Daily Press Briefing (03 February 2012)
By the Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General.
Elements of the Noon Briefing:
The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, is wrapping up today her visit to South Sudan.
Yesterday she travelled to Jonglei State and meet with state officials in Bor, the state capital. She discussed the measures needed to protect civilians and prevent future violence through sustained community reconciliation.
She also travelled to Walgak and Pibor where aid agencies have identified almost 3,000 people in need of help. She said: "The problems are enormous. They can only be solved if we all work together."
She said that continued insecurity, restrictions on movements, and lack of operational partners continue to slow the humanitarian response.
Just to let you know that Ms. Amos will be my guest next week to brief you on this visit.
Ms Amosh as just issued a statement on Somalia.
She says that she welcomes the news that famine conditions are no longer present in Somalia, according to analysis today released by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and Famine Early Warning System.
But she says she is very concerned that the situation remains critical for at least 2.34 million people in Somalia. In southern parts of the country, 1.7 million people need food, clean water, shelter and other assistance just to survive – mortality rates remain among the highest in the world.
While sustained humanitarian efforts and a good harvest have helped to mitigate the crisis, we must not forget that the progress made is fragile. Without continued and generous support from the international community, these gains could be reversed. Continued conflict and lack of access to people in need remain major operational challenges.
Ms Amos says that need to focus on building up people's ability to cope better with future droughts and food crises. We have to keep our attention firmly focused on Somalia and ensure that we do not fail the most vulnerable.
The head of the Food and Agriculture Organization, José Graziano da Silva, said that hunger remains a threat in the Horn of Africa unless long-term measures are taken to restore food security.
And the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says that improved farming prospects have prompted several thousand Somali refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya to return home temporarily.
The agency reports that some 7,000 refugees in January, mainly returning to the previously famine-affected regions.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, is alarmed by recent reports that internally displaced people have been tortured and killed in the camps for the internally displaced, in North Kivu province, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The agency says that since the last quarter of 2011, armed groups have been intruding on the camps, violating their civilian character.
The refugee agency calls on all parties to respect the civilian character of these sites. It is also appealing to the provincial authorities to increase security in and around the camps.
A mission from the Department of Political Affairs, headed by Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, will visit the Maldives beginning on 9 February.
Mr. Fernandez-Taranco will meet with Government officials, opposition leaders and representatives of civil society to discuss the current situation and identify opportunities to support the country's process of democratic transition.
At 12:30 today, the President of the Republic of Palau, Johnson Toribiong, will hold a press conference. The topic is "Rethinking Climate Change: Towards an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice". Ambassador Stuart Beck of Palau will also participate. The press conference will be moderated by Kiyotaka Akasaka, the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.
At 12 p.m., at the North Lawn Building 2nd floor stakeout, Marty Natalegawa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, will meet with press on the hand-over ceremony for the deposit of Indonesia's instrument of ratification to the CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty).
And we have copies of the Week Ahead available, and that as you know lists all other press conferences and events happening next week.