Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mali & other topics - Daily Press Briefing
You will all have seen the statements of condemnation at the terrorist attack that took place at the airport in Kabul yesterday – not only from the Secretary-General yesterday afternoon but from many other voices throughout the UN system. For its part, the UN Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, not only condemned the attack but said that the UN is committed to stay and deliver.
On Monday, our guest will be Herve De Lys, who you will know as the UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan. He will join us live from Kabul to talk about the situation on the ground and UNICEF’s activities in the country.
The World Health Organization, pointed out that while tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans are being evacuated through the air operations at Kabul airport, millions of vulnerable Afghans will remain behind - and we have a collective responsibility to continue to assist them.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization warned that food insecurity in Afghanistan and threats to rural livelihoods were already a concern prior to the current upheaval, as a consequence of drought, the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors.
The UN Development Programme said that they continue to provide development assistance to people in Afghanistan - irrespective of their gender, religion, ethnic background, professional affiliation or political beliefs. UNDP is running a fully decentralized programme operation at this time and continues to be active in all regions, to support essential services, small infrastructure and livelihoods for the most vulnerable.
Yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General spoke about the situation in the country in the Security Council. He warned that a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding before our eyes, with more than two million people displaced from their homes, and millions more in immediate need of life-saving humanitarian assistance.
A few minutes ago, the Local transition monitoring committee, which as you all know includes ECOWAS – that’s the Economic Commission for West African States – the African Union, our Peacekeeping Mission in the country, and members of the international community, welcomed the decision by the Malian Government to lift all restrictions linked to the former transition President, Bah N’Daw and his Prime Minister, Moctar Ouane, who you may remember is a former Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations here in New York.
We along with our partners on the ground are gravely concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Grand Sud. A devastating combination of a severe drought – the worst in 40 years – sandstorms and pest infestations have led to crop losses of up to 60 per cent. People have resorted to eating locusts, raw red cactus fruits or wild leaves. More than 1.14 million people are severely food insecure in that area of Madagascar.
Sunday is the International Day Against Nuclear Tests.
The Secretary-General has appointed Alexander Ivanko of the Russian Federation as his new Special Representative for Western Sahara and to be Head of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, otherwise known by its acronym MINURSO.