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Note to Correspondents: Statement by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen

Amman, 21 June 2018 

I will continue my consultations with all parties to avoid further military escalation in Hudaydah, which I fear would have severe political and humanitarian consequences.

My priority now is to avoid a military confrontation in Hudaydah and to swiftly return to political negotiations.

I am encouraged by the constructive engagement of the Ansar Allah leadership in Sana’a and I look forward to my upcoming meetings with President Hadi and the Government of Yemen. I am confident that we can reach an agreement to avert any escalation of violence in Hudaydah.

While in Sana’a, I also briefed the Security Council on 18 June and announced my intention to relaunch political negotiations in the coming weeks.

I reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to reach a negotiated political settlement to end the conflict in Yemen. I welcome the commitment and willingness of the parties to engage in a UN facilitated intra-Yemeni political process.

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT “The Plight and Rights of Children Born of War”

19 June 2018

Sexual violence in conflict is a threat to our collective security and a stain on our common humanity.

Its effects can echo across generations, through trauma, stigma, poverty, poor health and unwanted pregnancy. Children conceived through wartime rape often struggle with issues of identity and belonging for decades after the guns have fallen silent.

They may be left in a legal limbo, or at risk of becoming stateless. They are vulnerable to recruitment, trafficking and exploitation, with broad implications for peace and security, as well as human rights.

Their mothers may be marginalized and shunned by their own families and communities. These women and children are sometimes seen as affiliates of armed and violent extremist groups, rather than as victims and survivors.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we amplify the voices of these forgotten victims of war, who suffer stigma, shame and exclusion in societies polarized by armed conflict.

The United Nations stands ready to work with governments, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, and all partners to support children born of rape in wartimeand their mothers, and those working on the frontlines to support them.

Let us reaffirm our global commitment to eliminate the scourge of conflict-related sexual violence and to provide justice, services and support to all those affected.

Note to Correspondents: Statement by Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on the situation in Hudaydah, Yemen

New York, 14 June 2018

The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, expressed grave concern at the potentially disastrous impact on civilians of the militaryoffensive against the port of Hudaydah, launched on 13 June by pro-government forces backed by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), against Houthi fighters who have been holding the port.

Yemen is currently considered to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 10.4 million people at risk of famine and Hudaydah is the entry point for seventy per cent of humanitarian aid. In addition to the destruction that the offensive is likely to cause – and the risk to the estimated 600,000 civilians who live in and around the port – closing the port for any length of time could have a disastrous impact on the ability of humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance to a population that desperately needs it.

“Starvation of civilians as a method of war is a war crime and was condemned by the Security Council in resolution 2417 of 24 May 2018. It seems that the first test of this resolution is Yemen: the Yemeni port of Hudaydah is a lifeline for the delivery of aid and the Coalition’s air strikes can kill many more people over time through famine and hunger when damaging such civilian infrastructure.”

Special Adviser Dieng fully supports the call by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, for all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and to find a political solution to the conflict, stressing that there can be no military solution.

He called on the parties to uphold their obligations under international law in the conduct of hostilities, in particular the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution. “Attacks that are indiscriminate or directly target civilians or civilian objects may constitute war crimes. All the parties to the conflict, as well as the international community, have a responsibility to protect populations from atrocity crimes in Yemen.”

The Special Adviser called for accountability for alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed during the conflict in Yemen.

New York, 14 June 201

Note to Correspondents: Statement by Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy for Yemen on the situation in Hudaydah

13 June 2018

I am extremely concerned about the military developments in Hudaydah. Further military escalation will have serious consequences on the dire humanitarian situation in the country and will have an impact on my efforts to resume political negotiations to reach an inclusive political settlement to the conflict in Yemen. I cannot overemphasize that there is no military solution to the conflict.

We continue to use every opportunity to avoid military confrontation in Hudaydah. We are in constant contact with all the parties involved to negotiate arrangements for Hudaydah that would address political, humanitarian, security concerns of all concerned parties.

I call on the parties to engage constructively with our efforts to spare Hudaydah any military confrontation. I also call on the parties to exercise restraint and to give peace a chance.

The United Nations is determined to move ahead with the political process despite the recent developments. I reiterate the strong commitment of the United Nations to reaching a political solution to end the conflict in Yemen.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — REMARKS AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY REVIEW OF HIV-AIDS

New York, 12 June 2018

[as delivered]

I am pleased to be with you today.

We are at the halfway point to the 2020 Fast-Track commitments agreed by the General Assembly in 2016.

The world is making good progress towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

More people have access to HIV testing and treatment.

Access to antiretroviral therapy has expanded by more than 20 million people since 1990.

As mother-to-child transmission continues to decline, and fewer children are living with HIV, we are moving closer to bringing about an AIDS-free generation.

But progress is uneven and fragile.

On all continents, key populations at higher risk of infection continue to be left further and further behind.

And young women remain unacceptably vulnerable where prevalence is high.

We must empower young people to protect themselves from HIV.

This includes providing a full range of sexual and reproductive health services and rights, harm reduction for people who use drugs, and access to anti-retroviral treatment for young people living with HIV.

Prevention is the key to breaking the cycle of HIV transmission.

The Prevention 2020 Road Map focuses explicitly on adolescent girls, young women and key populations at risk.

This sharpened focus on human rights, key populations and gender equality is essential.

Greater leadership and investment must follow suit to remove the social and political barriers that keep so many beyond the reach of necessary services.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for an integrated approach to development challenges.

Our efforts to end HIV are connected to other areas, such as malaria, tuberculosis, access to medicines, and the increasing threat of anti-microbial resistance.

Success will require us to strengthen links across these areas and build resilient and sustainable systems for health, underpinned by principles of human rights and equity.

This year’s High-Level Meetings of the General Assembly on Tuberculosis and Non-Communicable Diseases, as the President just mentioned, are key opportunities to inform a new way of thinking and working that moves beyond the disease-specific silos of yesterday.

Let us also look ahead to the 2019 High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Care to build coherence across the global health landscape on financing, programming and accountability.

The progress towards ending this epidemic would not have been possible without forceful advocacy, solidarity and a spirit of shared responsibility.

We must maintain this spirit.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of one of the most significant commitments to ending the AIDS epidemic: the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.

We commend the United States of America for its steadfast and generous commitment.

Next month, scientists and advocates from around the world – many of whom are with us today – will gather in Amsterdam for the 22nd International AIDS Conference.

From the beginning of the global response, this intersection of science and advocacy has helped to shape policy and expand access to rights-based treatment and support for millions around the world.

At this pivotal moment, we must renew our focus and shared commitment to a world free of AIDS.

The pandemic is not over, but it can be.

We must all do our part.

Let us move forward in a bold new spirit of partnership to overcome the cycle of HIV transmission and deliver health and well-being for all.

Thank you.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — OPENING REMARKS TO THE 11TH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF STATES PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

New York, 12 June 2018

[as delivered]

Distinguished Chair,

Excellencies,

Fellow panellists,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to join you at this 11thsession of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This Convention protects the rights of some
1.5 billion people around the world, and is one of the most widely-ratified international human rights treaties, with 177 ratifications since its adoption in 2006.

It is a historical commitment which reaffirms that people with disabilities are entitled to exactly the same rights as everyone else, and that societies must be organized so that all people, including those with disabilities, can exercise their rights freely.

But signing and ratifying the Convention is not enough. Implementation is essential. Countries must apply the Convention to their development policies, investments and legal systems, if we are tofulfil the central pledge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: to leave no one behind.

Societies will never achieve the SDGs without the full participation of everyone, including people with disabilities. We cannot afford to ignore or marginalize the contributions of 1.5 billion people.

Upholding the rights of people with disabilities is a moral imperative. But it is not an act of charity. It is a recognition of rights and a practical necessity, if we are to build healthy, sustainable societies to the benefit of everyone – those with disabilities, and those without.

 

Distinguished Delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

I strongly believe that despite many international agreements and initiatives, we must all – Member States, the UN system, civil society, the private sector, and all stakeholders – do much more to ensure that people with disabilities have full access to opportunities and can participate fully in society.

This is why advancing the rights of persons with disabilities is firmly situated at the heart of the 2030 Agenda – our global blueprint for peaceful, prosperous societies on a healthy planet.

From the workplace to public transport systems, from concert halls to cyberspace and daily social interactions, people with disabilities face overt discrimination, stereotyping, and lack of respect for their basic human rights.

There is also a strong gender dimension to disability. Women and girls are disproportionately affected, particularly in the poorest countries in the world. Every minute, more than 30 women are seriouslyinjured or disabled during childbirth.

Women and girls with disabilities face multiple barriers to accessing education, health services and jobs. Without women’s empowerment and gender equality, millions of women will continue to suffer from double discrimination based on both their gender and their disability.

We must all find new approaches and tools to work for and with people with disabilities.

These should include mainstreaming disability in national legislation and development strategies; and engaging and empowering people with disabilities, and the organizations that represent them.

It must also include raising awareness. Discrimination against people with disabilities has been going on for centuries. It will take major efforts to challenge stereotypes and to change mindsets.

The powerful advocacy of the disability rights movement and the inspiring achievements of women and men with disabilities in all walks of life, from the science lab to the sports field, are creatinglasting change.

It will also be crucial to continue and expand the work that United Nations agencies are doing to support Governments and develop their capacity on these issues.

We need to strengthen the policy frameworks and laws on disability at the multilateral and global level, in line with the Convention and the 2030 Agenda. If people with disabilities are to be part of our efforts to achieve the SDGs, we must make institutions, mechanisms and processes coherent and coordinated.

This is the backdrop for the first flagship report on disability and development, which I will release later this year. I thank the many experts from Member States, United Nations Agencies, organizations representing people with disabilities and other stakeholders who are contributing for the preparation of that report.

At the same time, in order to make sure that the United Nations is leading by example, I have also initiated a comprehensive review of our work in this area.

The review will look at all aspects of how the United Nations addresses disability, from accessibility, where there is still a lot to go, and employment to mainstreaming disabilities across all our work, particularly development and humanitarian aid. It will inform a new UN Action Plan and an accountability framework to help us aim higher and live up to our promises.

I count on the strong support of Member States and other stakeholders as we move forward with this effort.

This 11th session of the Conference of States Parties is an opportunity to reflect on gaps and identify concrete steps to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in full, and in a timely way.

I look forward to the outcomes of this Conference.

I count on your continued efforts by, for and with people with disabilities.

Together, we can remove barriers and raise awareness, so that people with disabilities can play a full part in every sphere of society, around the world.

Thank you.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — MESSAGE ON WORLD OCEANS DAY

8 June 2018

The oceans make our blue planet unique in our solar system — and not just visually. They help regulate the global climate and are the ultimate source of the water that sustains all life on Earth, from coral reefs to snow-covered mountains, from tropical rain forests to mighty rivers, and even deserts. However, the ability of the oceans to provide their essential services is being threatened by climate change, pollution and unsustainable use.

On this World Oceans Day, we are highlighting the problem of plastic pollution. Eighty per cent of all pollution in the sea comes from land, including some 8 million tons of plastic waste each year. It chokes waterways, harms communities that depend on fishing and tourism, kills turtles and birds, whales and dolphins, and finds its way to the most remote areas of the planet and throughout the food chain on which we ultimately rely. Unless we change course, plastic waste could soon outweigh all the fish in the oceans.

We must work individually and collectively to stop this preventable tragedy and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, including plastic. Action starts athome, and speaks louder than words. The United Nations aims to lead by example, and more than 30 of our agencies have now begun working to end the use of single-use plastic.

But everyone needs to play a part. You can make a difference today – and every day — by doing simple things like carrying your own water bottle, coffee cup and shopping bags, recycling the plastic you buy, avoiding products that contain microplastics and volunteering for a local clean-up.

If we all do a little, our combined actions can be massive. On this World Oceans Day, I urge governments, communities and individuals alike to celebrate our oceans by helping clear them of pollution and ensure they remain vibrant for generations to come.

250,000 people ‘may lose everything – even their lives’ in assault on key Yemeni port city: UN humanitarian coordinator

8 June 2018 – Humanitarian Aid

Any attack on the key port city of Hodeidah in Yemen “will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians” and would entail around 250,000 civilians losing everything – “even their lives” – the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the war-torn country said on Friday.

Lise Grande’s statement comes amid ongoing fighting in the Arabian peninsula State, where 22 million people are in need of aid and protection; three-quarters of the entire population.

Around 8.4 million of this number are severely food insecure and at risk of starvation, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

OCHA has warned repeatedly of the risks to ordinary Yemenis of being caught up in crossfire, since a military campaign intensified, involving a Saudi-backed international coalition and Houthi opposition forces which escalated in March 2015.

Since then, according to the UN human rights office, OHCHR, 6,439 civilians have been killed and more than 10,000 have been injured.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva on behalf of Ms Grande, Jens Laerke said that in a “prolonged worst case (scenario), we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything – even their lives”.

In response to the threat of military attack, humanitarian agencies had developed “contingency plans”, he added.

The country’s already weak infrastructure has also suffered tremendous damage, including to massive portside cranes in Hodeidah; a city which is “the single most important point of entry for food and basic supplies” for the whole country, Laerke told reporters.

Close to 70 per cent of Yemen’s imports, including commercial and humanitarian goods, enter through Hodeidah and Saleef to the north.

As many as 600,000 people live in and around Hodeidah, Mr Laerke continued, before repeating the UN Humanitarian Coordinator’s comments that the Red Sea port city needed to stay open to prevent famine and “a recurrence of the cholera epidemic”, that began in October 2016.

By the end of January 2018, the number of suspected cases had risen to more than one million, according to the World Health Organization(WHO).

In addition to concerns for civilians around Hodeidah, needs in Yemen remain massive, said Laerke who described ongoing emergency as “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world”.

“Across the country, people are desperate for food, medical help and protection,” he explained. “This is why humanitarian organizations have dramatically ramped up the amount of assistance we are providing.”

The Deputy Secretary-General — Remarks at High-level Panel on Transformational Energy Access in LDCs

Geneva, 6 June 2018

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to be with you to discuss the all-important issue of transforming energy access in the Least Developed Countries.

Let me start by commending the Board and the Secretariat for aligning the work of UNCTAD with the 2030 Agenda and Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

The ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development Forum in April and the 2018 report of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development benefited fromUNCTAD’s new inter-governmental expert groups.

I look forward to the next session of the intergovernmental group of experts on financing for development, which will focus on debt.

In September the Secretary-General will host a High-level Meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda and accelerating the implementation of the SDGs.

UNCTAD’s contributions will be valuable. We look forward to their participation in the preparation of the High Level Meeting.

One priority is accelerating the achievement of SDG7 on affordable and clean energy for all.

This is also a major contribution to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy sector.

In September next year, the Secretary-General will convene a Climate Change Summit in New York to increase climate action and ambition.

Advancing the energy transition will be one of the Summit’s transformative areas.

It is the golden thread that links most of the SDGs.

In particular, it is a key to leaving no one behind.

Universal access to modern energy is a catalyst of inclusivity.

It improves livelihoods and social mobility, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

It benefits health by reducing risks from outdoor and household air pollution, and aids access to clean water and refrigeration.

It powers improved medical facilities, especially in rural areas, enabling the safe storage of medicines and vaccines.

It also raises incentives for doctors to work and settle in rural areas.

Reaching SDG7 therefore contributes to SDG3 on good health and well-being.

Access to modern energy services can also enhance the quality of education.

In sub-Saharan Africa, some 90 per cent of children attend primary schools that lack electricity and thus electric lights, refrigerators, fans, computers and printers.

Energy is thus an enabler of SDG4 on universal quality education.

The production of energy and access to modern energy also has important gender dimensions.

The traditional gender division of labour within households, especially in rural areas of the Least Developed Countries, typically means women are overburdened with household and unpaid work, including fetching water, gathering firewood, and preparing food.

The availability of modern energy, at both household and community level, can significantly reduce time spent on these activities and contribute to achieving SDG5 on gender equality.

So, we see how SDG7 links so much of the 2030 Agenda.

In addition to social benefits, SDG7 is also at the core of the economic SDGs, namely Goals 8, 9 and 10, helping to increase productivity, enable production and innovation, and reduce inequality.

Rapid technological progress in renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar, has brought costs down.

It is opening up unprecedented opportunity for the electrification of rural areas through decentralized generation and mini-grids as well as utility-scale renewables.

This will accelerate rural development.

And, by enhancing agricultural productivity and food security, it will lead to SDG2 on ending hunger.

So, ladies and gentlemen, it is clear just how important SDG7 is.

But today, progress on the SDG7 targets is still falling short — universal access to electricity; clean fuels and technologies for cooking, a doubling of the rate of improvement of energy efficiency; and a substantial increase in the share of renewables in the global energy mix.

Providing the required finance for SDG7, as well as transferring the requisite technology, is a huge undertaking.

It requires both the right national policies and stronger international support.

Achieving universal access to modern energy in LDCs by 2030 will be costly.

It will require investments between $12 and $40 billion dollars a year.

This far exceeds currently available resources.

Total official development assistance to the energy sector is just $3 billion dollars a year, domestic resources for public investment are scarce in most LDCs, and most also face serious limits to borrowing without risking an unsustainable debt burden.

And private investors show little enthusiasm for supporting electricity infrastructure in LDCs.

Massive investments are needed both from the public and private sector.

To that end, the President of the General Assembly is organizing an event on 11 June in New York, in cooperation with UN entities such as UNCTAD, on sustainable finance.

It should advance our knowledge about how best to finance massive deployment of basic services such as energy access.

I am also coordinating with UNCTAD and other entities a High-Level event during the General Assembly to improve our knowledge of how best to finance the SDGs in all countries.

Because energy technologies, and particularly renewable technologies, are constantly evolving, it is critical that LDCs gain access to the technologies suited to their particular conditions and circumstances, and that they strengthen the capacity of their energy sectors to absorb such technologies.

While expanding international trade and investment has helped, effective technology transfer that enables countries to leapfrog to sustainable energy is necessary.

This requires the acquisition of relevant knowledge and capabilities, both by actors in the energy supply chain and by end users.

However, international technology-transfer mechanisms have an inadequate track record in this regard.

The international community needs to promote better Science Technology and Innovation policy cooperation and encourage maximum use of existing mechanisms for technology transfer, such as those contained in the WTO TRIPs Agreement, the UNFCCC and the LDC Technology Bank.

South-South and triangular cooperation must also play a leading role.

Excellencies,

To be strong partners of countries as they deliver the 2030 Agenda – across all SDGs – the United Nations too must change. No single entity is large enough – or has all the necessary skillsets – to deliver on the world’s expectations.

But together, the United Nations development system offers unapparelled expertise and global reach.

Together, we can also help countries leverage financing and partnerships at a scale we have never reached before.

To do that, we must become more than the sum of our parts.

This is precisely what the reform process launched by the Secretary-General in assuming his functions.

On 31 May, we crossed a critical milestone in this process, with the United Nations General Assembly issuing a landmark resolution that will allow us to move forward.

The resolution endorses the creation of a more robust UN coordination system, with – at its centre – a Resident Coordinator system that will be independent from any individual entity. But that will be linked to all entities, funds, programmes, specialized and non-resident entities.

Its strengths will come from the system and its diversity. We foresee a coordination system that is less focused on processes, and more on ensuring stronger response to country needs, drawing on the capacities, expertise and skill sets of all entities, at all levels.

We will be able to more easily expand the reach of an entity like UNCTAD as part of the UN development system’s family on the ground, and do so in a more flexible,efficient and effective manner than before.

Particularly, the adopted proposals for a revised UNDAF process and a new generation of UN country teams are indeed meant to better tap into the resources of the entire system and foster greater enhanced substantive collaboration among UN entities.

This reform is not about how individual agencies perform. It is about what we can, and must, do together to better service countries and people in their road towards the SDGs.

In the coming months, the Secretary-General and I will be working closely with all entities of the UN development system to ensure that we are ready to transition to a new Resident Coordinator system – and a new generation of UN Country Teams – by January 2019.

We welcome your inputs moving forward. Reforming the UN development system is our joint endeavour.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen,

Universal access to modern energy is essential to the 2030 Agenda and its core pledge of “leaving no one behind”.

International action to accelerate progress towards SDG7 is gathering speed and new partnerships to accelerate progress towards this goal are being set up.

A major impulse should be provided by the next High Level Political Forum, next month in New York.

I trust that the special needs and conditions of the LDCs will be acknowledged and acted on by the international community.

Thank you.

المبعوث الأممي الى اليمن يغادر صنعاء ويجدد عزمه على دفع عجلة عملية السلام

مطار صنعاء الدولي 5 حزيران/ يونيو 2018

إنه لمن دواعي سروري ان أزور صنعاء من جديد حيث قمت خلال زيارتي بعقد إجتماعات مثمرة وإيجابية مع قيادات أنصار الله والمؤتمر الشعبي العام، تمحورت حول رؤيتي لعملية السلام والتي سوف أقوم بمناقشتها في مجلس الأمن خلال الشهر الجاري. أود ان اعرب عن تفاؤلي تجاه ردود الفعل الإيجابية التي حظيت بها خلال هذه الزيارة وفي اجتماعاتي مع الحكومة اليمنية والأطراف الإقليمية في الأسابيع الماضية. أجدد عزمي على دفع عجلة عملية السلام الى الأمام لأن كل يوم يمر يزداد فيه عدد الضحايا من اليمنيين الأبرياء. هنالك الكثير من القضايا التي يجب التطرق اليها بشكل طارئ ومنها الوضع الإنساني وإستمرار إغلاق مطار صنعاء أمام الرحلات التجارية. أدعو الأطراف للعمل الجاد لإعادة فتح المطار امام الملاحة الجوية التجارية . لقد إستمعت الى وجهات نظر العديد من الخبراء وقد اعربوا عن قلقهم البالغ من أي هجوم على مدينة الحديدة ومن التبعات الإنسانية الخطيرة والتي يمكن تفاديها. كما اني أخشى تأثير هجوم كهذا على العملية السياسية . نحن نعمل بجد من اجل تحريك مسار العملية السياسية كما نهدف الى إعادة إحياء المفاوضات في القريب العاجل. لذلك أدعو الأطراف اليمنية الى خلق مناخ ملائم لاستئناف العملية السياسية والحد من العنف. سوف أناقش ما ذكرتة مع مجلس الأمن في إحاطتي له بعد إسبوعين.