HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
THURSDAY, 20 JULY 2017
CHALLENGES NEED TO BE OVERCOME TO PUT SOUTH SUDAN BACK ON TRACK FOR PEACE, U.N. OFFICIAL TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL
- The Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, El Ghassim Wane, briefed the Security Council on South Sudan this morning. He said that the peace process faces numerous challenges that must be overcome if we are to make the most of the opportunity created by the deployment of the regional protection force and put the country back on the track to peace and stability.
- He warned that the security environment remains extremely volatile and stressed that South Sudan needs an effective and credible ceasefire. He added that every effort should be made to ensure that the National Dialogue is inclusive, transparent, takes place in a free and secure environment and is supported by a broad political consensus.
- Mr. Wane also underlined the need for the international community to send strong messages to the South Sudanese leadership of all sides that the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable. A change in behaviour is long overdue, he said, and the pursuit of political objectives through violence should not be allowed to continue.
- Yesterday, a delegation from the UN Mission in South Sudan and government officials visited Kolmerek village, in the Jonglei region, after a violent attack last weekend. They condemned the attack and called for calm. The Mission is supporting peace efforts in the aftermath of the violence and has sent peacekeepers to the area.
MIDDLE EAST: U.N. ENVOY VOICES CONCERN OVER STEPPED UP TENSIONS AROUND JERUSALEM’S OLD CITY
- Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said that he is deeply concerned by the recent surge in tensions and violence around the holy esplanade in the Old City of Jerusalem.
- He welcomes the commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to uphold and respect the status quo at the holy sites, and Palestinian President Abbas’s firm condemnation of violence, specifically the deadly attack on two Israeli policemen on 14 July.
- He hopes that these affirmations will contribute to resolving the concerns of all parties and put an end to the provocative rhetoric that has added to the escalation over the past week. Mr. Mladenov calls on all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation and on moderate voices to speak up against those who try to fuel tensions.
U.N. YEMEN ENVOY WRAPS UP MEETINGS WITH SENIOR OFFICIALS IN CAIRO
- The Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, wrapped up a visit to Cairo today, where he met with Egyptian, Yemeni and regional leaders.
- The Special Envoy met the Secretary General of the League of Arab States and the Permanent Representatives to the Arab League, urging Arab countries to support Yemen overcome its current crisis.
- He also met with Egypt’s Foreign Minister and thanked the country for its assistance to Yemenis, including the large number of prominent Yemeni political figures it is hosting.
- The Special Envoy held talks with the Foreign Minister of Kuwait, stressing the importance of Arab unity to confront the crisis in Yemen, regional challenges and the problem of terrorism that threatens the whole world.
- He also met with Yemeni politicians living in Cairo, as well as with Yemeni youth activists and civil society, whose support in achieving progress in the peace process is exceptional.
IN MOSCOW, U.N. OFFICIAL DISCUSSES HOW TO BOLSTER COST-EFFECTIVE AVIATION USE WITH RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT
- The Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare, is in Moscow where he attended the third annual aviation talks on 18-19 July. The parties discussed the Secretary-General's initiative to enhance the cost-effectiveness of the UN’s aviation assets. They agreed that the close cooperation of the Russian Federation and other Member States in providing new technologies and other cost effective solutions to the UN is a critical aspect of this overall effort.
- The UN expressed appreciation for the Russian Federation’s strong commitment to the Organization’s aviation and to ensuring that UN air operators uphold aviation standards and international requirements. The UN and the Russian Federation agreed to continue holding regular annual meetings, with the next one to take place in New York in 2018.
DRY WEATHER COULD THREATEN FOOD SECURITY FOR MANY PEOPLE IN D.P.R. KOREA, NEW U.N-BACKED REPORT WARNS
- Prolonged dry weather has severely damaged crop production in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea this year, threatening the food security of a large part of the population, according to a new update by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the European Commission.
- Rainfall in the main cereal producing areas have been below the level it was in 2001, when production dropped to unprecedented levels.
- Vincent Martin, FAO’s Representative in China and the DPRK, said that immediate interventions are needed to help farmers, as well as increasing food imports.
FIGHT AGAINST AIDS REACHES TURNING POINT, WITH DEATHS HALVED SINCE 2005 – U.N. AGENCY
- UNAIDS has released a new report showing that for the first time the scales have tipped: more than half of all people living with HIV now have access to treatment and AIDS-related deaths have almost halved since 2005.
- Provided that scale-up continues, this progress puts the world on track to reach the global target of 30 million people on treatment by 2020.
- However, the report also shows that, globally, new HIV infections are declining, but not at the pace needed to meet global targets.
- The region showing the most progress is eastern and southern Africa: since 2010, AIDS-related deaths have declined by 42%.
- Eastern Europe and central Asia is the only region in the world where new infections and AIDS-related deaths are both rising.
INSTABILITY, POOR ACCESS LEADS TO 140 PER CENT JUMP IN COSTS FOR WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME’S OPERATIONS
- The World Food Programme (WFP) today released a report that highlights the huge costs that are linked to poor humanitarian access, instability and inefficient food systems.
- WFP has seen its costs spike by more than 140 per cent over the past seven years, from $2.2 billion in 2009 to $5.3 billion dollars in 2015. East and Central Africa and the Middle East and North Africa account for a staggering 70 per cent of WFP expenditure.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION RECORDS DRAMATIC SURGE IN TOBACCO CONTROL POLICIES WORLDWIDE
- The latest report on the global tobacco epidemic from the World Health Organization (WHO) finds that more countries have implemented tobacco control policies, ranging from graphic pack warnings and advertising bans to no smoking areas.
- About 4.7 billion people – 63 per cent of the world’s population – are now covered by at least one comprehensive tobacco control measure, while only 15 per cent of the world’s population were covered in 2007.
- However, the tobacco industry continues to hamper government efforts to fully implement life- and cost-saving interventions.
WINNERS OF U.N. STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST TO BE HONOURED
- Tomorrow morning, in the General Assembly Hall, the Department of Public Information (DPI) will host the Many Languages, One World Global Youth Forum for the 60 winners of its fourth annual essay contest.
- These students will give presentations in the six official UN languages on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
- They come from 27 countries and 57 universities around the world.
- The event will be webcast in all official languages.
CYPRUS BECOMES 116TH U.N. MEMBER STATE TO PAY DUES IN FULL
- Cyprus has paid its regular budget dues in full, making it the 116th Member State to do so.