Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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28-Jun-2019 00:16:04
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General as you know is in Osaka, Japan, today, where he is taking part in the G20 Summit.

This morning, he held a press conference in which he stressed the importance of taking climate action and implementing the 2030 Agenda, while noting that we are lagging behind on both fronts.

On climate change, the Secretary-General emphasized the need for carbon neutrality by 2050, and for more ambitious nationally determined contributions. He appealed to G20 leaders for a much stronger commitment to climate action, including putting a price on carbon and ending fossil fuel subsidies.

On sustainable development, the Secretary-General emphasized the need to step up the mobilization of resources and the private sector, as well as to enhance international solidarity.

The Secretary-General also held meetings with President Xi Jinping of China and with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

With the Chinese President, the Secretary-General discussed the Sustainable Development Goals, climate change and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

In his meeting with Prime Minister Abe, the Secretary-General congratulated Japan on its successful presidency of the G20, and also underlined the importance of continued Japanese leadership on climate change.

On climate, the World Meteorological Organization said today the Earth is set to experience its five warmest years on record from 2015-2019. Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations will fuel the global heat – and accompanying ice melt, glacier retreat, sea level rise, ocean heat and extreme weather for generations to come, the agency said.

This warning comes ahead of this weekend’s meeting in Abu Dhabi, which intends to galvanize initiatives that will be announced at September’s Climate Action Summit, which the Secretary-General is organizing. And as we mentioned, both the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General will be in Abu Dhabi.

Also on climate, the UN Bonn Climate Change Conference wrapped up today. The UNFCCC Executive Director Patricia Espinosa said that while Governments have made progress in several important areas there are still outstanding issues that need to be resolved before the next Conference of the Parties in Chile in order to ensure that ambition is raised to the extent that the worst impacts of climate change can be avoided.

The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is scheduled to visit Russia at the beginning of next week and then head to the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman with the aim of pursuing his efforts to move the peace process forward in Yemen.

The Special Envoy is committed to reaching a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in Yemen and is encouraged by the commitment of the parties and stakeholders to engage with him.

Also on Yemen, a new report of the Secretary-General on the impact of conflict on children paints a devastating picture of the violations affecting boys and girls over the past 5 years. With over 7,500 cases, the most prevalent violation documented by the UN was the killing and maiming of children. The report also documents high levels of recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, described the sufferings of children in Yemen as “simply appalling”. She called on all parties to the conflict to actively engage in peace negotiations and to place the protection of boys and girls at the core of the discussions.

The full report is available online. And the annual report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict is scheduled for publication in the last week of July.

The World Health Organization this morning gave an update on Ebola operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

According to the organization, there’s been good progress in enhancing the UN system-wide scale up and implementing ongoing strategic adjustments.

There was a decrease in cases this week compared to last week but the lack of funding to keep supporting the Government-led response is still a great concern.

WHO’s current funding needs are 98 million dollars, of which 43.6 million has been received, leaving a gap of 54.4 million.

Also, good news in Uganda. There are currently no active transmission of Ebola. WHO informed that there are no new cases since first case was identified on 11 June with a family that travelled from Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Also from the DRC.

We have more details today about the wave of violence affecting people in the northeast of the country.

According to a preliminary investigation carried out by the UN Joint Human Rights Office, at least 117 people have been killed in the province of Ituri between the 10th and 13th June.

Some of the victims were beheaded. Homes and warehouses were looted and burned down. The ferocity and scorched-earth nature of the attacks suggests the assailants wanted to prevent survivors from returning to their villages.

Most of the victims belonged to the Hema community. The attackers are reported to be unidentified individuals from the Lendu community.

The motives of the perpetrators of these latest attacks are unclear. But the information gathered so far seems to indicate that beyond inter-communal conflict, there appear to be additional political and economic motives underlying the assaults.

Our human rights colleagues are calling on authorities to carry out a prompt, thorough, impartial, independent and transparent investigation and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

From Libya, our humanitarian colleagues say that the number of people displaced by the Tripoli clashes in Libya has surpassed 100,000.

In total, 105,000 civilians have now fled their homes, according to the International Organisation for Migration, due to the ongoing fighting in and around Tripoli, as well as the deteriorating conditions along the front-line.

The availability of food and other basic commodities is restricted in these areas, either as markets have closed or as civilians are unable to access them safely. Water and electricity outages remain.

This morning in the Security Council, the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping mission in Mali was renewed for a year, until 30 June 2020.

Noting the situation in Central Mali, the resolution also urges Malian authorities to take expedited action to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to protect civilians; to reduce intercommunal violence; and to ensure that the perpetrators of violations are held accountable.

But before June comes to a close, as you may know, this year, we mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which took place here in New York, a milestone in the movement for LGBTIQ+ rights.

Earlier this week, Free and Equal, the UN’s Global Campaign Against Homophobia and Transphobia, co-hosted 3 events at the World Pride Human Rights Conference, here in New York.

And this weekend, UN-GLOBE, a staff group fighting for the equality of LGBTIQ+ employees of the UN, has invited all staff to participate in the Pride March in New York city. And we hope everybody enjoys the weekend.

And lastly, as time passes, there are arrivals and departures to note.

Today, I want to take a minute to take a minute to note the departure from the press corps of four amazing women.

Seana Magee, of Kyodo; Farnaz Fassihi, of the Wall Street Journal; Irina Andreeava or RIA Novosti; Marie Bourreau, of Radio France and Le Monde.

They may be succeeded, but they cannot be replaced. It’s been a great pleasure for myself and my office to work with them day in day out. You are all truly great journalists and please don’t forget us too quickly.

And lastly, on the arrival side, we have two new Associate Spokespeople in my office. Stephanie Tremblay and Antonio Ferrari.

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