Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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29-Aug-2019 00:15:55
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General wrapped up his visit just now to Yokohama, Japan, where he took part in the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, known as TICAD. He spoke at a thematic session on climate change and disaster risk reduction. The Secretary-General noted that Africa only contributes a small amount to climate change but is experiences the devastating consequences which is why he is convening his Climate Action Summit on September 23rd.

Throughout Africa, long-term drought is an ever-present and growing reality, which is directly implicated in causing insecurity as we see only too clearly in the Sahel, he said, adding that, it is always the case, that the poor and vulnerable are the first to suffer and the worst hit areas by climate impacts.

The Secretary-General underscored that, as well as tackling the causes of climate change, we must also leave nobody behind when dealing with its consequences.

Following this session, he spoke to reporters and expressed his deep appreciation to the Japanese Government for its commitment to African development, as exemplified by the holding of TICAD.

He pointed out that Africa faces a climate crisis, which requires a lot of political will to address and requires the strong commitment of governments, the private sector, and civil society.

Just before leaving Japan, he tweeted that he was now on his way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to express both his strong support to those responding to the Ebola outbreak and his solidarity with the people and the Government of the DRC.

Turning to Yemen, where preliminary reports from medical facilities indicate that in the past 2 days, as many as 13 people have been killed and at least 70 others were wounded during the clashes in Aden and Abyan governorates.

Streets in Aden are empty and flights to and from Aden airport are temporarily suspended.

In remarks made today by the Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande, she called on everyone who is fighting to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.

She also reiterated her appeal for support to the humanitarian response in Yemen.

The operations in Yemen are in deep trouble, she said. Pledges made at an international conference in February have not materialized.

And we mentioned last week, vaccination and health programmes have been suspended. Protection services for victims of sexual and gender-based violence were also scaled back.

If donation pledges are not rmet soon, 22 major programmes could be closed in the coming weeks.

Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Almost 4 out of 5 people in that country require some form of humanitarian assistance or protection.

This year’s Humanitarian Response Plan requires US$4.2 billion to assist more than 20 million Yemenis, including 10 million people who have relied entirely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. As of today, the plan is only 34 per cent funded.

On Syria, in the Security Council, the Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen briefed Council members. He said that the scale of violence and stability in Syria is extremely alarming, with an ever-rising death toll and millions of people displaced. In Idlib, he said violence continues unabated, and stressed that counterterrorism tactics cannot put at risk the lives of 3 million civilians who have a right to protection under international humanitarian law. He emphasized that the solution to the situation in the country needs to be a political one.

Mr. Pedersen said tensions between Israel and Iran are “extremely worrying” and urged all parties to respect the sovereignty of Syria and all states in the areas, by showing maximum restraint, both in action and in rhetoric.

Mr. Pedersen who will be available to speak to you at the Council stakeout at about 1 p.m., we will make that announcement beforehand.

And the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock also briefed Council members. And he said the UN is continuing to carry out relief operations and has reached 6 million people around the country this year. However, he said with less well funded than 2018 he appealed for countries who made pledges in the Brussels conference in April to take action to implement them.

There are four new UN Resident Coordinators (RCs) covering five countries to announce - Chad, Belize, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Serbia.These appointments follow the confirmations from the respective governments.

Violet Kakyomya of Uganda will serve as the UN Resident Coordinator in Chad, Birgit Gerstenberg of Germany will serve in El Salvador and also covering Belize, Mauricio Ramirez-Villegas of Colombia will be the new Resident Coordinator for the Dominican Republic and Françoise Jacob of France will serve in Serbia. We congratulate all four of them.

They will boost the development coordination among UN agencies, funds and programmes to support countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

We are also proud to announce that we will remain with full gender parity among all our RCs covering 162 countries and territories. We have the biographies in our office.

Yesterday, Greta Thunberg arrived in a marina in Lower Manhattan was welcomed with a flotilla of 17 UN sailboats – one for each the Sustainable Development Goals. In a Tweet, the Secretary-General welcomed her and praised her determination and perseverance during her journey across the Atlantic and said her example should embolden all of us taking part in next month's Climate Action Summit.

The Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed also welcomed Ms. Thunberg saying she has shown the world that each person has the ability to affect change for people and planet, added that climate action is integral part of reaching the SDG’s.

Today is the International Day Against Nuclear Tests. In a message to mark the day, the Secretary-General called on all countries to commit to bringing nuclear tests to a permanent end.

The legacy of nuclear testing is nothing but destruction, he added. Affected communities have yet to fully recover from the environmental, health and economic damage.

The Secretary-General called on all States that have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; especially those who ratification is needed for the Treaty to enter into force.

And an effective and legally-binding prohibition remains one of the longest and unfulfilled goals of nuclear disarmament. In a world of rising tensions and divisions, our collective security depends on it, the Secretary-General concluded.

And tomorrow at 12.30 p.m., there will be a briefing here by Dmitry Polyanskiy, the Chargé d'affaires of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation. The briefing will be on the marking the beginnings of the Second World War.

And today we say thank you to our friends in Kampala, in Uganda, who have paid their budget dues in full.

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