HIGHLIGHTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM
MONDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2021
INFORMAL LEADERS ROUNDTABLE ON CLIMATE ACTION
This morning, the Secretary-General and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, co-convened the Informal Leaders Roundtable on Climate Action.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, the Secretary-General said he asked leaders to do what is needed to make sure COP26 is a success and that it marks a turning point.
“Unless we collectively change course, there is a high risk of failure of COP26,” he said.
He reiterated his previous calls to end subsidies for fossil fuels, increase climate finance for developing countries and devote more financing for adaptation and resilience. He underscored that developed countries need to take the lead but added that it is also essential for several emerging economies to go the extra mile and effectively contribute to emissions reductions. Saving this and future generations is a common responsibility, he stressed.
A transcript of the Secretary-General's press encounter is available here: https://www.un.org/sg/en/node/259184
Earlier in the day, the Secretary-General spoke at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Moment, which also featured the pop band BTS.
He said that our world is challenged like never before, with challenges including climate change, conflicts, and COVID-19 putting the SDGs further out of reach.
The Secretary-General said we have a path to recovery if we choose to take it because only by recovering together can we get the SDGs back on track.
He said there are five areas for urgent action: First, to end the pandemic; second, to get down to the business of a sustainable and equitable recovery for all; third, equal rights for women and girls; fourth, to end the war on the planet; and fifth, to work together towards global recovery.
The UN and partners are delivering aid to millions of people in need in Afghanistan and have reached 8 million people in the first half of this year.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 635,000 people have been displaced by conflict across the country in 2021. More than 12,000 people were recently displaced to Kabul, mainly from the Panjshir province.
In the last week, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have distributed relief items to more than 9,300 people displaced by conflict in Kunar Province. OCHA says that about 1,300 displaced people in Kabul are targeted to receive humanitarian assistance shortly. The World Food Programme (WFP) will distribute four-month food rations, for the October 2021 to January 2022 lean winter months, reaching hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people. Across the province of Maidan Wardak, for example, 63,000 people are targeted to receive food aid.
OCHA says that healthcare is also a priority in the humanitarian response. A measles outbreak in Yawan and Raghistan districts of Badakhshan Province has impacted at least 29 children.
COVID testing capacity has been ramped up following the installation of a new COVID Polymerase chain reaction machine in Nimroz provincial hospital in the south, with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO). The machine has a testing capacity of 70 to 90 tests per day.
TRIBUTE TO THE VICTIMS OF THE 9/11 TERRORIST ATTACK
This morning, the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, on behalf of the United Nations, held a tribute ceremony to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The commemoration, held at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York, demonstrated the United Nations’ commitment to never forget the nearly 3,000 people from over 90 countries whose lives were taken that day, and the thousands more that were injured or sickened.
The event was attended by more than 300 participants, including Heads of States, Ministers, Delegations and international organizations who have gathered in New York for the opening of the 76th UN General Assembly.
The ceremony included a minute of silence and concluded with Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov and Foreign Minister Albares Bueno laying wreaths in memory of victims of the September 11 attacks, and all victims of terrorism worldwide.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Secretary-General deeply regrets that the Ansar Allah movement on Saturday carried out executions of nine individuals, one of whom was reportedly a minor at time of detention, and strongly condemned those actions, which are a result of judicial proceedings that do not appear to have fulfilled the requirements of fair trial and due process under international law.
The Secretary-General was also concerned about a reported airstrike by the Saudi-led Coalition in Shabwa that allegedly killed at least six civilians from the same family.
The Secretary-General urges all actors to cease the violence, and he encourages the Yemeni parties to engage with the UN in good faith and without preconditions to reinvigorate political dialogue to find a peaceful negotiated settlement to the conflict that meets the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Yemeni people.