Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
15-Jan-2019 00:16:56
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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We are obviously following the developments in Kenya very closely and I am sure you heard earlier today the Secretary-General said he joined his voice to the expressions of total solidarity with the people, the Government and the President of Kenya in condemnation of what he called this “horrible terrorist act.”

That was at the handover of the G77. And the Secretary-General, in the ceremony of the handover of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China, he noted the progress – including reaching agreement on the Work Programme to implement the Paris Agreement and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration – made with the G77 and China, led by Egypt in 2018.

On climate change, the Secretary-General said that the Group continued to make sure that resilience and adaptation remain high on the global climate agenda. He added that some of their largest economies are stepping in as leaders of climate action, filling the space left by others, reaping the rewards of a clean, green energy future.

The Secretary-General said he looks forward to continuing to work with the G77 and China this year under the historic leadership of the State of Palestine.

He stressed that 2019 will be a critical year for our common efforts to end poverty, reduce inequalities and transition to a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

The Secretary-General noted that multilateralism continues to come under intense pressure from many sides, and we cannot take the advances [we have made] for granted, underlining that we count on the continued engagement and support of the G77 and China.

Quick humanitarian update on…Quick update on Syria rather.

Geir Pedersen arrived in Damascus for his first visit to Syria as the Special Envoy. He tells us he is looking forward to productive meetings there. He met today with Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Walid al-Mouallem.

Also on Syria: The United Nations system in Syria says it is gravely concerned about the protection of thousands of people who are estimated to remain trapped by ongoing fighting in Da’esh-held areas of Hajin in south-eastern Deir Ezzour Governorate, as well as [for] some 11,000 thousand people who have fled these areas since the beginning of December.

The United Nations is also deeply worried about the dire humanitarian situation at the Rukban makeshift settlement in southern Syria, where more than 40,000 people remain displaced and in urgent need of assistance.

At the Rukban settlement, conditions for displaced people, the majority of whom are women and children, are increasingly desperate and the situation is exacerbated by the winter cold. The last time the United Nations had access to Rukban was in November of last year, when an inter-agency convoy, jointly with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, delivered food, medical assistance and other items.

The United Nations strongly calls upon all parties to the conflict, and those with influence over them, to take all measures to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure in line with their obligations under the International Humanitarian and International Human Rights Law. The United Nations further calls on all parties to facilitate unhindered and sustained humanitarian access to all people in need in Hajin and Rukban, and to minimize the distress and unnecessary suffering.

This just in, as they say. Just a humanitarian update on Yemen. The World Food Programme (WFP) said today it has been able to reach thousands of families south of Hodeidah. They have received aid for the first time in more than six months.

More than 10,000 families in the communities of Al Tuhayat and Al Darayhimi were reached with more than 3,300 metric tonnes of food thanks to the recent partial… the recent ceasefire deal.

They were the first humanitarian shipments delivered since July 2018 when a WFP contracted truck was hit in the area.

Last month, the agency scaled up the delivery of food and food vouchers to around eight million people throughout the country, up from seven to eight million in November. In the coming weeks, WFP aims to reach 12 million people to help avert famine in the country.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen aims to reach some 15 million people.

The aid agencies have provided supplies to 1,400 newly displaced people in Taizz governorate, while 42,000 people in Hajjah governorate will receive hygiene kits.
Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) provided supplies for three months [for] the Ibb Blood Bank.

As winter sets in in Iraq, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has distributed supplies – including heaters and blankets – for 150,000 of the most vulnerable people throughout the country.

Carried out in partnership with local authorities, IOM prioritized distributions to hard-to-reach and insecure areas where other aid agencies are not present, including communities bordering Syria and in Ninewa governorate.

Some 1.8 million people are still displaced following the conflict with Da’esh, with more than 4 million people [who] have returned to their homes are living in precarious conditions, with many having had belongings stolen or their houses destroyed.

WFP again tells us -- reports that flexible funding – which allows the agency to use funds wherever and whenever needs are greatest – allowed it to reach the world's displaced and forgotten people in 2018.

WFP received US$440 million in flexible funding last year, a ten percent increase from 2017. That allowed it to reach more than 3 million people in the Sahel – which was facing its worst lean season in four years – as well as to sustain assistance to almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, scale-up its support to displaced people in Colombia, and provide relief to farmers facing severe drought in Madagascar.

In a statement issued today, the WFP Executive Director, David Beasley, called on more government donors to provide funding that is predictable, unearmarked and usable over multiple years.

And today, we say thank you to three more countries on our Honour Roll which are Liechtenstein, Rwanda and Singapore for paying their budget dues in full for 2019. There are now nine countries on the Honour Roll.
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