Virtual Noon Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

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18-May-2020 00:29:41
Briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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The World Health Assembly, bringing together delegations from all the World Health Organization (WHO) Member States, opened a two-day virtual session today.

The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, gave a virtual address to the commencement ceremony yesterday for the Fletcher School at Tufts University in Massachusetts. She said that the graduation is virtual because our lives have become virtual - we are living them online.

Tomorrow morning at 10am, the) annual Operational Activities Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will start. For the first time, it will meet virtually.

Geir Pedersen, the Special Envoy for Syria, briefed members of the Security Council this morning on the situation in that country.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomed the agreement reached between President Ashraf Ghani and Dr Abdullah Abdullah, to resolve the political impasse and enable the leaders to address the grave challenges facing the country.

Over the weekend, the Secretary-General welcomed the arrest, in Paris, of Félicien Kabuga. He had been sought since 2013 by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Rwanda in 1994.

In a statement on the upcoming elections in Burundi, the African Union Commission and the UN expressed their concern about reports of intimidation and violent clashes between supporters of opposing sides.

In the Central African Republic, the UN Peacekeeping Mission there tell us that they have launched two major operations in the country’s central region.

From Kazakhstan, where there are 6,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the UN team, led by the Resident Coordinator, Norimasa Shimomura, has been supporting the Government’s emergency health, risk communications and the socioeconomic response.

In Somalia, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that the COVID-19 is affecting lives and livelihoods amid other complex humanitarian crises.

In a message marking the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, the Secretary-General said that the increased vulnerability of LBGTI people is one of the many severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today marks International Museum Day. According to our friends at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM), nearly 90% of them, or more than 85,000 institutions, have closed their doors for varying lengths of time during the crisis.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is seeking $350 million to scale up hunger-fighting and livelihood-boosting activities where COVID-19's impact on the food crisis could be devastating.

We have been saddened to learn that longtime UN correspondent Donald Paneth passed way last month. We will all remember him for his amazing memory of events that unfolded at the United Nations over the last 75 years. Donald was a passionate defender of the potential of the United Nations. Donald Paneth was 93.

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Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General
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