Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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05-Nov-2018 00:24:48
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General is in Lisbon. This morning he received the José Aparecido de Oliveira Prize from the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries.

This afternoon, the Secretary-General will take part in the 2018 Web Summit, where he will speak at the opening ceremony on the theme, “Nurturing a digital future that is safe and beneficial for all.”

In his remarks, the Secretary-General will stress the importance of 21st-century solutions to solve 21st-century challenges; the United Nations, he is expected to say, can serve as a platform for discussion on the development of policies and normative frameworks to address these challenges.

He will also urge inventors and programmers to be closely attuned to the social, economic and political consequences of their work to ensure technology benefits for all.

The Secretary-General will return to New York tomorrow.

We have been giving you regular updates on cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in the UN system in line with the Secretary-General’s initiative on increasing transparency on these allegations. Today I have an update for you on the latest quarterly report, which covers 1 July to 30 September 2018. Please note that not all the allegations have been fully verified and many are still in the preliminary assessment phase.

During this period, the UN received 39 allegations involving UN personnel – 6 for peacekeeping and 33 from agencies, funds and programmes. We also received 25 allegations involving non-UN personnel working as implementing partners. There are no allegations pertaining to non-UN international forces authorized by the Security Council.

The total allegations reported for the period is 64. Thirty (30) incidents allegedly took place in 2018; 7 in 2017; 2 in 2016; 6 in 2015 or before and the date is unknown for 19 of the allegations reported.

From the 64 allegations, there are 77 victims: 42 of whom are women, 24 are girls under the age of 18, 2 are men and 1 is a boy under the age of 18. The age of 8 of the victims is unknown. The categorization of the allegations against these 77 victims is 16 as sexual abuse, 55 as sexual exploitation, 4 are unknown. Two (2) of them are categorized as ‘others’ as they were unsubstantiated following investigation. The alleged perpetrators are: 66 are men, 1 is a woman, and there are 2 individuals whose gender are unknown.

Of the 39 allegations related to UN personnel, one was not substantiated, 22 are at various stages of investigation, 16 are under preliminary assessment to determine whether there is sufficient information to investigate.

Of the 25 allegations relating to implementing partners, 2 have been substantiated through an investigation and the perpetrators were dismissed by the implementing partner. One allegation was not substantiated, 14 are at various stages of investigation, 7 under preliminary assessment and 1 allegation was closed at the request of the victim.

The efforts to implement the Secretary-General’s strategy to combat sexual exploitation and abuse continue to be strengthened. You’ll remember that on 27 September 2018, the Secretary-General issued a Collective Statement of the Members of his Circle of Leadership in which they reaffirmed their continued personal commitment as global leaders to support efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse across the UN system. As of today, that Statement has been endorsed by 49 Heads of State and Government and 22 Heads of UN entities and 72 global leaders have joined the Circle of Leadership. 100 Members [States] are to this date signatories to the voluntary compact with the UN to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse.

During this quarter, the electronic tool called “Clear Check” used for screening UN staff dismissed as a result of substantiated allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, or who resigned or were separated during an investigation, is on its way to be fully utilized system-wide.

Our humanitarian colleagues inform us that conflict has escalated significantly around Hodeidah City over the weekend, including increased clashes and air strikes as well as artillery shelling. Affected areas are primarily on the southern and eastern outskirts of Hodeidah. Escalating conflict has also been reported in Sa’ada and Al Bayda Governorates.

Humanitarian agencies have not observed large-scale displacement from Hodeidah over the last few days, with a few families having reportedly been displaced. Conflict has mostly remained on the outskirts of town, but large-scale displacement could quickly occur if the fighting moves deeper into the city.

Since 1 June, more than 570,000 people have been displaced by conflict across Hodeidah Governorate; the UN and its humanitarian partners have reached nearly all these people with emergency relief packages.
Hodeidah’s port remains operational, and Yemen depends on imports for 90 percent of its staple food and nearly all food and fuel. Most imports enter through Hodeidah or Saleef ports.

And yesterday we issued a note mentioning Martin Griffiths consultative meetings with a group of independent Yemeni figures, who represent a wide spectrum of the society, to discuss the current situation in Yemen, and his endeavors to resume the political process. More than 30 percent of the people taking part in this meeting were women.

We have an update on the Rukban camp, where aid deliveries have been going on now for three days, with food, water, sanitation and hygiene materials, nutrition supplies and health materials and other emergency items provided throughout throughout the camp.

A humanitarian team has also begun a vaccination campaign to protect thousands of children from polio, measles and other deadly diseases, and has undertaken a rapid needs assessment of the humanitarian situation inside the camp.

While this long-needed delivery is an important achievement, without a sustainable solution to the plight of those in the camp, the situation of civilians stranded in the harshest desert conditions will only further deteriorate.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General welcomed the initial delivery of humanitarian aid at Rukban. While recognizing that the long-needed delivery of aid is an important achievement, the overall humanitarian access to this informal desert camp remains wholly inadequate.

This morning, Izumi Nakamitsu, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, briefed the Security Council on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Our humanitarian colleagues report that an upsurge in insecurity and conflict has triggered a fresh wave of displacement in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia’s South West State. According to the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network, more than 34,000 people have fled the area since the beginning of August, joining thousands who fled earlier this year or before due to conflict, drought and floods. A majority of those displaced are women and children.

The UN and our partners have boosted the delivery of assistance and the provision of services to impacted communities.

Overall, some 2.6 million people remain displaced in Somalia.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Iraq, Ján Kubiš, strongly condemned what he calls the “cowardly” deadly bombings today that targeted residential areas of Baghdad and also Sadr City.

He urged the authorities to be extra vigilant to uncover the culprits and thwart further attacks.

Mr. Kubiš said that these crimes, acts, aim to break the spirit of the Iraqis, in particular Baghdadis who have started to enjoy the fruits of peace, and derail their country’s steady progress towards stability. He added that the unity of people and decisive efforts of the security forces remain certain to foil the terrorists’ designs.

The World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with global e-commerce company Alibaba to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 – a world with zero hunger.

The partnership will see Alibaba provide its technology to support the digital transformation of WFP’s operations; particularly, Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba, will collaborate with WFP to develop a digital “World Hunger Map” to monitor the status of global hunger and help enhance the efficiency of operations.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that the latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion shows a healing ozone layer with the potential for global warming reduction and further climate action.

The review, which happens every four years, shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3 percent per decade since 2000. At projected rates, the Northern Hemisphere layer will heal completely by 2030 followed by the Southern Hemisphere around the year 2050.

UNEP said this is shows that actions taken under the Montreal Protocol have led to long-term recovery of the Ozone, and also shows why the Kigali Amendment, which calls for slashing of the use of climate-warming gases in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products can cut the projected production and consumption of these gases by more than 80 percent.

Today is World Tsunami [Awareness] Day. In a tweet the Secretary-General said that tsunamis cannot be averted, but they can be predicted so people can escape. In his message, he said the Day is an opportunity to emphasize the importance of disaster prevention and preparedness, including early warning, public education, science to better understand and to predict tsunamis, and the development that takes account of risk in seismic zones and exposed coastal areas.

Several events to mark the Day: At Headquarters at 1 p.m. in Conference Room 11, there will be a High-level event opened by the President of the General Assembly; at 3:30 p.m. there will be a Youth Dialogue and at 6:30 p.m. there will be a reception where the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed is expected to speak.

And today is also the 13th UN Police Week; the conference kicks off here at Headquarters. 12 Heads of Police components in UN peacekeeping operations and special political missions will discuss strategic police priorities, including the implementation of the joint declaration on Action for Peacekeeping. The police chiefs will also brief the special committee on peacekeeping operations and the Security Council.

A photo exhibit highlighting the work of the UN Police in the field will be inaugurated tomorrow in the Qatari lounge on the east side.

And in addition, the annual UN Female Police Officer of the Year Award will be presented to an officer who has distinguished herself in more than one area of policing in a peace operation.

And a stakeout is planned tomorrow at 5:30 pm following the Police briefing to the Security Council.

And we are pleased to announce that Costa Rica has now made its full payment to the Honour Roll, which leaves payments from 46 Member States outstanding.
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