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Election of New President of the General Assembly…

Election of New President of the General Assembly, Black Sea Initiative & other topics - Daily Press Briefing

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Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
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Good afternoon.  You are having a busy day today, so, just to let you know that as soon as I am done here, we have the Commissioner General of UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East], Philippe Lazzarini.  He will brief you — he is briefing on the funding crisis his Agency is facing, and the upcoming pledging conference that takes place tomorrow.

Then at 1 p.m., you will have the pleasure to hear from the Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, who, as you know, will preside over the Security Council for the month of… June.  Thank you!

At 2 p.m., Navid Hanif, the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Development.  He will be joined by Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the Statistics Division at DESA [Department of Economic and Social Affairs] and they will present the two most recent policy briefs launched as part of the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda Policy Brief series.

That is about the “International Financial Architecture” and about “Valuing What Counts:  Framework to Progress beyond Gross Domestic Product”.  You should have received those briefing books.

I know you will hear more from Paulina [Kubiak] today, on the PGA [President of the General Assembly].

**President of General Assembly

This morning, the Secretary-General congratulated Dennis Francis of Trinidad and Tobago on being elected to lead the next session of the General Assembly.

He said that President-elect Francis brings a wide range of skills, experience and knowledge, adding that, in addition to his years working closely with multilateral agencies, he also is a respected negotiator and long-serving diplomat.

And we shared those remarks with you.

**Black Sea Initiative

I have an update on the Black Sea Initiative.  We got quite a few questions recently, and I can tell you that we are concerned about the continuous slowdown of the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative, observed particularly in the months of April and May.  In May, 33 vessels departed Ukrainian ports, half of the number compared to the previous month of April.  Only three of those ships departed from the port of Yuzhny/Pivdennyi, one of the three Ukrainian ports covered under the agreement.

Exports in May reached 1.3 million metric tons of grains and other foodstuffs.  That is less than half of the previous month.

The Russian Federation has informed the JCC [Joint Coordination Centre] of its decision to limit registrations to the port of Yuzhny/Pivdennyi as long as ammonia is not exported.  And currently, it is not.  Since 24 May, the number of inspection teams at the JCC has been reduced from three to two.  The limited registrations and reduced inspection teams contributed to the drop of the average daily inspection rate down to three.  This is a very serious situation.

We need to move forward.  The Initiative is bound for renewal on 17 July.  Global hunger hotspots are increasing — as we have been notifying you on a regular basis — and the spectre of food inflation and market volatility lurks in all countries.

The UN Secretariat has put forward practical suggestions to all parties at the strategic and operational level, keeping in mind the global benefits of the Initiative.

We will continue our intense engagement with the parties towards the full resumption of operations and continuation of the Initiative. In particular, we are looking for commitments on unconditional access of vessels to all three ports under the Initiative, increased number of successful inspections completed per day and predictable registrations to avoid undue delay of vessels, exports of fertilizers — and that includes ammonia — and the resumption of the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline.

We will share all of that in writing with you.


Staying on the situation in Ukraine:  The Humanitarian Coordinator there, Denise Brown, condemned today new attacks on Kyiv this morning, which killed civilians including one child.  This sadly coincides with the country marking Ukrainian Children’s Day.

According to the UN Office for Human Rights, more than 1,500 children have been killed or injured in Ukraine since February of last year. The war also has had a devastating impact on the mental health and well-being of children, including millions who had to flee the country for safety, whether internally or outside.

We, along with our partners, will continue to work to ensure they can receive the support they so urgently need.


Yesterday, you saw, the Secretary-General made very brief remarks [after he] briefed the Security Council in closed consultations on Sudan, in which he reaffirmed his full confidence in his Special Representative, Volker Perthes.

In a brief statement after the consultations, the Secretary-General said it is up to the Security Council to decide whether its members support the continuation of the Mission for another period or whether they decide it is time to end it.

Regarding the situation on the ground, the World Food Programme (WFP) strongly condemned the looting of the agency’s food and assets in El Obeid, south of the capital, Khartoum.

WFP says the warehouses have come under attack — and food for 4.4 million people is at stake.

El Obeid hosts one of WFP’s largest logistics bases in Africa and is a vital lifeline to millions across Sudan and South Sudan.

Despite these challenges, we continue to deliver humanitarian supplies to communities in need.  The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that more than two dozen trucks carrying assistance were on the move in the past two days to different locations in the country.

At the same time, we continue to face bureaucratic hurdles that limit our ability to bring staff into Sudan and move within the country.  We call for expedited visa clearances and waiving permits for internal movement to ensure we have adequate capacity to carry out our critical humanitarian operations — which, as you know, millions of people in Sudan need help immediately.

For its part, UNHCR [United Nations Refugee Agency] continues to have a presence and is working with partners to provide critical assistance where it is still safe to do so, mainly and particularly in Kassala, Gedaref, White Nile and Blue Nile States.

**South Sudan

Turning South to South Sudan:  The peacekeeping Mission there — UNMISS — is increasing the number of peacekeepers at the Malakal Protection of Civilians site in the Upper Nile state, following violence between communities at a water point, which took place on 28 May.  That violence resulted in one death and several injuries.

This week, UNMISS representatives met with the Governor of Upper Nile State, amongst others, to urgently discuss how to mitigate and lower tensions between communities, encourage dialogue and the use of justice institutions to resolve any grievances.  The Mission is conducting overnight patrols and dispersing gatherings near the site, to help ensure safety and security of internally displaced communities as well as returnees.

Humanitarian organizations have been providing services to vulnerable communities and internally displaced people, along with basic services, including vouchers to enable families to return to their areas of origin.

And just to illustrate the impact of the situation in Sudan on South Sudan, as of 31 May, which would be yesterday, over 89,000 men, women and children fled Sudan and entered South Sudan, which, as you know is facing its own challenges, as we have been saying for quite some time.  The peacekeeping mission is supporting the Government in South Sudan to defuse tensions following recent clashes in Renk, near the border between the two countries.


Turning to Bangladesh, Martin Griffiths, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, has allocated $3 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support the response to Tropical Storm Mocha.

As you know, the cyclone wreaked havoc on the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh in mid-May, and of course the host communities, damaging or destroying facilities and the shelters for over 40,000 refugees.

With this emergency funding, humanitarian partners will focus on shelter support, infrastructure repair, debris clearance and the replenishment of relief items.

And staying in the country, again, another example of what happens when humanitarian agencies run out of money.  The World Food Programme (WFP) has been forced to reduce the value of food vouchers to Rohingya refugees from $10 to $8 [per person] per month — that’s less than 9 cents per meal.  This is the second time WFP has had to cut rations in just three months in that particular area.

In March, the food vouchers were cut from $12 to $10 due to the funding crisis.  This is yet another example of what happens when there is no money.  In this case, that’s nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees who remain completely dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs, including food.

WFP is urgently appealing for $50 million to restore the food assistance to the full amount of $12.  Anything below that value will have dire consequences, not only on nutrition for women and children, but also education, protection and safety and security for everyone in the camps.

All of us, and especially the UN Country team in Bangladesh, is very concerned about this particular crisis.

**World Meteorological Organization

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has selected Celeste Saulo of Argentina as new Secretary-General of the WMO.  We congratulate her.

As you know, she is the first woman to be appointed to this position.  Professor Saulo has been Director of the National Meteorological Service of Argentina since 2014 and is currently the First Vice-President of WMO.

She takes office on 1 January 2024 and succeeds Professor Petteri Taalas, who completed his two-term mandate, and whom you know well.

**Conscious Fashion

I want to flag that today, at 1:30 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council [Chamber], there will be the annual meeting of the UN Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network.  [I am going!]

This year, various industry leaders will be in attendance to discuss actions, solutions, and progress from the fashion and lifestyle sectors to advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The meeting is co-convened by the UN Office for Partnerships and the Fashion Impact Fund.

**Global Day of Parents

I have a message today for my children Isabella, Henri and Julien, because today is the Global Day of Parents.

In a tweet, the Secretary-General expressed gratitude to all parents worldwide committed to raising children in a peaceful and healthy world.  I hope my children will do that!

**Financial Contributions

And a little electrifying quiz for you today.  We have not one, but three, Member States who have paid their dues in full.

We discovered one common circuit between the three, amongst others.  One exports copper; another one exports insulated wire and the third sells electricity.

I know, we really… Jane [Gaffney] stretched the limits on that one.

So, we thank our friends the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, which exports electricity.  We thank our friends in Mongolia, who export copper.  And our friends in Tunisia, who export electric wires.

We are now 114 members who have refilled and recharged our batteries!

For further details please see SOURCE below. 

<a href="" target="_blank">Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General</a> 


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