Secretary-General Travels, Security Council, Syria & other topics - Daily Press Briefing
Noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
The UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, today said that tackling the climate emergency can contribute to the protection of millions of conflict-affected children. In a message issued this morning on the five millionth death worldwide due to COVID-19, the Secretary-General stressed that this is not just a number on a page, but represents lives cut short by a merciless virus that respects no borders. The Secretary-General called it a global shame that, while wealthy countries are rolling-out third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, only about five per cent of people in Africa are fully vaccinated. The UN team in Peru today said that more than 230,000 doses arrived in the country yesterday. This brings the total number of doses Peru has received from COVAX to more than 4.1 million. On Ethiopia, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today said that the situation in the northern part of the country is rapidly deteriorating. This is having a severe impact on civilians. And over the weekend, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called for the adoption of the necessary adjustments, including those put forward by the High National Commission for Elections (HNEC), to enable the holding of free, fair, inclusive, and credible parliamentary and presidential elections on 24 December. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today said that aid delivery and needs assessments continue in Afghanistan. Last week, more than 90,000 people received food assistance across the east of Afghanistan. On Myanmar, the UN team there remains deeply concerned over the recent escalation in fighting in the northwest between the Myanmar Military and the local Popular Defense Forces in Chin State, as well as Magway and Sagaing regions. This has led to more people being displaced and property being destroyed, nine months after the military seized control over the Government of Myanmar on February 1st. On Friday afternoon, the Secretary-General updated staff here at UN Headquarters on our working arrangements. Starting on November 15th, staff members will no longer telework for up to four days a week, but managers have been encouraged to afford flexibility in line with the lessons learned over the past 20 months regarding adaptability and flexibility in our working methods. This afternoon at 3 p.m., there will be a hybrid press briefing by Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez, President of the Security Council for the month of November and Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations. He will brief on the Council’s programme of work for the month. Sri Lanka has now paid its regular budget dues. That takes us to 135 fully paid-up Member States. ---------------------------- The Secretary-General will depart New York today to travel to Rome, Italy, to take part in the G20 Summit. At the G20 Summit, the Secretary-General will participate in sessions on the global economy and global health; climate change; and sustainable development. On Sunday, 31 October, the Secretary-General will depart Italy for the United Kingdom to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in Glasgow. The Secretary-General will then go to Cambridge, where he will receive an honorary degree on Wednesday. Speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General to the High-level Debate on cooperation between the UN and the African Union today in the Security Council, Amina Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General, said that today’s discussions are taking place in the context of worrying trends across the continent. The Security Council discussed Syria yesterday afternoon, and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, warned the Security Council members that daily life in Syria is becoming less and less affordable. Over ninety percent of the population now lives below the poverty line, he said. The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, UNAMI, strongly condemned the attacks in Diyala on Tuesday night, which caused many deaths and injuries. The UN is extremely concerned about the continued escalation of hostilities and violence in the northern part of the country, including airstrikes in Tigray today. François Louncény Fall and Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives for Central Africa, and for West Africa and the Sahel are in Nigeria today to meet with government and military officials, as well as humanitarian and development partners. Humanitarians say that aid services continue to be carried out across the country by both male and female aid workers. The ACT-Accelerator has launched its new strategy for the next 12 months and is calling for US$23.4 billion to help the most at-risk countries secure and deploy COVID-19 tools. The UN team in Kyrgyzstan, led by Resident Coordinator Ozonnia Ojielo, says that yesterday, the country received 260,000 doses of vaccines donated by the Government of the United States through COVAX, in addition to another COVAX batch of over 110,000 doses. A report released today by the UN Children’s Fund shows that at least 200 million schoolchildren living in 31 low- and middle-income countries remain unprepared to deploy remote learning in future emergency school closures. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization today released a report showing that forests in UNESCO World Heritage sites play a vital role in mitigating climate change by absorbing 190 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year. Today, the World Health Organization is kicking off the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, with the ambitious target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. The guests at the noon briefing today were Achim Steiner, the Administrator for the UN Development Programme and Cassie Flynn, UNDP Strategic Advisor on Climate Change and Head of UNDP’s Climate Promise programme. They briefed reporters on the launch of UNDP's NDC Outlook report which, among other things, finds that Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries continue to lead the way on greater ambition on climate action with their pledges, or 'nationally determined contributions', under the Paris Agreement. Tomorrow at 11:30 a.m., the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, will brief reporters in the press briefing room. Then at 12:30 p.m., the President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan of Fiji, will do a press conference.