HIGHLIGHTS OF THE U.N. SYSTEM
FRIDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2020

AFGHANISTAN
The Secretary-General condemns the attack in Bamyan Province of Afghanistan on 24 November, which claimed the lives of at least 18 civilians and injured 60 more. He expresses his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the continued high level of violence in the country and the harm inflicted on civilians. The targeting of civilian locations such as markets, education centres, and health facilities must stop, and the persons responsible held accountable.

IRAQ
The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, will have a “virtual mission” to Iraq next Monday and Tuesday, and she will be accompanied at a series of virtual meetings by other senior UN officials, including Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo, head of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women; and Pramila Patten, the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
On Monday, she will meet with Iraqi female human rights defenders, civil society representatives, and members of the Women Advisory Group.  She will also meet with the members of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Country Team.
The Deputy Secretary-General will meet with many senior Iraqi officials on Tuesday, including President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. She will also meet with the international donor community.

SYRIA
The Constitutional Committee Small Body for Syria will convene from 30 November to 4 December in Geneva.
The Constitutional Committee Small Body will continue in session 4 to discuss the agenda of session 3 on national foundations and principles, and in session 5 will discuss constitutional principles (basic principles of the constitution).
The Co-Chairs further agreed on the dates for session 4, with the COVID-19 situation permitting, and to hold session 5 in January 2021.

ETHIOPIA/SUDAN
The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, is visiting Khartoum in Sudan, where more than 43,000 refugees have fled from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region since early this month.
Even before this latest influx, Sudan was hosting nearly one million refugees, mainly from South Sudan.
While in Sudan, Mr. Grandi will review UNHCR operations in support of the Government-led response. He will also meet with refugees.
In eastern Sudan, UNHCR continues to ramp up its relief effort, together with Sudan’s Commission on Refugees and local authorities amidst complex logistical challenges.
Humanitarian agencies continue to provide shelter and other facilities to help refugees but more resources are required and Sudan needs international support urgently.
UNHCR has helped relocate nearly 10,000 refugees to the Um Rakuba site, with work continuing to build shelters and improve services.
Family tracing services have been established and these have already reunited many separated refugees.
This morning, a plane carrying 32 tons of UNHCR emergency aid – including blankets, lamps and mosquito nets – from the agency’s global stockpile in Dubai landed in Khartoum. Another airlift is scheduled to leave Dubai on Monday with 100 tons of additional relief items, and two additional airlifts are also scheduled.
Inside Ethiopia’s Tigray region, concerns are growing for the safety of civilians in the conflict, particularly in its capital of Mekele, home to more than 500,000 people.
UNHCR says that some 96,000 Eritrean refugees will run out of food as soon as Monday if supplies cannot reach them. UNHCR and its partners reiterate their call for the protection of civilians and immediate humanitarian access.

COVID-19/IMPACT ON CHILDREN IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says COVID-19 has intensified many of the crises faced by children in Sub-Saharan Africa. About 280 million children – or more than half of the child population in the region – may be dealing with food insecurity.
School closures impacted around 250 million students in sub-Saharan Africa, adding to the 100 million out of school children before the pandemic. Learning completely stopped for most of them and UNICEF warns that millions are unlikely to ever return to the classroom.
Other challenges include rising prices of basic goods and services, movement restrictions and disruptions to crucial social services, as well as droughts, floods, locust invasions and conflict.
UNICEF is calling for an expansion of cash transfer programmes, arguing that giving cash to households can mitigate and even prevent most of the current challenges facing children. It can also boost economic growth, build social protection systems and future resilience to shocks, and achieve big cost-savings over time.

PHILIPPINES
In support of the government-led response efforts to Typhoons Goni and Vamco, the UN and humanitarian partners in the Philippines released today a revised Humanitarian Needs and Priorities plan.
The plan will focus on lifesaving and time-critical recovery needs of people, especially women and girls, living in the hardest-hit provinces.
The revised plan is seeking $52.6 million to assist 278,000 affected people with food, access to clean water, sanitation-hygiene facilities, emergency shelter, livelihood, health and early recovery from November 2020 to April 2021.
The Under-Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, has recently approved an allocation of $3.1 million for the Philippines from the Central Emergency Response Fund.
Some $11.6 million has been successfully mobilized through the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities plan to date.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
The UN Human Rights Office today said that it is deeply concerned at the decision by Trinidad and Tobago to deport 16 Venezuelan children and nine adults at the same time as an application was being lodged against their removal.
All refugees and migrants, regardless of status, are entitled to the respect and protection of their human rights. Regarding refugee and migrant children, States have a special duty of care - the best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all decisions affecting them.
The Office called on the Trinidad and Tobago authorities to safeguard the human rights of refugee and migrant children regardless of their status, including by ensuring access to due process and procedural safeguards, consistent with the principle of non-refoulement.

UKRAINE/HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE PLAN
The Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, together with the Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, yesterday launched the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan. The aim is to meet the needs of 1.9 million conflict-affected people in eastern Ukraine.
The Plan seeks $168 million to provide humanitarian aid and protection to those most vulnerable in 2021.
Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that the ongoing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has taken the lives of over 3,000 civilians and injured more than 7,000 others. They note that the ceasefire that was established in late July 2020 has contributed to a welcoming reduction in the number of casualties; however, ongoing hostilities are likely to continue to affect the lives of the people of eastern Ukraine.
The COVID-19 pandemic is also expected to continue to affect those already made vulnerable by the conflict through at least mid-2021.
Since 2014, the UN and humanitarian partners have been on the ground in eastern Ukraine, providing relief and protection assistance worth more than $1.2 billion. Each year, humanitarians have reached over one million people on both sides of the ‘contact line’ and more than one million people have already received assistance during the first nine months of 2020.

REPORT/THE STATE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
More than three billion people live in agricultural areas with high to very high levels of water shortages and scarcity, and almost half of them face severe constraints. A report released yesterday by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also shows that available freshwater resources per person have declined by more than 20 percent over the past two decades globally, underscoring the importance of producing more with less, especially in the agriculture sector, the world's largest user of water.
FAO warns that without immediate action, many more will be affected. The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2020 notes that improved water management, supported by effective governance and strong institutions will be essential to ensure global food security and nutrition, and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report emphasizes that achieving the internationally agreed SDG pledges, including the Zero Hunger target (SDG 2), "is still achievable," but only by ensuring more productive and sustainable use of freshwater and rainwater in agriculture, which accounts for more than 70 percent of global water withdrawals.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
Sunday, 29 November, is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This year, the Day will be observed at the United Nations on 1 December with special meetings.
In a message for the Day, the Secretary-General noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the Palestinian economy and undermined the already fragile humanitarian, economic and political situation in Gaza, further entrenched by crippling restrictions on movement and access.
He said that prospects for a viable two-State solution are growing more distant, pointing to a host
of factors which continue to cause great misery, including: the expansion of illegal settlements, a significant spike in the demolition of Palestinian homes and structures, violence and continued militant activity.
The Secretary-General said that he remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict and end the occupation in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements in pursuit of the vision of two States.
He also expressed his extreme concern over the financial situation facing the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), appealing to all Member States for urgent contributions to allow it
to meet the critical humanitarian and development needs of Palestine refugees during the pandemic.
At UN Headquarters in New York on 1 December, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene high-level officials of Member States, the Secretary-General, intergovernmental organizations and representatives of civil society.
The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will also launch the virtual exhibit entitled “The Writing is on the Wall: Annexation Past and Present.” The exhibition will examine the plight of the Palestinian people, focusing on the wall built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It will explore this through the words of advocates and public personalities, and through images from artists and human rights activists who have utilized the wall as a canvas to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The events will be broadcast live on UN Web TV and the exhibit will be available on the United Nations’ website.