HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC​,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
FRIDAY, 30 OCTOBER 2020

SECRETARY-GENERAL/COTE D’IVOIRE
On the eve of the presidential election in Côte d'Ivoire, the Secretary-General calls on all Ivorians to ensure that the polls are conducted in a peaceful manner. 
The Secretary-General urges all political and opinion leaders and their supporters to refrain from inciting violence, spreading misinformation and using hate speech. He encourages the authorities, including the security forces, to provide a safe and secure environment and to protect and uphold human rights throughout the electoral process. 
The Secretary-General strongly encourages the political leaders and their parties to resolve any disputes that may arise through dialogue and he reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to support the country’s efforts to consolidate democratic gains and national cohesion. 

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
In Central African Republic, today, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, wrapped up a three-day visit to the country, as part of a joint mission with Smaїl Chergui, the African Union Commission Peace and Security Commissioner, as well as the President of the Economic Community of Central African States Commission (ECCAS), Gilberto Da Piedade Veríssimo.  
They met with the President, government officials, and a broad range of civil society actors to discuss the electoral process and the implementation of the Political Agreement signed last year.  
In a statement issued today, the three called on national stakeholders to promote dialogue and consensus for the holding of peaceful, free, inclusive and transparent elections. They reiterated that the Political Agreement remains the primary framework for restoring and sustaining peace in the country. They also acknowledged progress and invited signatories to redouble efforts to implement the Agreement.  
The three principals also condemned violence perpetrated by some armed groups against civilian population, humanitarian personnel and UN peacekeepers, calling them to adhere to the Secretary-General’s global ceasefire. They also expressed their solidarity to the people and Government of the Central African Republic in their fight against COVID-19. 
Mr. Lacroix will travel to Portugal next week, where he will meet with government officials and is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at a conference on the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, on women, peace and security.  

IRAQ 
In a decision taken independently of the United Nations, the Government of Iraq has announced its intention to close multiple camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) by the end of 2020. Several camp closures and consolidations have taken place within the last several days, and the Government has signaled that more should be expected. 
We are supporting IDP returns that are safe, dignified, voluntary and sustainable. The UN maintains its mandate to coordinate with the Government on issues of humanitarian assistance, and it is working to ensure that IDPs who have left camps and are returning home have access to necessary support while en route and upon arrival. 
We are also tracking developments closely and have been in constant communication with the Government of Iraq on planning for longer-term durable solutions for all vulnerable (IDPs) in the country.  

VIET NAM 
In Viet Nam, where Typhoon Molave has made landfall this week, we are told by our humanitarian colleagues that nearly 70 people have reportedly died or are still missing. 
Together with our partners and the Government, we are collecting information on the full extent of the damage. 
Some 375,000 people are in evacuation centres, many of which are overcrowded, with no access to water, sanitation, and health care, which of course, will increase the risk of the spread of COVID-19.  
We, along with our partners, in support of the Government-led response efforts, have distributed household and relief kits, food, water purification packets and cash assistance. 
The UN country team is developing a Response Plan and is providing support in the areas of information management, reporting and resource mobilization. 
For its part, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has made $540,000 available for immediate support for women and girls. The agency distributed dignity kits and provided vital maternal health equipment, such as Doppler Fetal Heart Rate Detectors. UNFPA is also supporting the delivery of mobile and outreach sexual and reproductive health services. 

STAFF SECURITY 
The latest report of the Secretary-General on the “Safety and Security of Humanitarian Personnel and Protection of UN Personnel” is out today.  
In it, the Secretary-General says that during the past 18 months, a total of 52 UN personnel lost their lives owing to acts of violence and safety-related incidents.   
The report also highlights that while UN and humanitarian personnel continued their work despite the adverse operational and security impact of the pandemic, they face security threats from armed conflict, crime, civil unrest and violent extremism to xenophobia and disinformation. 

POLICE OFFICER
The UN Department of Peace Operations announced today that this year’s UN Woman Police Officer of the Year Award will go to Chief Inspector Doreen Malambo of Zambia, who currently serves with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). 
Chief Inspector Malambo is a Gender Adviser in Juba and has worked with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to establish the Stand Up for Rights of Women and Girls initiative, which has helped to reduce and prevent sexual and gender-based crime in South Sudan. The Chief Inspector has also created a network of groups led by male local police officers to engage other men in the community to disseminate information and promote the protection and advancement of the rights of women and girls.  
She also contributed to the UN Mission’s efforts to disseminate information on COVID-19 prevention to vulnerable communities, including those with disabilities. 
There will be a virtual award ceremony on 3 November, which will be on the UN webcast.

COVID-19/BRAZIL 
An update on what our country teams are doing to address the COVID-19 pandemic, today from Brazil: 
The UN team there, led by Resident Coordinator Niky Fabiancic, continues to support the authorities response to the pandemic. 
In the Amazon, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) provided reproductive health support to 80,000 women, while the International Organization for Migration (IOM) contributed mobile clinics and hundreds of medical consultations and hygiene kits to indigenous communities, refugees and migrants.  
UN Women has facilitated access to hearing test services for people with disabilities and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provided hand washing education and kits to hundreds of children.  
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is providing cash assistance and shelter to refugees and migrants while helping small business owners in refugee communities keep their businesses open.  
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) produced information materials to support the authorities in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.  
To recover better from the pandemic, the UN team and the civil society organizations are encouraging municipalities to use the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework ahead of the upcoming local elections.

WORLD CITIES DAY 
Tomorrow is World Cities Day, and this year the theme is Valuing Our Communities and Cities. In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General said that the value of communities has been brought into sharp focus during the response to COVID-19 and that cities have borne the brunt of the pandemic. 
The Secretary-General stresses that our rapidly urbanizing world must respond effectively to this pandemic and prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks. He points out that as we rebuild from the pandemic and engage in the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development, we have an opportunity to reset how we live and interact, and local action is the key. 
For the him, when urban communities are engaged in policy and decision making, and empowered with financial resources, the results are more inclusive and durable.