Middle East, Security Council, World Bee Day & other topics- Daily Briefing (20 May 2021)

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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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  • United Nations published this video item, entitled “Middle East, Security Council, World Bee Day & other topics- Daily Briefing (20 May 2021)” – below is their description.

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

    Highlights:

    – Middle East

    – Security Council

    – Ethiopia

    – Peacebuilding Commission

    – Malawi

    – Thailand

    – Myanmar

    – World Bee Day

    MIDDLE EAST

    The Secretary-General this morning told the General Assembly that the past ten days have witnessed a dangerous and horrific surge in deadly violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly Gaza, and in Israel. He appealed to all parties to cease hostilities, now. And he called repeatedly on all sides for an immediate ceasefire. 

    The Secretary-General said the fighting has left thousands of Palestinians homeless, and forced over fifty thousand people to leave their homes and seek shelter in UNRWA schools, as well as mosques, and other places with little access to water, food, hygiene or health services. If there is a hell on earth, he added, it is the lives of children in Gaza today.  

    Mr. Guterres said the UN will launch a full humanitarian appeal for funding as soon as possible, and that he is also working on releasing funds from the Central Emergency Response Fund. He added that access for humanitarian goods is paramount.

    A revitalized peace process is the only route to a just and lasting solution, the Secretary-General said. It is imperative that we keep this long-term vision alive. His full remarks were shared with you.

    And a number of you had asked me in this room and online about the work of our Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, and in response to those questions I can confirm to you that Mr. Wennesland is currently in Qatar as part of our efforts to restore calm in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, especially Gaza. We are actively engaged with all the relevant parties for an immediate ceasefire. 

    For his part, the Secretary-General continues his intensive contacts with the parties and pertinent regional and international stakeholders. He held a group meeting today with Arab Ministers to discuss the current situation and he reiterated that we will continue its tireless efforts to bring about a ceasefire, to ensure humanitarian access, and to achieve a political solution that ends the occupation and realizes the two States living side by side in peace and security. The Secretary-General also has a number of bilateral meetings later in the day.

    SECURITY COUNCIL

    Security Council members met virtually this morning on Sudan. 

    The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of the UN Mission there, Volker Perthes, said that the Paris Conference which the French Government organized earlier this week clearly demonstrated the international community’s continued support for Sudan’s return to the international community. 

    You will recall that the Secretary-General had a video message to that Conference. 

    At today’s Security Council meeting, Mr. Perthes encouraged all of Sudan’s international and domestic partners to continue supporting the country as it implements key economic and political reforms. 

    Regarding the peace process, he said the UN Mission will act as a facilitator, supporting the role of South Sudan as a mediator, and the parties when required. We are also working to ensure meaningful participation of women in the talks.

    ETHIOPIA 

    The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs informs us that there have been increased incidents of denial of relief cargo movements and confiscation of humanitarian vehicles and supplies by parties to the conflict in Tigray. Military at checkpoints are aggressively searching humanitarian vehicles and regularly demand that humanitarians provide proof of permission from local authorities or the military. Sporadic fighting and military reinforcements are being observed across the region. 

    Access in some areas, however, is feasible but remains volatile. Our humanitarian partners are gradually scaling up the response, but not yet keeping pace with the needs. There are 5.2 million people targeted to receive food assistance, but only about 1.8 million people have been reached with assistance since late March.  

    UNICEF and its partners screened more than 172,000 children under five years of age and found moderate acute malnutrition at 19.6 per cent of that population.  

    The UN, with our partners, are seeking $853 million for the Northern Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan until the end of the year; but there is a significant shortfall of more than $500 million, with $200 million needed immediately before the end of July.

    Full Highlights: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/noon-briefing-highlight?date%5Bvalue%5D%5Bdate%5D=20%20May%202021

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