HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
MONDAY, 27 MARCH 2017
 
U.N. SENIOR OFFICIALS SPEAK OUT AGAINST KILLING OF AID WORKERS IN SOUTH SUDAN

  • The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan, David Shearer, have both strongly condemned the killing of six aid workers in an ambush on 25 March as they were travelling from Juba to Pibor.
  • The ambush represents the highest number of aid workers killed in a single incident since the conflict began and comes after two other grave attacks on aid workers this month. Mr. O’Brien said this is completely unacceptable and must stop now, especially at a time when humanitarian needs have reached unprecedented levels.
  • Mr. Shearer noted that this latest attack occurred in an area controlled by the South Sudanese government and urged the government to investigate and apprehend the offenders.
  • At least 12 aid workers have been killed in 2017 in South Sudan. Since the start of the conflict in December 2013, at least 79 aid workers have lost their lives as attacks have continued with impunity.
  • The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, has also issued a statement.
U.N. OFFICIAL WELCOMES OPENING OF HUMANITARIAN CORRIDOR FROM SUDAN TO SOUTH SUDAN
  • The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas, has welcomed the decision by the Government of Sudan to open a new humanitarian corridor for food aid to be delivered by the World Food Programme from El Obeid in central Sudan to Bentiu, a town in Unity State, South Sudan, where 100,000 people are enduring famine amid a deepening humanitarian crisis across the country.
  • This week, WFP will be moving an initial delivery of 11,000 metric tons of sorghum in seven convoys of 30 to 40 trucks, which is enough to feed 300,000 people for three months.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: U.N. PEACEKEEPERS INTERVENE TO PROTECT CIVILIANS IN BRIA
  • The UN Mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, reports that tensions persist in Bria in Haute-Kotto, after peacekeepers intervened on Friday to protect civilians against anti-Balaka attacks in the Gobolo neighbourhood. In the ensuing clashes, one anti-Balaka combatant was killed, two were wounded and nine others were captured along with weapons.
  • Yesterday, as the UN mission began the transfer of the nine anti-Balaka captured to Bangui, anti-Balaka elements reportedly started shooting near the Bria airport in an effort to release the captured combatants. This was thwarted by a forceful response from peacekeepers.
  • In Mbomou Prefecture, peacekeeping reinforcements have been deployed to Bakouma and the Mission continues to ensure the protection of local civilians. In Ouaka Prefecture, clashes were reported between the FPRC and the UPC south of Ippy over the weekend. Aerial surveillance was undertaken and patrols have been deployed in response.
YEMEN: U.N. RELIEF CHIEF URGES PARTIES TO DIALOGUE TO END MAN-MADE CRISIS
  • In a statement issued yesterday, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, said that this week sadly marks two years since the terrible escalation of the conflict in Yemen.  He said that man-made conflict has brought Yemen to the brink of famine. Today nearly 19 million Yemenis – over two-thirds of the population – need humanitarian assistance. Seven million Yemenis are facing starvation.
  • Mr. O’Brien said that the UN and its partners are already providing life-saving assistance in all of Yemen’s 22 governorates and reach almost 6 million people every month. He added that urgent funding is needed in coming weeks – or it will be too late.
  • The Emergency Relief Coordinator said that parties to the conflict must also facilitate immediate, timely, and unimpeded humanitarian access. Most of all, the Yemeni people need the parties to commit to political dialogue, or this man-made crisis will never end.
SECRETARY-GENERAL REITERATES SUPPORT FOR SYRIA ENVOY
  • In response to questions about the Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General reiterates his full support for Mr. de Mistura. We must all ensure the success of the Geneva talks.
  • Meanwhile, the UN is deeply concerned for the safety and protection of over 400,000 civilians following reports of ongoing military operations in populated areas in Raqqa. We continue to receive reports that fighting and airstrikes result in death and injury to scores of civilians and damage to civilian infrastructure, including schools, bakeries, markets and water infrastructure.  An estimated 35,000 to 40,000 people have been displaced as a result of fighting since November 2016.
  • Humanitarian partners are responding to people in need, providing winter and food assistance and distributing mine risk education materials, especially for children.
  • The UN reminds all parties of their obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure as required by International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law.
IRAQ: 279,000 PEOPLE NOW DISPLACED BY MILITARY OPERATIONS IN MOSUL – U.N. RELIEF WING
  • An estimated 280,000 people are currently displaced as a result of the military operations in Mosul, Iraq. More than 220,000 of these are estimated to be displaced from western Mosul since military operations on the western neighbourhoods began in late February. Assistance continues to displaced people and to people in newly retaken areas wherever access allows.
  • Trauma care capacity for patients from western Mosul has been further strengthened with the establishment of two new field hospitals at Adhba and Hamam al Alil, south of Mosul. Five trauma stabilisation points and four field hospitals to the south and east of Mosul are now receiving patients from Mosul.
CONFLICTS HAMPER PROGRESS MADE TO END HUNGER IN NEAR EAST AND NORTH AFRICA – U.N. REPORT
  • A new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Food Insecurity in the Near East and North Africa shows that food security and nutrition levels in the region have sharply deteriorated over the last five years, undermining the steady improvement achieved before 2010 when the prevalence of undernourishment, stunting, anemia and poverty were decreasing.
  • This deterioration is largely driven by the spreading and intensity of conflicts and protracted crises.
  • Beyond conflicts and crises, the report argues that water scarcity and climate change are the most fundamental challenges to ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture by 2030.
STRONGER COOPERATION CRUCIAL TO IMPROVE SITUATION OF REFUGEES IN GREECE – U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that joint efforts and strengthened cooperation are crucial for improving the situation of asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece.
  • UNHCR has issued eight recommendations aimed at putting in place a sustainable refugee response in Greece, including improving reception conditions as a top priority. Steps need to be taken to provide more accommodation opportunities in urban areas and to address the specific needs of unaccompanied and separated children.
  • The situation in Greece can be managed, said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, but would require moving from the current emergency response to a sustainable system.
U.N.-BACKED REPORT HIGHLIGHTS NEW CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF GROWING URBANIZATION
  • A new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stresses that managing urbanization sustainably poses new challenges and opportunities to recast food and agriculture systems in ways that benefit both cities and the countryside.
  • This new report presented by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the FAO addresses a wide range of issues linked to urbanization.
  • Meeting the rising urban demand for food could generate much-needed employment and development prospects for the people who will remain in the countryside of developing countries while also making healthier food easier to access in cities.
  • Globally, some 2.5 billion more people will be living in urban areas in 2030 than do today.