HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 22 MARCH 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO JORDAN
- The Secretary-General will travel to Amman, Jordan, on 27 March. While in Jordan, he is expected to meet with King Abdullah II and other senior officials. He will also visit the Zaatari refugee camp, which hosts close to 80,000 Syrian refugees.
- The Secretary-General will then attend the Summit of the League of Arab States (LAS) on 29 March at the Dead Sea, where he will meet with participating Heads of State and Government, as well as with the Secretary-General of the LAS, H.E. Mr. Ahmed Aboul-Gheit.
- We expect the Secretary-General back in the office on 3 April.
U.N. ENVOY VOICES CONCERN OVER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ACROSS LIBYA
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Martin Kobler, said today he is gravely concerned at continued reports of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law across Libya. He calls on all parties to send a strong message that these are unacceptable and urges credible investigations to hold perpetrators accountable.
- Mr. Kobler warned that continued fighting in residential areas continues to endanger the civilian population, in an environment already fraught with criminal and political kidnappings. Credible, effective and accountable security institutions are urgently required to end the deteriorating security situation.
- Mr. Kobler added that a framework exists to uphold human rights and the rule of law, and that what is required is the political will to implement it.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION WORSENING IN SOMALIA – U.N. RELIEF WING
- With the threat of famine looming, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Somalia.
- Nearly 257,000 people were internally displaced from November 2016 through February, and some 4,300 Somalis have crossed the border into Ethiopia.
- More than 13,000 cases of acute watery diarrhea/cholera are suspected, with more than 300 deaths from those illness reported since the beginning of the year.
- The overall 2017 humanitarian appeal for Somalia of $864 million dollars is so far only 31 per cent funded. That appeal is expected to be revised soon to take into account the increasing needs outlined in the famine prevention operational plan.
U.N. SYRIA ENVOY MEETS RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER AHEAD OF TALKS
- Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow today.
- They had a constructive meeting ahead of the resumption of talks tomorrow in Geneva, as part of the Special Envoy’s ongoing consultations with international stakeholders.
IRAQ: NUMBER OF DISPLACED FROM WESTERN MOSUL RISES QUICKLY – U.N. RELIEF WING
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that civilian displacement from western Mosul continues to rise rapidly. Almost 10,000 people were displaced between 19 and 21 March. At least 167,000 people have been displaced by fighting in western Mosul since military operations on this part of the city began in late February.
- The number of people currently displaced by the fighting in Mosul is approaching 271,000.
- There are reports that people are also crossing the Tigris River to flee from west into east Mosul.
- Meanwhile, more than 1,000 trauma cases have been received in trauma stabilisation points near the west Mosul front lines since the military operations on western Mosul began. More than 5,000 trauma cases have been referred to hospitals in surrounding areas for treatment since the start of fighting in Mosul last October.
1 IN 4 CHILDREN WILL LIVE IN AREAS WITH EXTREMELY LIMITED WATER RESOURCES BY 2040 – UNICEF REPORT
- Some 600 million children – or 1 in 4 children worldwide – will be living in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040, according to a UNICEF report released today – which is World Water Day.
- The report, Thirsting for a Future: Water and children in a changing climate, looks at the threats to children’s lives and wellbeing caused by depleted sources of safe water and the ways climate change will intensify these risks in coming years.
- 36 countries are currently facing extremely high levels of water stress, which occurs when demand for water far exceeds the renewable supply available.
- Population growth, increased water consumption, and higher demand for water largely due to industrialization and urbanization are draining water resources worldwide, while conflicts in many parts of the world also threaten children’s access to safe water.
U.N. REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO HELPING HAITI IMPROVE ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER
- On the occasion of World Water Day, the UN in Haiti reiterates its commitment to support the country in improving access to clean water, crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
- 42 per cent of Haitians still have a limited access to drinkable water and 72 per cent lack access to adequate sanitation.
2016 WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD, U.N.-BACKED BODY FINDS
- The year 2016 was marked by record global temperatures, exceptionally low sea ice and unabated sea level rise and ocean heat, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with extreme weather and climate conditions having continued into this year.
- WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas noted that the organization’s annual State of the Global Climate report confirms that 2016 was the warmest on record – a remarkable 1.1 °C above the pre-industrial period, which is 0.06 °C above the previous record set in 2015.
- He added that with levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere consistently breaking new records, the influence of human activities on the climate system has become more and more evident.
GUYANA AND UNITED ARAB EMIRATES PAY FULL U.N. DUES
- Guyana and the United Arab Emirates have paid their regular budget dues in full, bringing the total number of Member States that have done so to 65.