Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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21-Sep-2018 00:15:35
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General will travel to India, arriving in New Delhi on Monday, 1 October.

His visit coincides with the beginning of events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October 2019. In 2007, the General Assembly designated 2 October as the International Day of Non-Violence.

In the evening of Monday, 1 October, the Secretary-General will formally open the new UN House in New Delhi.

The following morning, Tuesday, 2 October, the Secretary-General will participate in the closing session of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention.

He will also meet with the Speaker of Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan, before giving an address at the India Habitat Centre on Global Affairs on the theme, “Global challenges, global solutions.”

In the evening, the Secretary-General will take part in the General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance.

The following day, Wednesday, 3 October, the Secretary-General will meet with President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

In the afternoon, he will visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

The Secretary-General returns to New York on Thursday, 4 October.

Today we would like to say a special thank you to the Government of India, which is contributing $1 million dollars to install solar panels and a green roof on the Conference Building of the United Nations Secretariat.

The contribution was received by Under-Secretary-General for Management, Ms. Jan Beagle, who said that “India’s generous contribution sends a strong message promoting innovation for action on climate change, and to enable greater efficiencies.”

The initiative will help the Secretariat reduce carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy.

This morning, the Secretary-General took part in the General Assembly’s plenary meeting to pay tribute to former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

He said that Kofi Annan was “uncommonly warm, accessible and of the people -- but above all he was principled and forceful in battling for the values of the UN Charter.”

The Secretary-General praised Mr. Annan’s support for multilateralism and called him a “true UN-blue believer in a rules-based global order.” He added that his loss cuts even deeper because we have never needed that faith and inspiration more.

Today is the International Day of Peace. This morning, in the Japanese Garden, the Secretary-General took part in the annual Peace Bell Ceremony.

The Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and the President of the General Assembly were also in attendance, as well as Messengers of Peace Michael Douglas and Princess Haya.

The Secretary-General said that peace is the unifying concept that brings people together at the United Nations. Even though conflicts are multiplying everywhere, the United Nations is determined not to give up and it will continue to protect human rights, eradicate poverty, and reduce inequality – all necessary conditions for a peaceful society, he said.

The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Mark Lowcock, will update the Security Council later this afternoon on the alarming and deteriorating situation in Yemen.

He will hold a media stakeout after the briefing.

I just want to flag that 131 countries have now endorsed the Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping.

The endorsing countries account for 90% of all personnel contributions.
Eleven of the 13 countries that host peacekeeping operations have endorsed the Declaration and so have 13 of the 15 current Security Council members.

The Declaration is part of the Secretary-General’s effort to renew our collective action to strengthen support for UN peacekeeping operations. And as you know, there will be a High-Level meeting on Action for Peacekeeping on Tuesday.

The list of endorsing countries is published daily on the Peacekeeping website.

Our colleagues at UNICEF report that they and their partners have so far identified 155 children orphaned or left unaccompanied as a result of the latest Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Children who lose a parent due to Ebola are at risk of being stigmatized, isolated or abandoned.

Since the beginning of the current Ebola epidemic, UNICEF and its partners provided food, psycho-social assistance, school supplies and various other support to orphans and unaccompanied children in the affected areas of Beni, Mangina, Makeke and Butembo.

According to the World Health Organisation, as of 19 September, a total of 143 cases had been reported – 31 confirmed and 112 probable. The outbreak has claimed 97 lives.

WHO says the evidence indicates that the outbreak is being controlled. However, it continues to evolve and present serious challenges, including difficulty in tracing contacts and an unstable security environment.

In a new report, the World Health Organization (WHO) today warned that more than three million people – most of them men – died in 2016 as a result of harmful use of alcohol.

This represents 1 in 20 deaths worldwide. Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 per cent were due to injuries, such as those from traffic crashes, self-harm and interpersonal violence; 21 per cent due to digestive disorders; 19 per cent due to cardiovascular diseases, and the remainder due to infectious diseases, cancers, mental disorders and other health conditions.

Because we did not have a briefing yesterday, we did not have a chance to thank Afghanistan and Malawi, which paid their regular budget dues in full. And today, we would also like to thank Kiribati for having paid their regular budget contribution in full.

The Honour Roll now has 137 members.
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