Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
29-Oct-2019 00:22:53
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Available Language: English
Other Formats
On the eve of its launch, the Secretary-General today welcomed the unique opportunity provided by the Syrian-owned and Syrian-led Constitutional Committee that will be inaugurated tomorrow in Geneva with the UN’s facilitation.

For the first time, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the opposition Syrian Negotiations Commission, along with civil society, will sit together and take the first step on the political path out of the tragedy of the Syrian conflict. The Secretary-General is pleased that women’s representation on the committee is very near 30% -- the UN has been steadfast to secure that minimum threshold.

He fully expects that the parties will work together in good faith toward a solution in line with resolution 2254 that meets the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians and is based on a strong commitment to the country’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.

The Constitutional Committee’s launch and work must be accompanied by concrete actions to build trust and confidence. Meaningful engagement in the Constitutional Committee, accompanied by a cessation of hostilities across the country, will provide the Special Envoy, Geir Pedersen, with an environment he requires to effectively discharge his mandate to facilitate a broader political process.

The Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, is holding meetings today in Geneva with the two Co-Chairs, and preparatory meetings separately with the Committee members from the Government, the Syrian Negotiations Commission and the Middle Third members.

The Special Envoy is also meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, Turkey and Iran as part of the series of meetings he has been holding with international stakeholders prior to the launch of the Constitutional Committee.

Also on Syria, the World Food Programme has so far provided emergency food assistance to more than 300,000 people in Syria following the recent military operations in the northeast. Displaced people and families who are providing shelter to the displaced are among those being assisted.

WFP is also scaling up food assistance to reach as many as 58,000 vulnerable people in Hasakeh and Raqqa governorates, including many of those who were recently uprooted.

The Secretary-General was deeply saddened by the death of Sadako Ogata, former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, humanitarian and role model for people across the world.

Sadako Ogata set the standard for helping refugees: principled, compassionate, effective. She was fearless in her advocacy for people, humanitarian action and political solutions. As the first woman to serve as High Commissioner for Refugees, she was a pioneer in highlighting not only the impact of violence on women but the imperative of women’s involvement in solutions. Her contributions continued long after her service as High Commissioner, in particular in articulating the concept of human security.

Sadako Ogata left a unique legacy and imprint on the UN Refugee Agency, as the Secretary-General witnessed upon assuming leadership of UNHCR a few years later. Many millions of people enjoy better lives and opportunities thanks to her solidarity and skillful work on their behalf. And the many people today who have been forcibly displaced from their countries and homes are better served because of her achievements.

The Secretary-General is grateful to have known Sadako Ogata as both colleague and friend, and he offers condolences to her family, to the people and Government of Japan, and to her many admirers around the world.

On Thursday, the Secretary-General will be in Istanbul where he will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

While in Istanbul, the Secretary-General will attend a meeting of his High-Level Advisory Board on mediation and will address the Istanbul Mediation Conference. He will also visit the UN Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries, which was established to support the capacity of these countries to build their science, technology and innovation to transform their economies, eradicate poverty and foster sustainable development.

On Saturday, he will depart for Bangkok, where he will be delivering remarks at the opening of the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit. ASEAN has shown the value of regional integration and shared approaches to local and global challenges and the close cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations remains more critical than ever.

While in Bangkok, the Secretary-General will also participate in the launch of the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue by the Thailand Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha. He will also meet with regional leaders on the sidelines of the Summit.

He is expected back in New York on Monday.

The Secretary-General has taken note of the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon. He calls on all sides to maintain peace and avoid violence and for security forces to show restraint and to protect civilians, including peaceful protestors. We hope that a political solution would be found to preserve stability and peace in the country.

In light of today’s developments, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis, urges the security forces to maintain law and order, to take action against those that instigate violence, regardless of their party affiliation, and to protect demonstrating civilians who need to maintain the peaceful character of their protests.

He reminds the political parties that they bear the full responsibility for the behaviour and action of their supporters and for controlling them, especially if they provoke clashes with peaceful protesters or security forces.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, condemns in the strongest terms the rising number of deaths and injuries during the demonstrations engulfing many parts of Iraq.

The recent developments across many parts of Iraq, in particular in Karbala last night, are most alarming. Witness reports indicate that live fire was used against demonstrators, causing high numbers of casualties.

“Violence is never the answer, the protection of life is the overriding imperative,” the Special Representative said. “A national dialogue is urgently needed to find prompt, meaningful responses. This vicious cycle of violence must end.”

The UN stands with the Iraqi people and is ready to assist in this dialogue, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert said.

In Central America, subsistence farmers and some larger-scale farming operations, located in an area called the Dry Corridor, have lost as much as 50 to 75 per cent of their crops because of irregular weather conditions, including high temperatures, below average rain and long dry spells.

Humanitarian partners are concerned that these significant losses may severely affect people’s access to food and increase the risk of malnutrition.

The region had a severe drought last year, and as a result, it is the second year in a row that farmers experience poor first season harvests.

Last year’s drought led to the loss of 280,000 hectares of bean and maize in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and affected food security for more than two million people.

The Security Council is holding an open meeting today on the theme “Women, Peace and Security.”

In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that, in the nearly two decades since the landmark resolution 1325 was adopted, women still face exclusion from so many peace and political processes.

He noted that peace agreements are still adopted without provisions considering the needs and priorities of women and girls.

The Secretary-General also pointed out that there is a growing number of armed groups for whom gender inequality is a strategic objective and misogyny part of their core ideology.

But despite this grim litany, he said we will not give up, stressing that this is an absolute priority for him.

Also speaking at the meeting was Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women, who stressed the importance of political will to demand women’s direct and meaningful participation in peace talks.

In Haiti, widespread protests in the past 6 weeks have limited the ability of UN and humanitarian partners to deliver assistance for thousands of the most vulnerable Haitians.

The humanitarian community urges all parties to facilitate access to everyone affected by the crisis so that they can receive the assistance they need.

Despite the worrying security context, in recent days, the UN and humanitarian partners have delivered a one-month supply of fuel, drugs, medical supplies, and oxygen tanks to 17 hospitals, providing health care to over 4.3 million people.

The fuel delivered will allow pumping stations to distribute drinking water to more than 400,000 people.

The International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Crisis held in Brussels yesterday and today sent a strong message of support to the Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as to their host countries and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Conference was co-chaired by the European Union, UNHCR and IOM. It reviewed best practices and achievements of host countries, confirmed international support for a regional and coordinated response, and called for a global and inclusive partnership, where solidarity and responsibility are shouldered by the entire international community but are also shared between public and private sectors.

The Secretary-General is appointing Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi of Nigeria as his Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of United Nations-Energy. The Secretary-General also welcomes the announcement by the Administrative Board of Sustainable Energy for All that Ms. Ogunbiyi has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All.

Ms. Ogunbiyi succeeds Rachel Kyte of the United Kingdom, and the Secretary-General expresses his gratitude to Ms. Kyte for her dedication and commitment to the United Nations, her achievements in accelerating universal energy access, and her leadership in advancing sustainable energy transition in the context of the Paris Agreement.

Ms. Ogunbiyi brings extensive leadership experience and a track record of supporting energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa to these roles. She was the first woman to be appointed as Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency.

Honduras has paid its regular budget dues in full. The total number of fully-paid-up Member States is now 134.

Tomorrow, at 10 a.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber, there will be an event to observe the 10th anniversary of the mandate on sexual violence in conflict, created by Security Council resolution 1888.

This event aims to provide a critical opportunity to take stock of progress, challenges and change, and to set the stage for the next decade of concerted efforts to end conflict-related sexual violence.

Survivors of conflict-related sexual violence will also share their stories in the form of a “Survivors’ Hearing”.

Tomorrow, at 1 p.m., at the Security Council stakeout, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Naledi Pandor, and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege will brief the media.

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