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Common Agenda & other topics - Daily Press Briefing…

Common Agenda & other topics - Daily Press Briefing
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Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

**Common Agenda

This morning, the Secretary-General, António Guterres, briefed Member States on three of his policy briefs under Our Common Agenda. The three briefs deal with the topics of reform of the international financial architecture, moving beyond Gross Domestic Product and the Global Digital Compact.

The Secretary-General said the three briefs provide ideas on how we can revitalize the multilateral system; accelerate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and keep global temperature rise to the 1.5-degree limit of the Paris Agreement.

He stressed that the briefs are meant to serve as inspiration for deliberations and decisions which are in the hands of Member States, as they prepare for the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in September and the Summit of the Future next year.

“What matters is that we take action to tackle new and emerging challenges in a way that delivers for all, restoring trust in international cooperation and each other,” Mr. Guterres added.

We expect all the briefs — that’s 11 in total — to be issued by the end of July.

**Security Council

This morning, the Security Council heard from Abdou Abarry, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head the UN Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).

He started on a positive note, saying the region has more opportunities and resources than challenges, noting that the preference shown by most States in the subregion is for dialogue to resolve tensions peacefully — quoting the dialogue between the Central African Republic and Chad, as well as the mobilization of States from the region to resolve the crisis in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

But, Mr. Abarry added, the impact of the Sudanese crisis on Chad and the Central African Republic remind us of the urgent need to adopt a holistic approach to peace and security in the Central Africa subregion.

He paid tribute to the solidarity and generosity shown by the two countries, which have already taken thousands of Sudanese refugees, adding that without a rapid and peaceful resolution to the conflict in Sudan, the impacts will be disastrous for Sudan, but also for all the countries in the Lake Chad Basin region.

His remarks were shared with you.


And just an update from Sudan itself:  Despite the ongoing violence, we are moving humanitarian relief for people in need around the country.

Some 68 humanitarian partners are providing aid and protection across all of Sudan’s 18 states.  This includes UN organizations, Sudanese and international NGOs (non-governmental organizations), as well as the Red Crescent Society.

Since the start of this current phase of the conflict, UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) has delivered more than 2,500 tons of health, nutrition, water and sanitation supplies, including in areas where the fighting continues.  This assistance will benefit at least 1.6 million children.  More than 600 tons of life-saving nutrition aid have reached now 11 states — that’s enough for UNICEF and partners to treat more than 45,000 children suffering from severe wasting in the coming months.

And also, since the start of this current phase of the conflict, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has set up nearly 1,000 tents in White Nile, Kassala, Gedaref and North Darfur states to help people on the move.

We are also supporting the response in neighbouring countries hosting people fleeing the violence in Sudan.  Over the weekend, the WHO (World Health Organization) delivered 10 tons of essential medicines and health supplies to Egypt.  That’s enough to treat 50,000 new arrivals suffering from non-communicable diseases and severe acute malnutrition.

**Central African Republic

Moving south-west to the Central African Republic, the Humanitarian Coordinator there, Mohamed Ag Agoya, said today the humanitarian situation remains critical with 3.4 million — or 56 per cent of the population — in need of humanitarian assistance.

Mr. Ag Ayoya said that the conflict in Sudan has resulted so far in the arrival of almost 14,000 men, women and children who are seeking asylum as they flee the violence; they are mostly arriving in the north-east of the country — included in that are Central African returnees. The conflict has also halted commercial traffic across the border, putting additional pressure on the limited resources available to the 130,000 extremely vulnerable people who are in the region.

Overall, displacement in the Central African Republic continues.  One in five Central Africans is either internally displaced or a refugee in a neighbouring country.

Last year, the humanitarian community provided assistance to 1.9 million people.  In the first three months of this year, we have provided assistance to 658,000 people with life-saving assistance.

This year, we need $533 million to assist a total of 2.4 million people.  We will also continue to support people arriving from Sudan and, of course, the host communities that have opened up their arms and homes to them.  The humanitarian appeal for the Central African Republic is sadly only 25 per cent funded.


And just turning to Haiti, in light of the devastating floods and landslides that we’ve seen over the weekend, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is supporting the Haitian Civil Protection General Directorate to assess needs and coordinate the emergency response.

Authorities say that at least 42 people were killed, more than 37,000 people impacted, including some 19,000 people displaced.

Alongside Haitian institutions, we and our humanitarian partners are gearing up to deliver assistance, including shelter and food supplies, drinking water, and hygiene kits and other types of facilities.

Seven of Haiti’s 10 departments were impacted.  The impact was worst in the West, including the capital Port-au-Prince, and in the south-west.

The extent of the damage is still being assessed, but the situation is extremely worrying, given the hurricane season is only just beginning.

As a reminder, even before the landslides and flooding, half the population of Haiti was in need of humanitarian assistance.  We urge donors to scale up the support for the country’s Humanitarian Response Plan, which is sadly only 20 per cent funded, and it is an appeal for $720 million.

**Democratic Republic of Congo

Sorry, doing all the zigzagging here, heading back across to Africa, quick update from Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the head of our Peace Operations.  Today, he is in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he is discussing with senior government officials the reconfiguration of the peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, in view of a responsible transition.

Over the weekend, Mr. Lacroix was in the Ituri province, where he met with provincial authorities, including the military governor. He visited the site for internally displaced people in Drodro — 60 kilometres north of the provincial capital, Bunia — where peacekeepers provide physical protection to about 100,000 men, women and children through four temporary operating bases and one permanent combat deployment.

While there, Mr. Lacroix heard the testimonies of displaced children who were forced out of schools due to insecurity and women who are bearing, as is sadly the case, the brunt of conflict.


Also travelling is the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Joyce Msuya, who today kicked off a five-day visit to Japan to explore how to enhance cooperation on humanitarian action.  Ms. Msuya took part in a first-ever Strategic Dialogue with Japan’s Foreign Ministry to discuss mounting humanitarian crises and innovative approaches to address them.  While in Tokyo, she will meet with other senior Japanese government officials, as well as with representatives of the Japan International Cooperation Agency and aid organizations.


And over the weekend, you will have seen we issued a statement expressing the Secretary-General’s sadness at the loss of life and injury following the train accident in Odisha, India. The Secretary-General extends his deep condolences to the families of the victims, as well as the people and Government ofIndia.  He wishes a full and swift recovery to all those who were injured.

**Trinidad and Tobago

Our colleagues in the office of Development Coordination tell us that Ms. Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki of Poland is taking up her new post today as UN Resident Coordinator in Trinidad and Tobago.  She will also coordinate UN development operations in Aruba, Curaçao, Suriname, and Saint Maarten.  She brings more than 20 years of experience in international development. Her full biography is online.

**International Days

Today is World Environment Day.  In his message, the Secretary-General said that this day is a call to beat plastic pollution.  He called on Governments, companies and consumers alike to break our addiction to plastics, champion zero waste and build a truly circular economy.

Today is also the International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.  These activities are responsible for the loss of 11—26 million tons of fish each year, a vital source of nutrition in a world of growing population and persistent hunger.

**United Nations General Assembly

An important reminder to all of you and your media organizations is that accreditation for the GA high-level meeting is open.  Remember to accredit not so much yourselves but all of your colleagues.  The deadline is 1 September; the GA does happen every September, so that should not be a surprise.  September will see the SDGs summit, the [19th] of September is the official opening of the high-level debate.

**Financial Contribution

Super short quiz for you today from our friend Jane Gaffney; the island of Viti Levu is home to this island nation’s capital city.

And if you can’t figure that out, this country also is the location where — I think is Farhan Haq’s favourite movie — The Blue Lagoon was filmed with Brooke Shields.

Fiji, exactly, and who co-starred alongside Brooke Shields? [response from the crowd]  Christopher Atkins.  Excellent.