Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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26-Nov-2019 00:21:51
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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Today, in Berlin, in Germany, the Secretary-General called on Member States, companies, technology experts and civil society to join forces and explore the possibility of a Global Commitment on Digital Trust and Security.

Speaking alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel at the opening of the Internet Governance Forum, the Secretary-General also announced that he will soon appoint a Technology Envoy to help advance international frameworks and nurture a shared digital future that puts people first and helps bridge the social divide.

Immediately after the event, the Secretary-General had a bilateral meeting with Angela Merkel. In his remarks to the press, he said that digital technology is shaping history, and reiterates that we have a collective responsibility to maximize its benefits, while managing risks and avoiding unintended consequences. He also said that we need smart regulatory frameworks and that he was pleased that Europe is leading the way.

Turning to the climate crisis, the Secretary-General mentioned the two reports published this week that bring more evidence that we are currently not winning the race for our lives against the climate crisis.

Throughout the day, the Secretary-General met with several other Government officials, including the President, Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

As you saw last night, the Secretary-General hosted an informal dinner with the leader of the Greek Cypriot Community and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community. That statement was issued yesterday.

Ahead of the start of the next UN climate change conference in Madrid, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warns that global emissions must be slashed by 7.6 per cent every year for the next decade to meet the Paris Agreement target of a 1.5°C temperature rise.

With the current unconditional commitments made under the Paris Agreement, this year’s annual Emissions Gap Report cautions that global temperatures are expected to rise by 3.2°C.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has cautioned that going beyond 1.5°C will increase the frequency and intensity of climate impacts.

The Secretary-General stressed that there has never been a more important time to listen to the science, adding that failing to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms and pollution.

In a Tweet, he underscored that we need more ambitious climate action from every country, city, business and individual to protect our future.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Leila Zerrougui, will brief the Security Council via VTC in closed consultations regarding the situation in Beni in the country’s east.

Also on the DRC, earlier today, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that, although recent violence in Beni was not directed against the Ebola-response teams, WHO has decided to relocate 49 of its 120 staff from Beni to Goma.

WHO had previously been possible to trace more than 90 per cent of that contacts but now that figure stands only at 17 per cent.

Seven new cases have been reported in the previous week. Overall, as of 24 November, there had been 3,303 cases, of which 2,199 had resulted in the death of the patient, 1,077 had survived while the others were still receiving treatment.

The Head of the UN Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA), Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Abhijit Guha, is deeply concerned by the escalation of violence witnessed in the last few days in Yemen’s Hudaydah governorate and its surroundings. The increase in the number of airstrikes undertaken in the past 72 hours is in stark contrast to the relative calm after the establishment of the observation posts.

The Lt. Gen. is alarmed by the reported loss of lives and the suffering among the Yemeni people caused by such attacks, noting that they jeopardize the safety of members of the Redeployment Coordination Committee, the body responsible for monitoring the ceasefire.

He urges all parties to refrain from any action that may be in contravention to the terms and the spirit of the Stockholm Agreement and avoid further escalation of the situation. He further urges the use of the de-escalation mechanism established with the support of the UN Mission to resolve differences and support ongoing efforts to maintain the ceasefire in Hudaydah.

As part of her continued efforts in the search for political solutions for Iraq's crisis, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, has held separate meetings with the President of Iraq, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Council of Representatives.

She stressed the need to reflect the people's legitimate call for electoral reforms in the legislation that is currently under review by the Council of Representatives.

The Special Representative also recently visited two hospitals in Baghdad, where she met some of the people who had been injured during the protests and she also spoke with some of the healthcare workers.

Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, the Special Adviser and Head of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh (UNITAD), briefed the Security Council this morning.

Mr. Khan told the Council that the Investigative Team has continued to ensure that the experiences and the needs of the survivors of Da’esh crimes, and the families of its victims, are placed at the centre of its work.

He said that, one year following the arrival in Iraq, the Team is now fully operational.

The head of the UN Mission in Mali, Special Representative Mahamat Saleh Annadif, paid tribute this morning to the thirteen French soldiers of Operation Barkhane who were killed in an accident between two helicopters during a fight against jihadists in Mali.

Mr. Annadif said the French operation Barkhane is dedicated tirelessly to keep people in Mali and the Sahel safe from terrorism. He said he bowed to the memory of the fallen soldiers.

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller is starting a three-day visit to Morocco, where she will deliver a keynote address in Rabat at an International Humanitarian Law event on the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions. That event is being co-hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In Morocco, she will also meet with government officials to discuss the multilateral humanitarian system and Morocco’s further contributions to it.

From Dijbouti, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that heavy rains and floods have impacted more than 150,000 people with nine people – including seven children – reportedly having been killed in the city of Djibouti.

In support of the Government-led efforts, the UN and our partners have launched an emergency needs assessment and are deploying emergency health kits, drinking water and mosquito nets. Additional funds are needed to scale up the response.

And in Kenya, more than 160,000 people have been impacted by heavy rainfall since early October, with more than 100 reportedly killed and thousands displaced due to floods and landslides.

The UN offers its condolences to the families of the victims and stands ready to help the Government and people of Kenya.

Following earthquakes that struck, this morning, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, I want just to let you know that two UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) technical support members will be deployed to Albania. The UN stands ready to provide any further assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina if required.

The UN is in contact with local authorities for more information on the situation as well.

Just yesterday, we issued a statement on the situation in Bolivia welcoming the positive developments announced this weekend towards a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis in the country.

In a few minutes, I will be joined by Ninan Varughese, the Director a.i. of the UNAIDS office here in New York.

He will brief you on the new UNAIDS report entitled “Power to the people,” released ahead of World AIDS Day.

Also, ahead of World AIDS Day, UNICEF estimates that some 320 children and adolescents died every day from AIDS-related causes in 2018. That’s according to a global snapshot on children, HIV and AIDS released by UNICEF.

Humanium Metal transforms illicit firearms in regions affected by armed violence into non-lethal commodities for peace and re-invests income into communities affected by gun violence.

This afternoon, the Office for Disarmament Affairs, the Permanent Missions of Sweden and El Salvador to the United Nations as well as the NGO IM Swedish Development Partner will host an inaugural ceremony to welcome the addition of a Humanium Metal display in the UN Permanent Disarmament Exhibition. The display includes a watch, an ingot and a bracelet made from Humanium Metal.
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Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General
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