Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
10-Jul-2019 00:13:37
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Earlier this morning, the Secretary-General opened the high-level conference on counterterrorism and preventing violent extremism, hosted at the United Nations compound in Nairobi. In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that terrorism is spreading and destabilizing entire regions in Africa, but he added that the people of Africa continue to show great courage and resilience in challenging those who seek to spread violence and hatred. “The determination of Africans to find solutions to the scourge of terrorism is clear,” he said.

The Secretary-General outlined to the delegates what he hoped the conference would achieve – notably, new and strengthened partnerships between Africa and the international community and between African states themselves to tackle the threat of violent extremism and terrorism. In order to address and prevent this scourge, he said, entire communities must be mobilized and local solutions must be developed. The Secretary-General said it was time for the international community to step up and provide the financial and technical resources to support African-owned and African-led counterterrorism efforts, while fully respecting human rights, the rule of law and gender considerations.

Prior to the meeting, the Secretary-General met with Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta. The two discussed regional issues, climate change and the strong partnership between Kenya and the United Nations.

He also had a bilateral meeting with Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and they held a brief encounter with the media. The Secretary-General told journalists that he believes that we need African forces in peace enforcing and counterterrorism operations to be much more supported than in the past.

Prior to leaving, he also participated in a dialogue on the role of women in preventing violent extremism. The Secretary-General had the opportunity to listen to a number of women civil society representatives working across all five AU regions who shared their experiences and their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of working on counterterrorism and preventing violent extremism. He underscored to the women around the table his belief that, to deal with terrorism and violent extremism, the solution goes through local communities.

The Secretary-General will be in Mozambique tomorrow.

The Secretary-General posted a tweet just now in which he welcomed the Russian Government’s announcement ahead of the Climate Action Summit to submit plans to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Secretary-General wrote, “We can win the race against the climate emergency, but we need all hands on deck.”

This afternoon, the Security Council is holding a debate about peacekeeping operations, with a special focus on strengthening triangular cooperation between the Council, the Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries.

Expected to brief are Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and the Force Commander of the peacekeeping mission in Mali, Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllensporre.

Our peacekeeping colleagues tell us that senior military officials from more than 110 Member States and regional organizations will participate in the two-day Chiefs of Defence Conference that began here today at UN Headquarters.

This is the third such Conference, which is held every other year.

This theme of this year’s Conference is “Generating Capabilities to Meet High-Performance Requirements” in UN peacekeeping. It aims to generate solutions for issues such as performance, training and expanding the role of women in our operations.

The Conference builds on the recent Ministerial meeting in March, where Member States renewed their collective engagement with UN Peacekeeping through the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative.

The UN is deeply concerned about attacks against healthcare in Afghanistan. Between 6 and 9 July, three attacks in Ghazni, Maidan Wardak and Ghor provinces resulted in the death of five health workers employed by non-governmental organizations while unconfirmed reports indicate that two patients were also killed.

A statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator is available online.

Afghanistan is among the world’s deadliest conflicts. So far in 2019, 77 aid workers have been killed, injured or abducted, compared with 76 in all of 2018.

The UN recalls that all parties are obliged under International Humanitarian Law to protect humanitarian aid workers, health workers and facilities. Incidents need to be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

The UN and humanitarian partners continue to provide assistance to people affected by conflict and natural disasters, including 13 million people with food insecurity.

The Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan requests $612 million to assist 4.5 million people in 2019 and is currently only 27 per cent funded.

Our humanitarian colleagues are concerned about conditions in Rukban in southeastern Syria along the border with Jordan, where an estimated 25,000 displaced people continue to live in dire conditions, with limited or no access to healthcare, basic food and other humanitarian assistance.

Since March, more than 16,000 people have left Rukban – or nearly 40 per cent of the estimated total population of 41,700. People leaving Rukban receive basic assistance at temporary collective shelters in Homs, before proceeding to their areas of choice, mostly towards southern and eastern Homs. The UN has been granted access to the shelters on three occasions and found conditions there to be adequate during these visits.

The UN is currently awaiting approval from the Government of Syria on an operational plan submitted last week to assess needs inside Rukban, to assist with transport for people who wish to leave, and to provide humanitarian relief for those who decide to remain. The UN continues to call for safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to Rukban, as well as to all those in need throughout Syria.

The High-Level Political Forum of ECOSOC conducted two sessions this morning: on the challenges faced by Small Island Development States, and on the perspectives of Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries.

The Forum discussed how responding to the vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States demands an integrative, holistic approach to addressing their interdependent challenges.

Meanwhile, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries include some of the world’s most vulnerable populations at risk of being left behind. Many of those countries are in conflict or post-conflict situations. The Forum discussed how many people in those countries are disempowered by poverty and the lack of access to basic services.

This afternoon, the Forum will review progress toward Sustainable Development Goal 8 – decent work and economic growth.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, have agreed to work together on the promotion and implementation of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, known as GLOBE.

The GLOBE Programme is an international science and education programme that provides students and the public worldwide with the opportunity to participate in data collection, in scientific processes and contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the Earth’s environment.

Through this partnership, GLOBE and UNEP will cooperate on environmental education and training, citizen science, and the collection and distribution of environmental data.

You can find more information about this partnership online.
For further details please see SOURCE below.
Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General
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