Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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13-Mar-2019 00:15:58
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General is in Washington, D.C. today.

He was scheduled to have meetings with John Bolton and National Security staff at the White House this morning. This afternoon, at 2:00 p.m., he will be meeting the Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo.

The Secretary-General is due back in New York tomorrow.

On Friday morning, the Secretary-General will lay a wreath in tribute of the UN staff who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash last Sunday. That event will take place at 11:00 a.m. in the Visitors’ Lobby.

The Secretary-General has today named Parfait Onanga-Anyanga of Gabon as his Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.

Mr. Onanga-Anyanga brings with him extensive experience in the United Nations, having served most recently as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. He was also the Coordinator at UN Headquarters of the response to the Boko Haram Crisis and Head of the UN Office in Burundi.

Yesterday evening, the Secretary-General met with the Foreign Minister of Colombia, Carlos Holmes Trujillo Garcia. They discussed the situation of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. The Secretary-General took note of the explanations provided by the Foreign Minister with respect to the objections by President Duque to its Statutory Law.

The Secretary-General stressed the importance of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, and he reiterated the concerns expressed previously by the UN with respect to the uncertainty surrounding the adoption of the Statutory Law and his hope for swift actions to ensure that this legal foundation is put into place as soon as possible, ensuring the rights of victims and legal security for all concerned parties.

The Security Council this morning held closed consultations on Yemen; the Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, briefed Council members on the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement. He informed Council members that we’re still working with the parties to make the redeployment in Hudaydah a reality.

Today, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, concluded a joint two-day visit to Libya.

The joint UN-AU delegation held meetings in Tripoli with the President of the Presidency Council, Fayez Serraj, as well as Khaled al-Mishri, the President of the High Council of State, and other members of the Government of National Accord. They were also briefed on security arrangements in Tripoli and met with a women’s group.

Today, Ms. DiCarlo and Ambassador Chergui, accompanied by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Libya, Ghassan Salamé, traveled to Benghazi, where they met with the Commander of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

The joint visit was in support of UN-led efforts aimed at reaching a political settlement, leading to the unification of the country’s institutions, the holding of national elections, and the enhancement of security, stability and living conditions for the Libyan people.

The third Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region is underway; the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that humanitarian needs inside Syria remain at record level, with 11.7 million people in need of some form of humanitarian aid and protection.

The UN Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock warns that without an immediate and substantial injection of funds, life-saving provisions of food, water, health care, shelter and protection services will likely be interrupted.

The UN is urgently seeking increased funding to help people in need through a $3.3 billion appeal for the response inside Syria, and for a 5.5 billion refugee and resilience plan for the neighbouring countries.

The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said reduced assistance due to funding cuts means that refugees are forced to make agonizing choices every day, such as taking children out of school to work or reducing meals. He said it is essential that the international community stays the course in supporting the millions of Syrian refugees who live in neighbouring countries and still require protection and assistance.

Despite generous funding by donors in 2018, only 65 percent of the $3.4 billion required for the inside-Syria plan was actually received.

At the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released today a report which warns that damage to the planet is increasingly threatening people’s health.

The agency’s Global Environmental Outlook says that unless we drastically scale up environmental protections, cities in Asia, the Middle East and Africa could see millions of premature deaths by mid-century. The report also warns that pollutants in our freshwater systems will be a major cause of death by 2050 and will impact male and female fertility, as well as children’s neurodevelopment.

UNEP said that we are at a crossroads and called on countries to implement innovative policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste.

Our colleagues at UNAIDS are expressing concern that new HIV infections are not declining among people who inject drugs, despite a decline in new infections globally.

A new UNAIDS report also shows that 99 percent of people who inject drugs live in countries that do not provide adequate harm reduction services, which include needle and syringe programmes, drug dependence treatment and HIV treatment and testing.

In a press release today, Michel Sidibé, the UNAIDS Executive Director, said ensuring access to health and social services with dignity and without discrimination or criminalization can save lives and drastically reduce HIV infections.

Yesterday evening, we issued a statement by the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, on the draft reforms to the Laws on National Reconciliation in Guatemala.

Mr. Dieng urged members of the Guatemalan Congress to reject the draft legislations on this law, saying that approval would grant amnesty with retroactive effects to all those convicted or awaiting trial for international crimes committed during the country’s civil war. These crimes include genocide and crimes against humanity.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) says it is rehabilitating 15,000 houses in West Mosul as part of an effort to rebuild more than 30,000 homes – the largest such project in the country.

Some 90,000 people will be able to return home to 29 neighborhoods that were hardest hit during the effort to liberate the city from Da’esh.

UNDP is involved in some 800 other projects in Mosul, to rehabilitate the city.

Our humanitarian colleagues report that flooding in Malawi and Mozambique has affected nearly 843,000 people and caused at least 60 deaths, according to preliminary reports from the respective Governments.

Both the Malawian and Mozambican governments are leading humanitarian responses. The Malawian Government has appealed for support with emergency relief items, including tents, foods, medicines and helicopters for rescue operations and delivery of assistance. OCHA says a humanitarian response, search and rescue efforts and rapid needs assessments are underway in Malawi.

In Mozambique, the flooding has affected more than 103,000 people, and the Government there and humanitarian partners are providing assistance to affected people.

The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, reports that some 260,000 children in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are suffering from severe and acute malnutrition in need of lifesaving treatment.

Violence and insecurity between 2016 and 2018 caused large scale displacement in Kasai; although pockets of insecurity remain, thousands of families who had fled the region have now returned to their communities.
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