HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
TUESDAY, 27 JUNE 2017
U.N. CHIEF BEGINS MEETINGS WITH U.S. OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON D.C.
- The Secretary-General began his meetings in Washington, D.C. today by seeing more than 20 members of the House Foreign Affairs committee.
- The Secretary-General discussed efforts on UN reform, his prevention agenda and the importance of positive U.S. engagement at the UN, and he thanked the members for the generosity and support provided by the United States.
- The Secretary-General and the members of the committee exchanged views on a number of global issues.
U.N. CHIEF ENCOURAGED BY RECONVENING OF CONFERENCE ON CYPRUS THIS WEEK
- In a statement issued this morning, the Secretary-General said that he is encouraged by the reconvening of the Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, this week, and that he welcomes the determination shown by all participants in taking this important step.
- The Secretary-General stressed that the opportunity for the reunification of Cyprus is now finally before us, calling on all concerned players to seize this opportunity, for Cyprus first and foremost, but also for the wider Eastern Mediterranean region.
- To this end, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, he said that he reiterates his steadfast commitment to supporting this effort. He also urged all participants to demonstrate the will and leadership required to conclude a comprehensive settlement.
- Speaking to the press today in Geneva, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Espen Barth Eide, called the Conference a unique opportunity.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS BOMBING ATTACKS IN NIGERIA
- This morning we issued a statement on Nigeria.
- The Secretary-General condemns the series of suicide bombing attacks on 25 and 26 June in Maiduguri, Borno State in Nigeria.
- The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the people and Government of Nigeria for the loss of life. He wishes a quick recovery to those injured and hopes that those responsible for this act will be swiftly brought to justice.
- The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations’ support to the Government of Nigeria in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
IMPROVEMENTS IN SECURITY HAVE NOT YIELDED HUMANITARIAN GAINS, U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY ON SYRIA TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL
- Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, briefed the Security Council today and he said that the situation on the ground presents a mixed picture. While there have been some positive developments, he said that we are at a time of testing whether the political will exists for a real de-escalation and more meaningful political talks.
- He discussed preparations for the round of talks that is to be held next month in Geneva and he proposed holding a further round of talks in August or early September, prior to the next session of the General Assembly. He also said he plans to be present for talks being held in Astana on 4-5 July.
- Mr. de Mistura said that violence is clearly down in Syria since the signing in May of the de-escalation agreement, and many towns have returned to some degree of normalcy. However, he added, in some areas, fighting has continued and even intensified. And the improvements in the security situation have not resulted in equivalent gains in humanitarian access, he warned.
IRAQ: U.N. CONDEMNS LOSS OF LIFE IN MOSUL, CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS
- Over the weekend, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, strongly condemned the terrible loss of life in Mosul, including the 23 June attacks in eastern and in the old city of Mosul where up to a dozen civilians were killed and potentially hundreds injured.
- Ms. Grande noted that there are reports that perhaps hundreds of thousands of people are being held as human shields, and that humanitarian partners are doing everything they can at trauma points near the front line and in field hospitals to stabilize patients.
- She stressed again that parties to this conflict are obliged under international humanitarian law to protect and assist civilians. Nothing, she emphasized, is more important.
- Nearly 900,000 civilians have fled Mosul since the fighting began last October, and that up to 150,000 civilians are still trapped inside the old city.
- The humanitarian operation in support of Mosul is one of the largest and most complex in the region, with more than 1.7 million people having received emergency support, including food, water and sanitation items.
- So far, less than half of the nearly $1 billion requested for the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq has been received.
UN AGENCIES SUPPORTING YEMEN AS CHOLERA OUTBREAK WORSENS WITH MORE THAN 200,000 CASES REPORTED
- Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that the number of suspected cholera cases has topped 200,000, with more than 1,300 deaths, in Yemen.
- Over the weekend, the heads of UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) jointly described it as the “worst cholera outbreak in the world.”
- They called on authorities in the country to pay the salaries of some 30,000 health workers who have not been paid in 10 months. UNICEF has been providing incentives for three months to around 1,5000 health workers.
- Funded by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), an airplane to carrying 24 metric tonnes of medical supplies has arrived in Yemen.
- Humanitarian partners are supporting more than 400 oral rehydration centres, while WHO is training health workers on cholera case management and infection control.
- For its part, UNICEF is also helping improve access to clean water to 500,000 people in and around Taizz City.
COLOMBIA: U.N. MISSION HAS STORED ALL INDIVIDUAL ARMS OF THE FARC-EP
- The UN Mission is Colombia said yesterday that it has now stored the totality of individual arms of the FARC-EP that were registered – that is a total of 7,132 arms.
- To date, the Mission has verified 77 arms caches from which weapons have been extracted and munitions, explosives and unstable armaments destroyed.
U.N. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE KICKS OFF IN VIENNA
- In Vienna, experts from all over the world are gathering this week at The Science and Technology 2017 Conference to share knowledge and technological advances in monitoring nuclear tests.
- The Conference is the sixth in a series of meetings aimed at strengthening the relationship between the scientific community and authorities for the compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
U.N. MOBILE APPLICATIONS ALLOWS CANADIANS TO GIVE MEALS TO CHILDREN IN HAITI
- I also want to flag the launch yesterday by our colleagues at the World Food Programme of #ASK1TOASK1 campaign, asking all Canadians to join the challenge to raise 150,000 meals for children in Haiti through the ShareTheMeal app to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary.
- The #ASK1TOASK1 ShareTheMeal campaign will allow WFP to scale up their Home Grown School Meals programme in Haiti. It costs just $4.55 to provide one week of nutritious meals to children in school through the ShareTheMeal app.
- More than 850,000 people have downloaded the award-winning app and shared over 14 million meals with thousands of vulnerable children in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Malawi, Cameroon, South Sudan and Yemen.
- The ShareTheMeal community recently contributed to WFP’s famine response in South Sudan, where users shared 1 million meals with those people in dire need of food.
ON INTERNATIONAL DAY, U.N. CHIEF EMPHASIZES HUMAN RIGHTS APPROACH TO END DRUG ABUSE
U.N. CHIEF STRESSES NEED TO RESIST TORTURE AND SUPPORT ITS VICTIMS
U.N. MARKS FIRST INTERNATIONAL DAY TO HIGHLIGHT CONTRIBUTIONS OF SMALL BUSINESSES
- Today is the first time the Micro- Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, which spotlights the impact that these businesses that employ less than 250 persons have in economies worldwide.
- Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, or MSMEs, tend to employ a larger share of the vulnerable sectors of the workforce, such as women, youth, and people from poorer households.
- To mark the Day, the UN has launched a Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth to scale up action and impact on youth employment.
UNESCO CHIEF DEPLORES KILLING OF FRENCH JOURNALIST IN IRAQ
- The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today deplored the killing of reporter Véronique Robert, who died on 24 June in France after being injured by an explosive device in Iraq’s Mosul.
- She said violence is especially unacceptable when when it is used to silence those who shed light on a society in conflict.
- A veteran journalist, Ms. Robert was on assignment in Iraq for France 2 TV when she was seriously wounded on 19 June. Two of her colleagues were also killed during the same attack.
PRESS CONFERENCES TOMORROW
- Tomorrow, at 1:00p.m., there will be a press conference on the Sustainable Development Goal 4, - Education. Speakers will include the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova and a civil society’s representative from Tanzania.