Senior Personnel Appointment, Lebanon, Lamp of Peace & other topics - Daily Press Briefing
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Noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Today, the Secretary-General is appointing Courtenay Rattray of Jamaica as his Chef de Cabinet.
He will succeed Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil.

The Secretary-General will travel to Lebanon for a state visit, which starts on Sunday.

Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will receive the Lamp of Peace award. This award, given by the Sacred Convent of Assisi, in Italy, aims to honour those working to promote peace and harmony. Recent honorees include the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel; the King of Jordan, Abdullah II; and the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella.

At the invitation of the government of Costa Rica, the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed will depart tomorrow evening to San José for meetings with senior Government officials on financing for development, climate ambition, COVID-19 recovery and socioeconomic impact and debt. She will return to New York on 21 December 2021.

Tor Wennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said today that he is alarmed by the escalating violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is claiming the lives of Israelis and Palestinians.

Yesterday, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Lynn Hastings, launched the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2022. It seeks $510 million to support 1.6 million of the most vulnerable people in Gaza and the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.

Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that aid distributions continue across Afghanistan with the response on track to reach more than 17 million people by the end of the year.

I have some updates from northern Ethiopia on the humanitarian response to the crisis there, which continues despite numerous challenges. In Tigray, our partners continue to deliver aid, despite cash, fuel and supplies shortages. Also in Tigray, more than 44,000 people have received water and more than 32,000 people received healthcare this week. In Amhara, humanitarian partners are scaling up their response in areas they can access, but face challenges due to insecurity, bureaucratic constraints, interrupted communications, and a lack of funding.

The Head of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bintou Keita, wrapped up a four-day visit to the eastern provinces of Ituri and North-Kivu. During her visit, she met with the military governors, local authorities as well as representatives of displaced communities, civil society and humanitarian organizations to review the state of play in relation to the peacekeeping mission’s mandated activities.

The UN in China, led by Resident Coordinator Siddharth Chatterjee, continues to support the Government’s health and socioeconomic response to the pandemic, with a focus on vulnerable people. In the Philippines, the UN team there, led by Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez, recently supported a national vaccination drive that reached 7.6 million people.

In a statement issued today, the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund, Henrietta Fore, noted that COVID-19 cases are again spiking all over the world, fueled - increasingly, by Omicron - and amid rising uncertainty, many governments are weighing whether to keep schools open.

Tomorrow is International Migrants Day. In a message, the Secretary-General says that on this Day, we recognize the contributions of migrants across the world in the face of many struggles including the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have two fresh payments to the regular budget, this time from Eritrea and Mauritania. Their contributions take us to 142 fully paid-up Member States. Our thanks to both.

On Monday, I will be joined remotely by our guest, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, who will brief on the situation in the country.