United Nations
United Nations 19 Nov 2020

World Toilet Day & other topics - Daily Briefing (19 November 2020)


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

- Ethiopia
- Climate
- Secretary-General/Racism
- Central African Republic
- Libya
- Honduras
- Data Protection/COVID-19
- COVID-19/Children
- COVID-19/Iran
- World Toilet Day
- World Philosophy Day
- SG Stakeout

The UN continues to be gravely concerned about the safety of civilians who may be caught up in the conflict and how blocked roads are hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid to those who need it. 
The UN, along with its partners is continuing to identify existing supplies and staff to deploy to the region once access is granted. We urgently call on all parties to the conflict to allow for immediate, free, safe and unhindered humanitarian access. 
Electricity continues to be cut off. Fuel for generators has run out. That leaves 96,000 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia without clean water. 
UNHCR says that more than 31,000 people have crossed into Sudan, and just to flag that a Humanitarian Preparedness Plan targeting nearly 2 million people has been finalized. The plan seeks $75 million to help people affected by the conflict in Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia until January 2021. 
In addition to the current conflict, there are many humanitarian concerns elsewhere in the country, including displacement, desert locusts, food insecurity and of course, COVID-19. 
This morning, the Secretary-General spoke, in a pre-recorded video message, to the European Council on Foreign Relations. 
He focused on the climate crisis and said that while we may have seen encouraging responses by countries who have pledged carbon neutrality by 2050, we are still running behind in the race against time. 
The Secretary-General said that we need to see more ambitious plans well in advance of COP26 this time next year.  He urged the European Union to commit to reducing emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030 in its new Nationally Determined Contribution. 
He also added that it's essential that the European Union accelerates its transition toward clean energy. "There must be no new coal, and all existing coal in the European Union should be phased out by 2030 in OECD countries, and by 2040 elsewhere," he said. Adding that, he also called on the European Union to stop the financing of fossil fuels internationally and to promote a shift in taxation from income to carbon. 
In addition, he added that the EU can help developing countries tackle the existing crisis and should lead the way in aligning international trade with achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

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

- Secretary-General/Climate
- Secretary-General/Report on Global Compact on Migration
- Ethiopia/Humanitarian Access
- Ethiopia/Refugees
- United States
- Palestinians
- Central America
- 2021 Global Humanitarian Overview
- COVID-19/Brazil
- COVID-19/Internet Access
- Resident Coordinator

Tomorrow, at 8:45 a.m., the Secretary-General will be speaking at Columbia University's World Leaders Forum on the state of our planet. He will stress that we are at a crucial point in time in which we need to make peace with nature to avert the worst impacts of climate change. He will also talk about how the pandemic provides us with an opportunity to rethink human activities and transform our economies. The Secretary-General will also call on all countries, businesses and financial institutions to adopt plans for transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050.
His speech will be followed by a virtual Q&A session with Columbia university students and you'll be able to watch it live on WebTV.un.org.

This afternoon, the Secretary-General spoke via a pre-recorded video message to the launch event for his report on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
He says that the report describes how the Global Compact is taking root in promising ways and reflects a growing global understanding of the great benefits of human mobility. But he says that if poorly managed, migration can also generate huge challenges, from tragic loss of life to rights abuses and to social tensions.
The pandemic has heightened those challenges and has had negative effects on more than 2.7 million migrants, particularly women and girls.

On Ethiopia, our humanitarian colleagues continue to call on all parties to the conflict in Tigray to allow unconditional, free and safe humanitarian access to the region.
Nearly one month since the start of the conflict, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. Our colleagues on the ground have reported that there is a critical shortage of emergency supplies to respond to increasing needs.
The conflict in Tigray is taking place in a context where more than 800,000 people were already in urgent need of assistance and protection. This includes nearly 96,000 Eritrean refugees, who are in Ethiopia, and mostly Tigray, and nearly 600,000 people relying on food aid to survive.
Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that aid workers in Tigray need immediate access to food, water and medical supplies, as well as fuel to run water pumps and other activities.
From our side, we have pre-deployed personnel to key locations in Afar and Amhara region to support possible assessment and response missions in Tigray, while negotiations on access continue.
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.
Noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


- Nigeria
- Germany
- Ethiopia
- Libya
- Somalia
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Central African Republic
- Mozambique
- South Sudan
- Fiji
- UNICEF/Vaccines
- FAO/Locusts
- Arabic Language Day
- International Migrants Day

In a statement issued today, the Secretary-General welcomed the release on 17 December of some of the children who were abducted from a secondary school in Katsina State, Nigeria, on 11 December. He commended the swift action taken by the Nigerian authorities to rescue the children and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of those who remain abducted. He stressed the importance that the released children and their families are provided with the necessary health and psychosocial support.
The Secretary-General called for increased efforts to safeguard schools and educational facilities in the country and reiterates the solidarity and commitment of the United Nations to supporting the Government and people of Nigeria in their fight against terrorism, violent extremism and organized crime.
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, also expressed his relief with the children's release. He said that, if any other schoolboys are still being held, they must be released immediately, as well as any other children being held captive in the country.
Mr. Hawkins stressed that last week's attack, which directly targeted children in the middle of the night, was an outrage, as schools should be safe.
This morning, the Secretary-General addressed the members of the Bundestag. In his speech, which the Secretary-General delivered in German - a first for him - he stressed how German thinking, leadership and vision have helped to shape his political life. He praised Germany for being a pillar of multilateralism, saying that it is clear that global challenges require global solutions. However, he noted that we face a deficit of international cooperation, and in many places, people are closing their minds. 
As we look ahead, he said, we need multilateralism that delivers - and a reform of governance structures that is based on present realities and future-focused, not one stuck in the world of 75 years ago. 
Also today, the Secretary-General spoke to the German press after his virtual meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. He said that international cooperation has been tested this year like never before - but through decisive action, the Chancellor and Germany helped show the world what global solidarity looks like. 
He praised Germany's leadership, both domestically and globally, in taking on the COVID-19 challenge as well as for their generous support for the ACT-Accelerator to develop tools to fight the pandemic. 
He also thanked Germany for guiding the European Union towards enhanced climate ambition as well as a greener budget.  
The Secretary-General said he discussed a number of crisis situations with the Chancellor, including Libya - where she and Germany have played a pivotal role in forging peace.  "Across the board, we have come to rely on Germany's principled stance and leadership," he said.
On Ethiopia, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, more than six weeks since the start of the conflict in Tigray, many people in the region have still not received assistance, despite some limited recent deliveries by some UN agencies. 
As we have told you this week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has delivered aid to Tigray border areas and the World Food Programme (WFP) has sent some food into camps in Tigray.
We continue to call for immediate and unfettered access to all areas where people have been affected by the fighting. 
Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, although electricity and telecommunications are intermittently working in Tigray's capital, Mekelle, people in many other parts of the region are still lacking access to food, water, cash, power and telecommunications.
In neighbouring Sudan, between 200 and 300 refugees continue to arrive from Ethiopia every day. As of yesterday, nearly 51,100 refugees had crossed the border in search of safety and assistance.
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.

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