Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict & other topics – Daily Briefing (12 October 2020)

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    Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General. Highlights: – World Food Week – Fifth Committee – Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict – Yemen – Libya – Syria – Climate Change – Disasters – Burkina Faso – Zimbabwe – Secretary-General/International Day of the Girl – UNESCO/Girls’ Education – Human Rights/UN Field Missions WORLD FOOD WEEK In a video message in which he launched World Food Week, the Secretary-General reminded us all that the systems that bring food to our tables have a profound impact on our economies, our health and the environment. This year, he added, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fragility of our food systems. Millions more people are hungry, and millions of jobs have been lost. Food systems can also be the key to tackling the climate crisis and to building healthier societies, the Secretary-General said. He called for global engagement and action for inclusive and sustainable food systems. FIFTH COMMITTEE Earlier today, the Secretary-General personally introduced the proposed programme budget for 2021 to the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, the budget committee. He told Committee members that, even as the pandemic continues to affect people around the world, the United Nations is open for business, with staff running this Organization from thousands of dining tables and home offices. We are continuing our emphasis on development, including by sustaining an increase of 10 per cent that the Secretary-General had proposed last year for the regular programme for technical cooperation, to support Member States in their development efforts. We are also investing in a communication strategy that has become more important in the context of the pandemic and investing in our IT infrastructure which is critical to ensuring business continuity to deal with the demands of the pandemic and how it has changed the way we work. The Secretary-General said, to fully implement the mandates entrusted to us, the UN will require a total of $2.99 billion, which represents a net reduction of 2.8 per cent compared to last year, despite additional initiatives and mandated activities.  This includes a net decrease of 25 posts. He has also warned that the liquidity crisis has not abated and severely hampers the United Nations’ ability to fulfil its obligations to the people we serve. NAGORNO-KARABAKH CONFLICT Over the weekend, you saw that the Secretary-General issued a statement welcoming the agreement on a humanitarian ceasefire announced in Moscow by the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Today, I can tell you that we are very disappointed to receive reports of ceasefire violations from the region and consider such violations unacceptable. The Secretary-General condemns any targeting and attacks against civilian-populated areas anywhere and regrets the loss of life and injuries. The Secretary-General again reminds the parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to refrain from any action that could also risk widening the fighting beyond the immediate zone. We also stress that we call on all parties again to fulfil their agreements to a humanitarian ceasefire and other commitments announced in Moscow. We also share the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ alarm at the suffering of civilians. We remain ready to respond to any humanitarian needs if so requested. Full Highlights: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/noon-briefing-highlight?date%5Bvalue%5D%5Bdate%5D=12%20October%202020

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