Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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31-Oct-2017 00:25:52
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the Security Council open debate on children and armed conflict. He called the suffering of children “a source of global shame,” and said that despite recent progress, there is still an alarming level of violations in many countries.

“The scale and intensity of some of today’s crises require us to redouble our efforts and take innovative approaches,” he said. The Secretary-General also stressed the importance of pursuing accountability for these abhorrent crimes and violations of human rights and humanitarian law. “If we leave the next generation traumatized, seething with grievances, we betray those we serve and we betray ourselves.”

He added that his Special Representative on this issue, Virginia Gamba, will work closely with parties to conflict to implement measures to protect children. Ms. Gamba also addressed the Council.

The United Nations has appointed Knut Ostby of Norway as the ad interim Resident Coordinator in Myanmar. He will serve as the Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Representative from November 1st.

He succeeds Renata Lok-Dessallien, who is taking on another assignment at UN Headquarters.

Mr. Ostby has extensive experience in development, human rights and humanitarian affairs in 17 countries, having served as a UN Resident Coordinator for more than 11 years, including in Timor Leste since 2013. He has also served as Resident Coordinator in Fiji and nine other Pacific countries, as well as in Iran.

A new report released today by the UN Environment Programme found that the national pledges made by countries in the Paris Agreement represent only one third of the action needed to meet climate targets and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

UNEP’s Emission Gaps Report warns that even full implementation of the current Nationally Determined Contributions would result in a temperature increase of at least 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, missing the agreed under two degrees goal of the Agreement.

The findings are in line with the Secretary-General’s repeated calls to Member States and businesses to “show greater determination to implement the Paris Agreement and with greater ambition.” He has also stressed that the clock is ticking and governments must use the upcoming climate change conference in Bonn, the climate summit in Paris, and the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi as opportunities to boost action and coordination.

UNEP said governments must urgently increase their climate action and called on businesses to help close the gap by investing in clean technologies and other activities, which are outlined in the report.

The UN mission in Libya today condemned the airstrikes in a residential neighbourhood of Derna during the night of 30 October that caused civilian casualties. According to information received by the mission, at least 12 children and women were killed and three adults and four children were wounded.

The Office for the Coordination Affairs reports that some medical supplies for Derna hospitals had reached the area last week. More items, including food and fuel, are pre-scheduled to enter but permission is pending.

The UN calls for immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access and for the lifting of restrictions on movement, especially for those needing medical treatment.

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) today deployed teams in Goma to monitor the situation and establish the exact circumstances of the clashes that took place yesterday between Congolese security forces and protesters.

According to the Joint UN Office for Human Rights, four people were killed and 15 others injured, while at least 37 were arrested.

MONUSCO strongly condemns all forms of violence and calls for the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms, including the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and demonstration, freedom of expression and freedom of association.

The UN Refugee Agency said today it is assisting recently arrived Cameroonians seeking refuge and safety, together with the local authorities in South-eastern Nigeria. Thousands have fled to Nigeria following renewed violence in Anglophone parts of Cameroon earlier this month.

Together with the Nigerian authorities, UNHCR has registered some 2,000 people so far. An additional 3,000 are awaiting registration, while more people might be trapped in forests on the Cameroonian side as they attempt to cross the border. UNHCR and partners have delivered relief items such as mattresses and blankets, mosquito nets, cooking utensils or hygiene kits, as well as 40 tons of food.

The agency is working with the Nigerian government and other UN agencies on a contingency plan, readying humanitarian assistance for up to 40,000 people crossing into Nigeria. They however fear that 40,000 might be a conservative figure in a situation where the conflict might continue.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is deeply saddened by reports of a shipwreck in the Bay of Bengal this morning in which at least four Rohingya refugees died when their boat capsized near the southern Bangladesh shore.

UNHCR staff and partners rushed to the scene to provide medical support, food, blankets and clothes to the survivors, who said that six families had fled Myanmar's northern Rakhine state before running into rough seas.

More than 20 injured people were rushed to hospitals and the others were taken to UNHCR's transit centre near Kutupalong camp where they will receive further assistance and support.

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is worried about how the congestion and overcrowding in the makeshift settlements Rohingya refugees are living in in Cox’s Bazar could lead to dangerous sanitation situations.

IOM says the existing water facilities are not sufficient to cope with the hundreds of thousands of people living in the settlements.

On the eve of the World Hepatitis Summit in Brazil, the World Health Organization reports increasing global momentum in the response to viral hepatitis.

A record 3 million people were able to obtain treatment for hepatitis C over the past two years, and 2.8 million more people embarked on lifelong treatment for hepatitis B in 2016.

Hosted by the Government of Brazil, the World Hepatitis Summit 2017 aims to encourage more countries to take decisive action to tackle hepatitis, which still causes more than 1.3 million deaths every year and affects more than 325 million people.

The World Health Organization released its Global Tuberculosis Report 2017 yesterday.

The report shows that global efforts to combat tuberculosis have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37%.

However, despite these achievements, TB remains the top infectious killer in 2016. It is also the main cause of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance and the leading killer of people with HIV.

Progress in most countries is stalling and is not fast enough to reach global targets or close persistent gaps in TB care and prevention.

In 2016, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, 10% of which were people living with HIV. Seven countries accounted for 64% of the total burden, with India bearing the brunt, followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa.

The Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN Environment Programme said today that more than 250 experts and observers, gathered in Rome, reviewed a record number of chemicals for inclusion in annexes of the two Conventions on hazardous chemicals, pesticides and organic pollutants, the Rotterdam and the Stockholm Convention.

Inclusion in the annexes of the Conventions means the chemicals become regulated by international law.

According to the latest FAO data, international pesticide sales are valued at up to USD 480 billion a year. UNEP estimates that as many as three percent of those working in agriculture worldwide suffer from acute pesticide poisoning, with adolescents facing a higher risk.

Today is World Cities Day.

This year’s theme is “Innovative Governance, Open Cities” and seeks to highlight the role of urbanization as a source of global development and social inclusion.
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