Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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

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The Secretary-General will travel to Buenos Aires, in Argentina, to attend the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation and that will take place on 20 March.

The Secretary-General will deliver remarks at the Conference, which will focus on the theme of ‘Role of South-South cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: challenges and opportunities.’

The Conference will also commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1978 United Nations Conference on Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries, which was also held in Buenos Aires.

The Secretary-General strongly believes in the importance of South-South Cooperation to generate both new ideas and concrete projects and also as a means to enable voices from the Global South to drive innovation and promote development.

While in the Argentine capital, the Secretary-General is also expected to meet with the country’s President, Mauricio Macri. The Secretary-General is expected to be back in New York on 22nd March.

The Secretary-General is continuing his meetings with US officials in Washington D.C., this time focusing on Capitol Hill.

He had an early meeting with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and he will also meet with other legislators from both parties throughout the day before heading back to New York later tonight.

With all his interlocutors he discussed a wide range of issues.

Yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General met with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. Among other things they discussed the need for strong cooperation between the United States and the United Nations and addressed several issues of concern, such as Yemen and Venezuela. The Secretary General also provided the status update on the ongoing UN reform efforts and encouraged continuing United States engagement with the United Nations.

The Deputy Secretary-General is in Nairobi and she spoke this morning at the UN Environment Assembly. She first expressed her condolences to the relatives of those who lost their lives in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. She noted that many of the UN staff who were on the flight were heading for the Assembly to pursue their life’s work: to ensure we can live in a safe and sustainable planet. She went on to say that we can and must honor their lives by taking their work forward and bring it to light.

Ms. Mohammed said it’s time to turn the tide toward ambitious policies that enable strong economies and protect our health and our planet. She also commended the innovative solutions that were being showcased to tackle climate change, stop biodiversity loss and make our consumption patterns more sustainable.

“Inspiring actions by civil society, governments at all levels and corporations show us that we can in fact achieve greater economic benefits from innovative approaches to how we eat, purchase, travel, and discard waste,” she said. She warned that we need greater ambition and speed. Ms. Mohammed also spoke at the One Planet Summit.

The Secretary-General is appointing today Khawla Matar of Bahrain as the Deputy Special Envoy for Syria.

The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to reiterate his gratitude to Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy of Egypt for his effort in the search for peace during his time as the Deputy Special Envoy.

Ms. Matar has profound knowledge of the region, the Syrian conflict, and the United Nations system. Her experience includes her earlier assignments as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia otherwise known as ESCWA and she has also been the Director of the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria in Damascus.

The Secretary-General provided a video message to the Brussels conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region,” in which he says that, after eight years of war, the scale of suffering in Syria remains staggering. More than 11 million people inside Syria need humanitarian aid and many face violence on a daily basis.

The Secretary-General urged donors to renew their financial and humanitarian and political commitments to the Syrian people and to the countries and communities hosting refugees.

He added that only a political solution based on Security Council resolution 2254 can bring sustainable peace to Syria. As we work towards this goal, he said, we must continue to support the Syrian people and to give them hope of a better future. His message is available to you on the web.

At a press event in Brussels related to the conference, Mark Lowcock, the head of the Humanitarians Affairs department, said the conference may raise at least $6.5 billion and possibly more than that, which he said would be a very significant result.

The Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, today is visiting the UN Truce Supervision Organization otherwise known as UNTSO, which is based in Jerusalem.

Yesterday, Mr. Lacroix concluded his five-day visit to Lebanon, where he held talks with top Lebanese officials in the capital, and saw first-hand the crucial work that UNIFIL peacekeepers are doing in the southern part of the country.

During the talks, including with the President and Prime Minister of Lebanon and other officials, Mr. Lacroix commended the Government’s continued cooperation with UNIFIL in maintaining calm in south Lebanon. He also hailed Lebanon’s firm commitment to the UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which forms the core of UNIFIL’s mandate.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says the flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai since early this month has affected more than a million people and caused at least 122 deaths in both Mozambique and Malawi.

The Cyclone has regained intensity and is expected to make landfall in central Mozambique this evening, and is forecast to bring strong tropical winds, heavy rains and a storm surge to several areas over the next three days.

OCHA says that close to 83,000 people are displaced in Malawi, more than 17,000 in Mozambique. Rapid needs assessments continue in the hardest-hit areas, with Malawian and Mozambican governments leading the humanitarian responses in their respective countries, supported by partners.

The Secretary-General was very shocked and saddened to learn of the collapse of the building in Lagos, Nigeria, yesterday, which reportedly killed at least eight people, including school children as it was housing a daycare centre. The Secretary-General will be writing to the government of Nigeria to express his condolences.

The Secretary-General will be sending a condolence letter to the government and people of Brazil to express his solidarity with the people of Brazil following the fatal shooting that took place in a school in Sao Paolo in Brazil yesterday.

Belgium had paid its budget dues in full. The total is now 72.
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