Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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15-Nov-2019 00:22:18
Briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General welcomes the European Investment Bank’s landmark decision to cease funding fossil fuel projects by the end of 2021. The European Investment Bank joins other pioneers who have wisely decided to invest solely in the clean and resilient economy which will allow us to get to carbon neutrality by 2050 and a sustainable future.

The Secretary-General calls on all other investors to choose the right side of history.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, responded to an attack in Gaza today, claimed by Israel, which reportedly killed eight family members, saying that there is no justification to attacking civilians in Gaza or elsewhere.

He said his heartfelt condolences go to the Al-Sawarkeh family, and he wishes a speedy recovery to the injured. He calls on Israel to move swiftly with its investigation.

The Security Council adopted a resolution on the Somalia sanctions regime, renewing for one year the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somali security forces; the authorization for maritime interdiction to enforce the embargo on illicit arms imports and charcoal exports, and humanitarian exemptions to the regime. The resolution also renewed the mandate of the Somalia Panel of Experts until the 15th of December 2020.

The Security Council also extended the mandate of the Peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic for one year. In addition to its current priority tasks, the mission is requested to assist the authorities in the preparation and delivery of presidential, legislative and local elections in 2020 and 2021.

Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock briefed the Security Council yesterday on Syria, reminding Council members that across the country, more than 11 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance, or more than half the estimated population.

So far this year, he said, humanitarian workers have reached an average of 5.6 million people a month in all parts of Syria, prioritising the neediest people. Over half of the response is in areas under Government control, he added.

Mr. Lowcock said he remains very concerned about the situation in the northwest. In recent weeks, he noted, there has been an increase in airstrikes and ground-based strikes, mostly in parts of southern and western Idlib, that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reports has caused a high number of civilian casualties.

The Emergency Relief Coordinator added that there is no alternative to the cross-border operation and that a renewal of the provisions of Security Council resolution 2165 is critical. There is no Plan B, he warned, saying that, without the cross-border operation, we would see an immediate end of aid supporting millions of civilians.

The International Organization for Migration said that since the beginning of the year, they have provided over 1 million health consultations for displaced and conflict-affected Yemenis, as well as migrants.

Health facilities in Yemen have been greatly affected by the conflict, and only half of them are currently operating.

IOM works to ensure that public health facilities can provide a minimum service package to the population by providing human resources, medicines and medical supplies.

The organization supports the restoration and operational needs of 86 health facilities across Yemen. They also operate nine mobile health teams to reach migrants and displaced people who do not have access to traditional health facilities.

Over 210,000 people in Chad have been affected by widespread flooding following heavy rains over the past few months. Most affected areas are in the north and east, including Mayo-Kebbi province, which is also facing a cholera epidemic.

Some 15,000 houses have reportedly been damaged. Loss of life and livestock are also reported.

Initial assessments by the Chadian Red Cross indicate need for food, shelter, and non-food items to the affected population.

The UN and humanitarian partners are planning to scale up the response but have very limited resources.

The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Chad seeks US$477 million to assist 2 million people but is only 49 per cent funded so far.

Tomorrow is the International Day for Tolerance.

In a special message, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, recalls that cultural diversity is part of the fabric of human society.

Tolerance is also a strength and a driver of development and an asset from which we can all benefit, she says, provided that we learn to understand one another, that we are able to see what is universal to all cultures, and that we adopt an attitude of tolerance towards what might at first seem foreign to us.

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