Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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02-Oct-2018 00:16:44
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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In New Delhi today, the Secretary-General laid a wreath in honour of Mahatma Gandhi at the Raj Ghat memorial to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. After the ceremony, the Secretary-General told journalists that Gandhi’s example demonstrates that the way to reach objectives is through non-violence.

He then joined Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the closing session of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Conference. The Secretary-General told the participants that hosting an international conference on advocacy and action on sanitation was a fitting way to honour the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi – someone who defended the right of sanitation for everyone. He added that ensuring that everyone has access to clean drinking water and people have access to sanitation facilities is urgent if we are to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi. He thanked the Prime Minister for the strong cooperation between India and the United Nations, especially in the support given to his reform efforts at the United Nations. The Secretary-General also underscored the leadership role that India played in South-South Cooperation.

Following the lunch, the Secretary-General addressed a group of young people at the India Habitat Center. He spoke to them about global challenges and answered their questions on a variety of topics. He spoke of the challenges facing the international community, including lack of trust, growing attacks on multilateralism and climate change, to mention just a few.

The Secretary-General ended his day with remarks delivered at a meeting of the first General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance. He told the delegates at this meeting, initiated by India and France, that we still lack the political commitments to make the transformative decisions that will help to meet the goals set in the Paris Agreement. The International Solar Alliance, the Secretary-General said, is a welcome initiative. Solar energy, he declared, is at the centre of the renewable energy revolution.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today said that the Indonesian Government has confirmed that 1,234 people have died following the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi last week.

Some 100 people are still missing and while 800 hundred have been seriously injured. It is likely that these figures will increase as more areas become accessible.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia, Anita Nirody, said that the Government has significant experience and capacity to manage natural disasters, but given the scale and complexity of this emergency combined with the response to the recent series of earthquakes in Lombok and the residual needs there, UN agencies and NGOs are working closely with Government ministries to provide all necessary technical support.

UN agencies and others are already on the ground or are en route to the affected areas to provide assistance and to assess what is needed.

OCHA says that needs are vast, and people urgently require shelter, clean water, food, fuel, emergency medical care and psychosocial support. Water remains the main issue as most of water supply infrastructure has been damaged.

As mentioned in yesterday’s briefing, the Government has welcomed specific offers of international assistance that are in line with identified humanitarian needs on the ground.

For its part, UNICEF is concerned for the safety of thousands of children in the wake of the disaster, which is affecting a vulnerable population, particularly vulnerable children.

The Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs has requested UNICEF to deploy social workers to the affected area to support separated and unaccompanied children.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which is coordinating closely with the Ministry of Heath, is warning that the lack of shelter and damaged water sanitation facilities could lead to outbreaks of diarrhea and other communicable diseases.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is supporting the Government in distributing emergency supplies. The WFP-operated UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Subang, Malaysia, is on standby for aid partners who want to release stocks.

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is concerned by the level of violence early in the campaigning period for the 20 October parliamentary elections, including intimidation and attacks against candidates, their agents and supporters.

The Mission condemns today’s most serious incident that killed at least 14 civilians and wounded a further 42 when a suicide attacker struck at a campaign rally in Nangarhar. The attack appears to have deliberately targeted a crowd gathered at an electoral campaign event.

Since campaigning formally commenced on 28 September, there have been several attacks resulting in the killing of a candidate and three security guards of another candidate, as well as the shooting of a further candidate’s agent and son.

Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said that this violence, including today’s reprehensible attack in Nangarhar, is an assault on the constitutional rights of the people of Afghanistan.

The Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, has expressed her sincere condolences to the families of three children who were killed, with one child injured, by explosive remnants in eastern Ukraine on 30 September.

She appealed for immediate action to protect millions of people who face risks every day due to the extensive landmine and explosive ordnance contamination.
Ms. Lubrani said that it is unacceptable that children face such lethal risks when playing with their friends or attending school.

Yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of Joanne Adamson of the United Kingdom as his new Deputy Special Representative in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Ms. Adamson succeeds Koen Davidse of the Netherlands. The Secretary-General is grateful to Mr. Davidse for his important contribution to the work of MINUSMA.

Ms. Adamson brings 30 years as a leader and policy specialist in peace and security, with extensive experience in diplomacy, political affairs and analysis, multilateral negotiations and conflict resolution with the European Union, the UN, and the diplomatic service of the United Kingdom.

Today, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has paid its regular budget dues in full. The Honour Roll now totals 142.
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