Secretary-General's Travel, Deputy Secretary-General/Trip Announcement other topics - Daily Press Briefing

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14-Jul-2023 00:23:43
Noon Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

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**Guests Today

All right, good afternoon.

In a short while, we will hear from our guests from the UN-Habitat [United Nations Human Settlements Programme].

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, will be joined by Ambassador [Krzysztof Maria] Szczerski, the Permanent Representative of Poland and Co-Chair of the Group of Friends of UN-Habitat.

They will be here to talk to you about the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 11, which deals with Sustainable Cities and Communities.

**Secretary-General’s Travel

Today, the Secretary-General took part in the second UN-EU High-Level Dialogue, which wrapped up a few hours ago. They started the day with a session focused on climate, followed by discussions on peace and security, the digital transition, as well as ways to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and reforms of international financial institutions.

And last night, just before the start of the high-level dialogue, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Secretary-General spoke to the press.

Mr. Guterres said the meeting was taking place at a time when international cooperation is challenged at its core. We live in an ever more multipolar world, he added, and the European Union must be an essential pillar of this new global order.

He called for a transformation of the global financial system to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals, adding that he sees the European Union as a potential engine for that transformation, based on equity and solidarity.

His full remarks were shared with you.

You can expect the Secretary-General in the office in New York at work on Monday.

**Deputy Secretary-General — Trip Announcement

Meanwhile, our Deputy Secretary-General, who’s in Brussels with the Secretary-General, will arrive in N’Djamena, Chad, on Monday. She will be leading a high-level inter-agency delegation, including Cindy McCain, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, and other senior UN officials.

The main objective of the visit is to underscore the UN solidarity with the Government and people of Chad in light of the massive influx of Sudanese refugees in the eastern region of the country over the last few months. Another key objective is to support the national efforts towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals throughout Chad.

The delegation will visit the eastern part of the country to interact with local authorities and representatives of refugee as well as host communities. In N’Djamena, the delegation will meet with transitional authorities and international community partners.

On her way to Chad, the Deputy Secretary-General will also be making a brief stopover in the Republic of Kenya, where she will meet with senior Government Officials and African Union representatives, as well as UN Officials on the sidelines of the Fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union. Amina Mohammed will engage in conversations on how to best advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at this important mid-way point with a focus on climate and financing. The Deputy Secretary-General will be back in New York later this week, on 20 July to be exact.

**Security Council

Back here, this morning, the Security Council heard from Pramila Patten, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence and Conflict.

In briefing Council members, she said that rising militarization and arms proliferation are bringing conflicts across the globe to a boiling point, creating the conditions for unimaginable and unrelenting cruelty. Gang rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence are being used as a tactic of war, torture, and terrorism, to subjugate and displace entire populations.

Ms. Patten said that until we effectively raise the cost and consequences for committing, commanding or condoning sexual violence, we will never stem the tide of such violations, and underscored the need to harness the preventive power of the rule of law.

She said that we must focus political resolve and resources in a global context of unremitting violence in order to ensure that Council resolutions are implemented, she said. Her remarks were shared with you.

**Democratic Republic of the Congo

And on a related note, the 24 entities comprising the UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict Network — that is led by Ms. Patten — today issued an urgent call for immediate action to protect women and girls and prevent the use of sexual violence in and around internally displaced persons in camps in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Press release is on the internet.

**Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

And you will have seen yesterday Khaled Khiari, the Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, briefed Council members yesterday afternoon on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He said that unannounced launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles — including the latest ones on Wednesday — represent a serious risk to international civil aviation and maritime traffic, adding that the status quo is alarming.


You, a number of you, not all of you, have been asking me about the letter that was received from the Permanent Mission granting the UN permission to use the Bab al-Hawa border crossing to deliver assistance across the border with Türkiye to north-west of the country.

I’ll just confirm to you that we did indeed receive the letter. We are continuing to look at it and we are consulting with a number of partners on this.

That being said, we are committed to delivering life-saving assistance to millions of people in need in north-west Syria, guided by humanitarian principles and using all available means and delivery modalities.


Turning to Sudan, we and our partners continue to deliver critical humanitarian assistance, including health supplies and seeds for planting despite the ongoing insecurity and bureaucratic impediments in Sudan.

This week, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs facilitated the movement of 26 trucks to various locations in Sudan. Ten of those trucks made deliveries to North and South Kordofan, with the rest reaching places in eastern Sudan.

And just to note that tomorrow marks three months since the start of this current round of hostilities in Sudan, in which hundreds of people were killed and thousands more injured. We continue to call on all parties to stop the fighting and address all issues through dialogue.

Our colleagues in [the] Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Office are warning that health care continues to be limited by the ongoing fighting, as well as shortages of supplies, damage or occupation of facilities and assaults on medical staff.

Over the last three months, the World Health Organization has verified some 50 attacks on health-care facilities.

The lack of access to health care in many parts of Sudan is also compounding the growing risk of disease outbreaks. These dangers are particularly acute with the onset of the rainy season.

**Democratic Republic of the Congo

And in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, our peacekeeping colleagues tell us that the Special Representative, Bintou Keita, is on a visit to the eastern part of the country. She met with the Governor of North Kivu in Goma with a view towards strengthening partnerships to improve peace and security in the province, also met yesterday with women’s groups in Sake, North Kivu, to discuss the continued support of the peacekeeping Mission, including in relation to the protection of civilians. She also visited a youth centre supported by the Mission where she heard from youth, many of whom are survivors of conflict and sexual violence, and who are receiving training in entrepreneurship. Today, she travelled to the town of Munigi to meet with women and community representatives at camp for internally displaced persons to enter into dialogue with them.

**Mediterranean Sea — Children

A couple of depressing reports, the first one from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which said today that the number of children who have lost their lives while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe has doubled in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. UNICEF says this year, 289 children have died at sea. This is equivalent to about 11 children dying each week — far beyond what we hear in the news headlines.

UNICEF says that this is nearly double the number of children dying at sea compared to last year — which is about 150. In the first six months of this year, the UNICEF says that 11,600 children made the crossing — again, nearly twice as many as in the same period last year

The agency says these figures from the first six months of this year are likely to be underestimated.

Many shipwrecks in the central Mediterranean Sea crossing leave no survivors or go unrecorded, making the true number of child casualties practically impossible to verify.


And we often talk about what happens when our humanitarian appeals are not fully funded, and today the World Food Programme sounded the alarm by saying that an unprecedented funding crisis is forcing it to significantly scale back its monthly food assistance for the 465,000 refugees it supports in Jordan; those are mostly Syrian.

WFP said that starting in August it will gradually prioritize the poorest families, excluding about 50,000 individuals from assistance, in order to stretch the money that WFP has available.

WFP faces a critical funding shortfall of $41 million until the end of this year. Without the necessary funds, WFP will be compelled to reduce its response further.

And just a reminder that last month WFP was forced to cut assistance to 2.5 million of the 5.5 million people in Syria it supports, and that’s also due to funding crisis.

** United Nations Development Programme Report

And our friends at the UN Development Programme today launched their policy brief “The Human Cost of Inaction: Poverty, Social Protection and Debt Servicing, 2020–2023”.

The policy brief examines the current debt crisis in developing countries by looking at debt servicing, social protection, and poverty. It presents new poverty estimates with a staggering 165 million additional people falling into poverty between 2020 and 2023 as a result of the cumulative crisis.

The report proposes a “debt-poverty pause” for developing economies to mitigate shocks and redirect debt service to replenish their fiscal space and support social spending.


Yesterday I was asked about Guatemala and I shared that language with most of you, but just to read into the record that the Secretary-General is closely following developments in Guatemala’s elections. He welcomes the certification of the results of the first round; however, he notes with concern reports of attempts to impact the second round of elections and the growing tension this is causing, despite their certification. He urges all the actors to continue their work with responsibility and impartiality in the lead up to the presidential runoff and underscores the right to freely vote and be elected in democratic a process.

**World Youth Skills Day

Tomorrow is which day? Besides the calendar day — it is World Youth Skills Day. In his message, the Secretary-General made calls to ensure that teachers gain the education and professional development opportunities they need as they help young people make the transition from school to the workplace. He recently launched the High-Level Panel on Teaching Profession to provide recommendations on how to achieve this.
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