UN Geneva Press Briefing -22 March 2024
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Press Conferences | UNDP , UNECE , WHO

UN Geneva Press Briefing - 22 March 2024

UN GENEVA PRESS BRIEFING

22 March 2024

 

Health situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dr. Boureima Hama Sambo, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking from Kinshasa, stated that the overall health situation in the DRC was worsening, with alarming levels of violence, climate shocks and epidemics. Particularly in the eastern parts of the country, civilians were caught in fighting, and the DRC was now the second largest displacement crisis globally, second only to Sudan: close to ten million people were on the move. Poverty and hunger affected a quarter of the population, or 25.4 million people. Cholera and other infectious diseases were on the rise, and malnutrition was putting an additional stress on vulnerable populations. There had been at least 50,000 suspected cases and 470 deaths from cholera in 2023; this was particularly serious among internally displaced populations. The country was also battling a major epidemic of measles, with over 28,000 cases and 750 deaths so far in 2024.

Dr. Sambo explained that women and girls were paying the high price of armed conflict and displacement: 30,000 cases of gender-based violence had been reported in DRC in 2023 - among the highest in the world‚ÄčIn addition to the conflict challenges, severe flooding had also affected local communities recently, adding an additional strain to the fragile health systems. The still emerging outbreak of mpox had been on the rise since December 2023, with over 4,000 cases, 27 deaths, and the highest fatality rate in the world. More than 65 percent of suspected cases and around 85 percent of suspected deaths in the country were among children under 15 years of age. Youngest children were most susceptible to death. A threat of mpox spreading to neighbouring countries was growing, and the outbreak was growing among sex workers and men having sex with men. Meningitis, polio, yellow fever, rabies, Ebola, and a number of other diseases continued to circulate in the country, said Dr. Sambo. WHO was working closely with the national authorities on vaccination campaigns for polio and cholera, scaling up mental health and social support in the Kivu provinces, and delivering supplies. Humanitarian response remained severely underfunded. The world should not turn a blind eye on the situation which could have knock-off effects on the region and the world.

Dr. Rosamund Lewis, Technical Lead for mpox at the World Health Organization (WHO), emphasized that the expanding geography of mpox, high fatality rate, and increasing sexual transmission of the virus were all reasons of concern. WHO continued to monitor and respond to the global outbreak, as close to 30 countries had reported cases in February 2024. WHO was working closely with the DRC authorities on case prevention, control, and treatment.

Responding to questions from the media, Dr. Sambo explained that the 2024 Humanitarian Response Plan for the DRC stood at USD 2.6 billion, of which the health response part amounted to million 624 USD, to cover the needs of 8.7 million people. Only 14 percent had been collected so far, while the health needs were mounting. He said that access remained a challenge, particularly in the eastern parts of the country, where M23 continued to fight with government forces. Oral cholera vaccines had been successfully secured, and the WHO had vaccinated five million people, many of them children, in November. The case fatality rate of anthrax was very high, going up to 20 percent, and it remained a worrisome health threat. Dr. Lewis explained that the WHO was very concerned about mpox in children, where fatality rates in youngest children stood at one in ten. She reminded that very first human case of mpox had been detected in Zaire, now DRC, in a nine-month-old boy in 1970. There was a clear concern about the further spread of mpox, both zoonically and through person-to-person.

Weather Kids campaign

Sarah Bel, for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), informed that on 21 March, UNDP had launched the newest “Weather Kids” campaign to put the spotlight, once again, on the urgency of climate action. Next two years were the world’s best chance to keep on track to limit global warming and beat the climate crisis, said Ms. Bel.

Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that 1.3 billion media impressions had been reached across over 80 countries in just the first day of the campaign. Some 32 of those had been activations in which countries had created their own national language versions of the film. The videos had been played on at least 142 television stations, including major American outlets such as CNN and FOX. It was expected that the campaign would only grow from here on; India and the UK were launching their campaigns today, for example. It was an incredibly important time to be campaigning for climate action. Studies showed that the best way to motivate people to take action was to remind them of their own children and the future ahead. A snowball effect and expansion to social media were expected. Mr. Paldi stressed that the campaign was optimistic in nature, and that it was hoped that the limit of 1.5 degrees warming was within reach.

The original ”Weather Kids” video can be viewed here and the campaign website is here.

World Water Day

Thomas Croll-Knight, for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), said that today was the World Water Day with the focus on “water for peace”. The 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, known as the UN Water Convention, was a unique treaty serviced by UNECE that helped countries work together on shared rivers, lakes and groundwater. Mr. Croll-Knight informed that 153 countries worldwide shared waters with their neighbours, and more than 60 percent of global freshwater flews across national boundaries, such as in the Congo, Danube, Amazon and Mekong, in the basins of lakes such as Lake Geneva or the Great Lakes.

With rising water scarcity worldwide, cross-border water cooperation was considered crucial for regional stability, conflict prevention and sustainable development. Climate change impacts such as drought and flooding, as well as pollution and rising demands on use, were putting increasing stress on water resources, in both developing and developed countries. This could be a source of tension and conflict, but this stress was also a powerful driver of cooperation, since addressing water challenges in shared basins required working together across borders.

The Water Convention today had 52 Parties; its membership had been expanding fast, especially in Africa. While momentum for cooperation was strong, progress was still not fast enough. As shown by new data from the Third reporting exercise on SDG indicator 6.5.2 on transboundary water cooperation, coordinated by UNECE together with UNESCO, only 26 of the 153 countries worldwide sharing water resources had all their transboundary basin areas covered by operational arrangements for water cooperation, compared to 24 in 2020.

Full press release can be found here.

Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), read excerpts of the Secretary-General’s message, in which he emphasized that action for water was action for peace, today more needed than ever. Cooperating to safeguard water could power and sustain peace. Water stewardship can strengthen multilateralism and ties between communities and build resilience to climate disasters.

 

Announcements

Alessandra Vellucci, for the for the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), informed that on 26 March at 4:30 pm, there would be a hybrid press conference to present the report on obstacles to the implementation of the peace agreement in Colombia. Speaker would be Antonia Urrejola, international human rights expert appointed to identify and verify obstacles to the implementation of the Colombia 2016 Peace Agreement.

The Human Rights Council today continued the general debate under item 5 - human rights bodies and mechanisms. After that, the Council was expected to adopt Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Uzbekistan, Tuvalu, Germany, Djibouti, Canada, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, and Cuba.

The Human Rights Committee would have on 27 March a public meeting devoted to the follow-up of its concluding observations and of its views. The day after, on 28 March, the Committee would close its 140th session and issue its concluding observations on the seven countries reviewed: Chile, Namibia, Somalia, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Serbia, and Guyana.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would close this afternoon its 30th session and issue its concluding observations on the seven country reports reviewed during the session: Kazakhstan, Zambia, Bahrain, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, as well as its conclusions on the follow-up of inquiries concerning Spain and United Kingdom.

Ms. Vellucci informed that 23 March would be the World Meteorological Day.

In view of the ongoing liquidity crisis of the UN Secretariat, Ms. Vellucci informed that all details on the specific incoming cost-saving measures at the Palais des Nations would be shared later today. The focus would be on optimizing the UN’s footprint and costs while continuing to deliver on the mandate. Essential conference services would continue uninterrupted, and there would be no changes on journalists’ offices at the Palais des Nations. A dedicated briefing for the media with the UNOG Director of Administration could be organized if there was interest by the press.

 

 

 

 

Teleprompter
Good morning.
Welcome to the press briefing of the UN Information Service in Geneva.
Today is Friday, 22nd March
and we are going to hear immediately from our colleagues of
Margaret Has brought us Dr
Bray
Mahama Sambo,
who is the
representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
and
Dr Rosamund Lewis, the technical lead for
Ox.
I believe she is talking from Geneva.
So
let's start by giving the floor,
maybe to Margaret to introduce her colleagues and to
hear about the challenges faced by the people in the
on the situation of epidemics, violence and shocks. Margaret, you want to start?
Well,
in fact, I think you've made a perfect introduction already. Alex
Alexandra. Indeed, we've got our representative from the four WHO Dr
Bore. Mohamed
Samo.
Uh,
who's going to give you an outline of the
many challenges the really serious health challenges people are facing
in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And then,
uh, Rosamund,
Dr Rosamond Lewis will add a little bit more for the
what we're doing at global level on on M po.
So over to you, Dr Borea.
Um
I can see I can see Doctor Brea,
but I don't see him moving.
Oh, no, he's He's on. Sir. You should am mute yourself on your side, Please.
We do it from here, but you also need to do it from there.
Just
Yes. Now you should be on. Go ahead.
Thank you. Thank you. Uh, thank you. Uh,
good morning to all. And, uh, thank you for the opportunity to,
uh, speak, uh, about the multiple challenges in, uh uh, DRC
in the republic. Uh,
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
the overall health situation is worsening.
Uh, the challenges faced
by the people of the
DRC
have reached alarming levels
exacerbated by a combination of violence,
climate shocks and epidemics.
In many parts of the country, particularly in the eastern part of the
DRC,
civilians are tragically caught in renewed fighting
and hospitals are overwhelmed with injured people.
The DRC
is the second largest displacement crisis globally
after Sudan,
with more people faced to flee, forced to flee
the violence since the start of the year,
close to 10 million people are
on the move.
Poverty and hunger
affect a quarter of the population
or 24 25.4 million people.
The spread of cholera and other infectious diseases
pose a significant threat to the population's health.
Combined to malnutrition,
diseases are increasing
and are increasing the risk of mortality, especially in Children,
and putting even more pressure on the health system.
Women and girls
are paying the high price of armed conflicts and displacement.
30,000 cases of gender-based violence were reported in
DRC
in 2023.
These numbers are among the highest in the
world and certainly are also under reported.
In addition to confider related challenges,
severe flooding
has recently ravaged communities, exacerbating the risk of dal
and waterborne diseases, and compounding the strain
on the already fragile health system
hot hot spot in the country
and to implement.
Sorry, uh,
I was saying, uh,
In addition to the conflict challenges,
severe flooding has recently ravaged communities,
exacerbating the risk of Darrell
and waterborne diseases and compounding the
strain of already fragile health systems.
The humanitarian needs are
soaring,
with women and Children particularly vulnerable.
Close to 20 million people require health assistance in 2024.
Yet
the crisis
as the health response
remains severely underfunded
on disease outbreaks.
DRC
is facing the worst cholera outbreak since 2017,
with
50,000 suspected cases
and more 170 cases of death
recorded in 2023.
The risk is particularly high in internally displaced people who score IDP
sites where living conditions are deal
with water supply, hygiene
and sanitation services. Inadequate
conditions that favour the spread of cholera
in
Jersey.
Uh, it is also battling the largest epidemic of me
recorded since 2019,
we've close to 28,000 cases and 7700 and 50
5700 and 50 deaths so far in 2024 alone.
The combination of measles and malnutrition
has a severe health impact on Children under five of age,
and the lack of access of of vaccine
and vaccination services for ex
exacerbate the situation.
And traps and plagues
have also been affecting the communities in eastern
DRC
in the last month.
In addition,
the still emerging outbreak of
uh
monkeypox
has been on the rise
across the country since December 2023
close to 4000 suspected cases
and 271 deaths recorded so far in 2024
which represent the highest case facility rates than the global ones
over two thirds of cases are reported in Children
in Children.
Young Children are particularly at risk of death.
There is geographic expansion
to previously
and affected provinces such as almost all provinces, including Kinshasa,
are now reporting cases.
This also represents a flux
of expansion to neighbouring countries and beyond.
Since 2023
there is a newly documented
sexual transmission of monkeypox
due to the more
virulent cleared one of the virus
with outbreaks among sex workers and among men
having sex with men
recently.
WHO
is reporting the health authorities to respond
to monkeypox hotspots in the country
and to implement the national
Monkeypox Response Plan,
including
uh flu integration
and collaboration with the National HIV A.
I DS control and immunisation programmes.
Despite all these compounding challenges and also to say
in addition to all these outbreaks I mentioned,
DRC
is facing many other outbreaks such as
meningitis,
polio, both type 12 and three
yellow fever
still COVID-19
Rabies,
Ebola virus, diseases with a daily threat and many other manmade diseases.
But despite all these compounding challenges,
W continues to support the government
and the health partners in responding to this,
this complex crisis
WO scales up its health response to eastern
DRC
since
last year through
delivering supplies to prevent and response to disease outbreak
and supporting patient management,
including through the setup of cholera treatment centres
vaccinating more than 5 million people,
including displaced people against cholera in November 2023
in most affected provinces, including nor
Kivu in the eastern part of the
sea.
Strengthening routine immunisation activities in eastern provinces.
And vaccinating more than 25 million Children
under five years old against polio.
Supporting partners to provide health services to
survivors of sexual and gender based violence,
and
scaling up mental health and psychosocial support
in North and South
Kivu provinces.
A W
is calling on all partners to ensure access
to life saving health services to civilian
and to protect health facilities.
The world should not turn a blind eye
to the situation
that could have served
knock on effect
for security
and health in the region
and the world. I
thank you.
Thank you very much.
Uh,
sir and I guess now before I open the floor
to questions we would give the floor to Doctor Rosamond
Lewis, uh, for her remarks.
Sure. Thank you very much.
Um, I will keep it very brief because, Doctor,
uh, Hama
Sambo has has covered it as far as
ox is concerned. So just to emphasise some of the key points
and the reason that WCO is concerned about the situation regarding the,
uh epidemic of
ox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
um, are several epidemiological features that are cause for concern.
So one is the expanding geography with new provinces affected.
Uh, the second is the very high case fatality ratio,
which is which is higher at a national level than it has been reported in the past.
But also, uh, very high in very young infants and Children.
Um, in the endemic areas.
Uh, the newly reported sexual transmission of cla one virus.
Obviously, we saw this in the global outbreak with clade two.
Um, but this is a new feature of this outbreak.
Um, and, uh,
the remote geographic locations in which some of
these outbreaks are occurring make it difficult,
uh, to to reach, um, the populations that, uh, need support.
So do O
is continuing to monitor and respond to the global outbreak, which is ongoing,
uh, with, uh, 29 countries having reported cases of
ox globally in 20 in February alone
And, uh, also
turning, uh, support towards the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Uh, which includes, uh, supporting with technical guidance, um,
supporting surveillance, laboratory diagnostics and, uh,
preparing the terrain for introduction of vaccines as well as supporting with, um,
case management and infection prevention and control.
Uh,
there are a number of other activities ongoing and
WHO is strengthening support to the country office.
Uh, through, uh, our WHO representative Doctor, Uh,
M, assam.
Um and, uh, this work will will continue through this year.
Thanks.
Thank you very much.
And I'd like to add that as Margaret has written in the chat,
the notes have already been sent or are being sent
of what the doctor said from DC.
So I'll open the floor to questions in the room
or on the platform.
Lisa Schlein is our correspondent of Voice of America. Lisa, you have the floor.
Thanks. Alessandra. Uh, first, please. Where is the Doctor
Sambo speaking from? Is he
in? Uh
uh, Kinshasa or Geneva. You you haven't mentioned that,
Um
I understand from DRC, but maybe he can tell us from exactly where In DRC.
So uh, I. I have I. I
see. Sorry.
So
ELISA is, uh, King
Shasa.
So he's speaking from Kinshasa.
OK, thank you.
Um, yeah. All right, Uh, for for doctor
Sambo. First, I'd like to,
uh, ask, um how much money do you need?
Uh, in order for your humanitarian operation. And how much have you received?
You say that,
asking the world not to turn a blind eye to,
uh, the, uh DRC.
So I gather that that, uh, it's not getting the amount of money that that it needs.
And also, it's a live conflict. And I'm wondering,
uh, about your problems of actually accessing the areas. The people that need aid.
Are you able to do this, or are you being hindered by
the fighting that is going on?
And, uh, what are you doing in order to compensate for that and then for I'm sorry,
Doctor
Rosamund, uh, may not know your last name. Sorry.
Um, on on,
Ox. I'm
really sort of concerned and interested, But you say that,
uh, your main concern is about
ox monkeypox in Children.
Uh, and it's a sexually transmitted disease. I thought,
uh, that it was sexually transmitted primarily with men having sex with men.
Uh, how How does this happen with the Children? What's going on? Are they being
I don't know, assaulted. Or
anyway, if you would, uh,
illuminate me on that. Thank you.
Thank you, Lisa. I'll start with the doctor, uh, from Kinshasa,
as we heard.
And then we will go to Doctor Louis Rosamond.
Thank you. Thank you. And, uh I'm sorry. Actually,
uh, maybe, uh, Ms Lisa didn't hear from you because my mic was muted.
I was saying Good morning to all from
Kinshasa.
I'm speaking to you from
Kinshasa.
So,
uh, thank you
on, uh, the health response. But overall, uh uh,
last, uh, about last month,
we have launched what we call our humanitarian response plan for DRC.
We have actually a costed plan of about 2.6 billion.
And the health response of, uh uh the humanitarian crisis in DRC
and WHO leads the health cluster. Coordinate.
Uh, coordinations.
The plan is estimated, Uh, what we need for the plan, uh, is about,
uh let's say 1st 20 about 20 million people are actually
it needs,
uh, 8.7 million people are targeted when they come to, uh, the health sector,
and we need about,
uh, 624 million
out of those, we have barely been able to mobilise 14% of this amount.
So the gap is huge.
And, uh, also,
uh,
in addition to what I have said,
maybe it's important to mention that DRC
has been hit this year by a
severe flooding.
18 out of 26 provinces have been affected.
And it is estimated, uh, about,
uh
uh, uh, 20 million people are what you call what, uh, in the i PC. This is a severe
acute malnutrition. Uh
uh, threat. So
the certainly the health needs are mounting.
And, uh, the overall health plan has been
largely underfunded.
Doctor Lewis.
Sure. Thank you very much. And thanks for your question, Lisa.
It's a really important one.
yes. We're very concerned about
impact in Children, but not for the reasons that you mentioned.
Uh, we're concerned because they're vulnerable.
Uh, and, uh, the case fatality, which means the proportion of Children who have
ox who die is is, uh
is very high.
It's above 10% in the youngest Children,
which means approaching more than one in 10 approaching
one in five Children who are reported to have
ox through the national surveillance system.
Um, uh, in that case, the
mes
death in a high number of Children.
Um, but if we go back a little bit, uh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
at the time known as
Zaire, was the country in which
ox was first detected in people. It was a nine month old boy in 1970.
So the very first human case was already an infant.
Um, it was at the time and still is, uh, uh, zoonotic disease in the sense that, um,
outbreaks can be seeded by animal to human transmission.
Um, however, since 1970. So we're we're looking at close to 5055 years now.
Um, the the number of cases in the DDRC. Has been gradually increasing over time.
what we saw in 2023 was more than doubling of the number of cases compared to 2022.
But there has been an upward trajectory for several many years, very, very slowly,
and now, suddenly, a big increase.
Uh, So there's a clear, clear concern about the,
um continuing spread of the disease.
Not only by by a zoonotic transmission,
but through person to person contact.
Um, And what?
What was different about the global outbreak is that that
was a departure from what had previously been described.
What has always been described is that
ox transmits from person to person through close physical contact,
including skin to skin contact
and contact.
Also perhaps with contaminated bedding, uh, sheets, towels, things like that.
Um, what is what was different about the global outbreak is that, uh,
sexual transmission was reported for the first?
Well, not the first time, because it started in Nigeria.
Uh, but globally, uh, for the first time from 2022 onwards,
what is also new about transmission in the
DRC is that the sexual transmission report for
one had not been reported prior to 2023.
It was always human to human transmission through close physical contact.
Now, what we're seeing is that is increasing.
In addition to, uh,
newly reported sexual transmission in a different part of the country,
which is not endemic for M
box, but where there's a lot of commercial,
um, back and forth, uh, including across borders, um, and, uh,
a vibrant commercial sex trade.
So it's not surprising, actually.
Uh, but it has not been reported before. Sexual transmission.
Um, among sex workers, for example, it's not the same part of the country as where
Ox is endemic.
Um, I see Liza has a follow up.
Uh, yeah, very quickly for Doctor Sambo. I'd like to know.
Um, M may Maybe you mentioned it. Um, but it went by fast if you did.
are are you currently having vaccination
campaigns against measles and other diseases?
And what is happening with
with, uh, cholera?
The vaccine is in short supply, so I'm wondering whether you're getting that.
And, uh, could you provide us with some numbers That is, in terms of the numbers of,
uh, Children that may have died from some of these, uh, killer diseases.
And also,
uh, how many
are malnourished, And are they
severely acutely malnourished and at risk of dying?
Uh, thank you.
Uh, thank you. Thank you, Lisa, Uh, before even answering to this, uh,
let me also, uh,
answer to the last part of your your question when you ask about access.
Uh,
yes. Access, uh, has been a challenge. When it comes to
the northeastern part of, uh, DRC,
where we still have a fighting between, uh,
uh, M 23 and government forces. But we have, uh, so far managed to get
some kind of humanitarian corridors. So,
uh, but it has always been, uh, a a challenge.
Uh, when it comes to vaccination, yes.
We have been, uh, very able to successfully secure,
uh, as I said, uh, cholera vaccine, uh, or oral cholera vaccine. Uh uh,
Last year and we have been able to vaccinate a
little bit more than 5 million people. This was actually
the largest. Uh uh uh,
cholera vaccination campaign. Uh, ever,
uh, out of those, many have been benefited to Children.
Uh, we have been, uh
uh just in. Uh uh. In a week, we will be starting actually
vaccinating
all the 26 provinces of DRC against polio.
As you know, DRC, we have a This is particular to DRC because
we are the only country with all the
three types of polio.
Both type one type two and type two that has
been discovered last year in one of our provinces called
Coppo.
Uh, in terms of measles, measles has been, uh,
we have a worse outbreak since 2017. As I said,
uh, the target of what we have actually
are targeted in terms of vaccination
and also, uh, a
curative care, Uh, is really among Children.
So we have been able, uh, of, of course, case fatality has been higher in, uh,
in Children due to
many other underlying conditions such as, uh, malnutrition and others.
But we have been able to vaccinate,
uh, many million people against measles, uh, last year. And this is, uh, to continue
because we have, uh,
a plan to roll out
a vaccination against measles in,
uh,
eight of our provinces also this year.
Thank you very much. ANAs
Pedrero, the French news agency. If
FB
Yes. Hello. Good morning, everybody.
Um, you
the
you mentioned as well the anthrax. Um,
I don't know if it's
already epidemic
in DRC. And I wanted to to let you, you know, let us know.
Um, how much you a RE worried about it and And
what can you tell us about this kind of epidemic? How it develops? Thank you.
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Yes, the on track we have actually recorded cases.
We started recorded cases last year.
Uh, last year, Uh,
from all the week what we call from week one to week 52
we had actually 20 suspected cases of anthrax
with four deaths.
And from, uh, week one to week 10 of this year alone,
we have 16 cases, and, uh, so far, three deaths.
So,
like the 1st 10,
weeks of this year, we have
the oval,
of every all the cases we have recorded in 2023 and this is a worrisome to us.
This is happening also
in the northeastern part of the country.
So we have been able to,
uh, do, uh, actually a thorough epidemiological, uh,
the investigations and try to
have this contained
in the places where, uh, it's, uh it's right. Now,
unfortunately, it's happening in places where,
uh, the security is under a challenge and an issue.
Uh, but so far, uh, we won't say it's under control, but, uh, at least, uh,
when it comes to, uh, surveillance issues, we actually have been able to,
uh, have all the cases and, uh, trace all the contacts, and, uh,
have it actually contained,
uh, where it started in the north north eastern part of DRC. This is mainly,
uh, in North Kivu and Uwe.
Yes. And in which conditions, uh, does this, um, anthrax develop itself,
and And what are the risks for? For the health in terms of mortality?
Yes. When I said in 2020
2023. We had 20 cases and for death, You know, if you
of course, the numbers are low, but if you take the case fatality rate,
the case fatality rate
right, there is about 20%.
And this year alone, we have 16 cases and three deaths.
The case fatality also is very high.
So, uh, anthrax is very worrisome. Uh uh,
health threat.
And, uh, that's why I said we have immediately
dispatched all our investigation team to try to,
uh, to contain,
uh, because we know the way anthrax is transmitted.
So we are working on that with, uh,
uh, na
na national health authorities. And
also, I think supporting them and in the condition that we will be able to
contain the outbreak. Uh uh uh,
before it spreads wider.
Thank you very much. John Zarro,
Costas The Lancet and Franz Van Cat.
Yes. Uh, good morning.
Uh, Uh uh.
I was wondering, sir, if you could, uh,
elaborate a little bit more if I heard correctly or not.
Uh,
you mentioned 20 million people are at risk of severe acute malnutrition.
Um, what percentage of that
number would be Children?
And, uh,
what is being done to, uh, prevent, uh, going to I PC five catastrophic situation?
No, thank you.
Actually, uh, if you caught me right, I said 25 million people continue to face
crisis,
uh,
of emergency level and the food and security. Uh,
but when it comes to
the assessment that has been done is actually I PC three and above.
Uh, the numbers have not been segregated,
but out of as I said, the
tw the 18 provinces
affected by fraud in DRCA i DS
are severely affected.
2 million people are considered to be
severely affected by the flooding.
And this is actually where uh
uh the I PC three and above
were assessed,
and we are still and these are projections
from January to June 2024.
So we are really waiting to have
the more accurate numbers to be able to communicate.
Thank you very much, Doctor. I don't see other questions for you.
Uh, so I'd like to thank you and Doctor Lewis very much.
And And also Margaret, who has just sent out, I guess
the notes.
So, um uh, and thank you very much. And good luck with your important work.
I'll go now to my left and right. In fact, I don't know, Sara, if you want to start,
we've got Sarah
bear with us for U NDP Together with boas.
PDI was the U NDP chief creative officer. I love this title.
Frankly, it's fantastic.
And you are here to tell us a little bit
about the first results of the weather kids campaign that,
as you know, has started
very, very recently. And
you have already some results.
Thank you very much, Alexandra. And maybe just a word of introduction.
So we launched yesterday. The weather keeps campaign.
It's the newest
climate action campaign.
And the objective is really to create a momentum
to keep the goal of a 1.5 degree alive.
It is
extremely important because the next two years,
our
best chance
with the revision of the nationally determined contribution, what we call the N DC
the next two years are our best chance to keep on track and to beat the climate crisis.
And
the campaign is very much showing that we parents today
are accountable for a healthy planet for our Children.
And indeed, my colleague, who
is driving
the campaign has created the campaign
is here to give you a snapshot of the preliminary result and what's coming next.
Thank you.
Thanks very much. Pleasure to be here. Um, so yes.
Uh, So as as Sarah said, we launched the campaign yesterday, Um uh, at,
uh 000001 New York time.
Uh, and, uh and, um, and we already seeing, uh, incredible results around the world.
Uh, we have 1.3 billion, uh, impressions of
the impressions. Uh, from about, uh,
almost 600 articles that have been published.
We were in, uh,
82 countries activated on television stations and across media platforms.
Um, 30 plus of those, about 32 of those were,
activations that, uh, created, uh, countries created their own films.
so we created an international version of the film in in three languages in English,
Spanish and French.
And then we have the film now, in many, many, many more languages.
Uh, this morning, II,
I was going through the list and II I looked at Morocco and and Albania and
Tanzania and and so, so many more.
So a lot of the countries just, uh, created their own version in the languages, Uh,
with kids in that country,
Um, and that that was all played, uh,
on national TV S on various other television stations across the world.
We know that, uh, at least 100 and 42 televisions played it yesterday.
Um, we had a great segments on, uh, on major international,
uh, outlets like CNN and and Fox. Uh, we we we managed to get on fox. Um,
uh, so we're we're very excited.
We think that, uh, you know, it's it's only going to grow.
This is just just the beginning. We really just literally launched it yesterday.
Um, and we, uh we know that, uh,
today other countries are launching India is launching today.
Um, the UK. Is launching today. The UK met office are
partner of the campaign.
I might mention as well that our
partner in this campaign and
have been supporting us so It's a really kind of a joint effort led by,
but the UN system is very, very much behind us.
We feel that, as Sarah said, this is a
incredibly important time to be campaigning for climate action.
Uh, we think that everyone should be aware of climate action.
And we've seen studies from across the world that show us that the best way for us to
get people to take climate action is to remind
people of their Children and of the next generations.
Um, and that's what we're trying to do with this campaign.
And I think we are, uh, we are on our way to trying to To achieve that. We we've.
As I said, we we have had some very, very, very strong, uh, primary result.
Um
and, um and we're moving, uh, moving forward this week. I.
I think we're going to see much more.
What we believe will happen is a little bit of a snowball effect where a lot of, uh,
broadcasters have already done it.
More broadcasters are coming on board,
and then it's gonna start bleeding into social.
Um, and it's going to, uh, hopefully, you know, have a big a big presence on on social,
uh, in the next in the next few days.
Um, so, yeah, so that's that's where we are. Very, uh, very excited by by the
results, Um, and very excited by the campaign.
Uh, please, all of you. Uh uh, Check it out.
Uh, the the weather, the weather, kids, ca, uh, website is weather kids.org.
Um and, um and it's a It's a beautiful site.
We, uh uh people who go to the site, um, are asked to take a climate pledge.
so take a climate pledge on behalf of
Children in your lives and the next generations.
Um, And so, uh, uh,
uh, that's that's what we are.
That's what That's the action that we are driving people to do.
And after they take the that action of signing the pledge,
we take them to a page where we show them some of the actions that can be taken.
Um, and, uh,
and there's a variety of actions that you yourself can take and everyone can take,
um, as an individual, as a company in whatever, In whatever form, you,
uh you can take it.
Um, but we believe that really trying to get, uh, the, uh the idea of
climate action, uh, in everyone's mind is extremely important. But it's,
I would add that it's a hopeful campaign.
We believe that there is solutions that we can solve the climate emergency, Um,
that humanity has the abilities, the capabilities and the technology and know how.
And the willpower to solve this.
And all we need is all to work together towards this goal of of, uh,
of really trying to to, uh, to to reach,
uh,
the cops coming up this year and the cops coming up next year with 1.5 in mind.
We still believe that we can get to to, uh, at least to Brazil,
if not to Baku with 1.5 on the table.
So, yeah. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Paul. And if you have liked, uh,
the
frank the Dinosaur,
you like this one because it's the same person who's developed it.
Thank you so much. Is there any question to you
on this particular thing? We really wish this campaign to grow.
And yesterday the news were quite bleak and we were very happy to have the weather.
I have to say
so. Thank you very much for this positive
approach.
Thank you, Sara. So let's stay on the issue of
climate and environment with Thomas.
So while Thomas is coming, uh, to the podium,
uh, you know, Thomas Kroll
Knight is our, um, uh, spokesperson for UN E CE.
And we want to speak now on, uh, World Water Day.
Uh, as you know, uh, World Water Day is today. It's a very important day.
We have
We have just distributed to you the statement of the Secretary General for this
day where the Secretary General says that action for water is action for peace,
and today it is needed more than ever.
Our world is in turbulent waters, say the secretary General.
And it also says that our planet is heating up.
Water for peace is the theme of this year's World Water Day.
Achieving it relies on far greater Cooper operation.
Today, 153 countries share water resources,
but only 24 have reported Cooper operation agreements For all their shared water.
We must accelerate efforts to work together across borders,
says the Secretary General
And I urge all countries to join and implement
the United Nations Water Convention,
which promotes managing share water resources sustainably
cooperating to safeguard water
power and sustain peace.
And the secretary general to conclude,
Let's commit to work together to make water a force for Cooper,
operation harmony and stability,
and so help to create a world of peace and prosperity for all.
And you have the full statement in your mailbox,
and I give the floor to Thomas to tell us more
about this matter.
Thank you. Good morning, everybody.
Thank you, Alessandra, for this introduction.
And indeed,
the Secretary general has has stressed
the importance of Cooper operation to address
the water challenges that are increasingly severe around the world.
In particular,
he raises the
United Nations Water Convention to give its full name
the 1992 Convention on the Protection
and Use of Trans Boundary Waters and International Lakes.
Now, this is a unique treaty hosted by UEC,
which helps countries work together to manage shared waters.
As the secretary general has pointed out, 153 countries share waters,
which means that
at a very basic level,
addressing water challenges means working
across borders working internationally,
and the water convention is the UN framework that supports that
it's a proven instrument with a 30 year track record more than 30 years now
in helping countries manage water in shared basins. Now
to give an idea of magnitude of the challenge,
60% of the fresh water flow worldwide is in shared basins.
A
few examples of those would be the Congo, the Danube in Europe, the Amazon,
the Mekong and just here in Geneva, of course,
Lake Geneva, which flows into the Rhone.
No,
also the Great Lakes in Africa. There are many examples around the world
and even in fact, over 450 underwater
underwater reserves, groundwater reserves. So
with 40% of the global population relying on these shared waters,
Cooper operation is getting increasing attention politically
and
increasing support through the UN system and beyond.
Now,
big drivers for co operation are, of course, climate change, which is putting
massive stress on water resources worldwide,
but also pollution
and increasing demands on use to population growth,
agriculture and other reasons,
energy as well.
So
one way is one of the ways that this that these pressures are manifesting
is
through increasing interest for Cooper operation now,
pressure on water resources can drive tensions. It can drive conflicts.
But it is also pushing countries to coperate because there is a recognition
of the value of that co operation, which is stronger and stronger
now.
The political momentum for the water convention as
the UN Treaty that supports that Cooper operation
is growing fast.
Today the convention has 52 parties
and that covers almost all of Europe,
and its membership has been expanding fast since the convention was
opened for accession by all UN member states in 2016.
Especially, we see this trend in Africa, where 90% of water is in shared basins
and the convention is expected to soon welcome its 10th party in Africa.
In 2018, Chad became the first African nation to join the convention,
followed by Senegal
and then Ghana. Guinea Bissau, Togo and Cameroon joined
last year.
2023 was a record for the convention, welcoming five states as new members
Nigeria, Iraq, Namibia,
Panama and the Gambia with uh with Iraq and Panama being
the first in their respective regions to join this treaty.
So opening up new horizons for water Cooper
and there are over 20 countries worldwide that are in the process
of joining the convention, including some that are very advanced in that process,
including Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone,
Zambia, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso and Costa Rica.
Just to note that in a final, in a further boost to Cooper operation efforts,
there's a draught UN System Wide strategy for water and Sanitation,
which was approved this week by the UN High level Committee on programmes.
And that calls specifically on the support of the United
Nations to assist member states in acceding to the convention,
implementing it and complying with it
now, Um
important to stress that while the momentum is strong,
there is still a long way to go and so this
acceleration of Cooper operation that is called for by the secretary general
is certainly needed.
There's new data from the third reporting exercise for one of the
indicators
which measures the level of trans boundary Cooper operation
and that's co ordinated by UN
and UNESCO.
And only 26 of the 153 countries that are sharing water resources
have all of their trans boundary basin areas covered by operational arrangements
for water co operation. Now that's compared to 2000. That's compared to excuse
me, 24 in 2020 so a slight increase.
But we see that progress really needs to accelerate there,
and only around 10 new trans boundary agreements have been
signed since that last reporting exercise.
There are many examples of how the
convention concretely supports countries to co operate,
and it's a binding treaty important to stress that
which requires parties to prevent control and reduce
negative impacts on water quality and quantity.
And
and that's, of course in a cross border environment
and to use those shared waters in a reasonable
and equitable way and then to ensure their sustainable
management through co operation.
Parties that share the same waters are obliged to co
operate by concluding specific agreements and establishing joint bodies,
and there are many examples of those from around the world.
100/100 agreements have been have been signed by countries sharing
waters since the entry into force of the convention.
This is a powerful tool for peace building in post
conflict settings, as demonstrated
in the Sava
Basin,
uh, the Sava
Basin in in the country of former Yugoslavia.
And that was one of the one of the
first agreements multilateral agreements signed by the basin countries
following the end of the war and which really helped
to build trust and strengthen Cooper operation among those states.
We also see in the Lake Chad Basin, for instance,
which where there's a long history of Cooper
operation to the Lake Chad Basin Commission,
which predates the convention.
But those efforts are already being strengthened further by the accession
of Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon to the convention.
Now, just to flag that
that we will update you as more countries join. So this is world war.
Today it's a call to action to accelerate co operation.
But it's also to remind you of the importance of this instrument
and the rising political interest that there is for this treaty.
As more countries join, we will let you know we are expecting,
as I mentioned earlier,
the 10th African Party soon so that will be a milestone for this co operation.
The meeting of the parties of the of the convention
will take place in October in October in Slovenia,
and we will inform you about that in due course.
And there will also be a one water summit
convened by President Macron and President
Tokayev of
France and Kazakhstan, respectively,
on the margins of the General Assembly session in September.
So water cooper operation is expected to be an important part of those discussions.
So there is a strong momentum building on the
on the UN water conference that took place last year, which we really see picking up.
Thank you. Uh, that's it for now.
Thank you very much, Thomas. Really an incredibly important issue.
And I see Peter asking in the notes if you could share
your briefing notes.
Is there any question to Thomas to
see
on this issue? Very important one. Really?
I don't see any hand up, so thank you very much. Keep updating us on this matter.
We really need to have more countries joining this convention,
so
I
have now a few announcements for you.
First of all, please
be reminded that Tuesday
26 march at 4:30 p.m. we will have
a
nohr
press conference.
This is the presentation of the report on obstacles
to the implementation of the peace agreement in Colombia.
Very important subject
with Antonia
Holla,
who is the international human rights expert
appointed to identify and verify those obstacles.
A couple of committees closing soon. The Human Rights Committee
will have next Wednesday afternoon a public meeting
devoted to the follow up of its concluding observation
and its views and the day after they will close their 140th session
and issue is concluding observation.
Also,
the Committee on the Rights of Persons With
Disabilities will conclude this afternoon its 30th session.
The Human Rights Council, as you know,
continues Pascal could not come today but he has sent you
the programme of the next of today of the council.
And so you have the information. But of course he is available.
I just wanted to also remind you a couple of things, first of all, staying in the same
vein. Same subject. Tomorrow is another important day.
It's World Meteorological Day and we have
shared with you the statement of the Secretary General, of course,
as the lead on this day. And you have heard about it also from Mrs
Solo.
But
of course they are available in case you want to have more on this important day.
Just one last point.
I wanted to let you know because there have been a lot of questions and a lot of
been interviewed. We have had requests, some information.
So today
later on, we will be able to announce
the decision about the cost saving measures at the PAC
that
we have to take, as you know,
in
view of the complex liquidity situation, liquidity crisis
that the UN are going through.
So this afternoon you will have all the details about the concrete measures,
the thing that we are going to do.
But what I can tell you already the and I have said it repeatedly.
This is not We've heard a lot about
closing this closing, that the point is not closing buildings.
The point is simply reducing our footprint
and optimising it in a way that it allows us to save costs, save expenditures,
but at the same time fully implement the mandate that is ours.
So
absolutely no changes in terms of conference services in
the sense of the essential services will be maintained.
We will continue to operate the full capacity
and we will make use of what we have
available, including flexible work arrangements and and other
measures to just reduce the footprint and optimising
the space and the resources so that we can
save money while continuing to implement and
our mandate last point and I give you the floor. Ben.
This also means that there won't be changes for the journalists
like this. I can already announce there won't be changes in your location work, and
there may be some constraints, but they're not on your work. Precisely.
And if after that we've announced these measures, of course,
we remain fully available to answer any questions that you will have Ben,
esa
dot
costume
or