Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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09-Jul-2019 00:18:14
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General arrived in Nairobi this morning. Tomorrow, he is scheduled to speak at the opening session of the African Regional High-level Conference on Counter Terrorism and the Prevention of Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism.

Just a short while ago, the Secretary-General went to the Kamakunju area of Nairobi to visit the Jiongoze Project, which aims at reducing vulnerability to radicalization and violent extremism among the youth. During his visit to the project, the Secretary-General met young people who were part of a project which aims to help local youth develop technology skills and find online employment.

During a townhall meeting at the same site, the Secretary-General listened to community representatives explain a number of projects aimed to combat violent extremism and terrorism in a neighbourhood of Nairobi that has suffered from a number of terrorist attacks in recent years.

After hearing from them, the Secretary-General said that he was impressed by the comprehensive approach taken by the community and that they were looking at all aspects of the threats that they face. He also told them that he found some of their projects particularly innovative. The lesson, he said, was that they all understood that it was better to prevent than to respond.

Later in the afternoon, the Secretary-General held a number of internal meetings with the UN leadership in Kenya.

Today, the Security Council is holding an open debate on the linkage between international terrorism and organized crime.

In his remarks to members of the council, Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, highlighted priority actions to strengthen the global response to this threat. He noted the importance of working towards effective implementation of international commitments; called for more resources to provide technical assistance to build up specialized expertise and capacities; and stressed the need to reinforce investment in mechanisms for inter-agency, regional and international cooperation, including information and intelligence sharing.

“The UN clearly has a role to play in encouraging and enabling such networked responses,” he added.

Also speaking at the open debate was Michele Coninsx, the Exceutive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, also known as CTED.

She said that “events such as today’s open debate enable us to reaffirm our joint commitment to combating all forms of support for terrorist groups and individuals, as well as to promoting regional and international cooperation through the dissemination of relevant tools and practices.”

Their full remarks are available in our office.

The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is currently on a two-day visit in Washington D.C. He is expected to meet with US officials to discuss the situation in Yemen.

Mr. Griffiths counts on US support to advance the peace process and put an end to the conflict in Yemen.

The United Nations remains deeply alarmed about the humanitarian impact of hostilities in northwest Syria, including incidents impacting schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure.

This past week, some 26,000 people fled from areas controlled by non-State armed groups into Government-controlled areas in Aleppo, Hama, Idlib and Latakia. Operations are underway to assess needs and provide humanitarian assistance.

Of the more than 300 people that have been killed in the northwest in recent months, at least 140 were children, according to UNICEF.

Despite ongoing hostilities, UN humanitarian workers and partners continue to provide critical life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of civilians, including food, protection, nutrition, shelter, education and clean water.

The United Nations urges all parties to fully abide by their obligation to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including their obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality.

Today marks the 8th anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, but our colleagues at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) say that that, since then, the country has tragically seen more war than peace and appeals to its leaders to speed up efforts to end what has become Africa’s largest displacement crisis.

UNHCR believes that it is essential that representatives from the refugee and internally displaced communities are active and meaningful participants in the peace process. These communities’ faith in the reconciliation processes is vital to their success.

UNHCR noted that more than 2.3 million South Sudanese are currently living as refugees in neighbouring countries, while 1.9 million have been internally displaced inside the country.

The South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan calls for $1.4 billion, of which only 21 per cent has been received.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said today that heavy rains in the Cox’s Bazar settlement, which is housing Rohingya refugees, have uprooted more than 2,700 people in Bangladesh.

As of yesterday, WFP has provided extra food aid to 6,000 people and, with the help of hundreds of refugees, is racing to stabilize slopes which have slipped.

For its part, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed its concern over the impact of the flooding on the thousands of children in Cox’s Bazar.

With its partners, UNICEF has ramped up the distribution of supplies, including water purification tablets and plastic sheets.

The agency also noted that the risk of waterborne diseases is on the rise.

Ongoing conflicts and dry weather conditions remain the primary causes of high levels of severe food insecurity, hampering food availability and access for millions of people.

According to a new report issued today by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 41 countries, of which 31 are in Africa, continue to be in need of external assistance for food.

FAO says that cyclone damage and rainfall deficits in 2019 caused significant agricultural production shortfalls in Southern Africa, resulting in substantial increases in cereal import needs.

In East Africa, severe dryness negatively affected first season harvests and led to a degradation of rangeland conditions.

The full report is available online.

List of New Essential Medicines and Diagnostics Tests

Early this morning, World Health Organization published a list of new essential medicines and diagnostics tests. This update aims to address health challenges, prioritize highly effective therapeutics, and improve affordable access, the Organization says.

WHO’s Essential Medicines List and List of Essential Diagnostics are core guidance documents that help countries prioritize critical health products that should be widely available and affordable throughout health systems.

These two lists focus on cancer and other global health challenges.

Around the world, more than 150 countries use it to guide decisions about which medicines represent the best value for money, based on evidence and health impact.

You can find more information online.

The High-level Political Forum opened today with the President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Rhonda King, saying that we all want the forthcoming climate summit to be a milestone on the road to the Sustainable Development Goals

The HLPF convened a session on “Progress, gaps and obstacles: are we on track for leaving no one behind?” The panel speakers presented data showing that that the world has made encouraging progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in areas such as the reduction of extreme poverty, access to health and education services, and development of basic infrastructure. Yet we are off track for meeting many of the goals by 2030.

The afternoon session will review progress made toward SDG 4, on quality education.

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