HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 23 MAY 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS MANCHESTER TERRORIST ATTACK, SENDS CONDOLENCES TO U.K. LEADERS
- In a statement on the terrorist attack in Manchester yesterday evening, the Secretary-General strongly condemns the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester last night. The Secretary General expresses his profound sympathy and solidarity with the people and Government of the United Kingdom.
- The Secretary-General conveys his condolences to the families and friends of those killed, and wishes the injured an early and full recovery.
- The Secretary-General hopes that those who are responsible for this despicable attack will be swiftly found and bought to justice.
- Earlier today, the Secretary-General spoke with the UK Permanent Representative, Matthew Rycroft, and he will also write to UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to express his condolences.
- For its part, the Security Council honored the victims of the attack by having a moment of silence this morning.
MARKING FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF WORLD HUMANITARIAN SUMMIT, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES STEPPED UP EFFORTS TO REACH THOSE LEFT ‘FARTHEST BEHIND’
- Today marks the first anniversary of the World Humanitarian Summit which took place in Istanbul.
- To mark the anniversary, the Secretary-General said today that the call to action set out in the Agenda for Humanity remains as urgent as ever.
- Preventing human suffering is my top priority as Secretary-General, he said, stressing the need to redouble our efforts to reach those left farthest behind: refugees, internally displaced people, women and girls, children and all people whose lives have been overturned by conflicts or disasters.
- The Secretary-General noted that humanitarian assistance alone cannot sustainably reduce the needs of over 130 million of the world’s most vulnerable people. We must engage our collective strengths and mobilize new partnerships.
- The World Humanitarian Summit was one step toward our joint endeavor to reduce human suffering. It is critical that we maintain this momentum to advance the Agenda for Humanity and deliver better results for people in the coming years, the Secretary-General said.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TAKE PART IN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION SUMMIT IN MEXICO
- Tomorrow morning, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, will depart New York for Cancun, Mexico, where she will participate in the fifth Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction. That is the first such meeting since the adoption of the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015.
- The Deputy Secretary-General will deliver a speech at the opening session and moderate a Leader’s Forum roundtable with Heads of State and Government, as well as Ministers and high level stakeholders. The Global Platform will be an opportunity to take stock of progress toward the implementation of the seven Sendai global targets and the outcome documents will contribute to the deliberations of the General Assembly and the ECOSOC, through the High-Level Political Forum, on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
- The Deputy Secretary-General will also hold bilateral meetings and participate in an event highlighting Women’s Leadership in Disaster Risk Reduction.
- She will return to New York on 25 May 2017.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET DISABILITY RIGHTS ACTIVIST
- This afternoon, the Secretary-General will meet with disability rights activist Andrea Stella, whose Wheels on Waves initiative is raising awareness of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- Mr. Stella is taking a copy of the Convention from New York to the Vatican on a specially-adapted catamaran, to promote the rights of people with disabilities and the removal of physical and attitudinal barriers towards them.
U.N. MOURNS SLAIN BLUE HELMETS IN MALI
- Two peacekeepers from the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) have been killed this morning in an ambush five kilometers from Aguelhok, in the Kidal region. Another peacekeeper was wounded in the attack.
- The Head of MINUSMA, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, stressed that the current wave of indiscriminate attacks against civilians, Malian forces and international forces over the past few weeks aimed to undermine efforts for the peace and stability of Mali.
- The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers.
- He will speak this afternoon at the High-Level Political Session of MINUSMA’s Force Generation Conference.
NEW SINGAPOREAN SOFTWARE TO HELP U.N. BETTER TRACK PEACEKEEPER CASUALTIES
- This afternoon, Singapore’s Permanent Representative will hand over to the UN a software application to help the Organization better create and maintain reports of casualties of blue helmets in peace operations.
- The Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support will receive the software on behalf of the UN and will thank the Government of Singapore for its support and contribution.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MARK INTERNATIONAL DAY OF UN PEACEKEEPERS
- Tomorrow, 24 May, several events will be held at UN Headquarters to mark the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, which will be observed around the world on 29 May.
- The Secretary-General will preside over a wreath-laying ceremony at the Peacekeepers Memorial Site in the North Lawn, followed by the Dag Hammarskjöld medal ceremony at which the 117 military, police and civilian peacekeepers who lost their lives last year will be honoured.
AID AGENCIES DELIVER URGENTLY-NEEDED AID TO HARD-TO-REACH AREAS NEAR SYRIA’S DAMASCUS – U.N.
- Yesterday, an inter-agency humanitarian convoy in Syria delivered much needed assistance to the hard-to-reach areas of Jirud, Nasriyeh and Atna in Rural Damascus.
- In total, 44,250 people in need were provided with food and non-food items, including nutrition, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene assistance.
- This was the first joint mission to deliver humanitarian assistance to Nasriyeh and Atna. The last inter-agency convoy to Jirud was on 23 June 2016.
- The UN continues to call for safe, unimpeded and sustained access to all people in need across the country, particularly the more than 4.5 million men, women and children in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.
HAITI: SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR STEPPED-UP ASSISTANCE TO SUPPORT CHOLERA RESPONSE
- The Secretary-General’s report, “New approach to cholera in Haiti,” has been published and provides updated information on the incidence of suspected cholera cases in Haiti and on the further development and implementation of the new approach.
- The Secretary-General urges Member States to provide their full support to the new approach, including material assistance. He has decided to appoint a high-level envoy to develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy to seek additional voluntary contributions from Member States and other sources.
- The Secretary-General also requests the General Assembly to consider inviting individual Member States to consider voluntarily waiving the return of the 2015/16 unencumbered balances and credits from miscellaneous income and adjustments from the UN Mission (MINUSTAH) and instead direct them to the UN Haiti Cholera Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL SOUNDS ALARM ON CIVILIAN TOLL OF CLASHES IN SOUTHERN LIBYA
- The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Maria do Valle Riberio, expressed her alarm today at the toll the continued fighting in southern Libya is having on ordinary people.
- In addition to reports of civilian casualties and allegations of human rights abuses, the situation has severely strained the already weak health services in the south.
- She said “all possible measures should be taken to ensure that the enjoyment of the right to health for those living in the south does not further deteriorate,” adding that the UN stands ready to deliver needed emergency supplies as soon as the safe access is provided.”
- She called on all parties to the conflict to respect International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law.
U.N. ENVOY STRESSES NEED TO FACILITATE SAFE, ORDERLY MIGRATION
- Today, the Global Compact for Migration will conclude its second thematic session here in New York with the theme: “Addressing drivers of migration, including adverse effects of climate change, natural disasters and human-made crises, through protection and assistance, sustainable development, poverty eradication, conflict prevention and resolution.”
- In her opening remarks to the session, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for International Migration, Louise Arbour, reminded participants of the importance of understanding why people move and the circumstance in which they move. “We must remember our mandate which is to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration, not to discourage mobility altogether,” she said.
- This is the second out of six thematic sessions which will gather recommendations to inform the development of the Global Compact for Migration. The next one will take place on 19-20 June in Geneva.
U.N. MARKS INTERNATIONAL DAY TO END OBSTETRIC FISTULA
- Today is the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, with this year’s theme being “Hope, healing, and dignity for all.”
- The Day seeks to raise awareness of the need for affordable health care for women to treat this condition which is entirely preventable.
- In a message, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), said the theme is “a call to realize the fundamental human rights of all women and girls everywhere, with a special focus on those most left behind, excluded and shunned by society.”
- An estimated 2 million women, mostly from developing countries, are living with this injury. Many endure depression and deepening poverty because they cannot afford to obtain treatment.
U.N.I.C.E.F. MOURNS LOSS OF GOODWILL AMBASSADOR SIR ROGER MOORE
- Sir Roger Moore passed away today, and Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said that the world has lost one of its great champions for children and the entire UNICEF family has lost a great friend.
- In his most famous roles as an actor, Sir Roger was the epitome of cool sophistication; but in his work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, he was a passionate – and highly persuasive – advocate for children.
NEW SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL APPOINTED FOR GUINEA-BISSAU
- The Secretary-General is appointing David McLachlan-Karr of Australia as his new Deputy Special Representative in Guinea-Bissau.
- Mr. McLachlan-Karr succeeds Maria do Valle Ribeiro of Ireland, who completed her assignment in January. The Secretary-General is grateful for her contribution to UN peacebuilding efforts in Guinea-Bissau.
- Mr. McLachlan-Karr will also serve as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, and he brings 21 years of experience working with the UN.
U.N. ENVIRONMENT PARTNERS WITH ELECTRIC RACING SERIES TO BOOST AIR QUALITY
- The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched a partnership with Formula E, the world’s first fully-electric single-seater racing series, to improve air quality in cities.
- The partnership will focus on educating consumers about the benefit of buying electric vehicles, and will leverage the popularity of the Formula E Championship to reach younger generations and motor sport fans globally.
- The Formula E Championship takes place in major cities around will be making a stop right here in Brooklyn on 15-16 July.
- UNEP stressed that with 6.5 million people dying prematurely each year from air pollution-related diseases, bringing attention to the need for clean air in cities is crucial for people’s well-being.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY VOICES CONCERN OVER INSTABILITY IN BURUNDI
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reiterated today its concern over the unstable situation in Burundi, which continues to drive people to seek safety in neighbouring countries.
- Since April 2015, some 410,000 refugees and asylum seekers have been forced to flee their homes.
- With no sign of improvement of the political situation, the total refugee population is expected to grow to over half a million by the end of 2017 – making it potentially the third biggest refugee situation in Africa.
- Currently Tanzania is hosting the majority of Burundian refugees, with some 249,000 already accommodated in three overcrowded camps. Others have fled to Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- UNHCR has updated its funding needs for the Burundi situation to US$250 million. It has so far received only two per cent of the required funds.
DESPITE PROGRESS, CHILDREN IN MYANMAR LEFT BEHIND – U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND
- A new UNICEF report finds that children in remote parts of Myanmar are unable to reap the benefits of the Government’s reform and reconciliation efforts due to conflict and poverty.
- Despite progress such as increased public funding for immunizations and education, up to 150 children under the age of five die every day and nearly 30 per cent of children are either moderately or severely malnourished.
U.N. TAKES ACTION FOLLOWING SOMALIA ATTACK
- In response to questions on a security report concerning an attack that happened in Garoowe, Somalia, the Spokesman confirmed that the report of the Board of Inquiry dealing with that matter was completed and was shared with UNICEF and the UN Mission in Somalia. They have acted on the recommendations made in the report.