Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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07-Nov-2018 00:14:57
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General will be traveling to Paris over the weekend.

On Sunday, he will take part in the ceremony for Armistice Day, which this year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

That afternoon, he will also give the keynote speech at the first Paris Peace Forum on multilateralism, which is being hosted by the French President, Emmanuel Macron.

On Monday, the Secretary-General will visit the headquarters of UNESCO for the first time and to speak at the opening of the Internet Governance Forum, which is taking place there.

While in Paris, the Secretary-General will have bilateral meetings with President Macron, as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who is also attending the Peace Forum.

The Secretary-General will be flying back to NY on Monday afternoon.

The Secretary-General is currently meeting with his Chief Executives Board (CEB).

This afternoon, the CEB members are to discuss the common UN system position on drug policy in preparation for the 2019 ministerial meeting in Vienna.

They will also hear by video conference from the World Health Organization (WHO) Director General, as well as the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, who are both on the ground to assess the UN system’s response to the latest Ebola outbreak.

Both WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Jean-Pierre Lacroix of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations are in Beni in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is the epicenter of the current Ebola outbreak.

They met with local authorities, UN agencies, civil society and first responders in Beni to assess the situation on the ground and to discuss ways to strengthen the response. As of today, there are 311 reported cases of Ebola.

The Director-General and the head of peacekeeping praised the responders’ courage and determination and emphasized the numerous challenges, including security, particularly for women.

Mr. Lacroix said that health workers in the affected zones do crucial work amidst a difficult security environment and that the UN Mission in the country (MONUSCO) is actively supporting the Government to improve security.

Dr. Tedros added that said the work being done around the clock to end Ebola made him proud and confident that the outbreak would be defeated despite the numerous challenges.

Tomorrow, they will travel to Goma and then to Kinshasa, where they are expected to speak to the media.

We continue to be deeply concerned by the escalating conflict in Yemen. The fighting has now continued around the outskirts of Hodeidah City in the last 24 hours. About 2,100 people have reportedly fled their homes in the area close to the fighting.

Humanitarian agencies have consistently warned that protracted fighting inside Hodeidah City, or any incident that interrupted port operations, could set off a humanitarian catastrophe.

Conflict has also escalated along other fronts in Yemen, including southern Hodeidah Governorate, Hajjah and Sa’ada governorates. There have been initial reports of civilian casualties in some areas, but figures are not currently available.

As you will recall, the Secretary-General last Friday outlined urgent steps required to decrease the risk of famine in Yemen, including, of course, the need for the violence to stop immediately.

The United Nations also continues to call all on parties to the conflict to do everything possible to respect international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

From the Central African Republic, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that tensions remain high in Batangafo town in Ouham prefecture, where an internally displaced site was set on fire due to clashes and retaliation by opposing armed groups on 31 October and 1 November.
Our colleagues from the peacekeeping mission tells us there has been increased patrolling as sporadic shooting continued between anti-Balaka and ex-Séléka fighters.

The fire resulted in the displacement of around 30,000 people, the vast majority of whom were internally displaced people who lost everything.

Humanitarian workers remain in Batangafo and continue their operations, but the response is being undermined by persisting insecurity and threats against humanitarians.

Access to the only hospital in the area is extremely limited to some parts of the population. International NGO partners have established mobile clinics and have increased water distribution to 30,000 people; malaria treatments; enriched food; and providing psychosocial services to people impacted by the violence.

Our colleagues at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) tell us that one in five deaths are associated with a poor quality diet, which is now a greater public health threat than malaria, tuberculosis, or measles.

That’s according to a new policy brief backed by the Food and Agriculture Organization, which stresses the need for reducing food loss and waste to improve access to nutritious and healthy food.

With nutrient-rich food such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat and seafood [being] highly perishable, one third of all the food produced for human consumption never reaches the consumer’s plate.

The FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said that, to tackle all forms of malnutrition and promote healthy diets, we need to put in place food systems that increase the availability, affordability and consumption of fresh, nutrient-rich food for everyone.

In Mexico, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that many children traveling with the migrant caravan are showing signs of anguish and psychosocial distress. In certain cases, children are expressing fear of violence or separation from their families, while other children are finding it difficult to engage in play and recreational, organized activities by UNICEF staff on the ground.

The agency and its partners are quickly scaling up its support for psychosocial interventions to reach these children in need. Psychosocial support can help lower the impact on children of having to abandon their homes and endure grueling travel conditions.
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