Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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27-Nov-2019 00:15:46
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The Secretary-General concluded his travels to Germany today with a visit to what remains of the Berlin Wall.

He noted that, 30 years ago, he had watched with deep emotion the fall of the Berlin Wall.

He said that, as he stopped by the Berlin Wall Memorial this week, he was reminded that while the divisions no longer exist within the city of Berlin, physical and virtual walls to separate people continue to be built in too many places.

On Saturday, the Secretary-General will be arriving in Madrid, Spain, to attend the UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP25. He will speak at the opening ceremony on Monday and will call on world leaders to ramp up their ambition to achieve the targets set by the Paris Agreement. He will also urge them to ensure the Paris Agreement rulebook is finalized.

The Secretary-General is expected to meet with young climate activists, and he will also hold bilateral meetings with world leaders. He will be back in New York on Tuesday.

The UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo reported that 19 people were killed in a new attack by suspected ADF elements early this morning in Maliki, North West of the village of Oicha.

The UN’s Force Intervention Brigade sent a quick reaction team on the ground in liaison with the Congolese Armed Forces. The UN Mission has continued to strengthen cooperation with authorities on the ground, including the army. The UN Peacekeeping Mission has also deployed additional peacekeepers to Beni.

The situation in Beni and Butembo remained relatively calm. The UN Mission’s Deputy Special Representative and Acting Force Commander were in Beni today where they met with the Congolese military leadership to discuss further cooperation between the UN peacekeeping forces and the Congolese Army.

Limited and mostly peaceful protests have also taken place in Goma.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that torrential rains since October along the Ubangi river have caused flooding, impacting nearly 430,000 people.

Yesterday alone, heavy rains and landslides in the capital Kinshasa reportedly killed at least 41 people. Assessments across the country are ongoing to assess the scale of the floods and the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance. A response plan is being developed by the Government with the support from the UN and our partners, prioritizing shelter, water and sanitation and non-food items.

The UN offers its condolences to the families of the victims and stands ready to assist further the Government of the DRC.

The World Meteorological Organization today said it is concerned that the outcome of a major radiocommunication conference may have an adverse impact on future Earth observation satellite systems.

The World Radiocommunication Conference, which was attended by more than 160 nations, agreed to protect the microwave bands that support life-saving severe weather early warning systems, but with time-limited provisions, which leaves the future of these systems uncertain.

The risk, WMO said, is that 5G networks could roll-out more quickly than initially anticipated, creating an unregulated increase in interference in the meteorological satellite observation frequency radio spectrum band. Potential effects of this rollout could also be felt across multiple areas including aviation and shipping.

Today, two UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination experts arrived in Tirana to join the European Union Civil Protection team to assist the Government in the coordination of search and rescue, as well as relief efforts.

The death toll in the country has reportedly risen to 25 following yesterday’s earthquake, while some 650 people were injured. Forty-five people have so far been rescued.

Search and rescue operations continuing, supported by international teams from neighbouring countries and the region.

The UN offers its condolences to the families of the victims and we of course stand ready to further assist the Government of Albania.

The Chef de Cabinet, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, read a message on behalf of the Secretary-General at today’s ceremony observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which formally takes place on Friday.

In the message, the Secretary-General says that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains one of the most intractable challenges facing the international community.

Regrettably, he adds, over the past year, there have been no positive developments, and the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate.

He says the intensification of illegal settlements, demolitions of Palestinian homes and the pervasive suffering in Gaza must stop. At the same time, the indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli civilian populations must cease.

The Chef de Cabinet, after reading the Secretary-General’s message, added that the two-State solution, the only viable resolution to this conflict, remains as distant as ever. She joined the Secretary-General in stressing for the need for bold action.

The UN Refugee Agency today welcomed Somalia’s ratification of the Kampala Convention to protect internally displaced people in Africa, calling it a “landmark achievement for the country and the African continent.”

The Kampala Convention is the world’s first and only [regional] legally binding instrument for the protection and assistance of internally displaced people. Somalia is the 30th African Union Member State to ratify the convention since 2009.

This a significant milestone for Somalia, which has the fourth largest population of internally displaced people in the world, estimated at 2.6 million.

In Geneva, the UN Migration Agency today launched its World Migration Report 2020. The report, which comes out every two years, provides the latest data and information on migration as well as analysis of complex and emerging migration issues. Topics covered in the report include human mobility and environmental change, migrants’ contributions in an era of disinformation, children and unsafe migration, as well as migration and health.

The full report is available to you.

The building will be closed due to the Thanksgiving holiday. The office and the building will be open on Friday; however, there won’t be a briefing.
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