Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
– COVID-19/Timor Leste
– COVID-19/School Meals
– COVID-19/Shipping of Vital Supplies
– COVID-19/Women and Girls
– Human Rights
– Financial Contributions
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.
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.
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast.
Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The population is around 32 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.
The Central African Republic, or Centrafrique, is a landlocked country in Central Africa.
It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west. The CAR covers a land area of about 620,000 square kilometres (240,000 sq mi) and had an estimated population of around 4.7 million as of 2018.
As of 2020, the CAR is the scene of a civil war, ongoing since 2012.
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a transcontinental country largely in the north of South America, with territories in North America. Colombia is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by Ecuador and Peru, the east by Venezuela, the southeast by Brazil, and the west by the Pacific Ocean.
The capital is Bogotá, the country’s largest city. With over 50 million inhabitants Colombia is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world. The Republic of Colombia was declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903.
Colombia’s territory encompasses Amazon rainforest, highlands, grasslands, and deserts, and it is the only country in South America with coastlines and islands along both the Atlantic and Pacific.
Cyprus, officially called the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts: the area under the effective control of the Republic, located in the south and west and comprising about 59% of the island’s area, and the north, administered by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, covering about 36% of the island’s area. Another nearly 4% of the island’s area is covered by a UN buffer zone.
The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, remain under the UK’s control according to the London and Zürich Agreements.
The Republic of Cyprus has been a member of the Commonwealth since 1961 and joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.
Kosovo, officially the Republic of Kosovo, is a partially-recognised state and disputed territory in Southeastern Europe. On 17 February 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia. It has since gained diplomatic recognition as a sovereign state by 98 UN member states.
Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in the Levant region of Western Asia, and the transcontinental region of the Middle East.
The official language, Arabic, is the most common language spoken by the citizens of Lebanon. Its capital is Beirut.
Lebanon was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and is a member of the Arab League (1945), the Non-Aligned Movement (1961), Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (1969), and the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (1973).
Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres. The population of Mali is 19.1 million. 67% of its population was estimated to be under the age of 25 in 2017. Its capital is Bamako.
Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the country’s largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks and lakes, and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century.