Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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22-Nov-2019 00:19:47
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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On Monday, 25 November, the Secretary-General will be arriving in Berlin, Germany, to take part in the 14th UN Internet Governance Forum, hosted this year by the Government of Germany, and held under the theme ‘One World. One Net. One Vision’.

On Tuesday, the Secretary-General will join Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, at the Forum’s opening ceremony. In his remarks, the Secretary-General is expected to emphasize the importance of the Internet Governance Forum, which gathers thousands of members of governments, civil society and technology specialists dedicated to finding better ways to ensure a free, secure and open Internet. He will also advocate for universal and affordable access across the Internet by 2030; A world in which greater access to technology does not lead to an increase in political and social divisions or undermines human rights.

The Secretary-General will also have bilateral meetings with the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as other senior German officials. He is also scheduled to visit a school founded in 2015 to provide technology education to refugees.

Also while in Berlin on Monday night, as has been reported, the Secretary-General is scheduled to host an informal dinner with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

Earlier this morning, the Secretary-General met with Michael Haddad, a Lebanese endurance athlete and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador. Mr. Haddad’s work focuses on advancing and accelerating climate action across the Arab region and around the world.

Mr. Haddad, who is paralyzed from the chest down, is planning to walk 100 kilometres across the North Pole to highlight the need for urgent action on climate change.

During their meeting, the Secretary-General gave Mr. Haddad a UN flag to take on his journey.

With the window of opportunity to respond to the climate emergency is closing rapidly, the Secretary-General said afterwards that we need urgent and transformational change to combat this existential threat.

He added that Mr. Haddad’s extraordinary resolve and determination should be an inspiration to us all, voicing hope that his journey will encourage ambitious climate action around the world.

At 3 p.m. this afternoon the Secretary-General will speak at the start of the Peacebuilding Commission on the 2020 Review. The Secretary-General is expected to say that the human and financial cost of focusing primarily on crisis response is unsustainable.

He will stress the importance of reorienting the UN’s work around prevention, on rebalancing our approach to peace and security, and on connecting our work across peace, sustainable development and human rights pillars.

The Security Council met on Yemen, with the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, telling Council members that the momentum to reach a political settlement has been building.

He noted that we are now beginning to see the kind of leadership that creates peace, pointing to the example of the Riyadh Agreement signed on 5 November between the Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council. To reach that agreement, leaders from opposing parties sat down together and agreed to work for a greater cause.

He said that, in the last two weeks, there reportedly have been 80 per cent fewer airstrikes in the past two weeks than in the same time frame before that, with entire 48-hour periods without airstrikes for the first time since the start of the conflict.

On the Stockholm Agreement, Mr. Griffiths who was speaking via videoconference said that he sees continued positive signs in Hudaydah, with fuel ships having entered the port and a crisis having been averted.

Also addressing the Council was Ursula Mueller, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, who said that, every month in Yemen, some 250 humanitarian partners work with the UN to assist more than 13 million people.

She said the humanitarian operation in Yemen is the world’s largest and is being carried out in an extremely challenging environment.

This afternoon, at 3 p.m., Geir Pedersen the Special Envoy for Syria will brief the Council for an open meeting and will brief journalists afterwards.

The UN Refugee Agency estimates that some 3.8 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees, as well as internally displaced people and refugees of other nationalities, need additional assistance this winter. For many of the Syrians, this is the ninth consecutive winter they will have spent in displacement. Preparations for assistance began in September and support will continue until March of next year.

The World Food Programme (WFP) today said it will need $196 million next year to assist the growing number of people leaving Venezuela, as well as Colombian returnees.

WFP said the scale of the challenges in Colombia and Ecuador is such that the governments need the support of the international community to assist with the influx of migrants and their needs.

UN staff in the region report that six out of ten migrants do not know where their next meal will come from, and with the number of people on the move continuing to increase, additional support is needed.

The UN Migration Agency reported today that 95,600 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 20 November, roughly an 8 per cent decrease from the 104,535 arriving during the same period last year.

Arrivals this year to Greece and Spain are at 53,163 and 22,544, respectively, accounting for about 79 per cent of the regional total, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers to Italy, Malta and Cyprus.

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 20 November stand at 1,091 individuals—about 51 per cent of the deaths confirmed last year.

A new study by WHO, says the majority of adolescents worldwide are not sufficiently physically active, putting their current and future health at risk.

According to WHO, more than 80 per cent of school-going adolescents globally did not meet current recommendations of at least one hour of physical activity per day – including 85 per cent of girls and 78 per cent of boys.

The study – which is based on data by 1.6 million 11 to 17-year-old students – finds that across 146 countries studied between 2001-2016 girls were less active than boys in all but four. Those four are Tonga, Samoa, Afghanistan and Zambia.

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