United Nations

United Nations 3 Mar 2020

Roinghya and other topics - Daily Briefing (3 March 2020)


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

- Gabon/Equatorial Guinea
- Covid-19/Csw
- Syria
- Iraq
- Rohingya
- Libya
- Somalia
- Wildlife
- Noon Guest Tomorrow
- Honour Roll

The Secretary-General took part in a ceremony to mark the Special Agreement on the border dispute between the Gabonese Republic and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
The Secretary-General congratulated the two countries for demonstrating the political will, courage and perseverance necessary to put in place domestic measures to make this agreement possible.
The ceremony marked the successful conclusion of a United Nations mediation process, which aimed at facilitating a peaceful solution to the longstanding border dispute between Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The Special Agreement will allow both countries to submit their dispute to the International Court of Justice.
The Secretary-General said he hopes the steps taken by these two countries will be an inspiration for others facing similar challenges. By submitting their dispute to the International Court of Justice, he added, they are now showing the world that it is possible to find peaceful solutions, in accordance with international law.

World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros said today that there are now 90,893 reported cases globally and 3,110 deaths.
Twelve new countries have reported their first cases, with 21 countries having one case only.
Dr. Tedros stressed the actions newly-affected countries take today will be the difference between a handful of cases and a larger cluster.
He said that while containment is not possible for seasonal flu, it is possible for COVID-19, with contact tracing helping to prevent infections and save lives.
He also voiced concern over how countries' abilities to respond are being compromised by the severe and increasing disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment due to rising demand, hoarding and misuse.
He emphasized that this is a question of solidarity and cannot be solved by WHO or one industry alone - it requires all of us working together to ensure all countries can protect the people who protect the rest of us.
On the Commission on the Status of Women: following the Secretary-General's recommendation to Member States to amend the format of the 64th session of the CSW in light of the current concerns regarding COVID-19, the Commission decided that the 64th session will convene at 10:00am on 9 March for a procedural meeting.
The meeting will include opening statements, followed by the adoption of a draft Political Declaration and action on any other draft resolutions. The session will then suspend until further notification. No general debate will take place and all side events planned by Member States and the UN system in conjunction with CSW 64 will be cancelled for next week. The Secretary-General will address, as scheduled, he will address the ceremony.

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

- Yemen
- Libya
- Burundi
- Middle East
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Women and the Global Ceasefire Efforts
- World Health Organization
- Ebola
- Resident Coordinators

Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will be addressing the opening of a high-level virtual pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.  Something that we have been flagging here almost on a daily basis That event is co-hosted by the United Nations and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It will start at 9:00am New York time and you will be able to watch it on the un web tv platform. Twenty-four million people - that's 80 per cent of the population in Yemen - need aid and protection. The humanitarian operation assists more than 10 million people every month. However, without additional funding, life-saving programmes will soon be forced to reduce or even close in what is the world's largest humanitarian crisis. 
A press conference will follow the event at 1:10pm, New York time. Media questions should be submitted in advance and up until two hours before the closing of the event on WhatsApp or by email to our OCHA media colleagues.  
Yacoub El-Hillo, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, said over the weekend that he was shocked by the horrific reports about Wednesday's shooting at a smuggling warehouse in Mezda, killing 30 migrants and injuring 11 others.  
He said that authorities with influence on the ground in the area where this incident took place have the responsibility to ensure that human smugglers and traffickers are not allowed to continue their inhuman and degrading acts.  Such heinous and merciless crimes against helpless individuals should be investigated immediately and those responsible have to be brought to justice. 
The Secretary-General notes that the relative calm that characterized election day continues to prevail in Burundi.
He reiterates his call to all parties to ensure that their words and actions promote peace and harmony among all Burundians. The Secretary-General emphasizes that any electoral dispute should be addressed through established legal and constitutional channels under Burundi law.
The Secretary-General reiterates the support of the United Nations to the people and Government of Burundi.
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


Yesterday, the Secretary-General brought together the Principals of 31 UN system entities in a virtual meeting of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board (CEB). This is the longest-standing and highest-level coordination forum of the UN system.
The Secretary-General gave an overview of the state of the world, reflecting on the future of multilateralism, beyond the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as on the risks brought by the current crisis for human rights, global governance, ethics, and international cooperation.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as part of its support to authorities in the Kasai-Central Province, the UN Mission installed containers in the central prison, located in Kananga.
The containers will be used as quarantine quarters for detainees with suspected cases of the virus. The Peacekeeping Mission has also supported the central prison in other ways, including by providing staple food items.
In the Central African Republic, the UN peacekeeping mission have launched a COVID-19 sensitization campaign in Bria. The campaign involves motorcycle taxi drivers, who deliver messages with megaphones.
The UN Mission has also conducted a media training for journalists from local radio stations on coverage of the pandemic. This included tips to help prevent the spread of rumours and disinformation.
The UN Mission in Mali has provided prevention kits that include masks, soap, hand sanitizer and laser thermometers to commanders of the reconstituted Armed Forces.
Radio MIKADO FM, the radio station operated by the Mission, has shared virus prevention messages in local languages and sensitization radio programmes with over 63 local radio stations across the country.
Working in partnership with an International NGO in the Mopti region, our peacekeeping colleagues have also conducted awareness-raising activities and distributed hygiene kits to a school. The Mission also installed a public handwashing station at the school's entrance.

While Lesotho has only recently registered its first confirmed case of the virus, the UN team on the ground, led by the Resident Coordinator, Salvator Niyonzima, has been supporting the Government's efforts in addressing the pandemic in areas including public health and the economy.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is also helping in setting up systems and guidance for surveillance of COVID-19 cases and contact tracing.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is helping the Government to spread information about the virus over the radio and on social media.
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is focusing on preventing and addressing violence against women and girls, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is redirecting resources to address the immediate socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic with the Government and partners, and that includes the World Bank.
COVID-19 has also resulted in a migration emergency in Lesotho and its neighbours. The UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) is assessing the plight of migrants returning to Lesotho, with many people living on the border with South Africa needing food, shelter, and obviously, medical attention.
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
- Policy Brief/Africa
- Africa Dialogue
- Human Rights Chief/ Africa
- Economic and Social Council
- Global Human Development
- COVID-19/Child Malnutrition
- Security Council/Middle East
- South Sudan
- Cyclone Amphan/Bangladesh
- COVID-19/Kenya
- COVID-19/Armenia
- World Bee Day
- International Day For Biological Diversity
- Noon Briefing Guest Tomorrow

In a new policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on the African continent, the Secretary-General highlights the continent's swift response to the pandemic, but also calls for global solidarity with Africans now and to recover better.  
In a video message recorded for the launch, the Secretary-General said that most African countries have moved rapidly to deepen regional coordination, deploy health workers, and enforce quarantines, lockdowns and border closures.
They are also drawing on the experience of HIV/AIDS and Ebola to debunk rumours and overcome mistrust of government, security forces and health workers. But, despite these efforts, the pandemic threatens progress achieved on the continent and will aggravate long-standing inequalities.
The Secretary-General called for international action to strengthen Africa's health systems, maintain food supplies, avoid a financial crisis, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat, as well as cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings.
The Secretary-General also emphasized that African countries should have quick, equal and affordable access to any eventual vaccine and treatment.  These must be considered global public goods, he said. He added that ending the pandemic in Africa is essential for ending it across the world. 
This morning, during the opening session of the Africa Dialogues series, the Secretary-General reiterated the solidarity of the United Nations with African countries as they tackle the new coronavirus.  
He welcomed African support for his call for a global ceasefire, but also warned that the pandemic is affecting capacity to support peace and security efforts across the continent.
My message to the international community, he said, is that failure to respond quickly and adequately could jeopardize progress towards Silencing the Guns by 2020 and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals as well as Africa's "Agenda 2063".
He said that the empowerment of African youth and repeated that women should play a central role in all peace processes, just as they needed to be central to every aspect of the COVID-19 response.
These are still early days for the pandemic in Africa, and disruption could escalate quickly, he concluded, as he renewed his appeal for global solidarity with all African countries.
In a joint statement following the publication of the Secretary-General's Policy Brief on Africa, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), Solomon Dersso, called for urgent measures to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
Bachelet and Dersso said that while measures to restrict movement and increase social distancing were essential in the fight against the virus, they were having a dramatic impact on populations, especially those who rely on informal daily work for their survival.
They both also underlined the importance of preserving freedom of association, of opinion and expression as well as access to information during this time. The human rights chiefs joined the Secretary-General's call for equitable access for COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.  
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

- Afghanistan
- COVID-19: Telecommuting at UNHQ
- Role of Religious Leaders
- Iraq
- UN Environment Programme
- UN Women
- Yemen
- Venezuela
- Ukraine
- Moldova
- Mozambique
- South Sudan
- Malawi
- Cyprus
- Mali
- International Nurses Day

The UN country team expressed its shock and revulsion at today's attacks at a Kabul maternity hospital as well as a funeral in Nangarhar. 
The UN Mission there said that the attacks caused significant civilian casualties. The UN in Afghanistan calls for those responsible to face justice and offers condolences to victims and families. 
The Secretary-General obviously joins this condemnation but we expect a more formal statement from him later today.  
Also today, the Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Toby Lanzer, said that he is outraged by the attack on the Sad Bistar Hospital in Kabul. Mr. Lanzer said that it beggars belief that such a heinous act could be committed when Afghanistan is being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Mr. Lanzer emphasized that civilians receiving care in hospitals, health workers, medical infrastructure and aid workers are protected under International Humanitarian Law; violations must be investigated and those behind the attacks brought to justice.

The Secretary-General wrote to UN staff yesterday evening, noting how he has been inspired by how our work has been able to continue uninterrupted for the past two months. This, he said, has enabled the UN not only to stay open, but also to play an active global role in helping people cope with the emergency. He informed staff that, after consulting with senior management and our medical services, he is extending the current telecommuting arrangements at the Headquarters complex through June 30th 2020.  These arrangements will continue to be reviewed. The Secretary-General said that a plan is also being finalized for a gradual and phased return to the building whenever it is considered safe for us to do so. The staff's health and safety are the priorities guiding this process. 

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