Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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04-Nov-2019 00:13:46
Noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

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Yesterday in Bangkok, the Secretary-General attended the tenth Summit of the UN and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and, in his opening remarks to that summit, he underscored that, at a time of great turbulence, he fully appreciated ASEAN’s steadfast support for multilateralism and a rules-based international order.

He reviewed a number of challenges facing the region, including climate change and the continuing construction of coal plants, as well as the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the ongoing crisis facing the Rohingya people.

On the last point, he said that it remains Myanmar’s responsibility to address the root causes and ensure a conducive environment for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable repatriation of refugees to Rakhine State, in accordance with international norms and standards.

Afterwards, the Secretary-General spoke to journalists and repeated his call for the region’s economies to move towards renewable energy. He said he appealed for an emphasis to be put on renewables and to be able to stop the construction of new coal power plants.

Later in the day, the Secretary-General met with Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China. The Secretary-General thanked China for its contribution to the United Nations and for its strong commitment to multilateralism. Their discussion focused for the most part on climate change.

On Saturday, the Secretary-General met with the Prime Ministers of Thailand and Viet Nam and the President of Indonesia. In those meetings, he discussed sustainable development, climate action and regional issues.

The Secretary-General has returned to New York this morning.

This morning, the Deputy Secretary-General briefed the Security Council on her joint mission with the African Union on women peace and security in the Horn of Africa.

The chance for peace in this region is real, Ms. Mohammed told Council Members. The international community, together with Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti, can find lasting solutions to the complex challenges of the region.

She added that women are playing a critical leadership role in social cohesion, economic revival and peace.

Immediately after this mission, the Deputy Secretary-General travelled to Sudan, where she met authorities and women’s civil society activists. Responding to the opportunity in Sudan will require putting aside our usual way of working, she told the Council.

She urged the Security Council, and the international community, to assist to identify concrete actions to be delivered over the next 3 months, while addressing the mid and long-term opportunities necessary for lasting peace.

And this afternoon, the Security Council will resume last week’s suspended debate on Women, peace and security.

Geir Pedersen, the Special Envoy for Syria, is pleased to confirm that the Constitutional Committee is continuing its work in Geneva this week, as a Small Body of 45 members begins its first working sessions today at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The names of the members of the Small Body were released over the weekend.

You’ll recall that the Constitutional Committee’s Large Body of 150 members met last Thursday and Friday in working sessions under the chairmanship of the two Co-Chairs. The Committee adopted by consensus a Code of Conduct for Members of the Constitutional Committee and Initial Procedural Practices of the Co-Chairs of the Constitutional Committee.

The Special Envoy thanks the two Co-Chairs for working professionally with him and for their effective chairing of the first meetings. There are more details in documents that we shared with you in recent days.

We remain deeply concerned for the safety and protection of hundreds of thousands of civilians in north-east Syria following reports of sporadic fighting and violence.

With fighting ongoing, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that people continue to flee. Between 30 and 31 October, at least 11,340 people were forced to leave villages in Tal Tamer sub-district.

Some 108,500 people, including over 47,000 children, are currently displaced from fighting since 9 October. The majority are staying with host communities or relatives in Al-Hasakeh, Raqqa and Deir Ezzour governorates. Nearly 17,000 people are accommodated in 79 active collective shelters.

The latest violence compounds an already dire humanitarian situation in the north-east. Of the 3 million people there, 1.8 million were already in need of humanitarian assistance, including over 900,000 in acute need, before 9 October. More than 710,000 of those living in the area were already internally displaced.

The UN urges all parties, and those with influence over them, to ensure safe, sustained and unhindered access by all humanitarian workers to provide life-saving assistance to all people in need.

The UN also reminds all parties of their obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure as required by international humanitarian and human rights law.

Our humanitarian colleagues say that heavy rains and flooding have affected at least 2.5 million people in eastern Africa, including South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda.

This has also caused people to flee their homes and resulted in the loss of property, crops and livestock.

Higher-than-usual rainfall is expected to continue in eastern African this month and next, with the risk of even more flooding.

We are outraged by Friday’s attack against the Malian army camp in Indelimane, in Mali’s Ménaka region. According to information received on the ground, dozens of Malian soldiers were killed, three were injured and two remain missing. In addition, one civilian was reportedly killed and another one injured.

The UN Peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, sent a quick reaction force to help the Malians safeguard the area. The peacekeepers are currently supporting search and rescue operations.

MINUSMA also reports that an improvised explosive device killed one soldier from the French operation Barkhane on 2 November in the vicinity of Indelimane.

We convey our condolences to the families of the victims and the Governments of Mali and France and wish the injured a speedy recovery.

The World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the United Nations Emergency Ebola Response Operations (UNEERO), along with the Congolese Ministry of Health have condemned the violence that took place last night in Lwemba, in the Ituri Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The violence caused the death of an Ebola response community health worker and left his spouse critically injured. The victim was also a reporter for a community radio station in Lwemba and was involved in raising the awareness of his community regarding the country’s Ebola outbreak.

The organizations reiterated that any act of violence against individuals involved with the response is unacceptable and compromises the ability of health workers to provide assistance to communities impacted by the devastating effects of Ebola.

As of today, there have been 3,274 cases of Ebola in the country, with close to 2,200 deaths and over 1,000 survivors.

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