COVID-19 update & other topics – Daily Briefing (27 March 2020)

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

Highlights:

– COVID19/Secretary-General
– COVID-19/Peace
– COVID-19/Timor Leste
– COVID-19/School Meals
– COVID-19/Shipping of Vital Supplies
– COVID-19/Women and Girls
– COVID-19/Thailand
– COVID-19/Journalists
– COVID-19/UN
– Myanmar
– Human Rights
– Financial Contributions

COVID-19/SECRETARY-GENERAL
This morning, in a historic virtual briefing, the Secretary-General briefed Member States on the UN’s response to COVID-19.
He outlined how, in this time of crisis, the UN Secretariat is continuing its work, both in field and at headquarters. “Staff are motivated and committed to fulfilling their functions – here in New York and across the globe,” he said.
Guterres said the UN is taking all measures possible to keep staff safe and stressed that the business continuity plan is working, and the UN’s critical work is continuing largely uninterrupted.
In addition, in early February, a Crisis Management Team was activated to mobilize work on critical issues. He said that country teams are engaging with national authorities in preparing preparedness and response plans, and a Field Support Group is assisting peacekeeping missions to address the health crisis while delivering on their critical mandates.
The Secretary-General also noted that the UN has a well-established mechanism to coordinate supply chain support to countries, and that we stand ready to place the global network of supply chain of the different UN entities at the disposal of Member States for health supplies, medical staff and other needs.
The Secretary-General also reiterated his call for a global ceasefire and said his Special Envoys and Special Representatives are working hard to ensure that this appeal is followed by necessary measures to allow the ceasefires to be effective.
Guterres also underscored that there is a need to stand up against the increase in hate crimes targeting individuals and groups perceived to be associated with COVID-19.
In closing remarks, he reiterated that the world needs to show massive solidarity with the pandemic, as it spreads increasingly to the developing world. This massive solidarity will need to support developing countries not only in dealing with the pandemic itself, but also, with the socioeconomic impact that it will come afterwards.

COVID-19/PEACE
In response to an update on the response to the Secretary-General’s call for global ceasefires as the world deals with the pandemic, the Spokesperson shared a few other examples.
In Colombia, there were calls from civil society for a “humanitarian truce” to be put in place once the COVID-19 pandemic started to unravel, even before the appeal. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative there has been relaying the message on a global ceasefire both publicly and in private engagements with stakeholders.
In Yemen, Martin Griffiths, the Special Envoy, welcomed the positive response from the parties to the Secretary-General’s call, calling all of the parties to meet urgently to discuss how to translate their stated commitments to the Yemeni people into practice.
From Syria, the Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen, welcomed the statement made by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) expressing their support for the Secretary-General’s appeal. The Secretary-General calls on all other parties to the Syrian conflict to support his appeal and the special Envoy will be in touch and working with the parties to follow through on that.
With developments on the statement from the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), they are calling on all parties in Afghanistan also to take all measures to protect civilians and work towards a ceasefire.
In the UN peacekeeping missions in Cyprus, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mali, South Sudan and Sudan have all put out messages for local ceasefires in those countries.

Full Highlights: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/noon-briefing-highlight?date%5Bvalue%5D%5Bdate%5D=27%20March%202020

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The United Nations (UN) was established after World War II with the aim of preventing future wars. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states.

The UN’s chief administrative officer is the Secretary-General, currently Portuguese politician and diplomat António Guterres, who began his five year-term on 1 January 2017.

 

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