Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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14-Jun-2019 00:23:02
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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As some of you just saw, the Secretary-General met just now with Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.

In a press encounter following that meeting, the Secretary-General underscored the strong relationship between the United Nations and the League of Arab States, which he said has recently taken a quantum leap, notably with the opening of a UN liaison office in Cairo to the League of Arab States. The Secretary-General reiterated his message from yesterday that the truth needs to be established regarding the incident in the Gulf of Oman and that the last thing the region needs today is another confrontation.

An ebola update for you. In Geneva, the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee met today to assess whether the outbreak constitutes an international public health emergency. We expect their recommendations to be issued in a few minutes.

For those who want more details, a virtual press conference organized by WHO is scheduled to begin at 1 pm our time. You can call in from the US. WHO also said they would broadcast the press conference from their Twitter account @WHO.

In addition to this, the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Adhanom Ghebreyesus has arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He spent the day in Kinshasa and met authorities, UN colleagues and he will be there for a few more days.

The Security Council met this morning on Darfur. Briefing Council member was the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix. He noted that the drastic changes in the 30-year-old system of governance of Sudan have so far had a moderate impact on the situation in Darfur. But he cautioned that the uncertainty of the outcome of the negotiations in Khartoum may have repercussions beyond the capital and may also lead to an escalation of violence.

He noted that, with the Mission’s final exit in mind, the focus will be on revitalizing the peace process, including through an updated United Nations-African Union strategy on the Darfur peace process, as well as strengthening Sudan’s rule of law institutions and supporting long-term stabilization.

Also at the Council was Andrew Gilmour, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. In his remarks, he stressed that any transition roadmap should include measures that will bolster confidence in law enforcement, as well as a belief that there will be some accountability for excessive use of force and serious human rights violations.

And at 3:00 p.m., the Council will meet on Burundi. We expect that the briefers include the Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, as well as the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smaїl Chergui and Ambassador Jürg Lauber of Switzerland, who chairs the Burundi configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, will also brief.

Also on Sudan, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that aid operations have been hampered since June 3rd by the nationwide disruption of internet services and unreliable telephone networks. Humanitarian partners have reported increased difficulties in accessing cash for their operations during the general strike, and this has caused a delay in delivering some services.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners continue to provide medical supplies and are helping to transport medical staff and materials.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is coordinating on how to respond to gender-based violence and sexual harassment and continues to support maternity hospitals in Khartoum.

For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) is prepositioning food for 740,000 people in inaccessible areas during the rainy season.

Aid partners have also been helping people affected by flooding in Tawilla in North Darfur, with WFP and the UN Refugee Agency having provided emergency food and other supplies. Some 2,500 people have lost their homes and hundreds of latrines have been damaged by flooding.

The UN and our partners are requesting $1.2 billion for the humanitarian response for Sudan for 2019, but as of today, the plan is only 22 per cent funded.

And in South Sudan, the United Nations and the country’s Government today warned that nearly 7 million people will face acute levels of food insecurity or worse by the end of July due to high food prices and the late start of the rainy season.

This is according to an update by the Government, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

More than 20,000 people will likely face a catastrophic lack of access to food, and that’s the highest level of food insecurity.

The peace agreement must be implemented effectively, with political stability imperative to allow for urgent and scaled-up humanitarian aid to protect livelihoods and boost agricultural production.

And turning to Libya, the Special Representative for Libya, Ghassan Salamé, led a joint UN mission to Ghat municipality in south-west Libya to survey the impact of the floods on the local community and determine what assistance is still needed.

Heavy flooding in south-western Libya since late May has displaced over 4,000 people and affected more than 20,000.

There is a press release on the visit.

Meanwhile, as fighting continues in and around Tripoli, 167 civilian casualties have been confirmed, including 42 deaths. These figures only include those cases that could individually be verified to date, and so that must be considered a minimum number.

Some 94,000 people have now been displaced as a result of the latest round of hostilities.

Humanitarian workers remain deeply concerned for the safety and wellbeing of some 3,700 refugees and migrants in detention centres that are already exposed to, or are located close to, active fighting. Many of the detention centres lack sufficient food, water and sanitation for the people being held there.

I want to flag 3 international days this weekend. Tomorrow is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

This issue is becoming more relevant as the number of people aged 60 years and older will more than double, from 900 million in 2015 to about 2 billion in 2050.

And Sunday is the International Day of Family Remittances. The day recognizes the contributions of over 200 million migrants to improve the lives of their 800 million family members back home, and to create a future of hope for their children.

Today is World Blood Donor Day. Celebrated under the slogan “Safe blood for all”, the day serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood, and to raise awareness about the universal need for safe blood in the delivery of health care. The World Health Organization encourages more people all over the world to become blood donors and to donate blood regularly. A good cause indeed.

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