Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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21-Jun-2019 00:18:35
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General will depart New York on 26 June for a visit which will take him to Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

His first stop will be in Osaka in Japan, where he will attend the G20 Summit. He will speak at a session on climate change, environment and energy, and will participate in sessions on topics including the global economy, innovation and inequalities. He will also take part in a leaders’ side event on women’s empowerment.

While at the Summit, the Secretary-General will have a number of bilateral meetings with world leaders who are in attendance.

On Sunday, 30 June, the Secretary-General will arrive in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. There, he will attend the Climate Preparatory Meeting, which seeks to galvanize momentum and support for the solutions needed to tackle the climate emergency, ahead of the Climate Action Summit he is convening in September.

He will deliver opening remarks at the start of the meeting and participate in a leaders’ roundtable on raising ambition in advance of the September Summit.

The Secretary-General will also have bilateral meetings with senior United Arab Emirates Government officials and visit the Noor Abu Dhabi Solar Plant.

He will be back in New York on Monday, 1 July.

Also, on a climate related note, I was asked before the briefing for a reaction from the Secretary-General to the results of the European Union Council related to climate change that occurred yesterday, and I can say that the Secretary-General is of course disappointed by the lack of consensus on climate action within the European Council, but he is encouraged that 24 countries have committed to carbon neutrality by 2050.

He strongly hopes that this will soon drive the whole of the European Union, looking towards his Climate Action Summit in September and the review of the nationally determined contributions by 2020.

The Secretary-General, as you know, was in Geneva today, where he spoke at the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conference. The Secretary-General said that the ILO is not just celebrating a centenary this year, but it is also building upon a legacy of achievement guided by a vision of social justice through dialogue and international cooperation.

He congratulated the ILO on adopting a Convention on violence and harassment in the world of work, and on its Centenary Declaration, which puts people at the centre of economic and social policies.

The full remarks are online.

And a reminder that, on Sunday, the Secretary-General will attend the World Conference of Youth Ministers in Lisbon, in Portugal, and he will be accompanied by his Youth Envoy, and we will give you copies of those remarks.

Back here, this morning, the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance convened a meeting to take stock of assistance through the Trust Fund in Support of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

The Under-Secretary General of the Department, Jan Beagle, chaired the meeting, and said that the projects implemented through the Trust Fund have “helped elevate the voices of victims through reinforced community networks.” Victims “have also learned new skills and trades which has supported reintegration into their respective communities without fear of retribution or stigma,” she said.

In the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 440 victims and affected community members have benefited from income-generating projects, and similar initiatives are underway in the Central African Republic and in Liberia.

Ms. Beagle thanked the 19 Member States who have so far donated to the Trust Fund, bringing its total to $2 million, and that includes some $400,000 received from payments withheld from UN personnel against whom allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse have been substantiated. Ms. Beagle encouraged further donations to the Trust Fund to provide further assistance and support.

Also in attendance were the Victims’ Rights Advocate, Jane Connors; the Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Leila Zerrougui; and the Assistant-Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and Americas, Miroslav Jenča.

We will have an update to share with you a bit later on after the meeting concludes.

I also want to flag that, on Monday and Tuesday in Geneva, the UN’s humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock and his deputy Ursula Mueller will be scheduled to participate in the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment.

Mr. Lowcock will participate on discussions about international humanitarian law, the transition from relief to development, and ending sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises, and that will be on Monday. He will speak at the official opening the next day.

Ms. Mueller will take part in high-level panels on preparedness and response to weather-related disasters and engaging communities for an inclusive and effective humanitarian response.

Also on travels of senior officials, in Mali, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, and Pedro Serrano of the European Union will wrap up their joint visit today.

Yesterday, they travelled to the Mopti region, where they met with authorities and civil society actors working on intercommunal reconciliation. They were accompanied by the head of the UN Peacekeeping mission, Mahamat Annadif, and they also visited UN and EU-supported infrastructure projects.

In Bamako, they met with the Government, signatory armed groups, political parties and women leaders, and exchanged views on the need for continued progress in the implementation of the peace agreement.

Today, the Secretary-General is appointing Yacoub El Hillo of Sudan as his Deputy Special Representative in Libya, where he will also serve as UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator.

He succeeds Maria do Valle Ribeiro of Ireland, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her outstanding contribution and dedicated service in supporting the implementation of the UN’s mandate.

Mr. El Hillo brings to the position a wealth of experience in the field and at Headquarters. Most recently, he has served as the Resident Coordinator in Liberia, and also served as the Deputy Special Representative and Resident Coordinator for the peacekeeping mission in Liberia.

Yesterday afternoon, the Security Council heard from Mankeur Ndiaye, the head of the UN mission in the Central African Republic. In his statement to the Council, he condemned persistent violence and issued a strong call to armed groups to abide by the security arrangements they committed to when they signed the peace agreement in February.

I want to flag, on Yemen, the World Food Programme (WFP) has begun partially suspending food assistance operations in areas of the country under the control of the Sana’a-based authorities.

At this stage, the suspension will take place in Sana’a city only, affecting 850,000 people. WFP will maintain nutrition programmes for malnourished children, pregnant and nursing mothers throughout the period that its aid is suspended.

WFP says this decision was taken as a last resort after lengthy negotiations stalled on an agreement to introduce controls to prevent the diversion of food away from some of the most vulnerable people in Yemen.

WFP’s priority remains to feed the hungriest people, but, as in any conflict zone, the agency says that some individuals seek to profit by preying on the vulnerable and diverting food away from where it is most needed.

The agency has been seeking the support of the Sana’a-based authorities to introduce a biometric registration system that would prevent diversion and protect Yemeni families, and ensuring that food reaches those who need it most.

WFP says it will continue to seek cooperation from the Sana’a-based authorities and remains optimistic that a way forward can be found and is ready to immediately resume food distributions once an agreement is reached on an independent beneficiary identification exercise and the rollout of a biometric [registration system].

On Ethiopia, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, by April this year, some 3.2 million people were internally displaced by conflict and drought. This is on top of the than 900,000 refugees – mostly from South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea – who are also living in Ethiopia.

While we welcome the Government-led efforts to find durable solutions, the implementation of a plan for the return of internally displaced people since early May has not been consultative and well planned in some areas.

The UN and humanitarian partners continue to help those returning home and to work with authorities to ensure that returns are voluntary, safe, dignified and well-informed.

The Humanitarian Response Plan for Ethiopia, which seeks $1.3 billion, is 28 per cent funded.

On Syria, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Panos Moumtzis, today said he is shocked and appalled by reports of a strike in Idlib which killed a female patient and three paramedics in an ambulance.

Since May 1st, stepped up fighting in the area has driven more than 320,000 people from their homes in the southern part of the de-escalation zone.

He expressed his outrage at the ongoing violence, stressing that the parties to conflict have an obligation to protect civilians and the principles of distinction and proportionality enshrined in International Humanitarian Law.

He also paid tribute and respect to humanitarian workers in Syria who risk their lives on a daily basis.

In Cameroon, over the past year, the number of people in need of aid in the country’s north-west and south-west has increased eightfold.

According to our humanitarian colleagues, more than 1.3 million people currently need humanitarian assistance in that region.

A year ago, that number was estimated to be at 160,000.

Also on Cameroon, the UN Children’s Fund highlighted the impact of the crisis on children, noting that half of those in need are boys and girls.

In the impacted region, over 80 per cent of schools have been closed, in part because of a ban on education by non-state armed groups, but also because of the ongoing. At least 74 schools have been completely destroyed.

According to UNICEF, more than 600,000 children are out of school, in some cases, for the past 3 years.

The humanitarian appeal for Cameroon is only 18 per cent funded.

Speaking of money, we say thank you to our friends Botswana for their payment to the regular budget, which brings us up to 105.

For further details please see SOURCE below.
Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General
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