Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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14-Jan-2019 00:15:29
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General is meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority.

As you are aware, Palestine will succeed Egypt as the Chair of the G-77 bloc of developing nations, and the Secretary-General and President Abbas will participate in the handover ceremony, which takes place tomorrow.

An update on Yemen: To date, the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) has held two joint meetings, which brought together the RCC representatives of the Government of Yemen and the Houthis in Hodeidah. In the last week, due to the inability of the parties to have a joint meeting, the chair, Gen. Patrick Cammaert, has shuttled between the RCC representatives, meeting each side twice, seeking to find a mutually acceptable way forward for the redeployment of forces from the three ports and critical parts of the city associated with humanitarian facilities, as provided for in phase one in the Stockholm Agreement.

While projected timelines have slipped, recent discussions have been constructive. The chair continues to encourage the parties to resume the joint meetings in order to finalize a mutually agreed redeployment plan. Currently, plans are being discussed on how to facilitate humanitarian operations.

The Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, is in The Hague today, in the Netherlands, to attend a high-level conference on UN Peacekeeping organized by the Netherlands and Rwanda; the meeting aims to prepare the ground for the UN Peacekeeping ministerial meeting scheduled to take place in New York on 29 March.

The Under-Secretary-General delivered the keynote address, in which he stressed the importance of working in partnership to deliver on the commitments of the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative; he said the upcoming ministerial meeting will provide an excellent opportunity to explore how to collectively generate specialized and high-performing capabilities.

While at The Hague, the Under-Secretary-General also spoke with European Union (EU) representatives about boosting the contribution of EU Member States to UN Peacekeeping through smart rotations. He met with the Dutch Foreign Minister, Stef Blok, and thanked the Netherlands for its participation in UN peacekeeping operations and for its strong support for the Action for Peacekeeping agenda.

On the Central African Republic, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that an estimated 12,000-15,000 people have fled from Bakouma town and nearby villages since 31 December last year. They were fleeing due to clashes between the FPRC (the ‘Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique’) and the UPC (‘Unité pour la paix en Centrafrique’) groups’ combatants and armed men with Anti-Balaka members.

The majority of internally displaced people have sought refuge in Bangassou town – that’s in the south eastern part of the country, near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were provided with humanitarian aid by the UN and NGOs including food, non-food items and health services.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says it has deployed an emergency team to scale up coordination, but rural areas remain inaccessible due to insecurity and the growing mobilization of armed people.

The 80th session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child opened today in Geneva.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, noted that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention, which is by far the most ratified human rights treaty.

She said that advances have been made in reducing poverty and enhancing child survival, but that, in other areas of the Sustainable Development Goals, progress lags behind.

Ms. Bachelet said that children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and slavery, with millions of girls becoming mothers while they are still children.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development, known as UNCTAD, today said the global trade in creative goods and services is expanding mostly because of China. Creative goods and services include the fashion, design, media and software industries, among others.

In its newest report, UNCTAD said that from 2002 to 2015, the global market for creative goods doubled from $208 billion dollars to $509 billion.

China’s export of creative goods grew at double the global average during this period. Other countries also stimulated growth in this sector including India, Singapore, Turkey, Thailand and Mexico.

Today, we have three new members to add to the Honour Roll. We thank Australia, Canada and Latvia for paying their regular budget dues in full for 2019. There are now six countries on the honour roll.
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