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UN Updates: May 4, 2015

*Keywords: SG=Secretary-General, DSG=Deputy Secretary-General

SG: Over the weekend, the Secretary-General held a retreat with the heads of 18 regional and other organizations over the weekend in Greentree, stating that his goals for the meeting were to: 1) exchange views on pressing concerns, speaking specifically on the rise of violent extremism; and, 2) strengthen collaboration, citing the importance of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.

SG Travel: Will travel to Gdansk, Poland, Moscow, Russia and Kyiv, Ukraine May 7-10. In Poland, the SG will attend the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and meet with President Bronislaw Komorowski. In Ukraine, he will meet with President Petro Poroshenko and other Ukrainian Government officials. And while in Russia, he will attend the celebration for Victory and will meet with President Vladimir Putin.

Nepal: Over the weekend Valerie Amos, Christos Stylianides, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, and Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the WFP concluded their visits to Nepal. Today, with the support of the Nepalese Ministry of Health and Population and WHO, UNICEF launched an emergency vaccination campaign as fear grows of a measles outbreak. A cargo plane carrying 40 metric tons of life-saving supplies landed in Kathmandu today, which will provide assistance to 1.7 million children.

SC: Today, Ambassador Murmokaite of Lithuania briefed the press on the program of month for May.  Highlights include: A briefing on Yemen May 8, two open debates (one May 13 on small arms and another May 27 on the protection of journalists in conflict zones featuring the DSG), and consultations on Syria May 7, UNMISS May 14 and Yemen May 20.  There will also be a briefing May 29 on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

GA: The SG addressed the GA high-level debate on strengthening cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations this morning. He called for further solidarity in advancing common values, stressing that developing common strategies and joint programs have enhanced our ability to serve the world’s people.

Appointments: The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Robert Piper of Australia as Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, at the ASG level. Mr. Piper will also serve as UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He replaces James Rawley of the United States.

Forum on Forests: DSG Jan Eliasson spoke at the opening of the 11th Session of the UN Forum on Forests today, stating that Member States have a formidable task of creating a strengthened International Arrangement on Forests over the next two weeks.

World Humanitarian Summit: Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos arrived in Guatemala today for the World Humanitarian Summit Latin American and the Caribbean regional consultation and Seventh Regional Meeting on International Humanitarian Assistance Mechanisms. During her visit, Ms. Amos is expected to meet Government officials, representatives of regional bodies and humanitarian partners to discuss ways of strengthening capacities to meet humanitarian challenges in the region.

MDGs/SDGs: In an interview with the UN News Centre, Jeffrey Sachs stressed that 2015 is “the big year for sustainable development,” and a unique opportunity to set new goals and ways to achieve them. Answering a question on whether it’s possible to eradicate extreme poverty, Sachs said “it’s a matter of mobilizing the will and the commitment to follow through”.

Syria: Members of the Security Council received an update this morning on the situation in Yarmouk, Syria, from Staffan de Mistura, the SG’s Special Envoy for Syria, and Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director of Affairs in Syria for UNWRA. UNRWA reported that the situation inside Yarmouk continues to be marked by intensive armed conflict. Mr. de Mistura is expected to speak to the press in Geneva tomorrow.

Yemen: Insecurity and the shortage of fuel continue to hinder the delivery of urgently needed assistance to displaced families. OCHA said that aid partners have reported difficulty providing medical services and food as result of the current security situation and continued airstrikes targeting Haradh, Sa’ada and Sana’a.

South Sudan: Today South Sudan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, leaving the U.S. and Somalia as the only two countries that have not fully ratified the treaty.

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