Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
ENGLISH 10-Jan-2017 00:15:27
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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In his first time speaking before the Security Council as Secretary-General, António Guterres spoke about the importance of conflict prevention, saying that it has proved very difficult to persuade decision-makers at national and international level that prevention must be their priority – perhaps because successful prevention does not attract attention. The television cameras are not there when a crisis is avoided, he said.

He told the Security Council that we must rebalance our approach to peace and security. For decades, this has been dominated by responding to conflict. For the future, we need to do far more to prevent war and sustain peace. He said that we must commit to a surge in diplomacy for peace, in partnership with regional organizations, mobilizing the entire range of those with influence, from religious authorities to civil society and the business community.

The Secretary-General said that the United Nations will launch an initiative to enhance mediation capacity, both at United Nations Headquarters and in the field, and to support regional and national mediation efforts.

On the margins of today’s Security Council meeting, the Secretary-General has held bilateral meetings with a number of the visiting foreign ministers, including those from Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.

In response to questions about the fighting in Al Bab, in Syria’s Aleppo governorate, the Spokesman said that the United Nations remains concerned for the situation of civilians impacted by anti-Da’esh operations in and around Al Bab.

Reports continue to be received of deaths and displacement as a result of fighting, which reportedly intensified last month. It is estimated that about 30,000 civilians have fled Al Bab city and surroundings since then, heading mainly towards Azaz, Jarabulus and Menbij districts. An estimated 5,000 to 8,000 civilians are still in Al Bab city, facing difficult conditions under Da’esh control, including severe movement restrictions.

The UN and partners are providing assistance to those who are displaced, including through setting up reception and transit centres to receive and provide basic assistance to those in need.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the number of people internally displaced as a result of the fighting in Mosul city in Iraq is approaching 140,000.

Trauma cases remain extremely high, particularly near frontline areas. In the week up till 8 January, 683 people were referred from eastern Mosul city to hospitals in Erbil and Dahuk. In the previous week, some 817 trauma cases required referral to hospitals.

Aid distribution by humanitarian partners in eastern Mosul city continues and reached 50,000 people in the first week of the year with ready-to-eat food, water and hygiene items. Hundreds of thousands of displaced and other vulnerable people are receiving a wide range of assistance outside of Mosul itself. Meanwhile, there is no humanitarian access to Da’esh-controlled areas of western Mosul city, and there are increasing humanitarian concerns for the wellbeing of civilians in these areas.

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today condemned the double bombing that took place today in a civilian-populated area of Kabul. The bombings were carried out near the Afghan Parliament during rush-hour, reportedly killing dozens of people and leaving many more injured.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The Mission says it is continuing to investigate the circumstances of the bombings.

In response to questions received yesterday on the vaccination against cholera of peacekeepers from India in Haiti, the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) says that all Formed Police Units who were not already vaccinated at the time of their arrival in the Mission, have now been given the vaccine.

A second dose, for those who have not had it, is being administered or will be in the coming days.

Cholera vaccination is mandatory for all peacekeepers deploying to peacekeeping operations and it is the responsibility of Member States to ensure that their personnel are vaccinated for all mandatory vaccinations prior to deployment.

Should troops deploy into a mission area without the required vaccinations, the supporting Mission takes measures to provide them. All costs incurred are deducted from the reimbursement to the troop and police contributing countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Cancer Institute of the United States today issued a new report on “The economics of tobacco and tobacco control”. The report finds that policies to control tobacco use, including tobacco tax and price increases, can generate significant government revenues for health and development work, as well as greatly reduce tobacco use.

But left unchecked, the tobacco industry and the deadly impact of its products cost the world’s economies more than US$ 1 trillion annually in healthcare expenditures and lost productivity.

Currently, around 6 million people die annually as a result of tobacco use, with most living in developing countries.

The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, with support from the LEGO Foundation, today launched a new campaign.

It is called #EarlyMomentsMatter and aims to drive increased awareness about the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life and the impact of early experiences on the developing brain.
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