Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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26-Jun-2019 00:20:16
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Just as a reminder, the Secretary-General is off to Osaka, Japan, where he will attend the G20 Summit.

The Secretary-General 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 hold bilateral meetings with world leaders in attendance.

In a letter to G20 leaders ahead of the Summit, the Secretary-General said that, four years after the landmark agreement on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we have to accelerate efforts towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and address our changing climate.

The Secretary-General called on leaders to exercise their leadership in three areas: first, he encouraged G20 members to take the lead in implementing policies that promote not only rapid and robust growth, but also equitable growth; second, he stressed the need to increase the flow of public and private finance towards investments aligned with the SDGs, in part by shaping incentives so that private capital flows towards sustainable development; and third, he emphasized the need to seize the opportunities of the rapidly advancing digital revolution, while cautioning that digital divides can also grow rapidly. We will share the full letter with you shortly in a note to correspondents.

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

Before heading off to Japan, the Secretary-General spoke at an informal meeting of the General Assembly on combatting anti-Semitism and other forms of racism and hate.

He said that anti-Semitism has not been extinguished, far from it. In the United States, Europe and elsewhere, attacks on synagogues, graveyards and individuals continue to make many Jews feel unsafe. This intolerance is also being directed at other faiths as well as migrants and refugees he said, with social media accelerating the rapid spread of bigotry.

The Secretary-General stressed that we need to treat hate speech as we treat every malicious act: by condemning it and refusing to amplify it. The Secretary-General added that we also need to invest in social cohesion so that all members of society can feel that their identities are respected. He pointed to the recently launched UN strategy to combat hate speech and the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation as examples of the UN combatting intolerance online and offline.

“I guarantee you that I will continue to call out anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of hatred – loudly and unapologetically,” he said.

His full remarks are online.

A note from our Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, who is today in Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, where he met with Yemeni Vice-President Ali Mohsen. Their meeting discussed steps needed to move forward with the peace process in Yemen, and they reiterated the importance of achieving sustainable and speedy progress in implementing the Stockholm Agreement.

Mr. Griffiths said he was encouraged by the openness and flexibility of the Government of Yemen and its continued commitment towards achieving peace. He said that he is determined to advance the peace process, based on the National Dialogue Outcome, the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and related Security Council resolutions and to restart possible consultations with the parties.

Back here, Rosemary DiCarlo, the head of the Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Department, briefed the Security Council this morning on the implementation of resolution 2231, concerning non-proliferation and Iran.

Ms. DiCarlo said that the Secretary-General is concerned about recent developments. He regrets that the United States recently decided not to extend waivers with regard to trade in oil with Iran and not to fully renew waivers for non-proliferation projects in the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

She also added that the Secretary-General also regrets Iran’s announcement on 8 May that it would not commit itself to respecting the JCPOA limits on its enriched uranium stockpile and heavy water reserves at the current stage, and its subsequent announcement on 17 June that Iran may surpass on 27 June the limit on its enriched uranium stockpile set under the JCPOA. Such actions are not in the interests of the participants of the Plan and may not help preserve it, she said. The Secretary-General encourages Iran to continue implementing all its nuclear-related commitments despite the considerable challenges it faces.

Recent events in the Gulf are a reminder that we are at a critical juncture, Ms. DiCarlo said. She added that the Secretary-General calls on all Member States to avoid actions that may result in a further deterioration of the current situation.

Also happening this morning, the Security council unanimously adopted a resolution extending the sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The resolution reiterated the need for the Government to swiftly and fully investigate the 2017 killing of the two members of the Group of Experts, Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp, and four Congolese nationals accompanying them, and to bring those responsible to justice.

Yesterday afternoon, Mark Lowcock, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefed Security Council members on the continuing violence in Syria, telling the Council members, “We have repeatedly asked you to make this stop. It has not stopped, or even slowed.”

Instead, he said, over this last weekend of 21 to 23 June, we received reports of airstrikes affecting more than 55 communities in Idlib, Hama and Aleppo, and artillery shelling affecting more than 21 communities in these governorates.

Mr. Lowcock provided details about the deconfliction system under which the parties are provided with the coordinates of medical facilities, and other humanitarian sites, to help these parties take precautions to spare them. He said that more can be done to strengthen the system, but the critical question is what those receiving information on the location of medical facilities are doing with that information.

Tomorrow, the Security Council will receive a briefing from Special Envoy Geir Pedersen, who will brief via video from Geneva.

Following up on Mali. The International Organization for Migration reports today that intercommunal violence and floods in the Mopti region are aggravating an already precarious humanitarian situation for over 50,000 internally displaced people.

There are also concerns that the increasing number of displaced people in Mopti may overwhelm existing response resources. There are over 210,000 people facing food insecurity. Only 2 per cent of the communities have access to safe drinking water.

Government authorities, civil society organizations and UN agencies in Bamako and Mopti are working to address the most urgent needs of the more than 120,000 displaced people currently registered in the country.

Meanwhile, the UN peacekeeping mission has enhanced its presence in the Mopti region to better protect civilians from attacks.

You will recall that yesterday, the Secretary-General met with the ten Chairs of the human rights treaty bodies that are in New York for their annual meeting to discuss their work.

A note we issued afterward said that, together with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary-General’s office is attempting to mitigate the impact on the work of the treaty body system of budget reductions adopted by the General Assembly in 2017, which are further compounded by the financial crisis facing the Organization.

The Secretary-General reaffirmed the importance of the crucial human rights work done by the Treaty bodies and emphasized it is crucial for human rights and victims around the world that the committees can count on necessary support and resources to fulfil their mandate.

Today, it’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released the World Drug Report 2019.

This report reveals that 35 million people around the world suffer from drug use disorders while only 1 in 7 receive treatment.

According to it, improved research and more precise data have revealed that the adverse health consequences of drug use are more severe and widespread than previously thought.

The report also estimates the number of opioid users at 53 million, up 56 per cent from previous estimates. It says that opioids are responsible for two thirds of the 585 thousand people who died as a result of drug overdose in 2017.

Today, is also charter day because on this date, 74 years ago, the UN Charter’s was signed on June 26th 1945, in San Francisco. It came into force on UN Day, 24 October 1945.

There is an event, in the GA Hall, at 3pm. And the Special Adviser for the UN75 commemorations, Fabrizio Hochschild, will present the secretary-general’s plans to observe this emblematic date. This will be followed by a symbolic ceremony for Ambassadors' signatures as a gesture of renewed commitment to the Charter.

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Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General
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