Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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09-Aug-2019 00:15:10
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, said this is an opportunity to acknowledge the diversity and wealth of knowledge that indigenous peoples possess, and to recognize the richness they bring to humankind.

In her opening remarks at an event held by DESA here in New York, she said that indigenous women and men are advocating for sustainable livelihoods from one generation to the other, defending biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems and raising the alarm over the growing impacts of climate disruption.

She also stressed that almost half the world’s estimated 6,700 languages are in danger of disappearing. Most of these belong to indigenous peoples. With every language that disappears, the world loses a wealth of tradition, knowledge and cultural heritage, she said.

Her full remarks are online.

In a message to the Nagasaki Annual Peace Ceremony, the Secretary-General paid tribute to the victims and survivors of the nuclear bombing of that city that took place on this date in 1945.

He said he was profoundly moved when he took part in the ceremony last year, noting that the testimony of the hibakusha touched his heart, along with their devotion to ensuring that the great tragedy that befell Nagasaki is never visited upon any other.

The Secretary-General pointed out that the nuclear danger persists, calling on the international community to join forces to safeguard the security benefits that existing treaties bring to all of us.

He stressed that the only true guarantee against the use of nuclear weapons is their total elimination. This remains the United Nations’ – and the Secretary-General’s – highest disarmament priority.

The message was delivered by Izumi Nakamitsu, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

Some positive developments from Yemen: our friends at the World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed what it called important and positive steps taken by the Sana’a-based authorities on safeguards to ensure humanitarian food assistance reaches the most vulnerable children, women and men in areas of Yemen under their control.

WFP said it will resume food distributions following the Eid Al Adha festival for the 850,000 people in Sana’a City who have not received food rations from WFP for the last two months.

WFP is also beginning to roll out a smartcard-driven beneficiary management system, registering 9 million people in areas of Yemen controlled by the Sana’a-based authorities. These vital measures provide for the protection and privacy of the people WFP serves and the independence of humanitarian operations.

Today, the Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akıncı, met under the auspices of the Special Representative/Deputy Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar.

According to the UN Mission, UNFICYP, the two leaders had a sincere and constructive exchange of views and decided to continue engaging in the efforts undertaken by the UN Special Envoy on the Cyprus dispute, Jane Holl Lute, to finalize the Terms of Reference that would enable structured and results-oriented negotiations.

The two leaders also announced their readiness to hold a tripartite meeting with the Secretary-General after the General Assembly in order to plan the way forward.

More information online.

Earlier this morning, the World Health Organization provided an update on Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to WHO, the virus’ transmission continued this week with similar intensity to recent weeks, with an average of 86 cases per week.

There are currently no confirmed cases outside of the DRC.

In the 21 days from 17 July through 6 August 2019, a total of 257 confirmed cases were reported, with the majority coming from the health zones of Beni and Mandima.

No new confirmed cases have been reported in Goma city since the last report, with a total of four confirmed cases.

UNHCR said today that, as of Wednesday, more than 500,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar who are currently in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh have been registered in a joint effort between the agency and the Bangladeshi authorities.

For many of these refugees, this is the first time they have an identity card.

The registration will help ensure the accuracy of data on refugees in Bangladesh, giving national authorities and aid agencies a better understanding of the population and their needs. It will also help humanitarian organizations plan their programmes and target their assistance where it is most needed.

And lastly, I wanted to bid a farewell to one of the most beloved people among the press corps: Widad Franco.

After nearly 15 years of working with NHK here, she is seeking her fortunes elsewhere.

On behalf of all of us in my office, we have long admired and appreciated her hard work and dedication, not to mention the extreme patience she has shown to all of us.

We wish her a lot of good things for the next step of her life!

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