Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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01-Oct-2019 00:16:17
Noon Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General said he was saddened by the loss of life, displacement of people and destruction of property due to monsoon rains and associated flooding in India. He extended his condolences and solidarity to the families of the victims, to the Government and people of India and wishes those injured a speedy recovery.

The United Nations stands ready to work with the authorities as they respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from this ongoing monsoon season.

The Secretary-General has appointed two new Resident Coordinators. One to serve in Botswana and the other in Myanmar, following confirmations from the respective governments.

Zia Choudhury of Bangladesh will be the new Resident Coordinator in Botswana while Ola Almgren of Sweden will be the new Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar.

The Resident Coordinators are tasked with boosting coordination among UN agencies, funds and programmes on the ground to support countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

As previously announced, the UN remains with full gender parity among all our Resident Coordinators covering 162 countries and territories.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that more than 9.2 million people across the southern Africa region are now severely food insecure due to a climate crisis that is impacting parts of the region. This figure is expected to grow to 12 million at the peak of the lean season between October and next March.

Parts of the region are experiencing their lowest rainfall since 1981, which is leading to increased humanitarian needs.

Some parts of the region have endured destruction by cyclones, pests and disease, and are working to recover from the multi-faceted impacts of those shocks. For example, in Mozambique, drought, two cyclones and violence in the north are expected to leave nearly two million people severely food insecure from October through March.

Namibia has received its lowest rainfall in 35 years and at least 290,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the north of the country are suffering from an acute food security crisis, with up to 90,000 livestock reported to have died due to drought.

Ursula Mueller, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator will travel to Djibouti from tomorrow until Friday to draw attention to the effects and humanitarian consequences of climate change to the country and the region.

The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator will meet with people impacted by drought, high levels of food insecurity and see first-hand the response of humanitarian partners. She will also meet with senior Government officials, humanitarian organizations and the diplomatic community.

In addition, she will see first-hand the efforts undertaken to respond to challenges which include the growing number of refugees and migrants hosted in Djibouti.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today that, three months after the airstrike on the Tajoura detention centre, vulnerable migrants returned from sea continue to be taken to the facility despite persistent calls for its closure due to its proximity [to] a military location.

As you’ll recall, that airstrike killed 53 migrants and injured more than 130 people.

IOM also renewed its urgent call for the end to arbitrary detention in Libya, in a gradual orderly manner, that guarantees the safety of detainees. It stressed the need for alternative solutions to be established and adopted urgently to end the intolerable suffering of thousands of migrants.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today that, while movements of refugees in Southeast Asia have dropped in the 18 months between January 2018 and June 2019, the threats for those fleeing violence and persecution are higher.

The Rohingya remained the largest refugee group on the move in the region, with nearly 18,000 registered as new arrivals in Bangladesh during this period.

Nearly 1,600 refugees and asylum-seekers embarked on dangerous maritime journeys in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. At least 15 of these people drowned, but that is obviously a conservative figure.

UNHCR is calling on all countries in the region and beyond to expand opportunities for solutions through safe and legal pathways that can help reduce the likelihood that refugees will risk desperate and dangerous journeys [or] be forced into the hands of criminal smuggling networks to find protection or reunite with their families.

Today is International Day of Older Persons. With this year’s theme being "The Journey to Age Equality", the UN aims to highlight that the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals will only be achievable if it is inclusive of all ages.

For this observance, the UN also wants to stress that empowering older persons in all dimensions of development, including promoting their active participation in social, economic and political life, is one way to ensure their inclusiveness and reduce inequalities.

The world’s population is ageing fast. The UN estimates that by 2050 one in five people will be over 60. The number of aged over 80 is projected to triple from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050.

To observe the Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) is launching a package of tools, including a digital app to help health and social workers provide better care for older persons.

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