Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

Preview Language:   English
12-Nov-2019 00:14:15
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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This morning, in Paris, the Secretary-General addressed UNESCO’s General Conference and reiterated the organization’s central role to bring the world together. He highlighted, among others, UNESCO’s work to address ethical issues in science and technology, as well as its fundamental role to coordinate and monitor global efforts to promote education.

The Secretary-General also met some of UNESCO’s young staffers and representatives and reminded them that they are agents of change in international organizations.

Last night, immediately after his intervention at the Paris Peace Forum, the Secretary-General had a bilateral meeting with President Emmanuel Macron. Their conversation focused on the need to redouble global efforts to fight climate change.

He then attended a dinner, hosted by the French President, for heads of States and heads of international organizations participating in the Paris Peace Forum.

The Secretary-General is now on his way back to the United States.

Speaking earlier today at the opening of the Nairobi Summit, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, called on participants to reignite, accelerate and keep the promise made 25 years ago at the landmark International Conference on Population and Development, also known as the ICPD.

Amina Mohammed presented the United Nations’ commitments to fully implement the ICPD Programme of Action, adding that its goals have never been more relevant for people, especially women and girls.

The Deputy Secretary-General said that the Nairobi Summit is an opportunity to mobilize the needed political and financial momentum to succeed. With the full commitment of each of us, she said, we can ensure that women and girls are truly at the heart of sustainable development.

The Nairobi Summit continues until 14 November.

The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Ján Kubiš, met today with President Michel Aoun, along with Ambassadors representing the members of the International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG).

Special Coordinator Kubiš calls upon the leadership of Lebanon to urgently nominate the Prime Minister-designate, start the mandatory process of parliamentary consultations and maximally accelerate the process of the formation of the new government of personalities known for their competence and integrity, trusted by the people. He said that such a Cabinet, formed in line with the aspirations of the people and supported by the broadest range of political forces through the Parliamentary vote of confidence, will also be in a better position to appeal for support from Lebanon’s international partners.

Mr. Kubiš underscored that the national interest and unity of Lebanon must be put above any other considerations. Continuous protection of peaceful protesting civilians by the security forces, maintenance of law and order and the functioning of the state and its economy without using force or violence is the paramount responsibility of the leadership of Lebanon and its security forces.

The UN remains committed to supporting Lebanon, its political independence, non-interference into internal matters, unity, stability, security, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, met today with the heads of Iraqi unions and syndicates. They discussed the current political situation in the country, including the ongoing demonstrations and possible solutions.

Yesterday, Special Representative Hennis-Plasschaert was received by Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani in Najaf. Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert thanked His Eminence for the warm, welcome and frank discussion. His Eminence issued a statement afterwards stressing his position on the demonstrations and reforms and welcoming the UN ‘Next Step’ plan for the way forward.

UN humanitarian workers remain gravely concerned over the safety and protection of some four million people in north-west Syria, including some two million internally displaced people, following a recent intensification of airstrikes and shelling in the area. Thirteen communities have been impacted by shelling and five by airstrikes.

Since the end of April, over 400,000 women, children and men have been displaced by the violence in north-west Syria, many of them multiple times, and over 1,000 have lost their lives, many of them children. Of the 2.7 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance in the area, 76 per cent are women and children.

The UN continues to respond to needs throughout the north-west. Some 1.1 million people were reached with food aid last month, as deliveries have been scaled up to meet the high levels of need. At the same time, efforts to deliver critical winter items are ongoing, particularly for those in displacement camps and informal settlements.
The UN reminds all parties of their obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including facilitating access to those in need in a regular, sustained and impartial manner, in line with international humanitarian and human rights law.


In a new report, the UN today warned that the prevalence of adult obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean has tripled since 1975, affecting one in four adults in a region where hunger has grown once again, reaching 42.5 million people.

The report – jointly released by the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization – calls on countries to develop urgent actions to address both obesity and malnutrition in the region.

According to the report, the most significant increase in adult obesity in the region was observed in the Caribbean, where the percentage quadrupled, rising from 6 per cent in 1975 to 25 percent – in other words, from 760,000 people to 6.6 million people. At the same time, every year 600,000 people die in Latin America and the Caribbean due to diseases related to poor diets, such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

Today is World Pneumonia Day and UNICEF reported that this disease claimed the lives of more than 800,000 children under the age of five last year, or one child every 39 seconds.

According to the agency’s new analysis, most deaths occurred among children under the age of two, and almost 153,000 within the first month of life.

Sounding the alarm about this forgotten epidemic, six leading health and children’s organisations are today launching an appeal for global action.

In January, the group will host world leaders at the Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia in Spain.

More children under the age of five died from the disease in 2018 than from any other.

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) announced today the launch of a new digital financial services projects with postal operators in eight countries through its Financial Inclusion Technical Assistance Facility (FITAF).

According to the organization, the Post’s vast physical network has already made it an engine for financial inclusion, but there is potential to reach many more people digitally, who currently have no access to financial networks.

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