HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
MONDAY, 30 AUGUST 2021
AFGHANISTAN/ MEDICINES AND HEALTH SUPPLIES
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that a plane carrying its medicines and health supplies landed today in Afghanistan. This is the first shipment of medical supplies to land in the country since the Taliban took control.
The 12.5 metric tonnes of supplies are enough to cover the basic health needs of more than 200,000 people, as well as provide 3,500 surgical procedures and treat 6,500 trauma patients. They will be immediately delivered to 40 health facilities in 29 provinces across Afghanistan.
The plane, which was provided by the Government of Pakistan, flew directly to Mazar-i-Sharif. This is the first of 3 flights planned with Pakistan International Airlines to fill urgent shortages in medicines and medical supplies.
AFGHANISTAN/ FARMERS AND HERDERS
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also said that food production and agricultural livelihoods are under extreme pressure in Afghanistan. FAO warned that if we fail to assist the people most impacted by the acute drought, large numbers will be forced to abandon their farms and be displaced in certain areas. FAO added that Afghan herders and livestock owners also need urgent assistance to counter the impact of drought during the coming winter season. Three million animals are estimated to be at risk, making livestock protection urgently critical for herders and livestock owners across the country.
FAO, along with its partners, is working to ensure access to livelihood protection assistance and to strengthen resilience capacity of farmers and herders in Afghanistan.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, noted that the airlifts out of Kabul will end in a matter of days, and that the tragedy that has unfolded will no longer be as visible. But it will still be a daily reality for millions of Afghans.
The High Commissioner stressed that we must not turn away and that a far greater humanitarian crisis is just beginning. He pointed out that 3.5 million people have already been displaced by violence within Afghanistan, more than half a million since the start of this year, and that most have no regular channels through which to seek safety.
The Secretary-General welcomes today’s announcement by the Government of Denmark that it will allocate 60 per cent of climate financial aid to climate adaptation measures in its national budget proposal. The Secretary-General has called for at least half of all climate finance to be devoted to adaptation and resilience, and Denmark’s response is a powerful example of climate leadership for other donor countries and multilateral development banks to follow. This is also a very strong a signal for all the countries and vulnerable communities on the front line that badly need to protection from climate impacts.
Regarding the $100 billion goal, Denmark has demonstrated its leadership in both the quantity and quality of climate finance, with its target of delivering around $500 million annually in grant financing, mainly targeting the poorest and most vulnerable countries. The world will be watching closely for other advanced economies, in particular from the G7, to come forward with their contributions before COP26, which will place in Glasgow this fall.
Today, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced the global elimination of leaded petrol for motor vehicles, which follows the exhaustion of Algeria’s last stocks in July. The Secretary-General called this a milestone for multilateralism and added that this achievement again shows what we can accomplish when we work together across countries and sectors for the common good. We must now turn the same commitment to ending the triple crises of climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution, he said.
According to UNEP, the official end of the use of leaded petrol will prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths and save $2.45 trillion a year.
The Secretary-General this morning spoke virtually to the Biodiversity pre-Conference of the Parties hosted by Colombia.
He said that humanity is waging a senseless and self-destructive war against nature, and that as we reduce the variety and abundance of life, we remove options for society – from medicines to foods to the crucial solutions we need to mitigate and adapt to climate disruption.
Mr. Guterres added that we know the problems and we have the solutions, but so far, our efforts have not been adequate. He told participants that the world is counting on an ambitious agreement that equips us with the tools to transform our relationship with nature.
Above all, we need commitment, ambition and credibility, he said.
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), released their quarterly report on trends in human rights violations and abuses, which says that between April and June, at least 527 civilians were killed, injured, abducted or just disappeared. This is an overall increase of more than 25 per cent from the first quarter.
Armed groups, including the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, as well as JNIM (Jama'at nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimin) killed, injured, or abducted 54 per cent of the victims nationwide.
Human rights violations were also documented during security operations conducted by the Malian Forces, as well as by international and regional forces.
Over the weekend, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, started a seven-day visit to Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. In his meetings with senior government officials and representatives of the humanitarian and donor communities, Mr. Griffiths has reiterated the grave hardship that civilians continue to endure 10 years into the conflict.
During his travels, Mr. Griffiths will look at the complexities of the humanitarian situation in the region, the challenges ahead and how the humanitarian system can address these.
This year, 13.4 million people need assistance across Syria and we, along with our partners need $4.2 billion to help them. So far about 20 per cent of that funding has been received.
This morning, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, briefed Security Council Members on the situation in the region. He said that three months after the deadly escalation between Israel and militants in Gaza the situation remains tense, with militants launching incendiary balloons on multiple occasions and Israeli Defense Forces firing missiles.
Mr. Wennesland called on all sides to show restraint, avoid provocations at the fence and keep the protests peaceful. He added that the UN continues to engage all sides to maintain calm and provide urgent assistance to residents of Gaza.
In addition, he urged Israelis to cease the demolition and seizure of Palestinian property throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law.
He also welcomed Qatar’s contribution of $40 million over four months to the UN to provide cash assistance to some 100,000 needy families in Gaza and thanked donors who contributed some $45 million to the requested $95 million during the humanitarian flash appeal.
This morning, the Security Council voted to extend the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). That was done for another year. They also renewed sanctions measures in Mali for another year, and extended the mandate of the Mali Panel of Experts until the end of September 2022.
Finally, the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) was also extended until the end of May next year.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) said that yesterday, some 50 suspected combatants from the 3R armed group (Retour, Réclamation et Réhabilitation) attacked the village of Dilapoko, in the Mambéré Kadéi prefecture. That is in the country’s southwest. One civilian died and another was wounded.
MINUSCA immediately sent a robust patrol to verify the incident and to protect civilians. The injured civilians were evacuated to a local hospital for treatment.
Over the weekend, a third shipment of 184,800 COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the Dominican Republic through COVAX. To date, close to 6 million people in the country have received the first dose of the vaccine.
Moving to El Salvador, the country received a third shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from the United States, through the COVAX mechanism. This shipment, which consisted of 188,000 doses, brings the total vaccine doses El Salvador has received to over 3,600,000.
In Yemen, 151,000 doses of vaccines arrived yesterday in Aden. This second batch is part of 1.9 million doses that Yemen is anticipated to receive this year. They have already received the first batch of 360,000 doses in March. The UN is also contributing to the management of the reception and distribution of the vaccines with national authorities in Yemen.
INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST NUCLEAR TESTS
Yesterday was the International Day against Nuclear Tests. It was also the 30th anniversary of the closure of the largest nuclear test site in the Soviet Union, the Semipalatinsk nuclear site in Kazakhstan.
Soon after the closure of that site, countries started negotiating the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the CTBT, which was adopted five years later.
In his message to mark the day, the Secretary-General said the full potential of the CTBT has not been realized, as the treaty has not entered into force despite its near universal acceptance among States.
He urged the states that have not yet ratified to do so.
***The guest at the Noon Briefing was the UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, Herve De Lys. He spoke to reporters about the situation on the ground and UNICEF’s activities in the country.