HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES

TUESDAY, 25 APRIL 2017

 
$1.1BILLION RAISED AT PLEDGING CONFERENCE FOR YEMEN AN ENCOURAGING SIGNAL – U.N. CHIEF

  • The Secretary-General spoke to reporters in Geneva following the pledging conference for Yemen, and he called today’s events a considerable success. He said that $1.1 billion has been pledged at the conference, which is more than half of the amount of our $2.1 billion appeal for the year.  (That includes $25 million allocated by the Central Emergency Response Fund.) Today’s pledges, he said are an encouraging signal that we will reach our funding target for humanitarian aid to Yemen by the end of the year.
  • The Secretary-General said that we now need to make sure that the pledges are translated into effective support for the people of Yemen.  The Secretary-General said that we need three things: access, access and access.
  • He told participants at the conference that Yemen today is experiencing a tragedy of immense proportions. Two years of conflict have devastated the lives of ordinary Yemenis.  He said that nearly two-thirds of the population – or almost 19 million people – need emergency support. Some 17 million are food-insecure, making this the world’s largest hunger crisis.  And seven out of 22 governorates are facing a severe food security emergency.
  • The Secretary-General said that only a cessation of hostilities and a political settlement can bring about a permanent end to the conflict and the suffering of the Yemeni people.  And he called on the parties to the conflict to engage in peace talks facilitated by his Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

 

IN GENEVA, DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES REGIONAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
  • The Deputy Secretary-General participated today in the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region. She also attended the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen. She will also have meetings with heads of UN system entities and senior Government officials in Geneva.
  • After today, the Deputy Secretary-General will participate in the first regular session for 2017 of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination in Montreux.
  • The Deputy Secretary-General will return to New York on Thursday.

 

U.N. SENIOR OFFICIAL STRESSES NEED FOR POLITICAL SOLUTION AMID INTENSIFYING CONFLICT IN SOUTH SUDAN
  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan, David Shearer, briefed the Security Council this morning. He said that since July last year, the security, economic and humanitarian situation has worsened markedly and that virtually no part of the country is immune from conflict. Yet, he said there has been no concerted effort by any party to adhere to a ceasefire. Instead, over the past month, the conflict has intensified.
  • In the face of this escalation, Mr. Shearer said that the UN Mission has increased the robustness of its protection activities, with more patrols to the most conflict-affected areas.
  • Mr. Shearer added that despite what appears to be attempts by the parties to achieve victory through military means, a political solution is the only way forward. The political process is not dead, he said, but it requires significant resuscitation. To create political will for the parties to end hostilities and build peace, Mr. Shearer stressed the need for the international community to speak with one voice.

 

U.N. RELIEF AGENCY LAUNCHES $64.5 MILLION APPEAL FOR DR CONGO
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) launched today an appeal for US $64.5 million for the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • An estimated one million people have been displaced by the violence that erupted in Kasai Central in August 2016 and rippled across neighbouring provinces, leading to civilian deaths, gross human right violations and disruption of livelihoods and education for thousands of children.
  • The appeal launched today will provide water, food, health services and basic household items, as well as protection services to minors, women who have suffered sexual violence, and other civilians who have been victims of violence.

 

U.N. HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES CONTINUE TO RESPOND TO CIVILIAN DISPLACEMENT IN IRAQ
  • While fighting continues in Mosul, civilian displacement from other remaining Da’esh-held areas has also continued.
  • In the last four days, more than 5,500 people have fled from Tel Afar, west of Mosul, to Sahlej, in the Zummar area north west of Tel Afar. Sahlej does not have basic services to host this number of people, with particular shortages of water, shelter and latrines
  • As fighting in the Mosul area continues and Tel Afar becomes increasingly unsafe, people have fled temporarily to Zummar, en route to better serviced locations. The Government of Iraq has already bussed approximately 1,300 people from Zummar to areas south and east of Mosul, and to newly accessible neighbourhoods of Mosul city. Further transportation to other Government of Iraq areas is expected to follow.
  • Humanitarians continue to respond to displaced families on the move, families in displacement camps and sites, those who remained in newly retaken areas, and others made highly vulnerable by this crisis. Emergency aid has to date been provided to cover the needs of some 2.1 million people in Mosul and surrounding areas, with many families requiring assistance more than once.

 

U.N. WELCOMES PROGRESS MADE AGAINST CORRUPTION IN AFGHANISTAN
  • A UN report released today says authorities in Afghanistan have made significant progress in their fight against corruption.
  • The report, released by the Mission in the country, welcomes the progress and gives recommendations so that the government, with the support of the international community, can build on its achievements and tackle the enormous challenges that still remain to end corruption in all aspects of life in the country.

 

SOMALIA: UNICEF LAUNCHES EMERGENCY VACCINATION CAMPAIGN AGAINST MEASLES IN BAIDOA
  • UNICEF has begun an emergency campaign in Baidoa to vaccinate nearly 30,000 children against measles.
  • UNICEF said many of the children that are being immunized come from remote areas and have been displaced by the drought.
  • This year, almost 5,700 cases of suspected measles have been reported across the country, more than the total number of cases in 2016. 

 

UNDERNUTRITION AND OBESITY COSTING LATIN AMERICA BILLIONS OF DOLLARS – U.N. STUDY
  • The combined impact of undernutrition and overweight/obesity, also known as the “Double Burden of Malnutrition,” contributed to the loss of billions of dollars to the economies of Latin America, according to a study of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
  • Malnutrition – comprising both undernutrition and overweight/obesity—has significant negative impacts on sickness and mortality rates, educational outcomes and productivity. It therefore carries huge economic consequences for affected individuals, communities and nations.

 

U.N. PARTNERS WITH BIKE SHARING PLATFORM TO RAISE AWARENESS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
  • Just a few moments ago here at UN Headquarters, the UN Development Programme launched a partnership with the Chinese bike-sharing platform known as Ofo to raise public awareness about climate change.
  • The partnership will provide financial support to projects that address urban environmental challenges and will encourage taking actions such as biking, to reduce our carbon emissions.
  • Ofo will also donate its income on the 17th of each month to help achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. For its part, UNDP will advise Ofo on ways to redistribute abandoned bikes to rural areas to improve education access for children living in poverty.
  • The partnership is expected to reach 100 million people.

 

ON WORLD MALARIA DAY, U.N. HEALTH AGENCY UNVEILS PILOT PROGRAMME FOR WORLD’S FIRST MALARIA VACCINE
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a pilot programme for the world’s first malaria vaccine in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi in 2018.
  • The injectable vaccine was developed to protect young children from the most deadly form of malaria.
  • Global efforts reduced malaria deaths by 62% between 2000 and 2015, yet approximately 429,000 people died of the disease in 2015 – the majority of them young children in Africa.

 

IN RESPONSE TO QUESTION ON CYPRUS
  • I was asked yesterday whether the Secretary-General has received a letter from Foreign Minister Kotzias of the Hellenic Republic. I can confirm he has received the letter.
  • I would like to reiterate that the Cyprus peace talks are Cypriot owned and leader-led, facilitated by the United Nations, through the Secretary-General's Special Adviser, Espen Barth Eide.
  • Mr. Eide has the Secretary-General's full confidence in the exercise of his mandate at this critical time in the peace talks.
  • The Secretary-General and his Special Adviser have been in frequent contact with all relevant international actors, including the European Commission as a united Cyprus will be a full member of the European Union.