Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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08-Jun-2018 00:18:49
Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General will travel tomorrow to Canada to attend the Summit of the G7 in the Charlevoix region of Quebec.

He will participate in an outreach session on “Healthy, productive and resilient oceans and seas, coasts and communities” with leaders of the G7, several other countries and international organizations.

He will also meet with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and with other Heads of State and Government present at the Summit.

The Secretary-General will be back in New York tomorrow evening.

Early this morning, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, departed for Qingdao, China, to participate in the 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which takes place on 9 and 10 June. She will also have bilateral meetings with high-level officials attending the event on the margins of the Meeting.

The Deputy Secretary-General will return to New York over the weekend.

Humanitarian agencies in Yemen are deeply worried by the likely impact of a possible military assault on Hodeidah. The UN and its partners estimate that as many as 600,000 civilians are currently living in and around Hodeidah.

Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said that a military attack or siege on Hodeidah will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Humanitarian organisations have rushed to develop a contingency plan. In a prolonged worst case, she said, we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything -- even their lives.

Ms. Grande said that the top priority is helping to ensure the 22 million Yemenis who need some form of humanitarian aid and protection receive the assistance they need. She warned that cutting off imports through Hodeidah for any length of time will put Yemen’s population at extreme, unjustifiable risk.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that, yesterday, multiple airstrikes on Zardana village in Syria’s northern rural Idleb Governorate reportedly killed 45 civilians and injured dozens more.

The population of Idleb, estimated at over 2.5 million, has suffered immensely from more than seven years of conflict. Half of the population is internally displaced people, many of whom have been displaced multiple times.

The United Nations continues to call on all parties to the conflict to do their utmost to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians in the conduct of military operations and strictly adhere to international humanitarian law concerning principles of distinction and proportionality.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that approximately 50,000 people have been displaced in South Sudan’s Leer, Mayendit and Koch counties, in Unity State, amid a sharp escalation in fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, the SPLA-in-Opposition and associated armed groups.

According to reports from aid organizations, women, men and children in Leer and Mayendit counties are enduring extreme levels of violence, including gang rapes, forced recruitment and mass killings. Villages have been looted and burnt down, and food reserves have been destroyed in the fighting.

Humanitarian organizations are responding to urgent needs with food, health care, safe water, non-food items and emergency shelter in areas that are currently accessible.

In Somalia, UNICEF reports that the flooding since April has displaced thousands of children and is putting many of them at risk of malnutrition and other diseases.

According to the agency, about half of children under 5 – more than 1.25 million – are expected to be acutely malnourished this year. That includes up to 232,000 children who will suffer severe acute malnutrition, which requires specialized lifesaving care.

Many of the flood-impacted areas are in the path of an ongoing measles outbreak, and a spike in acute watery diarrhea/cholera cases is a major threat.

UNICEF warned that he crisis is not over, but short-term funding is running out, and this will hurt water, health and nutrition services.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic reports that yesterday it dispatched patrols to the Mombae internally displaced people site in Kaga Bandoro, in Nana-Grébizi Prefecture, and secured the area after four unidentified armed individuals entered the camp and stole livestock. This prompted around 80 displaced people to temporarily seek refuge in the UN camp. They have since returned to their site.

Meanwhile, amid recent violence in Bambari, in Ouaka Prefecture, the UN mission has increased patrols to protect civilians in Kouango after receiving information of clashes between two anti-Balaka rival groups that resulted in an unknown number of casualties and triggered population displacement.

Today the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, welcomed the adoption of the Security Council resolution that calls for increasing the role of youth in negotiating and implementing peace agreements.

She stated that “The resolution is a strong testament to the increased momentum to advance the Youth, Peace and Security agenda and reaffirms the important role that young people can play in these efforts.”

Today is World Oceans Day. This year’s theme focuses on preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean. 8 million tonnes of plastic per year end up in the ocean, wreaking havoc on wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and plastic pollution kills 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year.

In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General said that we must work individually and collectively to stop marine pollution of all kinds, including plastic. “Action starts at home, and speaks louder than words,” he said, adding that the United Nations aims to lead by example, and that more than 30 agencies have now begun working to end the use of single-use plastic.

The Secretary-General will be taking his message to the G7 summit this weekend in Quebec, where he will urge governments to do more to combat this issue.
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