Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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20-Sep-2019 00:23:27
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the Peace Bell Ceremony ahead of tomorrow’s International Day of Peace. This year’s theme is “Climate Action for Peace.”

The Secretary-General said that peace is not just the absence of war. It is about respect, tolerance, and thriving societies in which people live in harmony with each other and with the environment.

He said that competition for resources is creating tensions between peoples and countries and natural disasters are displacing millions.

“Raising ambition and taking climate action is crucial if we are to live in peace and build a world of resilience and prosperity for all,” he said, adding that this is why he has convened the Climate Action Summit that will take place on Monday. The programme for the Summit is now available online, including the speakers’ list.

The Secretary-General also spoke to students this morning and told them their leadership is essential so that his generation does the right thing. “I count on you,” he added.

And UN staff will also take part in their own way in the climate gathering at 1:15 p.m. in the Visitors’ Plaza, where they’ll reaffirm their support for the Secretary-General’s efforts to accelerate climate action.

The number of Heads of States and others who are expected to participate in the General Assembly that starts officially on Tuesday is: 91 Heads of State, six Vice Presidents, 45 Heads of Government, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 44 Ministers, 2 Chairs of Delegation, and 3 Observers. That’s the same total as the end last week which is 196. The number of meetings requested has now climbed to 630.

Starting at 7:30 p.m. this evening, there will be an immersive show, called Voices for the Future: Antarctica While you were sleeping, that lights up the UN General Assembly and Secretariat UN buildings in advance of the Climate Action Summit. The projections will last until 10 p.m.

This installation will spotlight large-scale projections covering the outside of the UN with images of a massive iceberg, setting the scene for the voices of six young advocates, including Swedish student activist Greta Thunberg, who are commenting on the nature of the climate crisis and what must be done to minimize the consequences of climate change. We thank the Permanent Mission of New Zealand who are sponsoring this light show.

The Spokesman’s office will be open and staffed throughout the weekends. Due to UNGA events at the beginning of next week there will be no noon briefings next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, briefed the Security Council this morning on the situation between Israel and Palestine. Mr. Mladenov noted that the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continues unabated. He asserted that such expansion must cease immediately and completely, and he reiterated the Secretary-General’s concern over statements regarding the annexation of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea.

Mr. Mladenov unequivocally condemned all attacks on Palestinians and Israeli civilians, including settler-related violence, and called on all sides to refrain from violence and to clearly and unequivocally condemn attacks as they occur. All perpetrators must be held accountable for their crimes, he said.

He added that, as we approach three years since the passing of the resolution, we can only lament the worsening situation on the ground. His comments are available to you.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali said it is concerned by a new wave of intercommunal violence affecting people in some of Timbuktu’s neighborhoods.

The mission is supporting the response by Malian security forces with coordinated actions involving the UN Police and peacekeepers.
It is also working with Malian authorities to ease the tensions.
The Mission calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and condemns all acts of violence.

The UN is alarmed by an increase in violence committed against civilians in the eastern provinces of Ituri and South Kivu.

Dozens of villages have been burned and, as we have reported to you, at least 250,000 people have been displaced over the past few months.

The UN peacekeeping mission said there have been at least six night attacks against civilians in the past two weeks in Ituri’s Djugu territory. Displaced people, including women and children, have been among those targeted.

According to data collected by the UN, close to 200 civilians have been killed in Ituri since June. Gang rape and other forms of sexual violence have been largely reported as well.

The Mission is actively supporting the provincial authorities to restore calm and calls on all community leaders to support these efforts.

Humanitarian agencies are also mobilized to address the needs of the people.

The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for the DRC seeks $1.65 billion to target nine million people in need of assistance and protection but it is only 30 per cent funded.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today it is deeply concerned about the recurring violence against foreign nationals – including refugees and asylum-seekers – in South Africa.

The agency is working closely with the Government, other UN agencies and other partners to ensure the safety of refugees by deploying additional staff; emergency shelter and other supplies; psychosocial care; and legal assistance.

UNHCR called on all State authorities to take every possible measure to ensure people’s safety and welfare and no effort should be spared to quell the violence and enforce rule of law. It also stressed that those responsible for committing criminal acts must be held to account in court.

The UN Children’s Fund said they are providing more than 300,000 children with back-to-school kits to help keep them in school. The deteriorating situation on the ground has so far left an estimated one million children out of school.

Over the coming 12 months, UNICEF, in tandem with national partners plans to reach a total of 1.2 million children in public and subsidized schools across Venezuela with various educational supplies.

Each back-to-school kit contains a school bag holding essential learning supplies including a notebook, pencils and coloring pencils. UNICEF is also working to expand educational services to ensure inclusive access and quality learning for all Venezuelan children, and to prevent dropouts.

The UN Migration agency (IOM) said so far this year, over 63,000 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea. That’s according to new data compiled by the agency.

They note that almost 30,000, or almost half of the yearly total number of people have arrived in the past nine weeks.

About four out of five migrants or refugees enter Europe through Greece or Spain, with others arriving mostly in Italy, Malta or Cyprus.

In related news, IOM condemned yesterday’s death of a Sudanese migrant in Libya. The man was shot hours after having being returned to shore by the Libyan Coast Guard.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said that in August, it reached a record 12.4 million food-insecure people in Yemen with food assistance, which is the highest number they’ve reached so far in the country.

WFP says it needs $600 million to ensure uninterrupted food assistance for the next six months, until February 2020. Without more funding, WFP says it will have no choice but to reduce food rations to families, starting in October.
Cabo Verde has paid its 2019 budget dues in full. This takes the Honour Roll up to 126 countries.
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Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General
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