIES PAY FULL U.N. DUES
- Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, Georgia, Liechtenstein, Nepal and Singapore have paid their regular budget dues in full, bringing the number of Member States that have done so to 23.