Oct 03, 2016

The Week Ahead

The horrifying carnage in Syria continues to dominate much of UNHQ’s attention, as barbaric attacks on hospitals and vulnerable people continue. “What is Aleppo?” may be a punch-line in U.S. politics, but at the UN it has become the epicenter of concern.

On a brighter note is climate change: India’s ratification of the Paris Agreement and expectations that European nations soon will too mean the historic pact is likely to enter into force by year-end.  Climate’s role in sustainable development will get prominent attention in Quito, Ecuador later this month, where Habitat III convenes to focus on a new urban agenda that advances key sustainable-development goals. And climate is of course the centerpiece of the COP meetings in Marrakech, Morocco next month.


UN officials in Washington:

The SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, will speak at a US Institute of Peace meeting on ISIS and Sex Slavery: How Can the International Community Move from Condemnation to Action? (10/5)

Among the UN officials are heading to the annual World Bank meetings are Peter Thomson, the President of the General Assembly, DSG Jan Eliasson, UNDP’s Helen Clark, UNICEF’s Anthony Lake, Justin Forsyth, and DESA’s Alex Trepelkov, Shari Spiegel and Lenny Montiel.

Kim Won-soo, the USG and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, will attend an intergovernmental meeting on Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation. (10/6-7)

Next week, the SRSG for MINUSMA, the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, will visit for meetings with Administration officials and others. (10/12-13)

Last week:

Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the SRSG for MINUSCA, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic, visited Capitol Hill and met with US officials in the State Department. (9/26-27)

Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, was among the speakers at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit. (9/28-30)


The Secretary-General:

The Secretary-General is in Europe this week:

In Brussels, he will attend a conference on Afghanistan hosted by the European Union and Afghanistan’s government (10/5).

At the Vatican, he will meet with Pope Francis and participate in the first global conference on faith and sport. Then he will go to Rome for meeting with Italian officials. (10/6)

In Hamburg, he will participate in a meeting on the Law of the Sea and receive Germany’s national sustainability award. (10/7)

En route back to New York, the Secretary-General will address the Assembly of the Arctic Circle in Reykjavik, and receive an award for his work on climate change. He also will mark the 30th anniversary of the Reagan-Gorbachev summit with an address at the University of Iceland, and meet with its government’s senior officials.

Ban Ki-moon began his visit in Geneva, meeting with Swiss officials, and with World Economic Forum and International Committee of the Red Cross representatives. (10/1)  He also addressed graduate students and faculty, and met with UNHCR’s executive committee and the Federal Council of Switzerland (10/3-4). Other recent news:

On Non-Violence Day, Ban highlights link between peace and nature  (10/2)

UN Secretary-General in Colombia to witness signing of historic peace accord (9/26)

At the Security Council:

Russia holds the presidency of the Security Council through October. In addition to work on Syria, the Council also is expected to renew mandates for interdicting vessels off the coast of Libya that are used for human trafficking, including smuggling migrants; and for MINUSTAH, the UN mission in Haiti. Other discussions include Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, and UN peacekeeping missions in the Central African Republic, the DR Congo, Mali, Darfur, and the Western Sahara.

Members will cast color-coded straw votes for candidates to be the next Secretary-General (10/5). It will be the first indication of which candidate may face a veto from one of the five permanent members. The General Assembly plans an informal dialogue with a new entrant in the race, Kristalina Georgieva of Bulgaria. (10/3)

Last week, the Security Council met in emergency sessions on the crisis in Syria:

OCHA calls situation a “Critical test of the capacity and willingness of those in this chamber to make a decision and take action” (9/29)

Amid political jockeying, grandstanding, Syria is bleeding: UN aid chief (9/29)


Other news from Syria:

Ban to set up probe into attack on aid convoy in Western Aleppo (9/30)

WHO calls for immediate safe evacuation of the sick and wounded from conflict areas (9/30)

Fewer than 30 doctors left in war-torn Aleppo, UN health agency warns (9/30)

‘No words left’ to describe suffering of children in Aleppo –UNICEF (9/28)

Children in Aleppo trapped in ‘living nightmare’ – UNICEF (9/28)

“The murder of the innocents in Aleppo must stop” – UNICEF chief (9/20)


Around the UN System:

The likelihood that the climate accord will enter into force before year-end is growing. India is the latest to ratify the Paris Agreement; European Union countries are expected to begin depositing their ratification documents individually in the coming days. The agreement enters into force 30 days after documents of at least 55 countries, who account for at least 55% of global emissions, are deposited with the Secretary-General. Also:

India ratifies Paris climate pact, brings its entry into force ‘tantalisingly close’ (10/2)

As CO2 levels hit high, UN urges stronger measures to curb emissions (9/30)

The General Assembly will hold its 23rd plenary meeting on the Report of the Secretary-General on the UN’s work, and on global health and foreign policy. (10/5)

Last week:

Health ministers from throughout the Western Hemisphere met in PAHO/WHO headquarters in Washington last week to discuss major public-health challenges in the Americas – including the Zika virus – and set priorities for action to address them. WHO chief Margaret Chan and the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, were among those attending. Also: World Health Organization declares the Americas is measles-free (9/27)
The UN Human Rights Council concluded its two-day debate on race, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. (9/27) Also:

Council discusses DR Congo, Libya, Ukraine and Burundi (9/27)

Council creates mandate on the right to development (9/29)

In Case You Missed It:

First Access to Info Day celebrated all over the world (9/30)

UNHCR planning ahead of Mosul offensive intensifies: 700,000+ will need help (9/29)

Afghanistan: UN mission condemns killing of at least 15 civilians in airstrike (9/29)

UN pays tribute to Shimon Peres, ‘tireless’ worker for Middle East peace (9/28)

Repealing anti-abortion laws would save the lives of nearly 50,000 women a year (9/27)

Vast majority of world – 6.76 billion people – living with excessive air pollution (9/27)

IAEA: New mobile app to help doctors evaluate cancer in women (9/27)

Coalition raises alarm about unmet contraceptive needs of hundreds of millions (9/26)


UN Reports:

Secretary-General reports and notes:

African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (9/27)

Situation in Somalia (9/6)

Implementation of Security Council resolutions on humanitarian assistance for Aleppo (9/16)

Extreme poverty and human rights (8/26)

United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (8/10)

International cooperation on humanitarian assistance in natural disasters (8/12)

Relationship between disarmament and development (9/9)

Other reports:

World Economic and Social Survey: Climate Change Resilience: An opportunity for reducing inequalities (10/3)

World Health Organization: Ambient air pollution: A global assessment of exposure and burden of disease (9/27)

World Bank: The Cost of Air Pollution : Strengthening the Economic Case for Action

Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Sudan (9/22)

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (8/29)

IAEA: Climate change and nuclear power

IAEA: Nuclear Power and Sustainable Development

UNCTAD: Trade and Development Report 2016


International Days:

3 October                           World Habitat Day

5 October                           World Teachers Day

10 October                        World Mental Health Day

11 October                        International Day of the Girl Child

13 October                        International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

15 October                        International Day for Rural Women

16 October                        World Food Day