United Nations

United Nations 2 Dec 2019

UN Climate Change Conference & other topics - Daily Briefing (2 December 2019)

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

Highlights:
- Secretary-General/Climate Change
- Senior Appointments
- Deputy-Secretary-General's Travels
- International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
- D.R. Congo
- D.R. Congo/World Health Organization
- Kenya
- Costa Rica
- Ukraine
- Financial Contributions

Secretary-General/Climate Change
The Secretary-General is in Madrid, and today he today spoke at the opening of the UN Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as COP25. He thanked the Governments of Chile and Spain for working together to make COP25 possible.
"Such solidarity and flexibility are what we need to beat the climate crisis," he said. The Secretary-General urged world leaders to listen to the millions of people around the world - particularly young people - who are calling for them to do much more to tackle the climate crisis.  He stressed that this is not just the job of one person, one industry or one government alone. We are all in this together, he said.
He added that the green economy is not one to be feared but an opportunity to be embraced, and stressed that the transition from the grey to the green economy needs to be a fair one, taking into account the people whose jobs and livelihoods are impacted.  "Open your ears to the multitudes who are demanding change. Open your eyes to the imminent threat facing us all. Open your minds to the unanimity of the science." 
The Secretary-General also called on parties at the Conference to achieve progress on key items - namely, achieving success on Article Six and continuing to boost ambition in preparation for new and revised national climate action plans due next year.
A few moments ago, he held a joint press conference with the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, in which he thanked Spain again for their impeccable organization of the Conference of Parties and their cooperation with the Chilean Government.
He also spoke at the Climate Vulnerable Forum in which he reiterated his commitments to small island developing States and Least Developed Countries to keep fighting for increased ambition on climate action.
Also, at the Roundtable of Heads of State and Government, he called on world leaders to lead and not lag behind businesses, youth and local authorities who are already taking bold action and steps to tackle climate change.
Yesterday, you will have seen that the Secretary-General gave a press conference in which he stressed that our war against nature must stop and called particularly on big emitters to step up their ambitions, adding that without their participation we will not be able to reach our goals. All of his remarks have been sent to you.
The Secretary-General is also having a number of bilateral meetings with leaders who are attending the Conference, and tomorrow, he is expected to meet with His Majesty Felipe VI of Spain.

Senior Appointments
The Secretary-General yesterday appointed Mark Carney of Canada as his new Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance.
As Special Envoy, Mr. Carney will focus on implementation of climate action, with special attention to significantly shifting public and private finance markets and mobilizing private finance to the levels needed to achieve the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
Mr. Carney, who is currently the Governor of the Bank of England, has held numerous positions in finance in both the private and public sectors.
Today, the Secretary-General appointed Bruno Lemarquis of France as his Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). He will also serve as the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti. 
Most recently, Mr. Lemarquis served as Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Crisis Bureau/Global Policy Network, following his role as Deputy Director of the UNDP Crisis Response Unit from 2014 to 2018.


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

Highlights:
- Yemen
- Financing for Development
- New Policy Brief on COVID-19 and People on the Move
- Libya
- Syria
- Niger
- Burkina Faso
- Somalia
- Ghana
- Bolivia
- El Salvador
- Climate Change
- Air Travel
- Financial Contributions

YEMEN
At the start of today's Yemen Pledging Conference, the Secretary-General said that more than five years of conflict have left Yemenis hanging on by a thread, their economy in tatters, their institutions facing near-collapse. He also said that four people out of every five - or 24 million people in all - need lifesaving aid in what remains the world's largest humanitarian crisis. 
We are in a race against time, the Secretary-General warned, as reports indicate that, in Aden, mortality rates from COVID-19 are among the highest in the world. He added that we must preserve the major humanitarian aid operation that is already underway - and the world's largest - while developing new public health programmes to fight the virus and strengthen healthcare systems.
The Secretary-General said that aid agencies estimate they will need up to $2.41 billion to cover essential aid from June until December, and that includes programmes to counter COVID-19. Unless we secure significant funding, he added, more than 30 out of 41 major United Nations programmes in Yemen will close in the next few weeks. 
Mark Lowcock, our humanitarian chief, told the pledging conference that COVID-19 rapid response teams are funded only until the end of June. Next month, he said, we could start winding down treatment for severely malnourished children. Support for cholera facilities will also start to reduce. Mr. Lowcock added that pledges will not save lives unless they are paid, and so far, most of the pledges made remain unpaid.

FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT
Today, the Financing for Development Forum's second meeting brought together representatives from banks, funds and financial institutions to mobilize $1.2 trillion dollars in humanitarian and economic relief to developing countries reeling under the impact of the pandemic.
The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, said it is important to find multilateral solutions to address the underlying fragilities that were exposed by the pandemic. She stressed that the UN's focus is on developing countries.
Also participating in the meeting were the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, which are mobilizing $1 trillion - $175 billion and $13 billion respectively in COVID-19 relief. The multi-billion dollar Green Climate Fund, which has already suspended debt repayments for the next six months, is also being represented.
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Highlights:
- Mental Health
- Deputy Secretary-Genera/COVID-19/Sustainable Development
- Lebanon
- Afghanistan
- South Sudan
- Libya
- COVID-19/Prisons
- COVID-19/Children
-Trade
- World Health Statistics
- Iraq
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Virtual Press Briefing Tomorrow,
- Financial Contribution

MENTAL HEALTH POLICY BRIEF 
Tonight, we will be putting out a policy brief from the Secretary-General, in which he presents a series of recommendations to ensure that mental health services are fully included in COVID-19 response and recovery plans.   
The policy brief will be released at 11pm New York time, and we will also have a video message recorded by the Secretary-General released at that same time.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL/COVID-19/SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
This morning, the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) met virtually to coordinate support so that countries can overcome and recover better from the pandemic. 
The Deputy Secretary-General and chair of the Group, Amina J. Mohammed,  underscored that the pandemic is a global health, humanitarian and socioeconomic emergency. 
Behind the numbers are people and families. COVID-19 placed many things on pause, and also exacerbated grave existing problems including inequality and climate change. 
"The way the UN system responds now will put our reforms in action to enable us to better address this development crisis in full emergency mode," said the Deputy Secretary-General. 
The group members also reviewed progress in reinforcing humanitarian-development collaboration as well as consolidating the reforms launched by the Secretary-General to strengthen the UN's support to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Highlights:
- Secretary-General/Peacekeeping
- Covid-19/Peacekeeping Missions
- Climate
- Honduras/COVID-19
- COVID-19/Brazil
- COVID-19/Postal Sector
- COVID-19/Tourism
- Yemen
- Security Council
- Nepal
- Libya
- Kenya/Floods
- Ethiopia
- Somalia
- Venezuela
- Nigeria
- World No Tobacco Day

SECRETARY-GENERAL/PEACEKEEPING 
This morning, to mark the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, the Secretary-General laid a wreath at the Peacekeepers' memorial to honour the more than 3,900 women and men who have lost their lives since 1948, while serving under the UN flag. 
In his remarks at a related event, he said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost everything we do, but not the service, sacrifice and selflessness of the more than 95,000 women and men serving in 13 peacekeeping operations around the world.
The theme of the international day this year is "Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace.'' In his remarks, the Secretary-General emphasized how women help improve all aspects of our operations and performance. 
He said peacekeeping is more effective for everyone when we have more women peacekeepers at all levels, including in decision-making. He added that we will continue to do everything we can to reach this goal. 
The Secretary-General also awarded the ‘2019 Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award' to Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo, a Brazilian naval officer serving with the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and to Major Suman Gawani from India, who served in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). 
COVID-19/PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS
On a related note, we have an update on how peacekeeping missions continue to support Member States' response to COVID-19.  
Our colleagues from the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) report that the Mission provided personal and household goods, including televisions and computers to communities in Kosovo, including a children's shelter and a shelter for victims of trafficking. This support will help the children to continue online learning to finish the academic year. 
The UN Peacekeeping mission also reports it is working with young innovators, who are helping build 3D face shields for health workers.
The UN Mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) recently handed over Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and veterinary medicines to benefit communities in a number of villages in southern Lebanon. 
The UN Mission in the Central Republic (MINUSCA) continues awareness and information campaigns as part of COVID-19 prevention efforts, through the Mission's community violence reduction projects in Bangassou and Gambo, located in the country's Southeast.  In addition, the UN Mission, in partnership with local stakeholders conducted sensitization training workshops in Bouar.
Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Highlights:
- Secretary-General/Asia-Pacific
- Deputy Secretary-General/Labour
- Deputy Secretary-General/Financing for Development
- Deputy Secretary-General/BBC/Diversity
- Protection of Civilians Report
- Verified Initiative to Combat COVID-19 Misinformation
- Economic and Social Council
- Security Council/Somalia
- Central African Republic
- Syria
- Yemen
- Lebanon
- Bangladesh
- Migrants/Europe
- Displaced People/COVID-19
- W.H.O.-Smithsonian Guide For Youth on COVID-19
- Venezuela
- International Tea Day

SECRETARY-GENERAL/ASIA-PACIFIC
Today, the 76th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific was held in a virtual setting.
In a video message sent to the gathering, the Secretary-General noted that governments and leaders are grappling with a wide range of challenges that risk recent progress in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. He said that, while many countries in the region are charting a solid course toward COVID-19 solutions, millions in the region remain highly vulnerable and at risk.
The Secretary-General stressed he is strongly convinced that we have an opportunity to build back better on the foundations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. He said that means forging common solutions to the climate crisis, economic and social inequalities, and new forms of violence, as well as rapid changes in technology and demography. You can find his message online.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL/LABOUR
This morning, the Deputy Secretary-General and the head of the International Labour Organization, Guy Ryder, jointly held a virtual conference with the UN's Resident Coordinators who are leading our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 162 countries and territories.
Ms. Mohammed said that we previously thought we had 10 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, but the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the urgency of this cause.
For his part, the ILO Director-General said that the world cannot accept a "new normal" with more inequality and more people left behind.
UN teams around the world are working closely with governments, civil society organizations and the private sector to roll out our framework for the immediate socioeconomic response and recovery. The UN is spotlighting social protection schemes, such as cash transfers, that can help prevent millions of people, especially women and children, from sliding into poverty.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL/FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT
Tomorrow, the Deputy-Secretary-General will be available to brief you, in an embargoed briefing, on the High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond. That is scheduled to take place on 28 May, next Thursday. The event is being convened by the Secretary-General, along with the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica, and will aim to set a definite pathway to concrete and effective solutions on critical sustainable development finance issues that threaten to adversely impact billions of people over the next two months. We will be in touch with you regarding the exact time of that briefing.

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