Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General and John Ging, Operations Director for OCHA

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05-Feb-2015 01:01:20
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General and John Ging, Operations Director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, to brief reporters on his recent trip to the Ebola-affected countries, namely Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea

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The Secretary-General will depart for Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on Friday, 6 February, to convey his condolences to the people of Saudi Arabia, who had recently lost their leader, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. On 8 February, he is expected to speak to the media in Riyadh before departing for the United Arab Emirates, where he will address the opening of the 2015 Government Summit in Dubai. The Secretary-General is expected back in New York on Tuesday, 10 February.

The Secretary-General says that he remains gravely concerned over the situation in eastern Ukraine, particularly the plight of civilians trapped without basic services in the city of Debaltseve.
The Secretary-General has sent a letter to the heads of parties to the Peace and National Partnership Agreement in Yemen, which was read in Sana’a today by his Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar.

The Secretary-General spoke by videolink to the fifteenth Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, which began in the Indian capital today. He noted that the UN will convene a Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September, and in December, world leaders will go to Paris with the goal of securing a meaningful, universal climate change agreement.

Earlier today, the Secretary-General spoke at the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development. He stressed that the outcome of the Summit, which took place in Copenhagen, underscored the multidimensionality of social development.

The Secretary-General is announcing today the appointment of Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria as his Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and his Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority.

The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, visited Burkina Faso yesterday with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Mohamed ibn Chambas. They met with the transitional authorities and representatives of political parties and underscored that the United Nations is committed to provide Burkina Faso with the necessary support to organize free, transparent and democratic elections.

From the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Head of the UN [Organization Stabilization] Mission in the country (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler, said that the recent massacres in Aru and Beni only reinforced the UN’s determination to fight armed groups in eastern DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] with the Congolese Army.

The Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, wrapped up a visit to South Sudan. Speaking to reporters in Juba earlier today, he said that he chose to visit Bentiu and Malakal during this mission because that was where most violations of human rights had taken place since his last visit.

On Ebola, you will have seen from our colleagues at the World Health Organization (WHO) that there was a surge in cases this past week, for the first time in 2015. This shows that as we work to reach zero cases, numbers may vary up and down.

Miguel Trovoada, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Guinea-Bissau,briefed the Security Council this morning on the work of the UN Integrated Bureau working in that country, known as BINUGBIS.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, Renata Dessallien, today expressed her deep concern over the plight of civilians affected by the fighting in Hpakan Township in Kachin State that started in mid-January. She appeals to all parties to the conflict to allow the displaced people and other civilians who remain in close proximity to the area of conflict to be permitted to move to a more secure location.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein called today for better leadership and a fundamental global rethinking of education as a means of combatting the causes of the conflicts and atrocities occurring across the world.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today that its Food Price Index continued to decline in January, 1.9 per cent below its December 2014 level. Lower prices of cereals, meat, dairy products, vegetable oils and sugar reflect strong production expectations.

Today’s noon briefing guest will be John Ging, Operations Director for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. And Mr. Ging will brief shortly on his recent trip to the Ebola-affected countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
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