HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 29 OCTOBER 2020
The Secretary-General strongly condemns the heinous attack today that took place at Notre Dame basilica in Nice, in which a number of people were killed. He extends his condolences to the families of the victims and reaffirms the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and the Government of France.
The High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations, Miguel Moratinos, also issued a statement, strongly condemning the barbaric attack.
He added that such heinous attacks targeting civilians, including worshippers, are intolerable and utterly unjustifiable - whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed.
The Secretary-General spoke at the Security Council meeting on women, peace and security. As you know, today is the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 which calls for the adoption of a gender perspective to consider the special needs of women and girls during conflict.
The Secretary-General said that today, the pandemic is having a disproportionately negative impact on women and girls.
He added that as we recover from the pandemic, we face a choice: to continue down the path of increasing militarization, conflict and inter-generational losses, or to work towards greater inclusion, equality, and prevention of conflicts and crises of all kinds.
“For governments and international institutions everywhere, gender equality is one of the surest ways of building social cohesion and trust, as well as inspiring people to be responsible, participating citizens,” he said.
The Secretary-General stressed that we cannot wait for another twenty years to implement the women, peace and security agenda, and he called on countries to work together to achieve that goal.
This afternoon, the Secretary-General will speak live by videoconference to the 41st regular meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, known as CARICOM.
He will commend their leadership, which has led to CARICOM countries reporting low levels of COVID-19 cases and also their efforts to help people and businesses stay afloat during the pandemic.
The Secretary-General is expected to highlight the UN’s efforts to support a safe vaccine available to everyone as soon as possible, and a relief package for developing economies that amounts to at least 10 per cent of the global economy.
And he will reiterate the UN’s support to Caribbean countries not just in their recovery efforts but also in tackling the climate crisis. And those remarks will be shared with you.
The Spokesman provided an update on the Deputy Secretary-General’s virtual trip to Colombia.
Yesterday afternoon, she met virtually with the Vice President of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, and heard from her on the first gender parity cabinet in the region, the targeting of women in the socio-economic response plan in relation to the pandemic, and efforts to address the growing levels of gender-based violence. She also met with the Presidential Counsellor on Stabilization and heard the forward movement on implementing the strong gender provisions of the peace agreement. The Deputy Secretary-General was joined by the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo Ngucka, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten.
Ms. Mohammed and her delegation also had meetings with female human rights defenders as well as beneficiaries of projects that facilitate access to transitional justice and economic empowerment.
This afternoon, she is meeting with Ivan Duque as well as with the UN team in Colombia. She will be joined by Rosemary DiCarlo, the head of the Head of the Political and Peacebuilding Affairs department. And she will have a joint press stakeout with the President of Colombia at 5 p.m., which you can watch on the presidency’s YouTube channel. ( https://www.youtube.com/SIGCOLOMBIA)
Building on progress made from their October 14 meeting, representatives from the Governments of Israel and Lebanon held productive talks yesterday and today, mediated by the United States and hosted by the UN Office of the Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL). The United States and UN Special Coordinator’s Office remain hopeful that these negotiations will lead to a long-awaited resolution. The parties are committed to continuing negotiations next month. And this is from a statement issued out of Beyrouth.
Typhoon Molave made landfall yesterday in the central part of Vietnam.
Fifteen people were reportedly killed and 40 people are missing. Nearly 375,000 people have been evacuated and millions do not have electricity.
An estimated 7.7 million people in central Viet Nam have been impacted by flooding since earlier this month.
We, along with our partners are supporting the Government-led response by distributing home repair kits, kitchen sets, household and relief kits, food, water purification packets as well as cash assistance.
The UN country team is developing a Response Plan and providing support in information management, reporting and resource mobilization.
For its part, UNICEF said today that this latest storm will increase the number of children at risk to well over 2.5 million in Vietnam.
Many schools across the central region of the country have been closed for weeks, a situation already constrained by COVID-19. The agency is providing emergency help, including water, nutrition, sanitation, and educational assistance.
In Somalia, the UN strongly condemns the murder of two Somali humanitarian workers who were killed earlier this week in Mogadishu, by suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists.
The aid workers were involved in an ongoing polio vaccination campaign, organized by UNICEF, WHO and Somalia’s Federal Ministry of Health.
The killings come at a time when 23 children have been infected with polio in Somalia. Aid workers have been trying to reach 1.65 million children with polio vaccines across the country’s north and central regions. This includes nearly half a million children in the capital, Mogadishu.
This year, 191 incidents against humanitarian operations have been recorded, in which 13 aid workers were killed, 12 injured, 24 abducted and 14 detained or temporarily arrested.
In Myanmar, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Ola Almgren, is supporting authorities to address the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The UN helped to secure nearly 300,000 test kits and more than 260,000 protection and hygiene items.
The World Health Organization and the UN Children’s Fund produced information on COVID-19 in 90 languages, targeting 16 million people.
The UN Development Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization found that people working in the informal sector and rural families have been greatly impacted. Meanwhile, UNICEF and the World Food Programme are delivering cash assistance to over a million households, half of those led by women, and they are also aiming to reach children and older people.
With schools being closed, WFP is delivering food to 145,000 families every day. UNESCO and UNICEF prepared guidelines for more than 90,000 teachers, students and families, as well as materials for learning at home.
The IOM has also distributed water and other supplies to nearly 130,000 people returning to Myanmar, who lost their jobs overseas.
A report published today by UNESCO and the World Bank reveals that schoolchildren in low-and lower-middle-income countries have already lost nearly four months of schooling since the start of the pandemic, compared to six weeks of loss in high-income countries.
Future pandemics will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, and kill more people than COVID-19 unless there is a transformative change in the global approach to dealing with infectious diseases. This is the warning from a new UN-backed report on biodiversity and pandemics by 22 leading experts from around the world.
The report, produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES estimates that there are up to 850,000 unknown viruses in nature that could still infect people. It says that the economic impacts are 100 times the estimated cost of prevention.
The International Organization for Migration is deeply saddened by the drowning of at least 140 people off the coast of Senegal. This is the deadliest shipwreck recorded in 2020.
Local community members told IOM that the vessel, carrying around 200 migrants, left Mbour, a coastal town in western Senegal last Saturday (24 October) and was trying to reach the Canary Islands. The boat caught fire a few hours after departure and capsized near Saint-Louis, on the northwest coast of Senegal. Fifty-nine people were rescued. The bodies of 20 others were found, while over 120 are presumed dead.
The Government of Senegal and IOM have arranged a mission to travel to Saint-Louis to assess the needs of survivors and provide immediate psychosocial assistance.
IOM is calling for unity between governments, partners and the international community to dismantle trafficking and smuggling networks that take advantage of desperate youth.
With this tragic shipwreck, at least 414 people are known to have died along this route since the beginning of this year. This data was compiled through IOM’s Missing Migrants Project. In all of 2019, it had recorded 210 fatalities.
PRESS BRIEFING TOMORROW
Tomorrow at 11 a.m., Judge Abdulqawi A. Yusuf, President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), will be joined by Philippe Gautier, the Registrar of the International Court of Justice, in a virtual press briefing about the work of the Court. President Yusuf will speak about the Court’s role and jurisdiction, its latest activities and working methods during the pandemic.