Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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ENGLISH 06-Sep-2017 00:21:10
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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The Secretary-General spoke at this morning’s Security Council meeting on the responsibility to protect, and he said that today’s meeting comes at a time when the need for strengthened efforts to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity remains as strong as ever.

The Secretary-General said that the concept of the responsibility to protect still generates some discomfort for a number of States. The main concern is that the principle will be used to impose international approaches on national problems, in ways that may harm national sovereignty. He said that our shared challenge is to use the principle of the responsibility to protect to achieve the goals that were originally envisaged. The Secretary-General is convinced that open and constructive discussion among concerned States can overcome any remaining differences.

It is time, he added, to move beyond the conceptual debate towards improved protection of people from atrocity crimes.

As Hurricane Irma is moving west over the Caribbean, our humanitarian colleagues are deploying a team to Barbados today to work with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). Additional teams are on standby.

Estimates of population exposure to the hurricane could be as high as 37 million people.

In Haiti, the UN Country Team is fully supporting Haitian authorities and OCHA Haiti has deployed staff to the northern departments of the island, which are likely to be impacted.
As for the UN Mission in Haiti, as you know, the drawdown of the uniform component has been almost completed, but we still have some military and police capacity on the ground.

The Brazilians have deployed two units and some engineering capabilities to Gonaives to be ready to open the main roads to the North, North-Est and North-West, and both military and police officers are ready to be deployed in support of the Haitian National Police.

In Rabat, Morocco, experts are gathering today at the Standing Committee on Finance Forum to discuss how finance can be mobilized for infrastructure that can withstand the impacts of climate change, which include more frequent and severe storms and flooding.

The Forum, which is organized by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), will bring together experts and practitioners from local and central governments, banks, UN organizations, infrastructure developers, and the financial sector including the insurance industry.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is distributing food to people fleeing from Myanmar’s Rakhine State to Bangladesh.
Some 146,000 people have crossed the border to the Cox’s Bazaar district since 25 August.
WFP has provided tens of thousands of people with food, including high-nutrient porridge to women and children who are arriving hungry and malnourished.
The agency says that it needs $11.3 million to support the influx of people, in addition to those already living in camps.

The UN Mission in South Sudan said that the population of the largest camp in Bentiu has fallen from around 120,000 in January to 114,600 this month. The increase in the number of people leaving the UN protection site has been partly driven by the provision of services outside the sites.

The head of the UN Mission, David Shearer, said that humanitarian partners provide a range of services inside the Bentiu camp, but have now stepped outside and are delivering some of the same services to people who are returning home. If people are confident enough to go home, we can help them and make the transition so much easier, he said.
UN peacekeepers have supported the provision of humanitarian assistance and conducted confidence-building patrols in areas to which people are returning.

Some 213,000 people live in seven Protection of Civilians sites provided by UNMISS across the country.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that a cholera outbreak has been reported in Borno State, in northeastern Nigeria. The first case was recorded on 16 August 2017. Over 530 suspected cases had been registered as of 5 September 2017, including 23 deaths, mainly in Muna Garage, a camp hosting about 20,000 internally displaced persons on the outskirts of the state capital Maiduguri.

The Nigerian authorities, along with humanitarian organizations and UN agencies, are responding to the outbreak.

Half a million people in Sierra Leone will be able to access cholera vaccine within weeks, according to the World Health Organization.

The vaccines will be received from the Gavi-funded global stockpile and will target areas particularly affected by August’s floods and deadly landslide, which resulted in over 500 confirmed deaths.
Hundreds more people were reported missing in the wake of the disaster, while thousands were displaced from their homes.

Two rounds of vaccination are planned to run from September and will be delivered in 25 affected communities by the Government of Sierra Leone with support from Gavi Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the UK Government and other health partners.

The Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare, is in Mali to launch the new Supply Chain Management system for all UN field offices operated through Umoja, the UN's Enterprise Resource Planning System. The transition unifies peacekeeping and special political missions with the UN Secretariat for all supply chain and service delivery functions under Umoja.

The new system will help streamline inventory, property and fleet management; enable global inventory visibility; improve financial compliance; and help the UN be more transparent, efficient and nimble.

Mr. Khare said that Gao, in northern Mali, has been chosen as the place to launch this solution due to its remote location and lack of accessibility. “If we can deploy the solution here in Gao, then we can deploy it anywhere and we will deploy it everywhere,” he said.

The decommissioning of the old platform, Galileo, has been a complex process that lasted for nine months due to the volume of data and number of impacted staff -- around 2,000 users in the field, spread over 31 missions, both in peacekeeping and special political missions.

The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, extended her deep condolences to the families of the fallen Lebanese soldiers, who were kidnapped in 2014. She said that the servicemen will always serve as a symbol of courage, commitment and dedication to their country.

The Special Coordinator commends the Lebanese Armed Forces and the security forces in their continued efforts to safeguard Lebanon’s stability, security and territorial integrity, including from the threat of terror.

UNICEF said today that nearly zero progress has been made over the past decade in reducing the global out-of-school rate.
The percentage of 6 to 15 year olds who are out of school has barely decreased to 11.5 per cent - compared to 12.8 per cent in 2007. Pervasive levels of poverty, protracted conflicts and complex humanitarian emergencies have caused this rate to stagnate.

Of the 123 million children missing out on school, 40 per cent live in the least developed countries and 20 per cent live in conflict zones.
UNICEF noted some progress in countries like Ethiopia and Niger, where enrolment rates have increased of 15 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively.

Yesterday, in a statement, the Secretary-General welcomed the announcement by the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) of a temporary bilateral cease-fire from 1 October 2017 to 12 January 2018.

He expressed the hope that the agreement will improve conditions for the civilian population in conflict areas and offer opportunities for substantial progress in the peace talks between the parties.

Yesterday in a statement, the Secretary-General condemned the attack carried out against a convoy of the UN Mission in the country. The attack resulted in the death of two peacekeepers and seriously injured two others.

The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

He also recalls that attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

The UN Mission in Somalia is closely following developments in the state of HirShabelle following the announcement last month by the State Assembly that it had impeached President Ali Abdullahi Osoble.

In a joint statement, the UN and international partners including the African Union and the EU, urged all parties to continue efforts to address this matter through the established constitutional and legal means and to refrain from any actions that could undermine the consolidation of the state building process.

They also stressed the importance of preserving the political stability that is essential to achieve progress in deepening federalism in Somalia.
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