HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY FARHAN HAQ,
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
WEDNESDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2017
SECRETARY-GENERAL IN EGYPT: NO PLAN B FOR TWO-STATE SOLUTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
- In Cairo today, the Secretary-General met with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
- Following his meeting with the foreign minister, the Secretary-General spoke to reporters and said that he has always believed that Egypt, due to its history, its cultural and its geopolitical position, is a central player in this region and an absolutely essential contributor for the solution of the problems of the region.
- He also spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian question, asserting that there is no Plan B to a two-state solution and that everything must be done to preserve that possibility.
- Asked about the situation of Syrian refugees, he said that the countries of the region – including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt - have not had enough support from the international community in general, and from Europe in particular.
- He said that refugee protection is not only the responsibility of neighbouring countries but of all the international community, and he added that it would be important to substantially increase the number of refugees that are resettled into Europe and other parts of the world in order to show effective solidarity with the countries of first asylum.
- The Secretary-General is also speaking today at Cairo University.
- Earlier today, the Secretary-General was in Doha where he met with the Emir. They discussed Qatar-UN relations and major regional issues, including Syria, Libya and Yemen.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC MOVING FORWARD BUT HUMANITARIAN SITUATION CONTINUES TO WORSEN: U.N. PEACEKEEPING CHIEF
- The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, briefed the Security Council this morning on the situation in the Central African Republic.
- He said that while the visible recovery of Bangui is a hopeful sign for the future, the stark contrast with the level of violence and lack of tangible progress and peace dividends in the provinces is a source of concern.
- He added that the humanitarian situation continues to worsen due to the upsurge of violence in the regions and is further compounded by the lack of funding and a withdrawal of aid partners.
- Nevertheless, almost three years after the creation of the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA), Mr. Ladsous noted that despite numerous challenges, the country is moving forward. Constitutional order has returned and State authority is being progressively restored.
- However, he warned that progress should not stop there and that we must learn lessons from the past, stressing that, too often, the attention of the international community disappears after a crisis, increasing the risks of a relapse into conflict.
SYRIA: 1.8 MILLION REMAIN CUT FROM MAIN WATER SOURCE IN ALEPPO
- The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Syria say that an estimated 1.8 million people in Aleppo remain cut off from their main water source for more than one month now due to a technical failure at the Al Khafse water station.
- Local water authorities continue with efforts to access and repair the water infrastructure and were able to visit Al Khafse on Monday. However, as of yesterday, the water supply has been cut off.
- Residents currently receive a limited water supply through other distribution networks. The water authorities are operating wells servicing almost one million people while the UN is providing fuel, water trucking, and distributing water purification materials, installing tanks and rehabilitating additional wells in the city.
- The UN continues to call on all parties to the conflict in Syria to ensure technical teams have unrestricted and safe access to water infrastructure in order to swiftly restore the provision of water to the civilian population. ]
- The UN also reminds all parties to the conflict of their responsibility to safeguard civilians and civilian infrastructure, as required by the International Humanitarian Law and the Human Rights Law.
U.N. MISSION IN LIBYA CONCERNED BY REPORTS ON PARALLEL MILITARY FORCES FORMATION
- The UN Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) says it is following with concern reports on the formation of parallel military forces under the name of “National Guard” and their deployment in Tripoli and surrounding areas.
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Martin Kobler, reiterated his full support to the Libyan Political Agreement and its institutions and warned Libyan actors against seeking to achieve political gains by force.
- He said that attempts to create parallel bodies and obstruct the implementation of the Agreement will generate further disorder and insecurity.
- He further called for a united Libyan army, operating under civilian control and with a clear chain of command, that provides security for all Libyans.
EASTERN UKRAINE: THREE MILLION STILL IN NEED OF HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
- The World Food Programme (WFP) today said that it will continue to help 220,000 people in conflict-affected areas in eastern Ukraine throughout 2017.
- Nearly three years after the start of the conflict, the security situation remains tense, with more than 3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
- WFP has provided emergency food assistance to people in eastern Ukraine since late 2014, with nearly 850,000 of the most vulnerable people having received food from the agency.
- WFP urgently needs more than US$30 million to provide much-needed food assistance in eastern Ukraine until the end of this December.
U.N. POLITICAL AND DEVELOPMENT TEAM VISITS THE GAMBIA
- A mission led by officers from the Department of Political Affairs and the UN Development Programme arrived in The Gambia yesterday to assess the situation with regard to peace and security and analyze the new government's priorities going forward.
- It will also assess governance and institutional capacities in the country, map support by international stakeholders engaging in peacebuilding, and identify areas of enhanced UN support to national authorities and civil society organizations.
- The mission met today with President Barrow, after meeting with the Vice-President, the Foreign Minister, the Country Team working in The Gambia, and representatives of the diplomatic community in the country.
JEAN-PIERRE LACROIX WILL BE NEW HEAD OF U.N. PEACEKEEPING, OTHER PEACE AND SECURITY SENIOR OFFICIALS EXTENDED FOR A YEAR
- Yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General recalled the work being done to reform the Secretariat Peace and Security strategy, functioning and architecture, including the work of the internal review team led by Tamrat Samuel.
- While that work proceeds, the Secretary-General has decided that the mandate of senior officials working in the Peace and Security pillar should be maintained for another one year. Accordingly, the mandates of Jeffrey Feltman as Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco as Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, and Atul Khare as Under-Secretary-General for Field Support will be extended for one year, until 1 April 2018.
- Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, informed the Secretary-General that he would be unavailable for an extension at the end of his current contract on 31 March 2017.
- The Secretary-General has appointed Jean-Pierre Lacroix as Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, for one year, beginning 1 April 2017.
GILBERT FOSSOUN HOUNGBO OF TOGO APPOINTED PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
- Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, former Prime Minister of Togo, has been appointed as the sixth President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
- Since 2013, Mr. Houngbo has served as Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization, where he has been responsible for external programmes and partnerships.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE APPEALS FOR $250 MILLION
- The UN Human Rights Office today launched its most ambitious appeal yet, calling for more than $250 million to help it stand up for human rights for all people, everywhere.
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights said that our world has entered a period of profound uncertainty.
- He noted that in numerous countries, xenophobia and calls for racial and religious discrimination have entered mainstream discourse and every day, seemingly, are more widespread and more deeply rooted.
- The High Commissioner said that investment in human rights today makes for prevention tomorrow – prevention of escalating violations and of the shattering impacts of conflict. Human rights upheld returns stability to entire countries and regions by advancing justice for all.
TELEWORKING RAPIDLY TRANSFORMING TRADITIONAL MODEL OF WORK: U.N. REPORT
- The International Labour Organization (ILO) released a new report on teleworking that explores how the expanding use of digital technologies is rapidly transforming the traditional model of work.
- The report “Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work” pulls together research carried about by both the ILO and Eurofound in 15 different countries.
- It looks into how teleworking can be beneficial as well as detrimental for both employees and employers.