Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
12-Dec-2017 00:19:40
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General arrived in Paris this morning, where he spoke at the One Planet Climate summit and delivered a blunt assessment: “We are not yet winning the war on climate change.”

He underscored the benefits of investing in a green economy. Investments are already paying off, he said, as new industries, new markets and more jobs are being created by renewable agencies.

The Secretary-General appealed for greater investments by governments in the Green Climate Fund and called on wealthy countries to honor the pledge made in Paris two years ago to provide $100 billion a year to developing countries to meet the needs of climate mitigation and adaptation.

He also stressed the role of private capital investments, as governments cannot do this alone. It is a simple matter of climate justice that developed countries support developing countries to address a problem that they had no role in creating, he told the attendees.

The Secretary-General also addressed sessions on resilience and adaptation.

The UN Environment Programme today announced that three investment companies have joined the UN Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition, bringing it to a total of 31 investors overseeing the gradual decarbonization of $800 billion dollars in assets.

The Coalition, which was launched at the UN Climate Summit in 2014, had an original target of $100 billion by 2015, which has now been massively surpassed. The three new investment companies are: La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, asset managers Sarasin & Partners and the Latin America-based SURA Asset Management.

The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, will brief the Security Council in its closed consultations this afternoon about his visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, under any other business.

Once that has concluded, he will speak to reporters at the Council stakeout.

Before that happens, Mr. Feltman will brief the Council members in an open meeting followed by consultations at 3 pm about the situation in Myanmar.


A UN report published today warns that armed hostilities are on the rise again in Ukraine. The report of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine says that the return to increased fighting has resulted in more deaths and new damages to critical water infrastructure storing dangerous chemicals which pose a grave threat to human life and the environment. It adds that daily ceasefire violations coupled with falling temperatures further aggravated a dire human rights and humanitarian situation on both sides of the contact line.

The Mission recorded 15 conflict-related civilian deaths and 72 injuries from 16 August to 15 November 2017. The report provides details of 20 individual cases of killings, deprivation of liberty, enforced disappearances, torture, and conflict-related sexual violence committed on both sides of the contact line.

Today in Geneva, the 2018-2019 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan concerning Syria was launched - an interagency, $4.4 billion plan designed to support over five million refugees from Syria and the vulnerable communities hosting them in the neighbouring countries of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

A team from the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) conducted a mission to Tuz Khurmatu in Salah al-Din Governorate on 7 December to investigate reports of punitive destruction of property of residents who have been displaced by the clashes in the area in October and reports of intimidation to prevent the safe return of the displaced to their homes.

The UN Mission expresses its concern about the recent repeated indiscriminate mortar attacks which have inflicted losses, including civilian casualties from among the Turkmen community in the town, that were followed by a retaliatory action. It calls for an immediate end to acts that threaten the security and the safety of the Kurdish and Turkmen communities and their civilian residents.

It also calls upon the Government of Iraq to deploy all necessary measures that will put an end to any violence and violations of human rights, ensure law and order and establish calm and stability in Tuz Khurmatu.

The World Food Programme (WFP) calls upon the coalition forces to honor their commitments to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance in Yemen.

This includes urgent clearance for the WFP-chartered vessel, MV VOS Apollo, which runs between Djibouti and the Yemeni ports of Hodeidah and Aden carrying humanitarian aid workers and cargo.

The last voyage of the MV VOS Apollo was on 7 December, when it carried 13 UN and NGO workers who were being relocated from the port of Hodeidah in Yemen to Djibouti.

This was a temporary relocation that involved only humanitarian staff and their arrival and disembarkation in Djibouti was independently verified by local authorities. Apart from the crew members of the ship, no other individuals accompanied the UN and NGO aid workers on this journey.

The UN Refugee Agency today welcomed the coming into force of new refugee laws in Djibouti that streamline refugee status determination procedures and grants more opportunities for their socio-economic integration.

The new developments are part of the pledges made at last year’s Leaders’ Summit, following the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016.

Djibouti currently hosts over 27,000 refugees, mostly from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and more recently from Yemen.

In Somalia, the UN Development Programme today said that the food security situation in the country remains precarious for millions of Somalis, following the fifth consecutive year of drought.

According to the agency, an estimated 6.2 million people need humanitarian assistance, and the number of people living in pre-famine emergency conditions has increased from 80,000 people in January to 800,000 in December. This year alone, an additional 1 million people have been displaced due to drought and conflict, thereby doubling the number of internally displaced people.

The impact of the current drought is estimated at more than $3 billion, and UNDP estimates that $1.7 billion are required over the next three to five years to boost infrastructure, management of water resources, efforts to increase agricultural production and the expansion of urban services.

UNICEF said today that at least 400,000 severely malnourished children are at risk of dying in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This dire situation has largely been caused by violence, mass displacement and reduced agricultural production over the past 18 months.

While the security situation has stabilized in parts of the region and some displaced populations have begun to return to their homes and communities, humanitarian conditions remain critical. However, they are not expected to improve before June 2018, because the planting seasons in 2017 were lost. Families have little to harvest from their own land and nothing to sell at the markets.

Health facilities have also been devastated: approximately 220 health centers were destroyed, looted or damaged.

Today is Universal Health Coverage Day, the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere.

On this occasion, the World Health Organization is releasing a series of regional health financing reports highlighting key policy issues facing countries.

Each report focuses on a specific theme relevant to the countries in their region, for example the current situation in terms of financial protection in South-East Asia, and the transition to greater domestic financing for public health services in the Western Pacific region.

On Thursday, the Secretary-General will address the Universal Health Coverage Forum organized in Tokyo to galvanize collective action.

The Secretary-General is announcing today the appointment of Gunilla Carlsson of Sweden as Deputy Executive Director of Management and Governance, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS.

Ms. Carlsson is currently Senior Adviser to the Africa Development Bank and serves on the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance as Vice Chair. She served as an elected member of the Swedish Parliament from 2002-2013 and as Minister for International Development Cooperation from 2006-2013. Previously she was a member of the European Parliament.

She succeeds Jan Beagle, who was appointed Under-Secretary-General for Management in June 2017. The Secretary-General wishes to extend his appreciation to Ms. Beagle, as well as Joel Rehnstrom, who served as Acting Deputy Executive Director, since her departure.

The Peacebuilding Guinea-Bissau Configuration (PBC) met last week to discuss the situation in Guinea-Bissau, including the legislative elections scheduled for next year, and exchanged views on the on-going political crisis. It also heard a briefing on the new projects for the country, which have been submitted to the Peacebuilding Fund.

The Guinea-Bissau Configuration reiterates its full support for the Bissau Six Point Roadmap and Conakry Agreement, as the framework for the resolution of the crisis.

The PBC calls upon the authorities of Guinea-Bissau and key political actors to demonstrate leadership and determination by engaging in actions that will lead to the swift and effective implementations of the Bissau and Conakry Agreements reached in the ECOWAS-led mediation process.

It also stresses the importance of holding free and fair elections in accordance with the Constitution of Guinea-Bissau, and calls upon the support of the international community for this process.

The Peacebuilding Guinea-Bissau Configuration calls on political actors to show restraint and moderation and invites them to express their views and disagreements peacefully. It also urges the parties to respect public freedom, including the right to demonstrate peacefully.

The Peacebuilding Commission is convening an Ambassadorial-level meeting on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 10:00 am in conference room 7, to discuss the situation in the Sahel. The Deputy Secretary-General has been invited to brief the Commission.

Today is the International Day of Neutrality, which highlights the value of neutrality in international relations.

It is also critically important for the UN to gain and maintain the confidence and cooperation of all countries so that it can operate independently and effectively, especially in politically charged situations.
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