HIGHLIGHTS OF THE U.N. SYSTEM
WEDNESDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2017
 
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES NEW TREATY BANNING NUCLEAR WEAPONS

  • At the signing ceremony for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons this morning, the Secretary-General welcomed the new pact, which he said is the first multilateral disarmament treaty in more than two decades.
  • He congratulated all States that negotiated the Treaty, as well as the vital role played by civil society in bringing it to fruition.
  • The Secretary-General called the new pact an “important step towards the universally-held goal of a world free of nuclear weapons,” voicing hope that it will reinvigorate global efforts to achieve it.
PEACEKEEPING STILL ‘HIGHLY-COST EFFECTIVE,’ SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL
  • The Security Council held a high-level debate on peacekeeping operations this morning, focusing on the reform of UN peacekeeping.
  • The Secretary-General told Council members that peacekeeping remains a highly cost-effective instrument. He said that peace operations are deployed in difficult environments, where the UN is sometimes the only one who can act. They face considerable expectations -- maybe too high, he said. Peace operations must also face situations so complex that it would be illusory to expect to solve them in a few years.
  • The Secretary-General stressed the need to recognize the "primacy of politics" so that peace operations are deployed in support of active diplomatic efforts, not as a substitute. He also stressed the need for peace operations to be properly equipped, to embody UN values, and for the UN to build stronger partnerships.
U.N. REITERATES CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION TO PROTECT REFGUEES, ENSURE SAFE, ORDERLY AND REGULAR MIGRATION
  • This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the side event on refugees and migrants “Follow-up to the New York Declaration: One Year On” and outlined five key priorities to manage the flow of refugees and migrants which include strengthening refugee protection, establishing international cooperation mechanisms that take mobility into account, tackling human trafficking and smuggling, creating more opportunities for safe migration, and improving employment opportunities.
  • High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, UN Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour, and Director-General of the International Organization (IOM) for Migration William Lacy Swing, also spoke at the event.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SPEAKS OUT AGAINST SUICIDE ATTACKS IN NIGERIA, CAMEROON
  • In a statement issued this morning, the Secretary-General condemns the suicide attacks on 18 September 2017 in Borno State, Nigeria, and the attacks one day earlier in Kossa, Cameroon. These terrorist attacks targeted vulnerable people already affected by Boko Haram violence.
  • The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the people and Governments of Nigeria and Cameroon for the loss of life. He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured and calls for those responsible for these repeated acts in the countries in the Lake Chad Basin to be swiftly brought to justice. 
  • The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations’ solidarity and support to the Governments of the Lake Chad Basin countries in their fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
MEXICO: SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES SORROW OVER DEATHS, DAMAGE CAUSED BY QUAKE
  • In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Secretary-General said that he is saddened by the loss of life and damage resulting from the earthquake that took place in Mexico today. He extends his condolences to the Government and people of Mexico and wishes those injured a speedy recovery. Today’s disaster comes just two weeks after the country suffered a strong earthquake, which already resulted in significant loss of life and suffering.
  • The Secretary-General commends the Government of Mexico and the civil society for their speedy response. 
  • The United Nations stands ready to assist.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SADDENED BY DESTRUCTION WREAKED BY HURRICANE MARIA ACROSS CARIBBEAN
  • In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Secretary-General said that he is saddened by the destruction across the Caribbean region by Hurricane Maria in a context where many islands are already working to respond to the devastation and suffering arising from Hurricane Irma earlier this month.
  • The Secretary-General commends the collaborative efforts of the various Governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations in responding to this crisis.
  • The United Nations stands ready to assist those nations and territories affected by this latest hurricane.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL WARNS OF WARMING OCEANS
  • The Deputy Secretary-General spoke today about the sustainable management of ocean resources, and she said that, according scientific studies, this June, the world's oceans reached 17 degrees Celsius, their highest average temperature since record keeping for these data began in the 19th century. The growing warming of oceans is challenging nearly all aspects of how they contribute to human life, she said.
  • Besides, she warned there is significant increase in the intensity and frequencies of storms, some of which have been witnessed in recent days. Warming is also attributed to the ferocity of hurricanes and storms that we are witnessing.
  • The Deputy Secretary-General said that the time has come to implement the Call for Action made by the Ocean Conference. This is particularly important for Small Island Developing States and coastal Least Developed Countries, as they often solely depend on oceans for their livelihood.

U.N. ENVOYS ON PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE, RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT VOICE CONCERN OVER IMPACT OF YEMEN CONFLICT ON CIVILIANS

  • The Special Advisers to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Ivan Šimonović, today expressed their concern at continued allegations of grave violations and abuses of human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law in the context of the on-going conflict in Yemen.
  • They expressed their support for the call made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish an impartial, international mechanism to investigate the facts and the circumstances.
  • They called, particularly the Security Council and Human Rights Council, to take action to end the carnage and remedy this man-made crisis, stressing that the international community has a moral and legal responsibility to support accountability in Yemen by immediately establishing an impartial international mechanism to comprehensively investigate allegations of serious abuses and violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict, and their allied forces with a view to ending impunity.
YEMEN: WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME REACHES RECORD 7 MILLION PEOPLE WITH AID IN AUGUST
  • The World Food Programme (WFP) provided food assistance to a record seven million people across the country during the month of August 2017.
  • More than two-thirds of the population – 17 million people – have been pushed into hunger, with seven million people on the brink of starvation and depending entirely on assistance to meet their most basic food needs.
  • Despite conflict and other access constraints that challenge WFP’s ability to deliver assistance, the agency reached nearly seven million people with monthly food assistance, as well as specialized nutrition supplements to treat and prevent malnourishment among women and children. 
  • However, due to lack of adequate funding only half of these people received a full ration, with the remainder received just 60 per cent of the full ration. For the coming six months through March 2018, WFP is facing a funding shortfall of $350 million.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. WELCOMES LAUNCH OF NATIONAL ELECTORAL FORUM
  • The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today welcomed the launch of the National Electoral Forum by the Independent Electoral Commission as an important step towards elections seen as credible, transparent, and inclusive in the eyes of the Afghan people. 
  • The forum is intended as a series of regular and meaningful consultations to build consensus on the way forward for elections.
  • The Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Pernille Kardel, pledged the international community’s support as a partner throughout the electoral preparation process and noted that political leaders and candidates also bear a great responsibility to ensure a credible processes and accepted outcomes.
KOSOVO: U.N. ENVOY SPOTLIGHTS NEED FOR TRANSPARENCY IN MUNICIPAL POLLS
  • At the outset of the campaign for municipal elections in Kosovo, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Zahir Tanin, has stressed the importance of the opportunity for all people and communities to elect representatives in a democratic and transparent manner.
  • He calls for responsible action by all leaders and parties to ensure a campaign free of intimidation and coercion, enabling voters to freely exercise their rights.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION WARNS WORLD RUNNING OUT OF ANTIBIOTICS
  • A report launched today by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows a serious lack of new antibiotics under development to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.
  • Most of the drugs currently in the clinical pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions.
  • The report, entitled “Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including tuberculosis”, found very few potential treatment options for those antibiotic-resistant infections identified by WHO as posing the greatest threat to health, including drug-resistant tuberculosis which kills around 250 000 people each year.
  • "Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine," says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. "There is an urgent need for more investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections including TB, otherwise we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery."
  • In addition to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, WHO has identified 12 classes of priority pathogens – some of them causing common infections such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections – that are increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics and urgently in need of new treatments.
U.N. ENVIRONMENT DESIGNATES BEN FOGLE AS NEW PATRON OF THE WILDERNESS
  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced the appointment of British Broadcaster and adventurer Ben Fogle as the UN’s new “Patron of the Wilderness”.
  • In his newly created role, Mr. Fogle will highlight the pressure and impact of human activities on the Earth's wildest corners. He will also participate in the development of global outreach programmes to promote the concept of “leaving no trace” to ensure human actions do not damage the environment wherever we go.