Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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26-Sep-2019 00:20:09
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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General Assembly
As of yesterday, we had 81 Heads of State and 42 Heads of Government attending the proceedings, along with six Vice Presidents, six Deputy Prime Ministers, 53 ministers, five chairs of delegation and three observers – for a total of 196 attendees represented at this year’s briefing.
Up through yesterday, more than 8,000 delegation passes and more than 2,300 media passes were issued by our colleagues. There were more than 28,000 passes issued for special events.
And as of 20 September, 630 meetings had been requested, roughly 119 of which would take place at the Head of State/Head of Government level. The number does not include bilateral meetings between Member States. We don’t have that number yet. But just for your information, last year, we had over1,676 bilats.

FFD Summit
This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development. At the start of his remarks he took a moment to pay tribute to former French President Jacques Chirac, who passed away this morning. The Secretary-General said Mr. Chirac was “a great friend with whom I had the pleasure of working in the European Council for many years,” and he praised his pioneering commitment to the environment. “France and the world are losing today a great statesman, defender of democracy and dialogue between peoples,” he said.
We do expect a fuller, a more official statement a bit later.
The Secretary-General said financing for Development is “the test of our seriousness” about ramping up the efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and stressed that without adequate funding, it will not be possible to deliver for people and planet.
He noted that almost one third of the world’s least developed countries are currently in high debt distress and that of particular concern are small islands developing states many of which are wrestling with the costs of climate change.
There are signs of progress, however, he pointed to the responsible banking principles adopted earlier this week, which commit the banking industry – worth $35 billion – to sustainable practices.
The Secretary-General also said that next month, he will convene 30 Chief Executive Officers from every region to launch the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance, which collectively manages nearly $16 trillion, and he called on all countries to support efforts to align the international financial system behind the SDGs.

SG Remarks
The Secretary-General spoke today at a meeting marking the International Day of Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons – a cause which he says has been the United Nations’ highest disarmament priority from day one. He said that the fears that not only progress in eliminating nuclear weapons come to a halt; it is going in reverse. The Secretary-General worries that we are slipping back into bad habits that once again will hold the entire world hostage to the threat of nuclear annihilation.
The Secretary-General is speaking right now at a ministerial meeting for the support of UNRWA and he will emphasize in the meeting the role that UNRWA has played as a force for stability in the region. He will thank the Member States for their generosity in helping them to overcome its financial crisis last year and urge continued support for UNRWA.
And he will also speak at the opening ceremony of a photo exhibit on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

China/ Africa
This morning, the Chef de Cabinet, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, spoke on behalf of the Secretary-General at a ministerial meeting on cooperation between China and Africa on matters before the Security Council.
She said that, over the past decade, the partnership between Africa and China to promote peace and security across the continent has grown rapidly, in multiple ways through China’s engagement with Africa, Africa’s own initiatives and ever closer AU-UN cooperation, including with regional organizations.
Ms. Viotti noted that the growing partnership between China and African countries comes as African countries steadily reinforce their capacities across the peace continuum, from prevention to peacemaking to peacekeeping, underpinned by inclusive sustainable development.

In the Central African Republic, the UN Peacekeeping mission have reports that the 20,000 people are now displaced following violent clashes earlier this month in the northeastern town of Birao.
The Deputy Special Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator, Denise Brown, called for increased mobilization to respond to the new emergency.
Protecting those displaced by the violence continues to be our priority, adding it will be important to also address long-term consequences of the violence.
The Mission has stepped up its presence in the city to prevent new attacks.
The situation in the country, and the implementation of the peace agreement will be at the heart of discussions here this afternoon, during a high-level meeting featuring the President of the Central African Republic, the Secretary-General and the President of the African Union Commission. We will share the Secretary-General’s remarks.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change today announced 15 winners of its 2019 UN Global Climate Action Award.
The winning projects range from an in-app program that helped plant over 122 million trees, to a burguer chain that uses renewable packaging label of its carbon dioxide emission for each burguer and innovative technology that produces clean electricity from the ocean.
Winners hail from Singapore, Zambia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Dominica and Brazil, among other countries. More information online.

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today expressed its continuing deep concerns about the high number of civilian casualties in the country.
In a statement issued earlier today, Mr. Yamamoto, the head of the Mission, said that “the disregard for civilian life exhibited by parties to the conflict in recent days, especially in indiscriminate attacks, is appalling.
On 17 September, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack that killed thirty civilians and injured 51. Two days later, 25 were killed and 93 injured in a Taliban-claimed attack in Zabul.
The UN urges parties to the conflict to take all feasible precautions to avoid harm to civilians and condemns all acts of indiscriminate attacks.

Our humanitarian colleagues say that a 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Mirpur on Tuesday, that’s near eastern Pakistan.
At least 38 people have reportedly died, more than 700 have been injured, according to authorities, with more than 450 houses having been damaged.
The Government of Pakistan has not requested international assistance, and the UN and humanitarian organizations in the country are monitoring the situation closely and available to provide support.

The Bahamas
And from the Bahamas three weeks after Hurricane Dorian. Our humanitarian colleagues tell us the Government is shifting efforts to recovery. The UN and its partners continue to support the government-led response efforts including in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable and the displaced.
As of Wednesday, the UN and humanitarian organizations had supported the government in delivering over 350,000 meals; 135,000 liters of water; health services; debris removal; waste management, temporary housing, and other items.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet signed an agreement here in New York with the Government of Sudan to open several offices in the country.
Ms. Bachelet said that, with this milestone pact, her office is poised to accompany Sudan through an important moment in its history and to officer its support to make the transition a success for the human rights of all the people of the country.
More on this agreement on the website.

Press Briefing Today
At 1.20 p.m. here, there will be a briefing here by Ayman H. Safadi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
For a complete list of the briefings refer to the Media Alert.

Cassandra Waldon
I want to extend our condolences to the family of our colleague Cassandra Waldon the Director of Communications at IFAD, who passed away this week. She was a delightful and dedicated colleague and we were sad of learning of her passing.
UNTV, Producer
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