HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES

THURSDAY, 19 JANUARY 2017
 

IMPORTANCE OF PREVENTATIVE DIPLOMACY STRESSED BY SECRETARY-GENERAL IN ADDRESS TO WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

  • The Secretary-General delivered a keynote address to the World Economic Forum in Davos today.  In outlining his approach as Secretary-General, he said he would focus the work of the United Nations on prevention. He called for a massive effort in preventive diplomacy but added that the best prevention for conflict is sustainable and inclusive development. Government, civil society and business must work together to make the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement a reality.
  • Turning to the business leaders, he said it was time for a new partnership with the business community. He said that there is a need to align business priorities with the core goals of the international community, such as the SDGs.
  • The Secretary-General also held a number of bilateral meetings, including with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May; the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif; and President Petro Poreshenko of Ukraine.

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL REQUESTS THAT SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA LEAD U.N. DELEGATION AT ASTANA TALKS
  • The Secretary-General has taken note of the invitation extended to his Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to participate in the meeting about the situation in Syria to be convened in Astana, Kazakhstan, by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey.
  • In light of the complexity and importance of the issues likely to be raised in Astana, and of the senior level at which the conveners of the meeting will be represented, the Secretary-General has asked Mr. de Mistura to lead the UN team at the talks.  The Secretary-General is looking forward to the Astana meeting being a positive step, ahead of the resumption of intra-Syria negotiations in Geneva. 
  • The Humanitarian Adviser to the Special Envoy, Jan Egeland, highlighted concerns about the situation in Deir Ezzour and Wadi Barada while speaking with reporters today in Geneva.
  • In Deir Ezzour, he said, some 93,000 civilians have been cut off from aid after Da’esh captured key areas, including the drop zone for humanitarian supplies.  As a result, it has not been possible to drop new humanitarian relief there since Sunday.
  • The UN Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria Ali Al-Za’tari approved $19 million from the Syria Humanitarian Fund to sustain immediate life-saving and early recovery assistance for tens of thousands of people in Aleppo.
  • The UN and its partners have significantly scaled up operations to address the most urgent needs and pave the way to recovery efforts. The allocated money will finance immediate assistance in all affected neighborhoods of eastern Aleppo, as well as to collective shelters and other priority areas in Aleppo city where internally displaced people are staying.
  • The funds will also provide eastern Aleppo residents and displaced people with early recovery and livelihood interventions and support the rehabilitation of basic services and rubble removal to create the conditions for people to return to their homes.

 

SECURITY SITUATION, HUMANITARIAN ACCESS IMPROVE IN PARTS OF MOSUL: OCHA
  • Territorial gains by the Iraqi Security Forces on the eastern bank of the Tigris have significantly improved security in these areas, and greatly enhanced humanitarian access to the people residing in eastern Mosul city, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
  • Between 9 and 16 January, more than 89,000 people in eastern Mosul city received aid packages from the UN and its partners, which include ready-to-eat food rations, water supplies and hygiene materials. Nearly 200,000 people in these neighbourhoods have received such rations since the start of distributions in eastern Mosul city on 8 December.
  • There is still no humanitarian access to west Mosul neighbourhoods and the corridor to Tal Afar. Some 750,000 people are estimated to remain in western Mosul, and concern is mounting for their well-being.

 

SUICIDE ATTACK IN MALI CONDEMNED BY SECRETARY-GENERAL, SITUATION IN GAO REMAINS TENSE BUT CALM
  • In a statement, the Secretary-General condemned in the strongest terms the suicide-vehicle attack perpetrated against the camp of the Operational Coordination Mechanism this morning in Gao.  The camp housed over 600 individuals designated by the three signatory parties to the peace agreement to start mixed patrols in Gao region. While the exact number of casualties remains to be confirmed, preliminary reports point out to dozens of dead and injured.
  • This despicable act reinforces the United Nations' determination to support the people of Mali, the Government and the signatory armed groups in their quest for peace, their fight against terrorism and their efforts to uphold the peace agreement.
  • The UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, reports that the situation in Gao remains tense but calm. The Mission is working closely with the Malian authorities and the French Operation Barkhane to secure the town, including critical facilities such as the hospital and the airport.
  • The acting Force Commander is in Gao to lead MINUSMA’s operations there. The Mission assisted in securing and protecting the area and continues to mobilize its medical facilities and aerial assets to assist with medical care and evacuation of the wounded.  
  • All parties have been discussing how to secure the Operational Coordination Mechanism and its future operations. The parties to the Peace Agreement have reaffirmed their commitment to the peace process.

 

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME EXTREMELY CONCERNED BY CRITICAL FOOD INSECURITY IN NORTH-EASTERN NIGERIA
  • The World Food Programme (WFP) is extremely concerned about the critical food insecurity situation in north-eastern Nigeria. In areas affected by Boko Haram, 4.4 million people are facing hunger, of whom nearly 2 million people are in need of emergency food assistance.
  • In November, with support from UNICEF, WFP launched a joint Rapid Response Mechanism to supply food, nutrition and health support to people in difficult-to-reach areas in Borno and Yobe states. The mechanism includes extensive use of helicopters and the pooling of logistics and telecommunications resources across the humanitarian community.
  • By the end of December 2016, WFP had assisted more than a million people, including more than 796,000 with life-saving food, 171,000 with cash-based transfer and 192,000 children with specialized food to combat malnutrition.

 

PROGRESS MADE IN COMBATING HUNGER, FOOD INSECURITY IN HAITI FOLLOWING HURRICANE MATTHEW: WFP
  • Three months after Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti, the World Food Programme (WFP) says the number of people facing hunger and food insecurity in the most affected areas has declined steadily - from approximately 1 million to 400,000.
  • The latest Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA) confirms improvements in people’s capacity to feed themselves and their families as well as the need to continue providing assistance.
  • It also highlights the need to extend this assistance beyond these areas in departments where levels of food insecurity have been found to be high, including in the northern provinces of the country.
WEIGHT ISSUES ON THE RISE IN LATIN AMERICA, CARIBBEAN: FAO/PAHO
  • A new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) shows that obesity is on the rise throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly among women and children.
  • Close to 360 million people, or around 58 per cent of those living in the region, are overweight, with the highest rates observed in the Bahamas, Mexico and Chile.
  • Obesity affects some 140 million people in the region, with the highest rates in the Caribbean countries of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Antigua and Barbuda.
  • The report shows that the increase in obesity has disproportionately impacted women. In more than 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the rate of female obesity is 10 percentage points higher than that of men.

 

UNITED NATIONS AND PARTNERS LAUNCH NEW REFUGEE AND MIGRANT RESPONSE PLAN FOR EUROPE
  • UNHCR, IOM and 72 other partners have launched a new strategy and appeal to help respond to the situation of refugees and migrants in Europe in 2017.
  • The Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan aims at complementing and reinforcing Governments’ efforts to ensure safe access to asylum and the protection of refugees and migrants.
  • UNHCR says the Plan is an operational tool that will play a key role in ensuring more efficient operations and coordinated response over the next year.
  • Particular emphasis is placed on addressing the specific needs of children and women, including identifying and supporting survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.