Briefing by Spokesperson for Secretary-General

The Secretary-General will travel to Canada on Saturday, 9 June, to attend the Summit of the G7 in the Charlevoix region of Quebec.

He will participate in an outreach session on “Healthy, productive and resilient oceans and seas, coasts and communities” along with leaders of the G7, several other countries and international organizations. He will also hold a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and with other Heads of State and Government present at the Summit.

The Secretary-General will travel back to New York on the same day.

The Secretary-General has announced the appointment of Shireen L. Dodson of the United States as United Nations Ombudsman.

She will succeed Johnston Barkat, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his commitment and dedicated service to the Organization. The Secretary-General also wishes to extend his appreciation to James A. Lee, who is currently serving as the Acting United Nations Ombudsman.

Ms. Dodson brings to the position over thirty years of diverse leadership experience in business, government and non-profit organizations. She is currently Ombudsman of the US State Department, a position she assumed in 2010.

The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, today visited Mogadishu and held a series of meetings with senior government officials to reiterate the UN’s support to the people and Federal Government of Somalia. She was accompanied by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in that country, Michael Keating.

Ms. DiCarlo said Somalia is at a critical juncture and stressed that unity of Somalis is essential to advance federalism, reduce violence, defeat extremism, tackle the humanitarian challenges and deliver real benefits to the population.

Also today, the United Nations and partners including the African Union and the European Union, welcomed the outcomes of this week’s National Security Council meeting in Baidoa, the capital of the South West State. During the meeting, the Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States, Benadir region, and various ministries reached key agreements on the Transition Plan, revenue sharing, and the electoral model for the 2020 elections.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that amid renewed fighting, at least nine humanitarian compounds have been looted since May in the Central African Republic’s second-largest city of Bambari, prompting many NGOs to temporarily suspend or curtail assistance to an already-struggling civilian population.

Bambari has more than 37,000 internally displaced people living in nine sites. They rely on humanitarian support for health care and nutritional support for children suffering from acute or severe malnutrition, food rations, and psycho-social support for survivors of gender-based violence.

The resurgence of violence in Bambari comes at a time when the humanitarian community is making every effort to raise the level of funding for the Humanitarian Response Plan. In the first half of 2018, only US $85.5 million – or 17 per cent – of the $515.6 million urgently required to help 1.9 million people in need has been received.

The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan today welcomed the announcement made today by the Government for a temporary ceasefire with the Taliban.

“The United Nations commends the stated preparedness of Afghan authorities to initiate, in good faith, any steps to toward a formal peace process,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Tadamichi Yamamoto.

The ceasefire follows the Afghan government’s call for unconditional peace talks with the Taliban at the Kabul Process II conference in the Afghan capital in February.

The Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, concluded consultations on the Syrian political process in Istanbul, Turkey earlier today. He met with Turkish authorities, as well as officials from the Syrian National Coalition and the Syrian Opposition Coalition. The Special Envoy is planning to continue regional consultations in the coming days.

Distributions of World Food Programme (WFP) rations have begun in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola-hit Equateur Province.

This is part of an effort to support those directly affected by the latest outbreak of the deadly virus and limit risky population movements.

Families of Ebola patients discharged from treatment centres, and of those who have had contact with them or suspected victims, are receiving up to three months’ supplies of cereals and beans.

A projected 1,000 people are to be immediately assisted.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting nine countries bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo to scale up their national emergency preparedness and response capacities.

These countries are Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

WHO’s recommendations are meant to ensure that these countries are operationally ready to prevent the importation of cases, implement risk mitigation, detection and response measures for Ebola.

Our colleagues at the UN Migrant Agency are assisting survivors from a boat capsizing off the coast of Yemen.

At least 100 Ethiopian migrants were crammed onto a boat that left from Somalia on Tuesday and was headed to the Gulf countries when it got hit with high waves. IOM reported that 46 people drowned and 16 remain missing.

IOM is providing medical assistance, health, food and psychosocial support to the survivors.

The Humanitarian Coordination Team—which is comprised of over 60 experts from the UN, NGOs and national authorities—has assessed the needs in shelters near the south-centre city of Escuintla, the most affected area by the massive eruption of the El Fuego volcano.

The team is assisting the Government in the humanitarian response providing psychosocial support, hygiene kits, mattresses and blankets, among other provisions.

Ninety-nine people have lost their lives and another 197 are still missing, according to the latest figures.

Over 12,000 people have been evacuated, with 3,665 women, men and children temporarily living in 21 shelters.

Following earlier questions, the Secretary-General welcomes yesterday’s Presidential Statement of the Security Council on the situation in eastern Ukraine.

He fully shares the concern expressed by the Security Council about the deterioration of the security situation in eastern Ukraine and the need to do more to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population. This need is all the more important and urgent, as highlighted by the recent shelling of Donetsk Filter Station, which has been rendered temporarily inoperative.

The Secretary-General reiterates the determination of the UN to continue with all efforts to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine and urges greater humanitarian access and support to the Humanitarian Response Plan 2018, which remains severely underfunded. The Secretary-General also joins the Security Council’s call to all parties to recommit to the peace process and to do their utmost to achieve progress in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

The Secretary-General was pleased to hear the statement by the Executive Committee of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) indicating Ethiopia’s decision to implement the Algiers Peace Agreement signed between the two countries in 2000 and the subsequent decisions by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) on the border between the two countries. The UN reiterates its readiness to play a role in taking the decision forward, including by assisting the parties in the implementation of the border ruling, as envisaged in the peace agreement. We look forward to receiving additional information on the way forward.

Global agricultural food commodity prices rose in May, with dairy prices jumping significantly.

That’s according to the Food Price Index of the Food and Agriculture Organization, which is up 1.2 percent from April.

The increase built on a recent trend featuring rising price quotations of major cereals and dairy products, and weak ones for sugar and vegetable oils.

The FAO also increased its forecast for the world cereal production in 2018.

UNICEF today launched a new parenting site as part of their ‘Super Dads’ campaign recognizing fathers’ role in their children’s early development.

The online site will bring together fathers from across the world to share their parenting tips, their struggles, their needs, and their successes.

UNICEF is calling for more support for fathers globally, including for policies that give parents the time and resources they need to spend quality time with their children.

The ‘Super Dads’ campaign is intended to remind parents everywhere that when fathers nurture their young ones in their earliest years of life – by providing love and protection, playing with them, and supporting their nutrition – their children will learn better, have less behavioural issues, and become healthier, happier human beings.

As Father’s Day is celebrated across nearly 90 countries this month, it renews its call to break down cultural and financial barriers preventing fathers from spending quality time with their young children.

Nauru has paid its regular budget dues in full, taking the total to 103.

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