Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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ENGLISH 16-Mar-2017 00:22:19
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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After seeing the blueprint of the 2018 budget released by the White House, the Secretary-General has issued a statement in which he noted that the budgetary process in the US is complex and lengthy and it needs to be completed.

The Secretary-General is grateful for the support the United States has given to the United Nations over the years as the organization’s largest financial contributor.

The Secretary-General is totally committed to reforming the United Nations and ensuring that it is fit for purpose and delivers results in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. However, abrupt funding cuts can force the adoption of ad hoc measures that will undermine the impact of longer-term reform efforts.

The Secretary-General stands ready to discuss with the United States and any other Member State how best we can create a more cost-effective organization to pursue our shared goals and values.

The Secretary-General fully subscribes to the necessity to effectively combat terrorism but believes that it requires more than military spending. There is also a need to address the underlying drivers of terrorism through continuing investments in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, countering violent extremism, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, sustainable and inclusive development, the enhancement and respect of human rights, and timely responses to humanitarian crises.

The international community is facing enormous global challenges that can only be addressed by a strong and effective multilateral system, of which the United Nations remains the fundamental pillar.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned today that the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to deteriorate.

With the upsurge in violence and the spread of hot spots since September 2016, more than 100,000 newly displaced people have been registered. This means that one in every five Central Africans is either displaced internally or is a refugee in neighbouring countries. Half of the population is now in need of humanitarian aid.

However, funding for humanitarian action has been on a downward trend since 2014. Only 5 per cent of the $399.5 million needed for humanitarian assistance in 2017 have been received. The Acting Humanitarian Coordinator for CAR, Michel Yao, together with the country’s Minister of Humanitarian, Social Affairs and National Reconciliation, Virginie Baikoua, have urged donors not to let the CAR become a forgotten or neglected crisis.

Today in Nairobi, the UN family along with the Government of Kenya launched a Flash Appeal of US$166 million to address the devastating consequences of drought on pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in the North of the country.

The humanitarian situation in Somalia continues to be of concern to our humanitarian colleagues, with drought-related disease outbreaks on the rise. More than 11,000 acute watery diarrhoea/cholera cases and 268 deaths have been reported since January.

Yesterday, the Federal Government launched its first-ever vaccination campaign in Somalia, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), targeting more than 450,000 at-risk people.

The UN and our partners have strategic, targeted plans and teams on the ground; and we are scaling up our response to avert a possible famine.

Some 6.2 million people – more than half of Somalia’s population – are in need of lifesaving humanitarian assistance.

The United Nations is concerned about the escalation of military operations between Government of Yemen and Coalition forces and the Houthi/General People Congress combatants that has now reached Hudaydah governorate. The continued fighting is resulting in the killing and displacement of civilians and is having a significant impact on the humanitarian situation.

Following the fight in and around Mokha, displacing 48,000 people, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a market in Khokha town, Khawkhah district, on 10 March, killed at least 15 civilians, including three children, and injured eight others. The UN reiterates that civilians and civilian property are protected under international humanitarian law.

Survey results released yesterday highlight that there are currently 17 million people who are food insecure, representing a 20 per cent increase since June 2016.

Several explosions were reported throughout Damascus yesterday, including a deadly attack on the Palais de Justice near the Hamidiya market, resulting in dozens of deaths and many more injuries. You’ll have seen that Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, condemned the attack in a statement yesterday.

Continued shelling, aerial bombardment and clashes in areas across Syria such as Aleppo, Hama, Dar'a, Rural Damascus and Ar-Raqqa are continuing to put civilians at risk and causing unnecessary deaths and suffering.

The Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), William Lacy Swing, today condemned an attack on a humanitarian convoy in South Sudan on 14 March, which resulted in the death of two people and left three others injured.

While a convoy was returning to Yirol East County, in central South Sudan, from a field mission, one of the vehicles was ambushed by unknown armed gunmen. The assault took place in an area in dire need of assistance due to a cholera outbreak.

Mr. Swing said that in a country overwhelmed by the huge lack of basic necessities, these types of attacks undoubtedly harm the ability of humanitarian partners to provide assistance to millions in need.

As a result of the military offensive in Mosul, there are now more than 50,000 people in the Qayarra and Jadaa camps, where the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is helping to run a 24-hour delivery room and providing psycho-social support to victims of gender-based violence.

There are also some 24,000 people in the Hammam Aleel camp, where UNFPA is providing reproductive care services. A 20-bed field maternity hospital is expected to be operational by the end of this month.

There are 750,000 people in eastern Mosul, where UNFPA has reopened a maternity unit equipped for caesarean sections and is supporting three new reproductive health clinics.

Over in western Mosul, more than 97,000 people have fled their homes due to the conflict, and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that as many as 250,000 people could be displaced.
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