The Week Ahead at the United Nations: 15-21 July 2019

15-21 July 2019


Monday 15 July


Today is World Youth Skills Day.

The 2019 High-level political forum on sustainable development organized by DESA, continues today. A new report, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, will be launched and three senior officials will discuss it at a press conference:


Other events of note:

  • The Girl Up Leadership Summit opens in Washington, DC.
  • The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’s 73rd Session continues until 19 July.
  • The Human Rights Council/Expert mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples’ 12th session continues until 19 July
  • The International Law Commission’s 71st Session continues until 9 August. 

The Security Council discusses the situation in the Middle East, and then is briefed by the Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Later it focuses on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

The President of the General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, joins Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women and Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and UNDP Administrator to discuss gender equality and women’s leadership at a press briefing.

Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s Director-General, and Mark Lowcock, the USG for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA), convene a high-level event on the Ebola outbreak in the DRCongo.


Tuesday 16 July

The Security Council holds a briefing on a letter from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation on the situation in Ukraine (s/2014/264).

Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies briefs reporters about new guidelines to help cities prepare for heatwaves – extreme weather events that are now among the world’s deadliest natural hazards.


Wednesday 17 July 

The Security Council debates the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals then is briefed on implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda.

Antonio Vitorino, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration, briefs reporters on the Migration Multi-Party Trust Fund.


Thursday 18 July

Today is Nelson Mandela International Day.

The Security Council holds a briefing on the Middle East, followed by consultations on Yemen, and a briefing on “peacebuilding and sustaining peace: partnerships for national-owned transitions.” 

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, briefs reporters on “Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions for Climate Action.”
Friday 19 July


The Security Council holds a briefing on Colombia, followed by consultations on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

DESA hosts the ECOSOC High-level segment.


In case you missed it:
  • For This Week at the UN in 60 Seconds, watch here.
  • Pledging ongoing UN support during visit to cyclone-hit areas, SG Guterres praises resilience of Mozambicans
  • As monsoon rains pound Rohingya refugee camps, UN food relief agency steps up aid
  • UN Human Rights Council stands firm on LGBTI violence, Syria detainees and Philippines’ ‘war on drugs’
  • Science is key to pushing forward the 2030 Agenda, UN development forum told
  • New UN poverty report reveals vast inequalities between countries
  • Five myths about peacekeeping (Washington Post)


For more information:


UN chief condemns terror attack in Kismayo, Somalia

13 July 2019

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the terrorist attack that took place on July 12 in southern Somalia.

In a statement released on Friday, Mr. Guterres expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the attack and wished a swift recovery to the injured.

The attack took place in the port city of Kismayo where, according to media reports, a suicide bomber drove a car containing explosives into the Asasey hotel. Gunmen then stormed the building.

The terror group al-Shabab has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, which is believed to have led to the deaths of at least 26 people, making it the worst to hit Kismayo since al-Shabab was forced out of the city in 2012.

The killings took place around 4 months after al-Shabab set off two car bombs in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, reportedly killing more than 20 people, and injuring scores more.

The Secretary-General reaffirmed the support and solidarity of the United Nations with the people of Somalia in their pursuit of a peaceful future.

UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Secretary-General António Guterres speaking at the Security Council


UN chief meets survivors of devastating cyclones

12 July 2019

Meeting schoolchildren in Mozambique’s second city of Beira on Friday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres learned that the homes of nearly every student had been destroyed by cyclones.

The UN chief was on the final day of his visit to Mozambique, to see for himself the damage caused by Cyclones Kenneth and Idai, the most destructive to cross southern Africa in decades.

Mr. Guterres promised the children whose school roof was ripped off by Cyclone Idai, will be rebuilt, and to continue their studies. He also met a group of disabled survivors and declared that the UN is committed to doing everything possible to help the most vulnerable people.

He later visited the Mandruzi camp, which shelters 480 families displaced by the catastrophe and living in tents provided by UN agencies, where he told waiting media that the current situation underlines the gravity of the problem, and the need for international aid.

Read our full story here.

One month of Arctic fires equivalent to Sweden’s annual emissions, says UN weather agency

The climate crisis, which has led to unusually hot and dry conditions, is amplifying the risk of wildfires, particularly in the Arctic. The news comes from the latest World Meteorological Organization (WMO) briefing, which was released on Friday.

Over 100 intense and long-lived wildfires have been tracked since the beginning of June. That month alone, the fires emitted 50 megatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to Sweden’s total annual emissions.

The UN weather agency warns that, as well as the direct threat from burning, wildfires also release harmful pollutants such as particulate matter and toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, into the atmosphere.

The WMO has produced an animation explaining some of the risks of wildfires, and what they are doing to improve forecasting, and help farmers adapt to the changing climate:

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Secretary-General António Guterres visits Mandruzi Resettlement Site in Mozambique.