HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STÉPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER 2017
72ND PLENARY SESSION OF U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONTINUES
- As the 72nd plenary session of the General Assembly continues, the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General are holding a large number of high-level events and bilateral meetings.
- The Secretary-General this morning had a working breakfast with the five permanent Security Council members, and spoke at a ministerial-level event on youth, peace and security and a meeting of the High-Level Panel on Water.
- There will be other high-level events, including on South Sudan, Somalia and famine response and prevention, taking place this afternoon.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES COUNTRIES TO RAMP UP SUPPORT FOR NIGERIA AND LAKE CHAD BASIN REGION
- The Deputy Secretary-General, meanwhile, spoke at a ministerial roundtable on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin where she urged the participants to give all the support they can to help fund the $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal for the region.
- Noting that the violence in the Lake Chad Basin is marked by widespread human rights violations, the Deputy Secretary-General stressed that protecting civilians must be at the heart of our collective response.
- She added that having grown up in Maiduguri in Nigeria – the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency – she knows that no child is born a terrorist. Children and young people are indoctrinated and radicalized by circumstances, conditions and influences, she said. She therefore called on governments to act to address the root causes of violence, including the full spectrum of social, political, economic and religious grievances.
U.N. CHIEF WELCOMES THIRD PHASE OF LOCAL ELECTIONS IN NEPAL
- In a statement issued by the Spokesman, the Secretary-General welcomed the holding of the third phase of the local elections on 18 September and congratulated the people of Nepal for the peaceful conduct of the polls.
- This marks a crucial step in the transition towards federalism as enshrined in the 2015 Constitution, and will be followed by elections to State Assemblies and the Federal Parliament.
- The Secretary-General encouraged the Government of Nepal and political parties to continue their efforts towards ensuring peaceful and inclusive upcoming elections. He also encouraged all stakeholders to continue the implementation of the Constitution in line with its principles of inclusion and representative governance.
- The United Nations stands ready to support such efforts.
SECURITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON DA’ESH
- The Security Council has unanimously passed a resolution on Da’esh.
- The Council requested that the Secretary-General set up an investigative team to support Iraqi’s efforts to hold Da’esh accountable for violations and abuses of international law by collecting, preserving and storing evidence in the country of acts that could amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide [This new investigative team would be headed by a Special Adviser].
NUMBER OF ROHINGYA REFUGEES FLEEING FROM MYANMAR TO BANGLADESH REACHES 429,000 - U.N.
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the number of Rohingya refugees fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh has reached 429,000.
- Heavy rains have caused the majority of shelters in low-lying areas to flood, hampering the delivery of aid.
- OCHA stresses that funding is urgently needed to scale aid distribution.
- The UN Migration Agency, or IOM, is airlifting 100 tons of supplies, including food and tents, donated by Saudi Arabia to help Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar for Bangladesh.
- The supplies are scheduled to arrive early tomorrow morning, and IOM will organize a convoy of some 20 trucks to deliver it to Cox’s Bazar.
- IOM says that more than half of the people who have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar are still living in makeshift camps with little access to shelter, food, clean water and sanitation.
- IOM is working closely with the Government and other agencies to set up a new 2,000-acre camp, where it will be easier for newly-arrived refugees to access aid and basic services.
U.N. TEAM TO ASSIST MEXICO IN RECOVERY EFFORTS AFTER POWERFUL EARTHQUAKE
- A six-member UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team was deployed to Mexico yesterday in support of the Resident Coordinator and with agreement of the Government.
- The team will assist with assessments, information management and the coordination of the various search and rescue teams in the country.
HURRICANE MARIA: U.N. TEAMS READY TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO NATIONAL AUTHORITIES
- UN teams are ready to deploy to islands should they be impacted and request assistance.
- Teams have been deployed to assist regional and national authorities in assessing the storm’s impact, identifying immediate humanitarian needs, and coordinating the distribution of pre-positioned UN stocks.
- Humanitarian partners continue to work and coordinate with regional organizations and local governments throughout the countries impacted by Irma.
- A new website has been created with more details at unocha.org.
U.N. ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME PARTNERS WITH DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS TO SPOTLIGHT CONSERVATION EFFORTS
- Our colleagues at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have announced a partnership with Discovery Communications to raise awareness about the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges and to highlight innovative solutions to address them.
- Together, both partners will develop original content about nature with a strong conservation angle, empowering individuals and communities to make a difference. The content will be distributed through broadcast and online channels of both Discovery Communications and the United Nations.
ONLY 15 COUNTRIES HAVE ESSENTIAL NATIONAL POLICIES TO SUPPORT FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN – U.N.I.C.E.F.
- A new report by UNICEF entitled “Early Moments Matter for Every Child”, found that only 15 countries worldwide have three essential national policies that support families with young children.
- These policies include offering families two years of free pre-primary education; paying breastfeeding breaks for new mothers for the first six months; and adequately paying parental leave.
- The report notes that Cuba, France, Portugal, Russia and Sweden are among the countries that guarantee all three policies.
- However, 85 million children under five are growing up in 32 countries without any of the three critical policies in place. 40 per cent of these children live in just two countries – Bangladesh and the United States.
- On average, governments worldwide spend less than 2 per cent of their education budgets on early childhood programmes. Yet, the report highlights that investment in children’s early years today yields significant economic gains in the future.
- Every US$1 invested in programmes that support breastfeeding generates US$35 in return; and every US$1 invested in early childhood care and education for the most disadvantaged children can yield a return of up to US$17.
CONFLICT AND CLIMATE-RELATED SHOCKS ARE AFFECTING FOOD SECURITY – U.N. REPORT
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued its quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report today.
- It says that robust harvests in Latin America and rebounding agricultural conditions in Southern Africa are on course to improve the global food supply situation.
- However, ongoing civil conflicts and climate-related shocks are affecting progress towards hunger reduction.
- Some 37 countries, 28 of which are in Africa, require external assistance for food.
- Conflict continues to intensely impact agriculture and food security in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, northern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen,
- Weather shocks in 2017, including droughts, have also compounded the impacts in some countries, notably Somalia and southern Ethiopia.
ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE, U.N. HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION AND ACCEPTANCE TOWARDS REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS
- Today is the International Day of Peace. The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”
- In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General said that “We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbours as ‘the other’. Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights, let us build bridges, let us transform fear into hope.”
OPPORTUNITY FOR PEACE IN LIBYA ‘CANNOT BE MISSED’, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL
- Yesterday, the Secretary-General spoke at a high-level event on Libya. He said he believes that there is an opportunity for a political solution in the country and that this opportunity cannot be missed.
- While the Libyan Political Agreement remains the transitional framework, he said it is crucial to fashion a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political solution. In this regard, he outlined the main priorities of the UN’s strategy, including reinvigorating an inclusive political process; building credibility with the Libyan people; strengthening security arrangements and national security architecture; coordinating international engagement; improving socio-economic conditions and the provision of goods and services; supporting migrants; and securing predictable support for humanitarian assistance.
- The Secretary-General said his Special Representative for Libya, Ghassan Salamé, would strive to unify and consolidate the various initiatives, and to promote dialogue towards the formation of a unified national government and the immediate end of parallel institutions.
NEW U.N. PLATFORM TO FACILITATE FINANCING FOR CLIMATE ACTION
- Yesterday, the Secretary-General and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced plans to accelerate financing for climate action through a new platform dedicated to identify and facilitate investments in developing countries.
- The platform, called Invest4Climate will bring together investors with high-impact opportunities in developing countries such as large-scale development of battery storage, electric cars, and low emission air conditioning. It will also facilitate such investments through the development of risk mitigation instruments and will work with national governments to improve policy environments.
- The platform will be further developed in close collaboration with partners at the forthcoming World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings and COP23 later this year.
- More information is available on the World Bank’s website.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO MALAWI PAY THEIR BUDGET DUES IN FULL
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Malawi have joined to the Honour Roll as they have both paid their regular budget dues in full, bringing it to 131 Member States.