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UNRWA, Bicycles & other topics – PGA Spokesperson…

UNRWA, Bicycles & other topics – PGA Spokesperson's Briefing
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Briefing by Paulina Kubiak, Spokesperson for the President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly.
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UNRWA

Today, President Csaba Kőrösi is convening the annual UNRWA pledging conference.

You know that UNRWA is appealing for $1.6 Billion US for programmes and operations in 2023.

In his opening remarks, President Kőrösi's noted that UNRWA will run out of money by September unless funds are immediately disbursed.

At stake are real-life consequences for nearly six million refugees who depend on UNRWA's services, he said.

Failure to address this urgent funding crisis will result in the loss of access to healthcare, schooling, food, and water – for those who need these essential services most.

He called for innovative and transformative solutions.

The President today urged Member States to show robust political and financial will to secure the future of UNRWA's critical operations and the future of the Palestinian refugees.

He stressed that until a political solution in the Middle East is found, Member States must make good on the commitments in the UN Charter and in the 2030 Agenda—ensuring safety, freedom from war, and dignity for all.

The President quoted Ralph Bunche, who as you know received a Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation in the region, who said that a meaningful peace must be translated into food, shelter, health and education – as well as freedom and human dignity.

And on the topic of education, you heard the importance of getting an education directly from two UNRWA students - Leen Sharqawi and Amhed Abu Daqqa.

President Kőrösi met with them yesterday. As you heard them say today – they were speaking on behalf of their fellow students, presenting their voices to the donors. 

As for what is coming out of the pledging conference, I understand that my UNRWA counterparts will put out a press release later today.

BICYCLE DAY

Changing gears, tomorrow is World Bicycle Day.

The Day was created by consensus in the General Assembly five years ago.

As you heard from Farhan, there are two events today.

I will highlight them because President Kőrösi is taking part.

This hour, he is at the opening of an exhibit featuring glass bicycles by the Polish bike art project, Glass ReCycles – in cooperation with the Polish Cultural Institute of New York.

Then at 1:30pm near the Visitors Entrance, the President will join the Permanent Representatives of Bahrain, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Poland, Romania and Turkmenistan

UN WATER CONFERENCE

This afternoon, President Kőrösi will be meeting with some Permanent Ambassadors to discuss the UN Water Conference follow up.

As a reminder, the President's summary of the Conference is available on our website.

WEEK AHEAD

Looking ahead to next week.

Monday, 5 June, President Kőrösi will take part in marking World Environment Day. This year's theme is #BeatPlasticPollution.

Meanwhile, in Nairobi, the UN-Habitat Assembly gets underway. The President will have a pre-recorded message.

Tuesday, 6 June, at 10AM, will be the elections for the non-permanent members of the Security Council. Six member states—Algeria, Belarus, Guyana, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Sierra Leone, and Slovenia—are currently running for the five available seats.

There will be a press stakeout in the usual spot, across from the GA Hall. Our thanks to our colleagues at BCSS, UN Television and UN WebTV for making this possible.

Wednesday, 7 June is a General Assembly plenary on protracted conflicts in GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova).

Thursday, 8 June, there will be elections for the ECOSOC. The Economic and Social Council has 54 members: 18 members are elected by the General Assembly each year for a three-year term. 

I will share the list of vacancies for the 2024-2026 term with you next week.

In addition, there will be a separate election for the ongoing vacancy in the Eastern Europe group, for the 2023-2025 term.

Thursday is also World Oceans Day.

QUESTIONS

The Spokesperson was asked about the President's views on cycling in the UNHQ. The President believes we should all be doing our part for the sustainability transformation. Any efforts to green commutes should be applauded – whether that means cycling or walking to work, switching to public transport, or even carpooling.