Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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12-Sep-2018 00:12:26
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General is on his way to Ghana. He will arrive in Accra later this afternoon.

Tomorrow he will attend the funeral of the late former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The Secretary-General’s remarks at the funeral will be made available.

In his press remarks yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General emphasized that it is absolutely essential to avoid a full-scale battle in Idlib, which would unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict. Idlib, he said, must not be transformed into a blood bath.

The Secretary-General appealed to all parties directly and indirectly involved — and in particular the three guarantors of the de-escalation zone, namely Iran, Russia and Turkey – to spare no effort to find solutions that protect civilians, preserve basic services and hospitals, and ensure full respect for international humanitarian law.

The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Nicholas Fink Haysom of South Africa as his Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). He will succeed Michael Keating of the United Kingdom effective 1 October 2018, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his exemplary service and leadership of UNSOM.

Mr. Haysom is a lawyer with a long international career with a focus on democratic governance, constitutional and electoral reforms, reconciliation and peace processes. He is currently the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, a position he has held since 2016. He had earlier served as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, and before that as Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General from 2007 to 2012.

Today is the UN Day for South-South Cooperation. At an event to mark the Day here in New York, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that developing countries have become key actors to implement the Sustainable Development Agenda and that their leadership, practices and experiences have played a major part in global transformation.

“We must identify and encourage the areas where South-South cooperation can be most effective and have lasting impact,” she said.

And today, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation – in collaboration with Member States and other partners launched a compilation of ‘Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development’ which features more than 100 Southern best practices that are relevant to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, spoke this morning at the Security Council’s Thematic Debate on Peacekeeping Reform and Performance.

He said that improving peacekeeping was a collective endeavor. All stakeholders who, in one form or another, take part in peacekeeping need to improve our performance, and we all need to support each other in doing so, he said.

Mr. Lacroix highlighted initiatives and tolls put in place by the UN to strengthen peacekeeping. He noted that strengthening peacekeeping often requires strengthening the capacities of those who provide its men and women.

He encouraged all Member States who have the capacity to provide training and equipment to troop and police contributing countries to continue their efforts to respond to the current needs. He also called on Member States, particularly those with the most advanced military capabilities, to contribute more troops and police to UN peacekeeping.

On the Declaration of Shared Commitments, part of the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, Mr. Lacroix reported that as of today, 55 Member States had endorsed it. He said that the broad and cross-regional support to the Declaration reflected the strong consensus around the key objectives that it lays out.

A new report by the Secretary-General has found that people around the world face harsh reprisals and intimidation for cooperating with the United Nations on human rights, deterring others from engaging with the Organization.

The report – the ninth of its kind – notes allegations of killing; torture and ill-treatment; arbitrary arrests and detention; surveillance; criminalization; and public stigmatisation campaigns targeting victims and human rights defenders.

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour said that we are also increasingly seeing legal, political and administrative hurdles used to intimidate – and silence - civil society.

He echoed the Secretary-General who said that we should all be deeply shocked and angered by the extent to which civil society actors suffer reprisals because of their work, including when they cooperate with the UN. Mr. Gilmour stressed that shock and anger must translate into real action.

Martin Griffiths, the Special Envoy for Yemen, told the Security Council yesterday afternoon that, despite the absence of one of the sides to the Consultations in Geneva, he still managed to relaunch the political process with solid support from the Yemeni people and the international community. He added that he was disappointed that he was unable to bring the Sana’a delegation to Geneva.
The Special Envoy expressed relief that Hodeidah city has not yet suffered the calamity of military operations. However, he is concerned that the intensive operations on the outskirts of the city are a gloomy portent for what is to come.

Mr. Griffiths will continue his discussions by holding an initial set of visits in the coming days, including to Muscat and Sana’a, to engage the Head of the Sana’a Delegation as well as the political leadership of the parties in Sana’a. He will also meet with the Government of Yemen in Riyadh.

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its latest estimates on the global burden of cancer.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), cancer is estimated to have risen to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018. One in 5 men and one in 6 women worldwide develops cancer during their lifetime, and one in 8 men and one in 11 women die from the disease. Worldwide, the total number of people who are alive within 5 years of a cancer diagnosis, called the 5-year prevalence, is estimated to be 43.8 million.

Cancers of the lung, female breast, and colorectum are the top three cancer types in terms of incidence and are ranked within the top five in terms of mortality -- first, fifth, and second, respectively. Together, these three cancer types are responsible for one third of the cancer incidence and mortality burden worldwide, the agency said.

Today, the United Nations Global Compact launched a new digital learning platform called the UN Global Compact Academy to help companies become more sustainable. The Academy is designed to provide businesses with the knowledge and skills they need to meet their sustainability objectives, mitigate business risks and achieve long-term growth by contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Users will be able to access on-demand learning resources and measure their progress. The sessions will guide companies on how to align their business strategies and operations with the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals.

We say “shukriyah” today go to our friends in Pakistan, who have paid their regular budget dues in full. The Honour Roll now totals 132.
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