HIGHLIGHTS OF THE U.N. SYSTEM
WEDNESDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2017
 
SECRETARY-GENERAL OPENS DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE SESSION, NOTING THAT 17 NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES REMAIN
  • This morning, the Secretary-General opened the 2017 session of the Special Committee on Decolonization, noting that he has been following its work since he was young and living in a dictatorship in Portugal.
  • He noted that when the Committee was first established in 1962, the UN had 110 Member States, but that today there are 193 Member States, with most new ones having formerly been colonies.
  • Despite this progress, the Secretary-General pointed out that 17 Territories remain Non-Self-Governing Territories, reaffirming the Committee’s commitment to assist each of them in finding an appropriate format and timing for the completion of its decolonization process, taking into account the Territory’s particular circumstances.
  • He stressed that achieving that goal requires proactive and sustained engagement by all Parties involved - the administering Powers, the People of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, the United Nations, and other stakeholders.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRULATIONS NEW PRESIDENT OF SOMALIA ON INAUGURATION

  • The Secretary-General has issued a message marking the inauguration of the new President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo.
  • In the message, he said that the peaceful handover of power was a milestone in the effort to help realize the Somali people’s dreams for democracy, peace and prosperity, and constituted a major step towards the goal of one-person-one-vote elections in 2020.
  • The Secretary-General also urged the international community to give its full support to meeting the needs of the people of Somalia and to prioritize assisting the Somali Government in response to the devastating drought affecting the country.

U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN KASAI PROVINCES

  • The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) continues to monitor the situation in the Kasaï provinces, where there has been a resurgence of clashes between Congolese national security forces and the Kamuina Nsapu militia. There are reports of human rights violations allegedly committed by Congolese national security forces.
  • MONUSCO is trying to secure access to areas where the human rights violations reportedly took place. The Mission and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations have called on the Government to exercise restraint and launch a credible and independent investigation into the reported human rights violations.
  • The UN Mission is adapting to this evolving situation within the limits of its existing resources and has reinforced its military, civilian and police presence in Kananga and other areas of concern to support its monitoring and investigation efforts. It is also working with national and provincial authorities to address local disputes through peaceful means.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: U.N. PEACEKEEPERS ATTACKED BY ARMED GROUP, REAFFIRM RESOLVE TO PROTECT CIVILIANS

  • The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reports that its peacekeepers on patrol were ambushed yesterday by the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC) coalition outside of Ippy in Ouaka prefecture. During the exchange of fire, four peacekeepers were wounded, including one severely. The attackers fled the scene after the incident.
  • Earlier yesterday, peacekeepers prevented a hostile crowd, including members of the FPRC, from entering a camp for internally displaced persons in Ippy. Some people in the crowd fired at peacekeepers, who returned fire, killing two members of the FPRC.
  • The UN Mission reiterates its resolve to use force to protect civilians in accordance with its mandate and calls on all armed groups to immediately cease hostilities and to resolve any dispute through dialogue within the framework of the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation.
  • Meanwhile, the Unité pour la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) leader, Ali Darassa, left Bambari yesterday following the Mission’s calls for him to leave the town. The Mission has reinforced its police presence in Bambari.

U.N. SPECIAL COORDINATOR WELCOMES LAUNCH OF PALESTINIAN POLICY AGENDA

  • Following the launch of the Palestine National Policy Agenda (NPA) for 2017–2022, UN Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov congratulated Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, his government, civil society and the business community for finalising “an ambitious policy agenda for Palestine that articulates a strong, clear vision for the Palestinian people”. 
  • He said that adoption of the National Policy Agenda also reflects the Middle East Quartet’s recommendation to the Palestinian leadership to continue efforts to strengthen institutions, improve governance and develop a sustainable economy. This is a step in the right direction that tangibly demonstrates the Palestinian commitment to advancing the two-state solution, Mr. Mladenov added.

DISPLACEMENT SITES RECEIVING FAMILIES DISPLACED BY MOSUL FIGHTING

  • As military operations in western Mosul continue, displacement sites to the south of the city are receiving the first arrivals of families displaced by the fighting. Eighty-two families (around 500 people) were received at an emergency displacement site in Qayyarah, some 60 kilimetres south of Mosul, yesterday evening. Some have since left the displacement site to stay with family members in the region.
  • Displacement is expected to increase significantly as the operation progresses.
  • In addition to the expansion of camp and displacement site capacity,  humanitarian preparations for west Mosul include the expansion of surgical and trauma care capacities: health partners are working to open four field hospitals close to Mosul city, and are setting up two additional trauma stabilisation points, bringing the number of trauma stabilisation points close to Mosul city to five.
  • Emergency kits of food, water and basic hygiene supplies are being pre-positioned close to displacement areas for the 250,000 to 400,000 civilians who may flee from fighting in western Mosul.
  • Humanitarian partners have also pre-positioned 59,000 tents, and 77,000 emergency shelter kits, and 109,000 kits of essential non-food items.

SUPPORT GROUP FOR LEBANON ENCOURAGES PARTIES TO COMPROMISE

  • The Members of the International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon today reaffirmed their commitment to the stability and security of Lebanon. The current political momentum has re-activated Lebanon's institutions of state.
  • The ISG Members encourage all parties to arrive at an early compromise, which would present an appropriate electoral framework for Lebanon. The timely conduct of peaceful and transparent parliamentary elections is an important step to preserve Lebanon’s democratic tradition, and to meet the aspirations of the Lebanese people.

U.N.-BACKED REPORT: GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY JEOPARDIZED BY STRAIN ON NATURAL RESOURCES, INEQUALITY

  • A new Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report warns that mankind’s future ability to feed itself is in jeopardy due to intensifying pressures on natural resources, mounting inequality, and the fallout from a changing climate.
  • Though very real and significant progress had been made in reducing global hunger in the past, this has come at a heavy cost to the natural environment.
  • The report finds that nearly half of the Earth’s forests are now gone, groundwater sources are being rapidly depleted and biodiversity has been deeply eroded.