Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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30-Apr-2018 00:23:14
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General will leave for London tomorrow to attend the annual meeting of the UN Chief Executives Board (CEB). This is one of the semi-annual meetings that brings together, under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General, the executive heads of 31 specialized UN organizations. This meeting, which will be hosted by the International Maritime Organization, will focus on the socio-economic implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the implementation of the SDG Agenda, as well as fostering innovation within the UN system. The Secretary-General will deliver a strong message to the Board on the need to improve the UN system’s approach to preventing and responding to sexual harassment in the workplace.

During his visit, the Secretary-General will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and other senior UK officials. The Secretary-General will fly back to New York on Friday night.

And two weeks from now, on 14 May, the Secretary-General will be in Vienna, Austria, for consultations with the Austrian Government, including President Alexander Van der Bellen, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Karin Kneissl, Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. Later that afternoon, the Secretary-General will visit the Vienna International Center, where he will address the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. He will also hold a townhall meeting with UN staff working in Vienna.

On Thursday, 15 May, he will deliver a keynote address during the R20 Austrian World Summit, an annual event on sustainable development organized by Arnold Schwarzenegger. During his remarks, he will reiterate his call for global action to confront climate change. The Secretary-General is also expected to have bilateral meetings with other senior leaders on the sideline of the summit.

From Vienna, the Secretary-General will travel on to Brussels for discussions with European Union institutions. In Brussels, the Secretary-General is expected to meet with EU Council President Donald Tusk, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, as well as other EU officials.

The Secretary-General will meet with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. He will leave Brussels on 16 May.

The Security Council, as you know, has a mission that has been traveling in Asia, and that team met this morning with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, in Dhaka.

Following that meeting, the Security Council delegation flew to Naypyidaw, where it met with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and with General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The Council Mission also met with civil society, parliamentarians and Government representatives in the Myanmar capital.

Tomorrow, the Security Council will fly to Rakhine State, where the delegation will meet with the local government and civil society. They will visit Northern Rakhine State and then have a press conference upon returning to Naypyidaw.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemned the attacks carried out today in a Kabul neighbourhood heavily populated by civilians.

Initial reports indicated that at least 14 civilians were killed and 30 were injured in two attacks, with the second attack timed 30 minutes later to target journalists arriving on the scene and emergency personnel seeking to provide aid to victims of the first attack.

“These attacks caused untold human suffering to Afghan families,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and expressed his deep condolences to the families of the victims.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, welcomed the convening of the Palestinian National Council, which met today in Ramallah for the first time in two decades.

He said that this is a critical time for Palestinians, and the leadership has a responsibility to end divisions and the deteriorating economic, humanitarian and social situation in Gaza.

Mr. Mladenov noted that unity is essential to furthering the Palestinian national aspirations for statehood and sovereignty. He added that that is why the Government of National Consensus should be enabled to take up its responsibilities in Gaza and bring immediate relief and change to the population. No one should stand in their way.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is concerned for the safety and protection of tens of thousands of people as fighting continues to be reported in several areas of northern rural Homs governorate in Syria. Fighting has already resulted in reports of death and injury, as well as attacks on civilian infrastructure.

Yesterday, local sources reported that strikes rendered two hospitals inoperable in Al-Zaafaraneh and Ar-Rastan. Shelling from the area of northern rural Homs on Homs city has also reportedly killed and injured several people.
The United Nations calls on all parties, and those with influence over them, to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to allow safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to all in need in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Over the weekend, the UN Mission in Somalia condemned the suicide bombing in the city of Gaalkacyo, which reportedly killed Government security officers and civilians.

The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating said "the people and authorities in Gaalkacyo are courageously finding a way forward; they should not be derailed by this assault on their chances of a peaceful future.’’

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that some 430,000 people have been affected by flooding, including nearly 175,000 people who have been displaced, as heavy rains continue in flood-prone areas across large swaths of the southern and central parts of the country. The rains have resulted in the flooding of the Juba and Shabelle Rivers.

Internally displaced people remain the most vulnerable to the impact of the flooding with many camps located in low-lying areas. Humanitarian partners on the ground have prioritized water, sanitation, hygiene, health, shelter and food response interventions.

Yesterday, the country’s Prime Minister appealed to the international community for urgent humanitarian assistance to avoid crisis. Somalia’s Humanitarian Response Plan, requiring US $1.5 billion, is only 19 per cent funded.

Some good news from South Sudan: ten aid workers who were detained while on an assessment mission near Yei, Central Equatoria, have been freed.

They had been held by an armed opposition group since 25 April.

The humanitarian workers, all South Sudanese nationals, included one from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, two from UNICEF, one from the South Sudanese Development Organisation, two from the organisation ACROSS, three from Plan International, and one from Action Africa Help.

The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Mr. Alain Noudehou, expressed concern at a deteriorating environment for humanitarian work in South Sudan.

Last week, a humanitarian worker was killed while returning to check on a health clinic that had been looted in Leer County. This most recent death brings to 100 the total number of aid workers killed since the conflict in South Sudan began in December 2013.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has helped remove 27 disused highly radioactive sources from five South American countries, the largest such project it ever facilitated.

The material, mainly used for medical purposes such as treating cancer and sterilizing instruments, was transported to Germany and the United States for recycling. Canada, where some of the sources were manufactured, funded the project upon requests for IAEA support from Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

In recent years, the Agency has assisted Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Honduras, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Uzbekistan in the removal of disused sources.

While nuclear safety and security are national responsibilities, the IAEA helps Member States upon request to meet these responsibilities through training, technical advice, peer reviews and other advisory services.

Such efforts may include support for Member States in implementing the safe and cost-effective recovery, conditioning, storage, disposal or transportation of disused sealed radioactive sources (DSRS).

In Bonn today, Governments kicked off the next round of UN climate change negotiations from to further develop the guidelines for implementing Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The guidelines allow the Agreement to become operational and the final decisions on them are to be taken at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Poland at the end of this year.

Also today, the UN Climate Change agency (UNFCCC) released a report which details practical ways of adapting to climate change impacts such as increased flooding or intensifying storms in human settlements, from mega cities to villages.

The report aims to share good practices and lessons learned to date and will be taken forward during this week’s negotiations.

Two Member States are joining the Honour Roll today as Spain and Tuvalu paid their regular budget in full, bringing it up to 87.
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