Yesterday, the UN Secretariat was informed by a permanent mission that they had five positive cases among their staff. The UN Medical service immediately initiated contact tracing with the full cooperation of the permanent mission. As of now, all in-person meetings have been suspended for today.
Geir Pedersen, the Special Envoy for Syria, spoke to Security Council members via videoconference today from Beirut. He described his recent visit to Damascus, including his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Walid al-Moallem. He said he will seek to deepen his dialogue with the Syrian parties and key players in the months ahead in the reviewing where we stand on resolution 2254 and seeking to identify how best to develop a wider process.
Mr. Pedersen noted that Syria’s frontlines have not changed in recent months and that the number of civilians killed during that period has, according to monitoring groups, been the lowest since 2011. But he warned that the situation in Syria, including the involvement of foreign militaries in continues to be tense.
Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock also briefed the Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in the country. He said that he was alarmed of the violence and insecurity affecting civilians and aid workers and he called for their protection, as shelling in front-line areas in the north-west, as well as airstrikes in Idlib, have continued.
Mr. Lowcock also updated the Council on the humanitarian impact of the economic crisis, humanitarian access and the assistance being provided by humanitarian organizations across Syria.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary‑General called on all national stakeholders to ensure that the polls are conducted in an inclusive and peaceful manner.
He recalled that an inclusive electoral process and a broad effective participation of political parties and their candidates, particularly women, remain essential for safeguarding the progress made by Tanzania in consolidating stability, democracy and development.
The Secretary-General urged all political leaders and their supporters to participate in this exercise peacefully and to refrain from violence. He calls on the authorities to provide a safe and secure environment, which will allow Tanzanians to exercise their civil and political rights.
In a statement, the Secretary-General, said that he is following with great concern the violent incidents which have occurred in Afghanistan over the past several days. These incidents have claimed the lives of 40 civilians and injured many others, many women and children.
The Secretary-General strongly condemns the suicide attack that targeted civilians at an education centre on 24 October in Kabul, which killed at least 25 civilians and injured 50 more, most of them young students. He recalls that deliberate attacks against civilians are serious violations of international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes. He said those who carry out these crimes must be held accountable and that we stand in solidarity with the people and Government of Afghanistan.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said heavy fighting that started on 11 October between the Afghan National Security Forces and a nonstate armed group is continuing near Lashkargah in Hilmand province, south of the country.
Local authorities initially estimate that 35,000 people were displaced. Along with our humanitarian partners, we are still trying to verify these numbers, with nearly 9,700 displaced people confirmed to date.
The violence has stretched hospitals in the town to capacity. According to the World Health Organization, 15 health facilities have been targeted, impacting thousands of people.
The UN is closely coordinating with the Government and partners on the ground to provide assistance to the people who need it. Local authorities, through the support of the UN Children’s Fund continue to supply water in displacement locations. Food aid is also being provided.
Overall, 6 million people had been reached with humanitarian assistance under the 2020 Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan since the beginning of the year.
A new report released by the UN Mission in the country shows that the number of Afghan civilians killed and injured in the conflict has failed to slow since the start of the intra-Afghan peace talks. Yet, the overall civilian casualty figures for the first nine months of 2020 dropped by around 30 per cent compared to 2019.
In some parts of Yemen are showing acute malnutrition rates among children under five that are the highest ever recorded there, with more than half a million cases in southern districts. That’s according to a food analysis released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP) along with some of the UN’s partners.
The analysis – which is for 133 districts in southern parts of Yemen that are home to 1.4 million children under the age of five – reveals a near 10 per cent increase in cases of acute malnutrition in 2020.
At least a quarter of a million of pregnant or breastfeeding women are also in need of treatment for malnutrition. Experts warn the actual number is likely higher, as the drivers of malnutrition in Yemen have worsened in 2020.
To save lives and avert a further worsening of the situation, the UN is appealing for more than $50 million to urgently scale up nutrition programmes, including treatment for children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. At the same time, funding is also needed to scale up food, water, sanitation and health programmes, including immunization.
In response to the continued escalation of conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, the World Health Organization today said that it is delivering shipments of medical supplies, consisting of trauma and surgical kits, to Armenia and Azerbaijan. WHO said that emergency supplies arrived in Yerevan on 23 October and those destined for Baku are currently in transit.
The supplies include trauma kits, with each containing medicine and provisions necessary to ensure the post-traumatic care of 100 injured people. Provided to the ministries of health in Armenia and Azerbaijan, they are used across public health systems to deliver care to those in need.
The UN reiterates its call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the conflict zone.
Today, the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, joined with the African Union Commission Peace and Security Commissioner, Smaїl Chergui, arrived in the Central African Republic. They will be joined there by the President of the Economic Community of Central African States Commission, Gilberto Veríssimo. Their three-day visit is intended to advance peace and stability in the country in the context of the upcoming elections, the first round of which are scheduled for 27 December.
They will meet with senior government officials, political parties, civil society, and womens’ groups to call for collective engagement to ensure the holding of credible and inclusive elections, as well as the implementation of the Political Agreement signed by the Government and 14 armed groups in February last year.
Mr. Lacroix just wrapped up his visit to Sudan yesterday, where he took part in a tripartite meeting with the Government of Sudan, Commissioner Chergui and was joined by Atul Khare, the head of the Department of Operation for the UN. They discussed the support and cooperation of the UN-AU Hybrid Operations in Darfur as it draws down and how best the UN can assist as the peace agreement is implemented.
The UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Lena Savelli, is working with authorities to address the impact of the pandemic. The team has been focusing on small and medium companies to keep them open and safeguard jobs.
The UN Development Programme, UNHCR and the UN Migration Agency have launched a digital start-up initiative that has reached over 120,000 businesses with guidelines on how to boost their capacity to deliver their products and services online. This also targets migrant and refugee workers.
For its part, UNFPA is co-financing a US$4 million initiative with the Government to work with authorities on recommendations for maternal care, delivery, postpartum and contraception information, to meet the family planning needs of Ecuadorians and they’re also supporting the authorities’ response in the northern and southern borders, including in the Amazon region, mobilizing resources for testing kits, personal protective equipment for health officials, and training on sexual and reproductive health for local authorities, targeting half a million people.
GLOBAL FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) revealed in their latest report that global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows fell 49 per cent in the first half of 2020 as compared to last year. This was due to the economic fallout from the pandemic.
Developed economies saw the biggest fall in FDI reaching an estimated $98 billion in the six-month period – a decline of 75 per cent since last year.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change announced the winners of this year’s UN Global Climate Action Awards. This year’s recipients range from the Caribbean’s only carbon-neutral hotel in Aruba, to the world’s first platform fully dedicated to green bonds and the launch of the first all-women solar team in Lebanon to challenge gender stereotypes in the male-dominated construction sector.
WORLD DAY OF AUDIOVISUAL HERITAGE
Today is the World Day of Audiovisual Heritage, and the theme this year is Your Window to the World. In a message, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Audrey Azoulay, said this Day is an opportunity to redouble our efforts in the preservation of our common audiovisual wealth, which forms an essential part of our shared history.
Ms. Azoulay noted that too many documents are lost, damaged or erased due to negligence, poor storage practices and obsolete formats or lack of means of reading them. She stressed that their disappearance constitutes a regrettable loss for all the peoples of the world, against which UNESCO is determined to fight.
Cameroon paid its regular budget dues in full, becoming the 131st Member State to do so.