United Nations
United Nations 15 Dec 2020

Human Development Report & other topics - Daily Briefing (15 December 2020)


Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


- SG/journalists
- Niger
- Libya
- Occupied Palestinian territory
- Venezuela/UNHCR
- Colombia
- Chile
- Human Development Report

Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


- Ethiopia
- Human Rights Day
- Nobel / WFP
- Yemen
- Venezuela Refugees
- A.S.E.A.N.
- Champions of the Earth
- Financial Contribution
- Guest Today

In Ethiopia, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the full extent of the humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region remains unclear. 
The UN Refugee Agency has received worrying reports of refugees leaving camps in Tigray due to the violence and lack of food and services. 
Food rations for displaced people have run out. The UN and our partners have not, we have not had access to the four camps that were hosting 96,000 Eritrean refugees. The situation will become even more critical if humanitarian workers do not have access to the camps to deliver food rations. 
For his part, the High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, reiterated that regaining access to refugees and other people in need in Tigray is urgent and critical. 
The delivery of essential humanitarian assistance to the region by the UN and its partners depends on a security risk assessment of the roads leading to Tigray and a humanitarian assessment of basic needs. 
With its humanitarian partners, the UN has prepared a three-month humanitarian preparedness plan for $100 million from November of this year to January of next. It targets an additional 1.1 million people likely to be impacted by the current crisis in the Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions. 
And also, we obviously want to reiterate our urgent call on all the parties to the conflict in Tigray to allow unconditional, unfettered and safe humanitarian access to the whole region, where people are now in their fifth week without food aid, water and power. 
People have fled Tigray for Sudan, and the UN Refugee Agency says the number of refugees who have entered Sudan stands at 49,500. 
"Recover better: stand up for human rights" is the theme for this year's Human Rights Day.  
In a pre-recorded video message, the Secretary-General said that the pandemic has reinforced two fundamental truths about human rights. 
First, human rights violations harm us all. 
And second, human rights are universal and protect us all.  
The Secretary-General said that COVID-19 has thrived because poverty, inequality, discrimination, the destruction of our natural environment and other human rights failures have created enormous fragilities in our societies. 
At the same time, the pandemic is undermining human rights, by providing a pretext for heavy-handed security responses and repressive measures that curtail civic space and media freedom. 
He reiterated that an effective response to the pandemic must be based on solidarity and cooperation.   
Mr. Guterres concluded his message with a call to action that spells out the central role of human rights in crisis response, gender equality, public participation, climate justice and sustainable development. 
David Beasley, the World Food Programme's Executive Director, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of his organization.  
In pre-recorded video remarks, he thanked the Nobel committee for acknowledging WFP's work, adding that he believes that food is the pathway to peace. But, Mr. Beasley added, the Nobel Peace Prize is a call to action.  
Because of so many wars, he said, climate change, the widespread use of hunger as a political and military weapon, and a global health pandemic that makes all of that exponentially worse —270 million people are now marching toward starvation.   
Yet, he added, even at the height of the COVID pandemic, in just 90 days, an additional $2.7 trillion dollars worth of wealth was created.  
We only need $5 billion dollars to save 30 million lives from famine, he said. 
In the spirit of Alfred Nobel, as inscribed on this medal - "peace and brotherhood" - let's feed them all, Mr. Beasley concluded. 
Tomorrow, there will be an annual Nobel Forum, at which the Secretary-General will speak by recorded message.
Daily Press Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General.

- Central African Republic Peacekeeping
- Central African Republic
- Ethiopia
- Ukraine/Delivery of Aid
- Mozambique
- Madagascar
- International Day of Epidemic Preparedness
- COVID-19/Thailand
- Climate

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) confirmed that the Security Council has approved on 23 December the Secretary-General's proposal for the temporary redeployment, for a two-month period, of two infantry companies and two military utility helicopters from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to assist the MINUSCA. This is to reinforce the operational capabilities of the Peacekeeping Mission in the CAR during the electoral context.  
On the security front, the peacekeepers are continuing to actively engage in mitigating growing threats from armed groups throughout the country. The Mission is also continuing to provide support to the preparations of the presidential and legislative elections.
The Mission also reported that the deployment of sensitive elections materials to all prefectures was completed yesterday, while voter card distribution continued all over the country. The Mission reported that 85% of voter card distribution centres were open and had high turnout, despite the security challenges.
Yesterday, the Peacekeeping Mission also contributed $500,000 to the fund managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to further help financing the elections. 
The Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Denise Brown, today issued a statement expressing her concerns for the escalation of violence in several parts of the country ahead of the elections on Sunday. 
Ms. Brown condemned the acts of violence that have led to increased insecurity and more than 55,000 people leaving their homes. She calls on armed groups to comply with the International Humanitarian Law and immediately stop all attacks against humanitarian personnel and to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. 

Two inter-agency assessment missions are in Tigray province, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that one of the teams is now in Mekelle waiting to proceed to Adigrat. The other team however had not, by yesterday, proceeded to Shire as planned due to additional permissions requested by the authorities.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Peace is expected to facilitate the clearance as soon as possible. Health, nutrition, food, water, sanitation and hygiene and non-food items are the priority needs. 
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

- Nagorno-Karabakh
- Gulf
- Climate Change/United Kingdom
- Security Council
- COVID-19/Deputy Secretary-General
- Ethiopia/Humanitarian
- Sudan
- Syria
- COVID-19/Bhutan
- Central African Republic
- World Soil Day
- International Volunteer Day

In a statement, the Secretary-General takes note of the 3 December joint statement on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh by the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries. He welcomes the continuing adherence to the ceasefire in accordance with the 9 November joint statement by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, and the President of the Russian Federation, and he calls on all concerned to continue implementing their obligations, notably as they relate to international humanitarian law and human rights law.
The Secretary-General underlines that the United Nations is prepared to respond to the humanitarian needs in all areas affected by the conflict, and to scale up ongoing assistance in Armenia and Azerbaijan, as required. He calls on all relevant actors to cooperate fully with the United Nations entities to ensure their unfettered access.
The Secretary-General urges Armenia and Azerbaijan to resume negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE's Minsk Group Co-Chairs to reach a lasting peaceful settlement. He encourages the Governments and the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan to embark on a path of dialogue and to foster regional peace, stability, and prosperity.

The Secretary-General is encouraged by the statement by the Foreign Minister of Kuwait and other reports that the Gulf rift is close to a resolution. The Secretary-General welcomes the efforts and contributions of Kuwait in building bridges of understanding in the Gulf region and beyond, and he hopes that all countries involved in the dispute will work together to formally resolve their differences. He stresses the importance of Gulf unity for regional peace, security and development.

On climate change, you will recall, in his speech at Columbia University earlier this week, the Secretary-General called on the major emitters to lead the way in taking decisive action now to get on the right path towards achieving net zero by mid-century, which means cutting global emissions by 45 percent by 2030 compared with 2010 levels.
In this light, the Secretary-General welcomes today's historic announcement by the United Kingdom of its new National Determined Contribution with a 2030 target of at least 68 per cent greenhouse gas emissions reductions as compared to 1990 levels.
The Secretary-General looks forward to all leaders submitting more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions before COP 26, in line with achieving global carbon neutrality before 2050.
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


- Secretary-General/Resident Coordinators
- Security Council/Democratic Republic Of The Congo
- Libya
- Yemen
- Central African Republic
- Central Emergency Response Fund
- Afghanistan/Violence Against Women And Girls
- Counter-Terrorism
- International Civil Aviation Day
- Children/COVID-19
- U.N. Population Fund/Humanitarian Appeal

This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at the start of a five-day meeting with the 129 UN Resident Coordinators who are leading the UN's response and recovery efforts on the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.
This is the third global gathering of Resident Coordinators and, of course, the first one to be fully online due to the pandemic.
The Secretary-General said he counts on them to fully mobilize their partners and UN country teams to support Governments in ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 tests, treatments, and - very soon, hopefully - vaccines, which are a global good and must be available to all, everywhere.
Mr. Guterres noted that the pandemic has revealed profound fragilities, with inequalities growing, the climate emergency worsening and hatred spreading.
He said that recovering better from the pandemic and bolstering action for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must be two sides of the same coin.
During the coming days, the Resident Coordinators will discuss how to set the set the stage for a more sustainable recovery, including how to protect jobs and bolster social protection and basic services.

Here, in the Security Council, addressing the Council by videoconference, Leila Zerrougui, the head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, began by highlighting political tensions in the country, which led to yesterday's announcement by President Felix Tshisekedi that the coalition uniting Cap for Change (CACH) and the Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC) had ended.
The DRC cannot afford a serious institutional crisis, Ms. Zerrougui told Council members. It needs stable and functioning institutions that get back to work as quickly as possible and focus on national economic recovery, as well as stabilization in the eastern part of the country, ahead of the general elections scheduled for 2023.
The Special Representative said that the Security Council can play an important role to encourage a negotiated resolution between the two forces that favours lasting solutions, prioritizing the interests of the Congolese people over short-term political objectives that risk further increasing tensions. 

A report released today by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office warns that Afghan women and girls are being failed by the country's justice system, with their access to justice for crimes of violence remaining tenuous. UNAMA found that only half of the reported crimes reached a primary court, with perpetrators convicted in around 40 per cent of all documented cases. Other issues raised in the report include the problematic handling of rape cases and ongoing detention of women for "running away".
Throughout the global campaign for 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December, the United Nations in Afghanistan is calling for an increased effort to prevent and redress violence against women and girls. This is particularly important in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19, with the ongoing monitoring by UNAMA suggesting that violence against women and girls has increased, as difficulties for victims in reporting crimes and accessing safety and justice have also increased.

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