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05-07-2022 | Press Conferences

Bi-Weekly Press Briefing 05 July 2022

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Human Rights Council

Rolando Gomez, for the Human Rights Council (HRC), said the Council this morning was hearing the presentation of E. Tendayi Achiume, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It would be followed by an interactive discussion.

This afternoon there would be a report by the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine. There would also be an update on the situation of human rights in Ukraine from 24 Feb. to 15 May, in the context of the armed attack by the Russian Federation. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights would present both reports and these would be followed by an interactive discussion.

Mr. Gomez said that the concerned country would speak. As a concerned country mentioned in the title, Russia would also have the right to speak after Ukraine, but Mr. Gomez said it had opted not to. Russia was nevertheless on the list of speakers and could take the floor during the interactive discussion.

He added that tomorrow there would be a presentation on the Central African Republic and another on Libya.

On Thursday the Council would hear an oral update on Georgia. It would also start examining some 24 draft texts that were up for adoption over the last two days of the Council.

Food security situation in Central African Republic

Thomson Phiri, for the World Food Programme (WFP), said that the Central African Republic (CAR) was facing unprecedented needs and a deteriorating food security situation created by armed conflict, insecurity, and displacements, among other factors. There was high poverty, high unemployment, and a degradation of the agricultural production. WFP was anticipating a sharp increase in basic food commodities, which would make food less accessible to people. The crisis was having a devastating effect on CAR, with a lean season happening potentially earlier than usual. The impact that fuel and high transport costs was having on WFP’s own operations was also a concern. Teams on the ground were making a last-ditch effort to preposition food in advance of the rainy and lean seasons. They were struggling to do this because of several crises colliding in CAR.

Mr. Phiri added that humanitarian assistance would be needed beyond 2022 and 2023. WFP costs of operating were skyrocketing, and the Organization was appealing for 64.8 million USD to help it meet humanitarian needs.

He said there were 2.2 million people who were highly food insecure – this is nearly half the population of the country. He didn’t have figures on malnutrition, but he would try to find them.

Responding to a question, Mr. Phiri said there was no plan B if the appeal didn’t materialize. WFP would have to redistribute food, thus giving less to others, and this was not a desirable situation.

He said it was part of the strategy to buy food from countries like Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, where there are food losses. WFP was helping these countries to ensure wheat was being harvested.

Mr. Phiri added that WFP was setting records in reaching people – an estimated 152 million people by the end of 2022, which is not necessarily a good thing he said. Despite the best of plans, when there is a lack of fuel and other resources, little more can be done, and this has an impact on the entire humanitarian community in Central African Republic, he said.

Monkeypox situation

In answer to a question, Fadela Chaib, for the World Health Organization (WHO), said that, for the time being, there was no date fixed for an emergency committee meeting on monkeypox. The committee had recently decided not to consider monkeypox as an emergency of global concern, but they could decide to meet again if there were an increase in the number of cases, evidence of increased severity of the disease, a change in the virus, or enhanced transmission.

She added that WHO was collecting data in the 53 countries that were reporting cases in the five WHO regions. There would be a weekly external updated posted on the website, as of this week.

From 1 January and as of 30 June, she said there had been 5,322 confirmed laboratory cases and one death. Cases had been reported in all five regions with most cases (85 per cent) in Europe, followed by the regions of Africa, the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific. Only one case had been reported in Nigeria in the second quarter of the year. WHO was asking countries to pay attention to monkeypox to contain the spread of the virus. Most cases were identified among men having sex with men and people who were immunocompromised. There had also been cases among children.

Covid-19

Fadela Chaib, for the World Health Organization (WHO), said that the 12th meeting of the Emergency Committee for COVID-19 convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) would be held on Friday, 8 July. The Committee would issue a statement with a recommendation to the WHO and Member States. The full statement would be shared with the media over the weekend or early next week. The last Committee meeting took place on 11 April; it continued to meet regularly every three months.

Ms. Chaib said that tomorrow at 3 p.m. there would be the weekly press conference on COVID-19. She said there was a rise in cases in the world. A new document tomorrow would give the latest figures, including in the African region.

Responding to a question, Ms. Chaib said vaccination had averted many deaths. Since the beginning of the pandemic, WHO had been warning about the unequal distribution of vaccines in the world. The Organization continued to call for health workers, older people and other vulnerable people to get their primary doses. She said WHO was also seeing a lot of disinformation about vaccination and was trying to explain the science behind vaccination and how it could save lives and avert serious forms of COVID-19.

Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service, reminded the media that the United Nations was continuing to promote its Verified campaign with an aim to fighting disinformation and misinformation about the virus and vaccination.

Lugano Conference

Ms. Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service, said that the Secretary-General had delivered a video message at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano. In his message, Mr. Guterres said that Russia’s war in Ukraine has taken thousands of lives and forcibly displaced millions of people and millions of Ukrainians had lost their livelihoods, with 90 per cent being at risk of falling into poverty. The Secretary-General said that the United Nations was working closely with the Ukrainian Government and civil society partners and international NGOs to reach almost 9 million people with essential and life-saving assistance. He added that the international community was preparing the groundwork for the reconstruction and repair of critical infrastructure. This is a long road – but it must start now, he said.

Full statement available.

Announcements

At the end, Ms Vellucci said the Committee on Human Rights was concluding this morning its review of the report of Ireland. It would begin this afternoon the review of the report of Georgia. 

In terms of press conferences, she announced the following:

On Wednesday, 6 July at 2 p.m., UNDP would hold a press conference its new publication “Tackling the Cost-of-Living Crisis: Policy Responses to Mitigate Poverty and Vulnerability around the World”, with Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator and George Gray Molina, UNDP Senior Economist. The content is embargoed until Thursday, 7 July 2022 at 12:01 a.m. EST/ 6 a.m. CEST

On Wednesday 6 July at 5 p.m., the FAO would hold a press conference on the launch of the 2022 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, with speakers Cindy Holleman, FAO Senior Economist and SOFI Editor (Zoom); Sara Savastano, Director, Research and Impact Assessment Division, IFAD; Carlo Cafiero, Senior statistician and economist (Zoom); and Patrick Jacqueson, Senior Programme Officer, FAO [Later, additional speakers were announced for this press conference, including Francesco Branca, Director Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, WHO; Anna Lisa Conte, Director, Geneva Global Office, WFP; Annalies Borrel, Senior Nutrition Advisor, UNICEF].

On Friday 8 July at 2 p.m., the United Nations Statistics Division would hold a press conference on the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022, Francesca Perucci, Assistant Director UNSD/UNDESA and Dr. Samira Asma, Assistant Director-General, for Data, Analytics and Delivery.


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Bi-Weekly Press Briefing 05 July 2022 / 46:48

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