Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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15-Jul-2019 00:20:35
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Members of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) held their fifth joint session yesterday and today on board the vessel of the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) on the high seas off Hudaydah.

Meeting face-to-face for the first time since February 2019, the Redeployment Coordination Committee members took stock of their earlier agreements on the redeployment of forces as envisaged in the Hudaydah Agreement.

After a recent uptick in ceasefire violations in Hudaydah city and governorate, the parties were keen on finding ways to de-escalate tensions. They agreed on a mechanism and new measures to reinforce the ceasefire and de-escalation, to be put in place as soon as possible with support from the UN Mission.

The RCC members finalized agreements on concepts of operations for Phases I and II of the mutual redeployment. Thus, the Redeployment Coordination Committee has finalized its technical work and awaits decision of the respective political leaderships to proceed with the implementation. Agreement on local security forces, local authority and revenues remains outstanding, to be addressed at the political level.

Also today, the Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement until 15 January, 2020.

Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, the Special Adviser and head of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh or UNITAD, presented his second report.

He emphasized how his team has sought to place the experiences and voices of survivors, witnesses and communities at the heart of their work.

Two fundamental realities have been revealed, the Special Adviser told the Council:

First, there is an urgent and clear call for individual members of Daesh to be held accountable, and for their crimes to be recognized and prosecuted as offences under international law.

Second, Khan said they have understood the ultimate success of the work of the Investigative Team will depend on their ability to draw on their independent and impartial status to make their work the product of a partnership between all concerned actors.

The UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, has just concluded a five-day mission to Mali.

She stressed that a return to peace and stability were key elements to end and prevent grave violations against children. She also pointed out that ensuring State authority and the delivery of services in every region of the country were also essential to the protection of children.

During her meetings with the government, the Special Representative emphasized the importance of education for all children in Mali. As we mentioned last week, over 900 schools remain closed.

As announced on Friday, a high-level meeting on Ebola was held today in Geneva to take stock of the coordinated response and to mobilize additional support for the government-led efforts to defeat the deadly disease in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The meeting was chaired by the World Health Organization’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock.

Yesterday, the first case of Ebola was confirmed in Goma, a city of about 1 million people south of the outbreak’s epicenter. Almost 3,000 health workers have so far been vaccinated against the disease in Goma.

WHO’s Director-General announced that he will reconvene the Emergency Committee as soon as possible to assess the threat of this development and advise accordingly. He added that while we have better public health tools than ever to respond to Ebola, including an effective vaccine, there is a need to see an end to the attacks and other disruptions to the response.

Since January, there have been 198 attacks against the health response that have resulted in five deaths and left 58 healthcare workers and patients injured.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that in southeast Nepal, recent heavy rainfall has reportedly killed 64 people and displaced more than 16,500 households.

Search-and-rescue operations have been stepped up, and food, water and tarpaulins are the most-needed items.

In neighbouring India, heavy monsoon rains have displaced more than one million people and claimed at least 10 lives. National disaster response teams are carrying out search-and-rescue operations and some 20,000 people are sheltered in dozens of relief camps.

The United Nations offers its condolences to the Government and people of both Nepal and India and stands by to provide support if required.

Monsoon flooding has also affected Myanmar, where 21,000 people – many of whom have been affected by the conflict there – have been displaced in Kachin and Rakhine states.

The UN and our partners are working closely with local and national organizations to help those in need.

The World Health Organization and UNICEF today said that last year 20 million children missed out on lifesaving measles, diphtheria and tetanus vaccines.

The agencies said that most unvaccinated children live in the poorest countries and are disproportionately in fragile or conflict-affected states. Almost half are in just 16 countries - Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Together with partners, WHO and UNICEF are supporting countries to strengthen their immunization systems and outbreak response.

This morning, the High-Level Political Forum of ECOSOC addressed the issue of financing the Sustainable Development Goals, examining the opportunities for improving the composition and allocation of financing to maximize sustainable development impact at the national and global levels. An expert panel discussed concrete initiatives and tools that could be used to promote sustainable investments where they are most needed, such as in the least developed countries.

The Forum also began its presentation of Voluntary National Reviews this morning, with a session featuring countries that have prepared their National Review for a second time. These included Azerbaijan, Chile, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Turkey.

In the afternoon, the High-Level Political Forum will conduct a review of lessons learned on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals through the Voluntary National Reviews carried out during the past four years. In total, 102 countries have presented their reviews since 2016, with another 40 countries presenting for the first time at the Forum that is underway now. In addition, seven countries will present their second review at this year’s Forum.

Yesterday, the heads of several UN agencies - the Food and Agricultural Organization, the World Health Organization, the UN Refugee Agency, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian - Affairs said in a statement that they are working to put a more unified response in place on ending the scourge of malnutrition in children.

Every year, the UN provides 10 million children suffering from acute malnutrition with services they need to recover; and two million malnourished pregnant women and new mothers with food supplementation.

The UN also supports millions more children every year to prevent malnutrition, by promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding and adequate access to healthy and nutritious diet at all times.

Yet, after decades of falling, nearly 50 million of children under the age of five are “wasted,” in other words severely malnourished, and 149 million are “stunted”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that a high proportion of baby foods, which are marketed as being suitable for infants under the age of six months contain inappropriately high levels of sugar.

WHO has long recommended that children be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life and also says that commercial complementary foods should not be advertised for infants under the age of six months.

WHO said that good nutrition in infancy and early childhood remains key to ensuring optimal child growth and development, as well as to prevent obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases.

Equatorial Guinea and Lithuania today made their payments to the regular budget. The Honour Roll is now at 108 Member States.

Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., there will be a press briefing by Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), to present the new Red Cross guidelines to help cities prepare for heatwaves - extreme weather events that are now among the world’s deadliest types of natural hazard.

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