UN Geneva Press Briefing - 25 June 2024
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Press Conferences | HRC , ITC , OCHA , OSE , UNECE , UNHCR , WHO

UN Geneva Press Briefing - 25 June 2024


- HRC - Pascal Sim: Human Rights Council update 
- ITC - Susanna Pak:
  • Upcoming UN Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Day (on 27 June)
  • 60th anniversary of the International Trade Centre (ITC)’ (on 27 June)
- UNECE - Thomas Croll-Knigt: 
  • Press conference on automated vehicles (26 June)
  • UNECE Forum on Education for Sustainable Development (27-28 June)
- UNIS on behalf of OSE: The Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ms. Najat Rochdi will brief the Security Council at 3 p.m. New York/9 p.m. Geneva. Her briefing will be distributed when she concludes

- OCHA - Jens Laerke with Yasmina Guerda, Humanitarian affairs officer, following her 3-months deployment to Gaza: An inside account of people's daily struggle for life and dignity

- UNHCR - William Spindler with Laura Lo Castro, UNHCR’s Representative in Chad, (From N’djamena): UNHCR urges support to address the urgent needs of Sudanese refugees at the eastern border in Chad as the situation deteriorates
- WHO - Christian Lindmeier and Dr Rosamund Lewis, Technical Lead on MPOX: Updates on the global MPOX situation


25 June 2024 

Alessandra Vellucci, Director of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, chaired a hybrid briefing, which was attended by spokespersons and representatives of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations Refugee Agency, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the International Trade Centre, and the Human Rights Council.


Situation in Gaza

Yasmina Guerda, Humanitarian Affairs Officer at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who had just returned from a three-month deployment to Gaza, said that the population in Gaza had lost nearly everything – their jobs, their roofs, their clothes, access to their bank accounts, and access to privacy. Ms. Guerda stressed that we should not speak about living conditions there because none of them had living conditions; what they had was survival conditions. 

Many people, if they were even warned before an attack began, had only 10-15 minutes to evacuate their building before it would be bombed. What to pack in such a situation was a dilemma because their home would likely become dust and there would be no return. Ms. Guerda mentioned a 19-year-old girl called Lamees who had kept repeating “My life should begin now, but it’s ending now”. For those who survived the bombing of their neighborhood by running away on time, it was only the beginning of the nightmare. In most humanitarian responses, displaced people could eventually find some sort of safety, but the past nine months had confirmed there was no safe corner in Gaza. Ms. Guerda stressed that delivering aid in Gaza was a daily puzzle, across the board. The ongoing fighting had killed over 200 aid workers in nine months. The public order and safety vacuum made humanitarian convoys vulnerable to looting. Humanitarians – Palestinians most notably – worked hard to deliver, but too often, no matter how hard they tried, they could not reach everyone. 

Civilians in Gaza were not weak people; they were far from helpless. Ms. Guerda recalled seeing families dig makeshift septic tanks with spoons, using toilets and pipes from destroyed buildings so they could have a little bit of privacy and hygiene near their tents. People still talked about their dreams to rebuild after the flattening of their bedrooms and kitchens. Hope still had a strong pulse in Gaza. What civilian women, children and men needed and desire above all, across the Strip, was a respite. They needed decision-makers to finally make a decisive gesture to put an end to the relentless way in which they are being knocked down after every attempt to get back up; and they needed the support of the rest of the world for that. 

Replying to questions from the media, Ms. Guerda said that the constantly shifting security situation made the already very difficult context even more challenging for aid delivery. The humanitarian space had been reduced dramatically since the Rafah invasion as more and more roads had become extremely dangerous due to the fighting and an increasing breakdown of public order. In southern parts of Gaza, humanitarian partners had set up a number of hunger-screening points in order to monitor starvation, but as the security situation was constantly changing, people kept moving and could not be followed up on. Getting fuel to access people for aid distribution had become a huge struggle, further hampering humanitarian efforts. 

On another question, Ms. Guerda spoke of having seen unaccompanied children but could not provide an estimate of their numbers. She stressed that the people of Gaza were resilient and capable to continue despite all the obstacles, to a degree she had not witnessed anywhere else.  Jens Laerke, also for OCHA, emphasized that OCHA was an independent, neutral, and impartial humanitarian organization which was conveying the truth as it saw it on the ground. There was no safe space in Gaza for anyone, stressed Ms. Guerda. Access to people in need should be facilitated, and aid workers should not be targeted, under international humanitarian law. Following the killing of the World Central Kitchen workers, humanitarians tried to re-emphasize that IHL had to prevail, while the deconfliction mechanism should only provide an additional layer of security for aid deliveries. Neither international humanitarian law nor the deconfliction mechanisms were being respected, she concluded. 

Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), informed that today at 1:00 pm, Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), would hold a press conference to provide an update on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory. Mr. Lazzarini had briefed the Advisory Committee in Geneva the previous day. 

Supporting Sudanese refugees in Chad

William Spindler, for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said that the situation in Sudan was one of the most dramatic in the world, and likely to get worse with the incoming rainy season. The neighbouring countries of Sudan were also gravely affected, including Chad, where 600,000 Sudanese refugees were seeking safety.

Laura Lo Castro, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Representative in Chad, stated that the UNHCR was calling for urgent international support as the humanitarian crisis in eastern Chad reached a critical point. With increasing numbers of Sudanese refugees in border areas, rising health concerns, escalating security incidents and the impending rainy season, immediate action was needed. Since April 2023, she recalled, the conflict in Sudan had forced over 600,000 refugees and 180,000 Chadian returnees, majority of them women and children, to flee into Chad, with more than 115,000 arriving since the start of 2024. 

UNHCR and partners had extended existing refugee settlements and established six new ones. All these sites were equipped with essential services and infrastructure, including family shelters, mobile clinics, water points, sanitation and education facilities known as temporary learning spaces. Some 360,000 refugees had thus been provided with assistance, but these efforts were not enough to meet the overwhelming needs. There were some 200,000 refugees stranded in the border areas, including in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in Adre, which had led to a severe health crisis, with over 1,200 cases of Hepatitis E reported. Insecurity was also a growing concern, with increasing incidents of looting, vandalization of humanitarian structures and trafficking of drugs and alcohol. While most of the displaced population were women and children, some were men, some of whom were armed. 

The complex emergency in Chad was compounded by intensified fighting in the Darfur region of Sudan. Despite the tireless efforts of UN agencies and partners to support the Government’s emergency response, the situation was rapidly deteriorating. Tensions with the host population were also growing. The potential for further displacement remained high as fighting continued in El Fasher and rural localities around it in North Darfur. There were also reports of widespread looting and burning of villages as well as a looming famine in Sudan that was expected to drive even more refugees into Chad. In this context, the Government of Chad had urgently requested the UNHCR and partners to accelerate the relocation of new arrivals away from border areas, particularly from Adre. UNHCR’s 2024 appeal for the response in eastern Chad was underfunded with just 10 per cent of the requested USD 214.8 million received so far. The clock was ticking as the rainy season was coming, stressed Ms. Castro. 

UNHCR briefing note is available here

Global mpox situation

Dr. Rosamund Lewis, Technical Lead on mpox at the World Health Organization (WHO), informed that, since the beginning of the global multi-country outbreak of mpox in May 2022, WHO had continued to support Member States and other stakeholders and monitor the situation. Today mpox remained a public health threat as the situation continues to evolve. Over 3,100 laboratory-confirmed cases had been reported globally since the start of the year.  Africa was now the most affected region in terms of confirmed cases. Since April, South Africa had reported 13 confirmed cases of mpox due to clade IIb virus, and two deaths. All patients were severely ill individuals with advanced HIV infection and had required hospitalization. Those with advanced HIV infection were at a greater risk for serious illness and death from mpox. With support from WHO, South Africa had responded promptly to the outbreak, with information for health care providers and persons at risk, enhanced surveillance and contact-tracing, clinical care for patients, and was advancing quickly to provide vaccination recommendations for communities at risk. 

At the same time, the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued to face a major outbreak of mpox due to clade I of the virus, with over 9,000 clinically compatible cases and 419 deaths amongst those reported in 2024 alone, with a high case fatality ratio of almost 5 percent. Children were particularly affected in this outbreak with even higher death rates. While the clade I virus was so far contained to central Africa, its potential spread to neighbouring countries and other regions remained a concern. Among African nations, the Republic of the Congo had also recently declared an outbreak of mpox, and Cameroon had reported new cases. There was a critical need to address the recent surge in mpox cases in Africa. 

Dr. Lewis informed that the WHO had recommended the use of mpox vaccines for persons at risk. WHO called on Member States, researchers, and stakeholders to continue clinical research and data collection on mpox vaccines. WHO continued to support countries to strengthen surveillance, laboratory work, clinical care, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement, prepare vaccination strategies for mpox emergency prevention and response. Member States and other entities were invited to support access to vaccines and treatments for low- and middle- income countries. 

More information on mpox from the WHO is available here.

Answering questions from the media, Dr. Lewis said that the Americas had been leading in the numbers of laboratory-confirmed cases, but were now overtaken by Africa, the details of which would soon be shared. Vaccines were licensed and approved, and their effectiveness had been confirmed through tests and studies around the world. WHO was now working with African countries to support their national regulatory processes to review, process and approve of the mpox vaccines. Until now, small quantities of the vaccines had been allocated for compassionate use. Among the clinical compatible cases reported in the DRC, there had been a five percent fatality rate, explained Dr. Lewis. Three-fourths of the cases were children, who were most at risk of severe disease. Clinical care was extremely important, she stressed, but as there was stigma associated with mpox, those infected sometimes sought medical care quite late. WHO considered mpox an emergency; it continued to monitor the situation globally and conduct a comprehensive risk assessment every few months. 

Human Rights Council

Pascal Sim, for the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), said that today the Council would hold an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Margaret Satterthwaite, on her reports entitled “Safeguarding the independence of judicial systems in the face of contemporary challenges to democracy”, and her visits to Montenegro and to Mongolia. HRC would also hold an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Gehad Madi, on his report entitled “Revisiting migrants’ contributions with a human rights-based approach: a discussion on facilitating and hindering factors.” The following day, the Council would hear from the Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and from Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Full programme of work is available here 

On 26 June at 11 am, Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, would hold a press conference on her thematic report on drug use, harm reduction and the right to health.

On 27 June at 1:15 pm, Cecilia Bailliet, UN Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, would hold a press conference.

As today was the International Day of the Seafarer, Mr. Sim informed that for the first time human rights of seafarers would be subject of a draft resolution, initiated by the Philippines. 


Christian Lindmeier, for the World Health Organization (WHO), informed that today at 3 pm, the WHO would hold a briefing on the launch on the physical activity estimates, under embargo.

Thomas Croll-Knight, for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), informed that on 26 June at 1:30 pm, there would be a press conference on regulating autonomous vehicles: international developments. Speakers would be Dmitry Mariyasin, UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary; Richard Damm, Chair, Working Party on Automated/Autonomous and Connected Vehicles (GRVA); and Francois Guichard, Secretary, Working Party on Automated/Autonomous and Connected Vehicles (GRVA). Mr. Croll-Knight reminded that GRVA brought on board all countries, including the European Union, USA, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, India, and China, willing to develop harmonized regulations on this topic. The G7 transport ministers consistently called for regulatory work in this area to be done at UNECE. 

Mr. Croll-Knight also informed that thon 27 and 28 June, Limassol would host UNECE Forum on Education for Sustainable Development - Empowering Youth for Sustainable Futures: Entrepreneurship Education and Youth Engagement. The forum was held in response to the recognition that to address the interconnected challenges that we are facing, such as climate change, social injustice, the digital divide, and economic instability, education was key.  UNECE had initiated a three-year project aimed at promoting the implementation of this priority area. The Forum would shape the development of a comprehensive guiding framework for 21st-century competencies, tailored to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the pursuit of sustainable and equitable economic development.

Susanna Pak, for the International Trade Centre (ITC), informed that 27 June would be UN Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day. On this day, the International Trade Centre would celebrate its 60th anniversary. Ms. Pak informed that small businesses made up 90 percent of all companies and two-thirds of jobs worldwide. They formed the backbone of many economies, particularly of developing countries. On this occasion, the ITC would hold an event, speakers at which would include UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed; African Union Trade Commissioner Albert Muchanga on making One Trade Africa a reality; Monica Nana Ama Senanu, Founder, Chocoluv Company Limited, Ghana, and others. The session would take place in WTO CR Room from 4 to 6 pm, and the reception would start immediately afterwards.

Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), added that the Secretary-General’s message on the MSME Day had been distributed.

On behalf of the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria (OSE), informed that the Deputy Special Envoy, Najat Rochdi, would brief the Security Council today at 3 pm New York time. Her remarks would be shared subsequently.

Finally, Ms. Vellucci said that the second meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2026 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) would be held at the Palais des Nations in Room XIX from 22 July to 2 August. The Chair-designate of the second session was Ambassador Akan Rakhmetullin of Kazakhstan.

Good morning. Welcome to the press briefing today
here in Geneva at the UN it's Tuesday, 25th
June. We have a long list of speakers, so we will start immediately
with Pascal,
who has to go back to the council and have an update.
Thank you.
Thank you. Alessandra, I'll try to be brief.
We have a bit of delay on our programme of work.
The Human Rights Council is continuing this week
its interactive dialogues with the Sema independent experts
We will hear today around noon from Margaret
the special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.
She is presenting a report on the independence of judicial
systems in the face of contemporary challenges to democracy,
as well as two more reports on her recent visit to Montenegro and Mongolia.
And later this afternoon,
the council will hear from a new mandate holder Jihad Mahdi from Egypt,
the new special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.
Mr Mahdi will present his vision for his mandate
tomorrow. On Wednesday, we will hear from Maurice TB
Bins, the special rapporteur on summary executions.
He will present two reports on the protection of the dead
and his recent visit to Honduras.
We will also hear from the Working Group on Business and Human Rights,
which will present a report on investors environmental,
social and governance approaches to human rights
as well as another report on its recent visit to Japan.
And we will hear from Irene Khan,
the special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression.
She has two reports, one on journalists in exile
and another one on a recent visit to Serbia and Kosovo.
And on Thursday you will hear from CIO
Ben Muller,
the special rapporteur on human trafficking.
She will present two reports on trafficking in person,
mixed migrations and protection at sea,
and uh,
also two other reports on her visit to Colombia and the Central African Republic
and another new mandate holder Cecilia Bale
from Argentina. He's the new independent expert on international solidarity.
Report focuses on the participation of civil
society organisations in the framework of international solidarity
and you will also hear from the Working
Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls.
On Thursday,
23 reports,
one on the escalating backlash against gender equality
and two other reports on its
recent recent visits to Mauritania and Malta
in terms of programming notes. I have two press conferences this week.
the special rapporteur on the right to health,
will speak to you in this room tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.
And on Thursday, Cecilia Baer
will speak to you at 11:15 p.m. And I
see this opportunity of the International Day of the Seafarer
to remind you that at its organisational meeting, the council was told that
new draught resolution on the human rights of seafarers
will be tabled by the Philippines.
This will be the first time, if adopted, that the council address
the human rights and fundamental freedom of seafarers.
Thank you very much.
will double check. But I think the press conference with Cecilia Baer
is at 11 a.m. tomorrow.
We'll check that also with,
uh with Ali because I think you have received an invitation,
so I just want to check about the timing.
Thank you very much. Pascal, Any question before you go Wait, wait, wait.
Any question to the council before he goes? He is really in a hurry.
I don't see any on the platform. Any question to Pascal?
No. OK, so then you can go. Thank you very much for the update. Hope you
catch up with the time.
So let's go to the first subject on our agenda.
We have the pleasure to welcome together with
Jens Yasmina
who is the humanitarian affairs officer with
that has spent three months in Gaza. We will hear from
Yasmina. I give the floor first to
Jans and then we will hear from
Yasmina. And then we will take questions. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Alexandra. Good morning, everyone here and online.
I am indeed very happy to have Yasmina with us here today.
She is just out from Gaza a few days ago from her second tour there.
And I have heard that many of us in no
have heard what she has been saying about that
about her experience there and the conversations
deep conversations she has had with people.
And we wanted to convey that
to you because we find it
very striking and very illustrative. So without further ado,
Mina, the floor is yours.
Hello, everyone. Thank you, Jens.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you
what I witnessed in Gaza.
I had indeed the privilege to work there for three months over two deployments,
and I just got out.
You know,
we try to measure and quantify the suffering that
Palestinians of Gaza have been facing for 262 days,
and we do that with figures,
the total displaced, the
the litres of water that they get every day,
the truckloads of aid that get to cross in every week.
But it doesn't matter those numbers.
They're never near enough
to meet the food, shelter, health and other needs of a population
that has lost nearly
Their jobs,
their roofs,
their clothes,
access to their bank accounts
and access to privacy.
I've heard and seen firsthand stories that will haunt
me for the rest of my very privileged life.
We really, really should not speak about
living conditions there
because none of them have living conditions.
What they have, if you look closely, is survival conditions,
and barely
they're holding on by a thread.
It's so hard to understand forced displacement sometimes,
But imagine one evening receiving an evacuation order.
You have 10 to 15 minutes to leave your building because it's going to be bombed.
Your kids are sleeping
in the room next door. You wake them up, they whine,
and you have to make split second decisions to decide what to pack.
What's essential and how do you define essential
birth certificates?
baby formula.
You wear your best clothes, of course,
and you grab whatever cash that you have lying around.
But the things that you actually love and don't wanna part with,
those are luxuries that you cannot take with you.
It's the graduation gift.
It's the photos and letters from your friends.
It's souvenirs from that family vacation you took once.
So you take one last look at the room
and you say permanent goodbye because you know
it will be dust.
This isn't a made up story. This is a story of Russia.
She's from Gaza City. I met her in Rafah. She was the mother of two girls,
and it's a story I heard time and again by people who fled Gaza City. Talia
Bela And now, of course, Rafa.
And this is one of the best best case scenarios, too,
because a lot of people
aren't even warned before the attacks happen.
It was the case in a neighbourhood called Muat
over two weeks ago
where Hun
hundreds of people were killed
and injured during a special operation to release hostages.
And I can still hear
She was an English teacher before the war, and she told me
Since the war began, she's just been feeling endless sadness,
how against the bloodshed on both sides. She is.
There was the accountant, Hassan,
who explained that all his thoughts as the bombs
were dropping on his house went to his family.
And then there was this 19 year old girl called
who kept repeating.
My life should begin now,
but it's ending now.
And all of them I. I don't mention their names for obvious security reasons, but
they were just trying to have a meal with whatever they had secured
that day when the bombing started and lasted for
two full hours and tank shells and gunshots.
We were working a couple of kilometres away,
and the walls, the doors, the windows of our building were shaking nonstop.
We didn't know what was going on exactly. We found out after
the death toll
the hundreds of people maimed for life some 700.
That's according to the Ministry of Health,
the Children who lost limbs that I met the next day at the nearby hospital,
many of whom reminded me of my own two little toddlers.
They were staring in the void,
too, shell shocked to produce a sound or a tear
for those who survived the bombing of their neighbourhood by running away on time.
It's only the beginning of the nightmare
in most humanitarian responses, and I've done a
displaced people could eventually
find some sort of safety.
But the past nine months the past few days even
have confirmed that there is no safe corner
in the Gaza Strip.
And in most humanitarian responses,
displaced people could eventually access reliable humanitarian support
like a proper tent that meets international standards.
A food parcel, clean water,
a learning space for Children,
safe areas for women.
They are, of course, among the worst affected by any conflict, let alone this one
mental health support to help handle the trauma of war.
But delivering aid in Gaza is a daily puzzle across the board. You know it all.
The ongoing fighting, the public order and safety vacuum,
the insufficiency of absolutely everything we need.
The regular attacks on our storage facilities,
the pile of administrative impediments, bad Internet, weak phone networks,
destroyed roads, you name it.
We spent hours waiting at checkpoints, coordinating, compromising a way through
humanitarians. Internationals? Yes.
But Palestinians, most notably work very hard to deliver
long working hours,
looking for creative solutions around huge
challenges and taking very serious risks.
But every day, no matter how hard we try,
we cannot reach everyone.
And the cost of all this, of course, is on the people who struggle the most.
The Children,
those with disabilities, the women, the elderly.
I remember in my very first week in Gaza,
a woman in Rafah
who must have been over 70
asked me if she could tell me a secret.
So I leaned in
and she whispered in my ears,
I don't trust my Arabic well enough. So I, I repeated Pampers.
This woman had been living without geriatric diapers for months and
was hoping a humanitarian organisation could secure some for her.
The thing is,
civilians in Gaza are not weak people. They are so far from helpless.
I have seen families dig makeshift septic tanks with spoons,
using toilets and pipes from destroyed buildings so they could have
a little bit of privacy and hygiene near their tents.
You know, put some some distance between themselves and their own waste.
Against all the odds,
dignity has a pulse in Gaza.
I've seen Children make kites out of food packaging so they could play somehow
under the constant buzzing of the drones.
Childhood has a pulse in Gaza.
There are mothers using the flour and the water that
they receive to bake pita bread out of dirt ovens
in the sand so they can sell it and make
a little money to buy something different for their kids.
has a pulse. In Gaza,
people talk about their dreams to rebuild after
the flattening of their bedrooms and their kitchens.
Hope has a strong pulse in Gaza.
What civilian women,
Children and men need and desire above all across the strip is a respite.
They need decision makers to finally make a decisive gesture to put an end to the
relentless way in which they are being knocked
down after every attempt to get back up,
and they need the support of the rest of the world
to do that.
Thank you for listening.
I'll be happy to take questions.
Thank you for telling us this, Yasmin. And, uh, I think it's, uh it's very, very
important that, uh, your first hand experience be shared with the journalists,
so I'll open up the floor to questions.
I'll start with Emma Farge. Emma is our Reuters correspondent.
morning. Thank you so much. Um,
since you were there for three months,
I guess you were there before and after the The Rafah operation began in May.
I know things have been bad for a long time in in Gaza,
but could you give us a sense for how much
more difficult things have become since then and and why,
Um, with with the new displacement.
And, um, did you personally see many signs of, uh,
hunger really worsening during that period?
Thanks a lot,
Is it on? Sorry.
Um, so regarding the before and after the Rafah incursion, Um,
close to 1 million people packing up everything from
where they were
and moving
in just 10 days.
Two weeks. I think it took for a million people to move.
Um, everything we knew
before the incursion on how to deliver a where people
were where their needs were Everything we had established,
we had to pack up and move
to go find them where they were moving to
in the chaos of everything you don't get, uh, information.
Uh, we put, um,
enumerators along the road to try to understand where they were headed
and what they needed ahead of time so we could prepare.
But, um,
the the constantly shifting situation renders the delivery of humanitarian aid in
a context that is already so far from an enabling environment.
So challenging
it every day you wake up
and you do not know
based on the fighting based on the population movements based on what's
coming through the crossings based on the decisions of decision makers,
you don't know what you're going to be working with.
I hope that answers the question.
well, you you mentioned checkpoints. How How much worse did that get?
Um, after Rafa.
Thank you.
So the humanitarian, um, space
was reduced dramatically
in the sense that
more and more of the roads that we used to take,
um became, um,
due to the fighting and also
due to the challenges with public order and general safety,
getting goods from point A to point B
to reach those who need it
when you also have almost no storage facilities have lost your access to fuel.
Everything was set up in Rafa
for us to operate in Rafa, where the majority of the people were,
Everything changed. And so the delivery of aid was hampered
and on hunger.
in the
southern parts of Gaza,
um, a lot of
humanitarian partners were able to set up malnutrition Uh, centres,
um, and, um, set up screening
solutions so that we could anticipate the need
This is shifting when your population shifts and all of a sudden
people lose their access to their services and the situation
worsens. Um, I believe for several weeks
there were thousands of Children who were
being followed or who were being screened,
that all of a sudden we sort of lost track of because they moved and,
um had to be
found again
and services had to be moved.
Nina Larson, a FP
I mean, you mentioned the Children. Um,
And since what happened with Rafael, this million people who were moving, uh,
what kind of sense did you get of the numbers of Children who,
uh, may have been, uh, um lost contact with their family.
You know, uh, unaccompanied Children,
if you, um, could say something about that. And you also mentioned the Children who
had, uh, had to be amputated. Or if you have any sort of sense of the extent I know
you said the numbers are
are, uh are huge.
But if you could give us sort of a sense of of what
you saw in terms of the suffering of the Children there Thank you.
I believe that health partners, health, humanitarian organisations and um,
um, humanitarian organisations do not, um,
the exact figures.
And so I don't have them either, but they're working on securing that.
It's extremely challenging. I'm going to tell you that
for us to be able to follow cases of unaccompanied Children,
we need access to people.
getting fuel to access people has become a huge struggle
that is hampering a lot. The protection efforts
go ahead.
I understand that the numbers are are not available but from your time on the ground,
sort of how How big a problem
do you think that is?
I mean, that you had a million people moving in a very short period of time. Did you,
uh did you see a lot of Children who were unaccompanied?
I mean, even if you don't have necessarily access, just if you can give a indication,
II, I have seen unaccompanied Children.
I would not be able to give you a ballpark figure at all.
Um, Jeremy, Launch of Radio France International.
I suspect that you speak French, so
I will turn to French
for more
in the show.
do repel
tre Regular
le Palestinian,
particularly Gaza,
uh, on capacity.
I did love on
the solution
the person on Bo
a So
love loon.
Oh, service
person affected person
our on
our pal.
a question from
on the chat, he said,
I heard your report on Gaza and it
contradicts Israel's statement that it doesn't target civilians.
What is actually the truth?
We we wish you could
go there yourself, all of you.
And, um,
all of you asking questions about what is the truth? What is the truth?
Who's who's doing what?
We see what we see on the ground. Yasmina saw what she saw on on the ground.
We wish you as
media could go there and report
for yourselves
and report to, you know, to the readers and viewers that you have who trust you.
it's important
also to mention that we are not party in this conflict. It's not us against Israel.
We are neutral, impartial, independent humanitarian organisations
who bear witness to what is happening
on a daily basis,
and we convey that to you. But don't call on us
to say what is the truth
because the truth is ours.
What we see and what we convey and that is our truth
is that contradicts with other people's
Then we cannot be the judge of their truth.
But we can certainly convey
our own. I hope that
answers the question Well, it doesn't really answer the question,
but I hope that clarifies the position we are in
the foundation that we stand on and that we must maintain
at all costs and at all times and everywhere our independence,
our neutrality and our impartiality in this
Thank you very much.
and very, very important words.
Um, looking at the room is there?
I'm sorry.
Any other question
on the platform? I think I've read you the question that came in.
I'm asked if it's possible to have
Yasmina notes
The notes have been sent.
OK, OK, so the notes have been sent to look at your email, please.
And Nina, a follow up. Sorry. Had a separate question.
I was wondering, um, when the
Rafa uh
uh, offensive started.
Uh, Israel was talking about sending that people should go to safe zones.
Uh, I'm just wondering if you had any, uh, if you were able to see those zones
and, uh, how safe you thought they were and if people were actually going there.
I mean, my impression is that a lot of people,
uh, went elsewhere, but, um, if you could say something about that, thank you.
Our observation, Our direct observation
on the ground every day is that there are no safe
left in Gaza.
There is
you can be.
And be certain
that there isn't going to be an attack on you that night.
We humanitarians
are established in buildings
could be,
considered sufficiently far from the fighting that we could be considered
And yet
our own facilities
against international humanitarian law
are attacked on a regular basis.
over 200 aid workers
have been killed
since the beginning of this conflict.
there is no safe space,
no safe space in Gaza
for anyone
very clear.
Any other hands I haven't seen?
No. So, Yasmina, thank you so much for this.
Uh, it's OK. It's coming.
Drop by drop, please.
Yes, My name is, um,
work for your
It has been three months since the world Central Kitchen aid worker has been killed.
And could you, um, tell us how the deconfliction mechanism
has been
improved or it just simply doesn't exist anymore. Thank you.
The Deconfliction mechanism.
One thing I want to start with on the deconfliction mechanism.
It is not there
or negate international humanitarian law which prevails. Everything
which is that
access to people in need should be facilitated
and aid workers should not be targeted.
and so many other details. But those are pretty important.
killing of our colleagues
who were also friends
It was a very challenging week that followed.
We had extensive discussions
with the
parties to conflict
and we tried to reclarify that international humanitarian law prevails
and that the deconfliction mechanism is only here to
support it To be an added added layer of safety
for movement
and delivery of aid.
You have heard that
more humanitarian facilities have been attacked
and more humanitarian workers have died
since the first of April.
international humanitarian law
and the deconfliction mechanism
are not
fully being respected.
Very clear.
OK, let me see if there is any
last minute call. No, I don't see any
Yasmina. Thank you so much. Really? I think, Uh,
yeah, I think What? What it was said. I think it was from
that we've heard a lot and
Gaza was a little bit following up on the side.
It's been put back on the limelight from you And from what you've seen,
what you told us.
Thank you very very much for this
very, very strong briefing.
And I hope everybody will report on your words and what you've seen.
Jens, is that OK with you?
Ok, so thank you very much to both of you.
And good luck with your important work. Come back any time, please.
So let me go now to
William. Can you come to the podium while William is coming to the
polio? Let me remind you, speaking about Gaza,
that at one o'clock Filippe
Lazzarini, Commissioner General of U NRW will be here in person
to brief you.
As you know, the advisory commission of UNRWA is meeting in Geneva.
You have heard maybe as
you reported
on the
speech of the Commissioner General yesterday, it's also available online.
And we sent you the remarks, the transcript of the remarks.
And so you will be able to hear from him directly on what's happening in these two days
and other questions on the situation in the Palestinian territory
occupied Palestinian territory.
William, let's go now
to Chad. We have with us from
Lo Castro. I think we we know
She has already been speaking to our press.
is the UNHCR
representative in Chad,
and it's the briefing is about the Sudanese refugees.
I don't know if you want to start, and then we give the floor
just, uh, just to introduce
Since the beginning of the conflict in Sudan,
and our colleagues from other humanitarian organisations have been
reporting about what has been happening inside that country,
one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
One of the worst displacement crisis in the world.
More than 10 million people have been uprooted by the fighting in Sudan.
we have heard of, uh, appalling human rights violations, and now
famine is looming.
in addition to all this already very dire situation,
uh, with the onset of the rainy season, floods are likely to, um, hamper,
uh, relief efforts.
And, uh,
the impact of this situation in the neighbouring countries has been overwhelming.
And we are lucky enough to have today Laura Lo Castro, our representative in Chad,
one of the countries most affected by the conflict in Sudan.
More than 600,000
refugees from Sudan have arrived in Chad since the beginning of the conflict.
Uh, adding to those who had fled previous conflicts,
Uh, and to tell us more about that situation,
uh, I am very pleased to, uh, introduce Laura to you.
Laura Flores.
Thank you very much, William. I hope you can hear me
OK, Fantastic.
Um, it's it's quite difficult to talk after the account of Jasmine.
Um, but if Gaza has been a little bit, uh uh, you know,
falling out of international media,
you can imagine how much, uh has happened.
You know, with with respect to the students to Sudan,
situation and the country like Chad.
So I need, uh as this
is my last week in child
I I felt obliged and compelled to talk to you
and to apply and to call on humanitarian Laura.
Sorry, I
have to interrupt you. Sorry, we have a little technical itch.
I understand the Webcast has been, uh, the zoom. Sorry has been frozen.
So we need one minute to reboot
if you can. Sorry for that.
Ok, so sorry. Let's start the briefing again.
I'm I'm awfully sorry with Laura and And whoever was on the line
and here in the room
we really had a technical issue,
but we are back online. Labra,
you're back on zoom.
And if you don't mind to start again your,
uh your presentation because I think you've forgotten what you've said.
It was It was really short, so it should be OK Thank you.
OK, no problem. I just started, and so I wanted to I, I think I.
I started mentioning that, uh uh, to maintain international attention,
Uh, on Chad on the
crisis in Sudan has been a very, very challenging since the very beginning.
And so this is why, uh, one week, uh, from from leaving the country,
I decided to come to you and, uh,
and present to you the situation in this
country that is extremely hospitable but extremely poor.
So, as you know, from as William mentioned, uh,
since the beginning of the crisis 14 months ago,
uh, Chad has opened the door to, uh, 600,000 refugees
and, uh uh,
something like 100 and 80,000 Chadian migrants returning from from Darfur.
So, um, this if you want, uh,
the 600,000 Sudanese refugees they add up to the 400,000 that were already there.
So today,
in the four provinces of eastern Chad, Uh,
there is a population of a million refugees from south Sudan,
and you have to consider that the entire eastern Chad has a total population of chad
of 2.4 million.
So the ratio is uh, unprecedented.
And in fact, we say that, uh, when you look at the total number of population in, uh,
in Chad of Chadians and compared to the 1.2 million
refugees altogether that we today we have in Chad,
the ratio is one of the highest in Africa.
So, uh, the situation, unfortunately, it's very pro.
It's very dramatical, Let's say very concerning, because
is not that the refugees have crossed the
border and then the situation has stabilised.
They keep crossing the border.
The situation in Darfur, as you know, is not resolved. Fighting in Al
Fashir that everybody was afraid about,
you know, started and they are creating a lot of displacement in the south
and then south
west of Al
Fashir. And there are, uh, refugee.
And there are Sudanese that are trying to reach Chad. They are trying to reach Chad.
Uh, even if it is a difficult journey, a very costly journey, a very long journey,
And that a journey that is very dangerous for particularly boys and men.
So, uh, but, uh, so we we have two main entry points where we have, uh, on average,
something like 600 refugees crossing the border into
the small border town of ad every day.
And, uh uh, you know, last week we received the 800 new arrivals that arrived in T,
which is, uh, another border crossing.
Very important, that is facing Al
So the number of refugees is increasing is increasing in a situation in which, uh,
you know, the underfunding has been,
uh, has been characteristic of this situation,
this operation since the beginning.
Uh, the, uh the the funding of the
RP of 2024 2023 was only funded by 40%. So,
uh, against this, uh, this, uh, large population, which is, uh, for Chad is,
let's say,
the largest refugee crisis that they've ever experienced in the country.
Uh, what was the UN HR M partners response was immediately to try to, uh,
to, uh, secure the this large refugee population and, uh,
and and relocate them away from the border where, uh, risks, uh, of course,
And the conditions were not,
uh, not met in order for them to to live, uh,
without the health hazards and all the rest.
NHCR and its partners we opened we we created
extension to 10 existing refugee settlements in Chad.
There were already 12 of them.
So 10 existing refugee settlement were were
expanded in order to host the newcomers.
And we built
really large refugee settlements that host to
today an average of 44,000 people each.
And you have to consider that they are surrounded by
villages of something like 500 persons per per village.
So the proportion is, uh is, uh, really is really huge.
So with this, we have managed to, um,
relocate and provide some very basic
protection and assistance to 360,000 refugees
in these, uh, settlements where they've been able, they've been able to access, uh,
some family shelters, but not for all of them water
and then healthcare sanitation.
But again, we are unfortunately far below, uh, international standards
because of lack of resources, for instance,
just to give you an example in these settlements, we have, on average,
eight litres per person per day of clean water drinking water.
So, uh, so there is still a lot of work to be done as I.
I told you only 40% of the needed resources were mobilised.
So we have, uh we have done what's possible.
And let's say the good result was that not major epidemic occurred in 2023
in 2024.
We are starting to introduce some education activities,
but only reaching 14% of the Children of school age Children.
Now, the problem that we have today is that, uh,
besides the fact that the standards are really
not met in all the refugee settlement.
Besides the fact that the people have continued to cross the border,
we have something like 200,000 refugees that are stranded at border points,
in particular the the city of ADR,
which hosts 190,000 refugees in a makeshift kind of camp.
They are self settled. Let's say so. They have.
They're not, uh, we we could not build,
uh, you know, shelter for them. Because at the border, it's not the place to be.
So they are in in with very poor sanitation conditions.
We have witnessed, uh uh uh, relatively, um, controlled.
Uh, but still, uh, you know, um, epidemics of hepatitis E,
which is a si sign and symptom of, uh, insoluble
working living conditions
and not access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
And also we have been witnessing an increase insecurity,
insecurity within the the the, uh, the site because it's in a man
Even when you do a food distribution by WFP,
the staff is scared because anything can happen and
the crowd is too big to be controlled,
but also in security.
Because while the majority of these refugees
population is made of women and Children,
there is a minority of them are men and some of them are armed.
Some of them
smuggle, uh, alcohol and drugs.
And this creates a huge problem for the government to, uh, maintain security.
A government that again, you know,
has opened the doors as welcome the people as offer security.
But now it's getting also very, very thin in means
because they are
they are very preoccupied by the situation in Darfur
and so they don't have the means to ensure
sufficient security within the refugee settlements and in Adra.
In addition to that, there is another area,
another phenomenon which is the one of host population, the host population,
uh, Chadians. They are most of the time of the same ethnic group of the refugees.
So when the refugees arrive, they open the door and they share the you know,
the one potato that was
home. It was shared with the people coming.
They shared the water, they shared the food, they shared the land.
And now they are coming short of patience because now they expect also some
support, some assistance and particularly development
development per 19 intervention to come to them.
We have to consider this is part of Chad is a part
where most of the villages have no access to potable water,
no access, uh, to education facilities, his health facilities.
So the tension is growing, Uh, is growing, let's say day, day by day.
And the future is not, um it's not a future that, uh, let's say it's uplifting.
Let's say it's very worrisome because of the continuous arrivals.
Now the refugees are crossing the border.
They are crossing when we ask them, Why are you crossing the border? The main reason.
The first. The first reason that they claim is because they are hungry
because of the famine like situation in
Darfur. So they are desperate.
In addition to that,
there is the insecurity and the bombing and the shelling that is happening in, uh, al
So we expect that and the the Chadian authorities they have
confirmed we expect many more refugees to cross the border.
And, uh,
so this is This is particularly worrisome because
we have no resources to preposition and support the
uh, nor to open additional refugee.
Additional settlements were to relocate to these these populations.
In addition to that, there is the rainy season, the rainy season in this country,
you know, it's a
a Semitic area, part of the world.
But when the rain comes and it comes only once a year,
they are devastating, devastating.
So access to most of the locations would be very, very difficult.
In the past, what we used to do was to preposition food preposition non-food items,
reposition drugs
in order to be able to to cope with with months,
23 months in which access would be very, very difficult.
But now we have not had the means and the population is
growing and the tension with the population is growing as well.
So the government, uh, keep asking us to accelerate the relocation of refugees from
a Dre.
They are all so worried because the numbers are increasing and
the and ad is not anymore a town with 40,000 people.
There are six fold the number
and, uh, and the the authorities are just not coping.
And, of course, the living condition, the well being of people cannot be insured.
So in order to do that, uh, of course, we UN HR
and the partners, we are estimating that we need at least, uh,
to open another three refugee settlements or two
in the area. So that is most affected of the day
and wine.
And one was the north expecting much, many more people coming from Al Fashir.
So the the budget of, uh, of UN HCR of, uh, 214 million for,
uh 2024 has been funded only 10%.
And, uh, what we need now,
not tomorrow, maybe yesterday. But it's now it's 80 million.
In order to open three settlements where to relocate the 150,000 refugees
that, uh, uh, need absolute urgent, uh, protection and, uh, and assistance.
And in order to, you know, minimise the risks of epidemics of mortality,
increase of mortality, morbidity,
and also of insecurity. What?
we We have to say that in addition to indeed the the
the the further deterioration of the security situation in the country,
the absence of humanitarian assistance or adequate humanitarian assistance,
let me recall here that of course, everything that we have done
it's thanks to the very generous donors that have provided the
credible support to UN, HCR and all the other partners.
But unfortunately, it's not enough. So another consequence, Of course
it would be, um,
not only the destabilisation of the entire provinces of the Eastern Charter,
which can produce as well a destabilisation of the entire country that, as you know,
is a very critical country in this island, Central Africa.
But also, it will certainly increase.
Um, you know, the dangerous journeys towards, uh, Libya and then beyond,
uh, the the reports about, uh,
about movements of Sudanese from Chad or through chad,
to Libya and then going towards Europe do not correspond to actually the reality.
Do not make a a genuine account for what is happening when I go to the sites
and I talk to the refugees.
Uh, which is what I've been doing for the past year and a half,
Uh, and and very, very often
when I ask,
do you know about someone that has taken that dangerous journey towards the north?
I mean, one third of the audience of about 60 people.
They tell me they raise their hand and say, Yes, we have, uh we have people,
and they can tell you as well how many of them
died while trying to cross into Europe.
And, um, and the same, you know, meeting a fa
a father that I met like that
casually asking him just by by chance
of anybody
And they realise that in China there is no future.
There are there's no enough, uh, food assistance.
Uh, and there is no, uh, not accelerated the development intervention.
We are trying to work on that. But of course, it takes time.
And so the people take that dangerous
army, So
Sudan may may seem far away, but it is quite close.
Uh, in this globalised world of today, I thank you very much for your attention.
I'm ready to answer to any question you may have. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Lara, for this very comprehensive briefing.
Let me see if there is any question for you
in the room.
Don't see any end up or on the platform.
I think you've been extremely clear,
as I don't see any questions, so thank you very much.
And also thanks very much for your patience
with the with the technical
problem we had before, William, is anything else you would like to add?
No, thank you very much.
So let's go to our next point on the briefing and we have with us another guest
that is brought to us by Christian
Christian. We have with us Dr
Rosamond Lewis, the technical leader on M
box. I think you are going to give us
an update on that. I don't know if you want to start, and then we go to Ro.
Oh, thank you very much. You did all the introduction already. So
over to
Thanks. Thanks for being standing by so long. Thank you.
Thank you. I'm just trying to ensure that Yes, I'm on YouTube now.
Um, thanks very much.
Uh, bourgeois
de, uh,
Good morning to everyone.
Um, this briefing is about the global
ox situation, which continues to evolve,
and since the global outbreak of
ox began in May 2022 WHO has continued
to support member states and monitor the situation.
Today, M Plus remains a public health threat as the situation continues to evolve.
There have been over 3100 laboratory confirmed
cases reported globally since the start of 2024
and in May alone,
around 600 confirmed cases have been reported to WO
from 26 countries in in most of the regions.
Um in addition, cases are on the rise in Africa.
Um so the total number of cases right now reported is over 97,000 globally.
But Africa is now leading uh, the leading region having now just now,
replacing the Americas as a leading reporting region
for confirmed cases.
Um, in relation to the continuing global reporting of
ox, a significant outbreak, uh, due to the virus play two B, which was the virus that,
uh appeared in in many countries and regions.
This has now emerged in South Africa.
Um, since April, South Africa has reported 13 confirmed cases.
They previously had only five in 2022 and none of those were severe.
Now they're reporting 13 confirmed cases again due to play two B virus,
this time with two deaths,
and all patients are severely ill and have required hospitalisation.
We know that those with advanced HIV infection are
at greater risk for serious illness and death from
ox and South Africa has responded very promptly.
They're providing information to health care providers
and persons at risk working uh,
with community associations and engaging with people
at risk enhancing surveillance and contact tracing,
providing clinical care, including specific antiviral treatment,
and advancing quickly to secure access to vaccines for people at risk.
At the same time, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as you know,
continues to face a major outbreak of
impacts due to plague one the other played of the virus,
with over 9000 clinically compatible cases and over
400 deaths reported amongst those in 2024 alone.
This is already much higher
than the already peak that was reported in 2023.
So we're continuing on an upward trajectory in the DRC.
The case fatality ratio there is almost 5% which is
far higher than what was seen in the global outbreak,
which was less than 0.2%.
Uh, Children are particularly affected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Um, with even higher death rates up to 17 or 18% or almost one in five,
there separately is also a distinct outbreak of a
new strain of play one virus in South Kibu,
which has driven a bit like the global outbreak,
primarily by sexual contact but mostly uh, among se sex workers.
Um, this outbreak has also now reached Goa
in North Kibu and a camp for internally displaced persons,
so we should all be concerned. While the CLA
virus so far contained a central Africa,
its potential spread to neighbouring countries
and other regions remains very concerning.
There remains a risk, a risk of wider outbreaks,
and WHO is working with neighbouring countries as well to
step up preparedness and strengthen
surveillance and cross-border collaboration.
In addition, among African nations,
the Republic of the Congo has also recently declared an outbreak of
ox, and Cameroon continues to report new cases. Uh, periodically,
there is a critical need to address this resurgence.
DO has recommended, uh, a wide
ranging comprehensive response, including risk communication,
community engagement, surveillance and other public health interventions,
DO has also recommended the use of
for persons at risk.
calls on member states to continue to demonstrate clinical research
uh, to show the effectiveness of these vaccines.
Studies have demonstrated the real world effectiveness of
ox vaccines and studies on antiviral agents do continue.
WO continues to.
We continue to support countries to strengthen surveillance, laboratory work,
clinical care, infection prevention,
control and other elements of the response and to prepare vaccination strategies.
Uh, for the countries, uh, experiencing outbreaks
in the absence of pre
qualification for the vaccines,
we are working directly with member states to facilitate
and support vaccine review by their national regulatory authorities.
This work is underway with South Africa and with the C uh,
Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At the moment,
um, while
ox can affect anyone as we know,
especially through direct skin to skin contact or face to face contact.
ox services into existing services for
sexually transmitted infections is also crucial,
as it's now become obvious that
ox is also a sex sexually transmissible disease.
An endemic area is critical to better understand how inbox is spreading.
Until Rachel continues to work with member states to design
protocols and studies to better understand and address this question.
Additional resources must be prioritised for vaccination treatment
and public health initiatives for groups at risk,
which is very different according to the context, Um, as you've heard,
so member states and other entities are invited to continue to support this effort.
Uh, through, uh, resources, financial resources,
access to vaccines and treatments for low and middle income countries.
Uh, including donations and procurement, uh, for countries that may, uh,
require support for access.
Um, thanks. And back to you.
Thank you
very much. Uh uh. Rosemond, uh, Let me see if there are questions in the room.
Emma Farge, Reuters.
Good morning. Um, could you just clarify?
You said Africa overtook the US on the cases. Uh, is that overall or in what time?
And secondly, um,
could you just answer clearly why the
treatments and vaccines that have been available
in high income countries for two years now
still aren't available in places like DRC.
when do you think that might change as well? Thank you.
Thanks very much.
Um, so, as you know, we report out monthly now We're receiving monthly reports from,
from the regions who received their reports from WHO
member states who are still reporting surveillance is declining,
but nonetheless, the Americas has been leading in terms of case reports for
laboratory confirmed cases.
Um, the data is not yet officially out. It will be coming out this week.
And you will see that, uh,
it seems like the African region is is now reporting more clinically confirmed.
Uh, sorry. Laboratory confirmed
cases in addition to their large numbers of clinically
Um, so we'll share that information and data as soon as it is ready to be published.
It will be in a few days,
Um, regarding vaccines and and therapeutics.
Uh, so, yes, vaccines are licenced.
They are approved, and, uh, they were developed for smallpox, as you know, and, uh,
the monkeypox virus is a related virus, and so therefore,
it was thought that they would be effective
and had previously been demonstrated to be effective,
um, against, uh,
ox as well.
So now, in real world studies around the world, um, more than 13 studies, uh,
have been have demonstrated effectiveness of, uh,
the vaccinia based vaccines against
Um And this has been, uh,
reviewed and taken up by the WHO
Strategic advisory Group of Experts on Organisation,
so that that is the source of their
strong recommendation to vaccinate people at risk.
At the same time, the, uh, WHO has a process for pre qualification of vaccines,
um, which is a strict process, as it should be, And, uh, are looking for, uh,
further data on efficacy.
So at the at the time, what we are doing is working directly with, um,
countries through, of course,
our our three levels of the organisation headquarters,
regional offices and country offices,
uh, to support in country processes, uh,
through their national immunisation technical advisory groups,
their regulatory authorities.
And, uh, for example, uh,
one country in Africa has already approved use of impulse vaccines,
and that was Nigeria.
Uh, So we are working with other countries now to to facilitate also that, uh,
direct process.
Um, regarding therapeutics, there are studies that are ongoing,
particularly to protect beat.
is an agent that was also developed.
An antiviral agent also developed for smallpox,
and it is undergoing studies, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Uh, which we hear will
expected to conclude during the course of this year.
And so look forward to those results.
In the meantime, countries have made, uh, that, uh,
product available for compassionate use or through the
WHO process of monitored emergency use of,
unregistered interventions. That product is, in fact, also licenced.
Um, but as I said, the studies for efficacy for M
fox are ongoing.
And and so right now, the accesses are through expanded access protocols or, uh,
in very small quantities for compaction use.
Thank you very much. Amy Kitten, Associated Press.
Nice to see you again.
Um, I wanted to just follow up. Um, you said a lot of things there on on Emma's question
just to make sure, um that I understand what you're you're saying.
The reason why we're not seeing,
uh, vaccination in Africa. Um, and
as as we did in in use of therapeutics in
In in Africa, to the same extent that we've seen in North America
boils down to the fact that there are national PQ processes that
are not allowing those things to go forward in those African countries.
Is that the simple answer?
And then, uh, I just had two follow ups. You mentioned our two other questions.
Um, one is you mentioned the higher transmission rates.
Um, how do you explain that?
Um, the I think you said 5% or something along those lines. Um,
what's what do you attribute that to?
And and and just another one,
what is the possibility that, um, the, um, fake for impact
might be revisited? Thanks.
Uh, thanks very much for those questions.
Uh, so to clarify on national regulatory authority processes,
they're not called pre qualification.
Um, national.
Each country has its own national regulatory authority and
its own process for reviewing for assessing vaccines,
and determining whether they can be used in country for other
studies or for emergency use or for full market authorization.
In country, there are different processes,
different pathways that countries can follow.
Uh, at the moment, uh, the countries we that, uh,
that are experiencing outbreaks are looking at emergency use authorization.
It is the national regulatory authority that is reviewing, uh,
vaccine files from the manufacturers.
So those processes are are underway. Um, and, uh,
well, we'll share information when we have it.
Right now,
what we know is those processes are underway in in the countries looking to procure
vaccines for for their use nationally. So they do have to go through their own
policy advice process and then regulatory review process.
And then, of course, development of immunisation strategies, operational plans,
um, adverse events, monitoring and everything that comes with immunisation.
Um, once those initial processes are completed,
um, regarding higher transmission,
you mentioned 5% but that was the figure I gave for case fatality ratio
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
What that means is all the clinically compatible cases reported,
there is 5% of them. There's also an equivalent number 400.
Uh, so 400 deaths have been reported among, uh, clinically compatible cases of MO.
So that's a 5% case fatality ratio
that is not the same as transmission.
Um, transmission does independently seem to be picking up.
Uh, there are, uh, as I mentioned higher, uh,
reported numbers of cases in 2024 than there were
in 2023 which was already a peak year.
And in addition to that,
uh, there has been found a new strain of plague one virus in Eastern
Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is still in
Grade one
but is transmitting exclusively from person to person.
Whereas in the endemic areas we understand there is
still a mix of zoonotic spillover events leading to outbreaks
and leading to person to person transmission.
But in the eastern part of the country, it's only person to person transmission.
So there are different forms of epidemiology.
Different case mixes different ages affected according to the context,
even within one country,
um, regarding the possibility of, uh,
public health emergency of international concern. So that is a unique instrument.
Under the international health regulations,
WO has an internal monitoring system for
all emergency events and considers that this global
ox outbreak is still an emergency.
Uh, in, uh, for our own internal functional processes.
Uh, so DO
continues to monitor the epidemiology of the outbreaks globally as
well as in the African region and in each country.
And, uh, if if any change is needed, uh,
that will be determined through a comprehensive risk assessment,
Um, which, uh, which is developed, uh,
E every few months to update our understanding of the situation.
I think he, uh Jim, you have a follow up?
Uh, I did. Yeah, I did misspeak.
It was a It was a not the transmission, but the case Fatality, um, rates. And and,
uh, I think if I understood you correctly,
you you explained why the case fatality rate is higher.
So it's higher in part because of the we think because of the clave one.
But it's also higher,
in part because in the endemic areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
most of the people are affected are in fat Children.
Um, three quarters of the cases are among Children,
and 88% of the deaths are among Children.
And so there is an age gradient with respect to, uh, case fatality ratio.
Those most at risk of severe disease and death are, in fact, the youngest,
the infants,
and then under five, are the next,
uh, most at risk, uh,
overall and then under 15 and so on so that adults
in endemic areas are less at risk for different possible reasons.
They're less vulnerable to begin with. Perhaps they've been exposed to
ox in the past.
Uh, we don't really have the answers to all these questions yet,
but we do know that Children are at higher risk of severe disease,
as are separately immunocompromised persons,
regardless of the reason for for their immune suppression.
Um, so the epidemiology is complex and we continue to monitor and are proposing,
uh, to investigate further supporting the country to investigate further,
particularly endemic areas to understand,
um, how Children are acquiring a mix.
Thank you.
What we can say, I can just add one point, perhaps,
is that clinical care is critically important.
We saw at the beginning of 2024 that the case
fatality ratios for Children in DRC were extremely high.
and with intervention of the Ministry of Health
and partners with provision of clinical care,
simple things, rehydration nutrition,
um, control of fever, treatment of secondary infections,
taking care of the skin so it doesn't develop secondary infections
that basic,
optimal clinical care is critically important in reducing death rates,
particularly for infants and Children.
And so clinical care is an essential part of of the response.
Uh, as well as the other strategies I've mentioned.
Um don't see.
Uh, ok. Sorry. Nina.
Uh, Nina Larson.
thank you, I.
I was just wondering, you mentioned, uh, the risk of of this spreading, uh,
to neighbouring countries and
and I guess, uh, internationally as well.
How how high a risk do you think that is That these that this, uh,
very large outbreak will will be spreading
Well, what we've seen so far is that, um
increasingly, for example, in South Africa,
those who are most affected are already severely ill.
What that suggests is
is that this virus is circulating but has so far found those who are most vulnerable.
Um, in that case,
it's adult men with HIV infection who
are already suffering from advanced HIV disease.
So what we know because of that, uh,
unusual picture is that the virus is circulating and that's why South Africa
is stepping up its response to enhance its surveillance and contact tracing.
But it does mean that neighbouring uh countries in that situation, for example,
may be having circulation of virus without yet realising it.
Uh, the similar situation can apply for example, in in eastern in East Africa,
in countries neighbouring um eastern DRC,
where, uh, the virus may also not be picked up. Um, not all cases are picked up.
There is circulation that is either possibly silent, although that's less common
but also possibly simply just not detected or reported.
Um, patients do not come forward if they don't know that there is care for them.
Um, regardless of the demographic group we're talking about, um, me
is a very stigmatising disease.
It causes lesions on the face which are very disfiguring
and on the rest of the body.
And so whether you're a young woman or an older man, it doesn't matter.
People feel very stigmatised when they when they have
ox, and so there's often a delay in seeking care.
They prefer to stay home, and sometimes, uh, they arrive, uh, looking for care When,
uh, it may be late in the in the process, uh, of the of the illness.
And so we are, um, also continuing to advocate for, um, destigmatize care and and,
uh, supporting communities regardless,
um, so that people can come forward and cases can be detected.
And we can better understand transmission.
Thank you very much.
I see there's one question in the chat,
but I understand it's not an
ox. Christian.
You have a question, right?
Maybe Christian can answer
Christian Erich, if you can amuse
I spoke to Christian already, but I just want to
put this on the public record here.
The reports that WHO has put out yesterday and today on alcohol and trans fat
and that are sold as
as new reports that reveal new figures.
Both of those figures are old, uh, one from January 1 from December last year.
And, uh, this is a huge problem for me.
And I guess for other people, too, because we are losing credibility if we, uh, um,
put out stories about supposedly new figures that that, uh,
have already been published before.
I. I see a big problem here. And I'm asking, uh, WHO to spec
by from now on,
when they put out reports whether what's in them
is actually new or it's just rehashed old information.
Um, yeah, it's a credibility question. That's that's, uh, is is a problem for us.
And for WHO, I guess, too.
Thank you. Thank you, Christian, I guess. Christian, you wanna take this?
Yeah, sure. Uh, but first thanks, uh, Christiana for flagging this.
And also thanks for Rosamond for her for her briefing.
Um uh, that's the other part, but um, yeah, on that particular point,
the way I understand it that the,
uh the specific figures were used already before as preliminary figures,
That seems right,
but without any further details. And hence now, when the the technical unit
decided to bring out a final definite report with all more with more information,
Of course, inside,
they also reuse that figure.
Um, but I, I fully hear you and I agree.
Um, it would be ideal to flag which of these figures are,
um, had been published before and which are absolutely new figures.
We'll we'll keep that in mind,
and we'll bring that forward.
But on the larger context, Um, that reminds me of a press briefing we have today, uh,
coming, uh, still.
And that's at, uh, three o'clock.
a briefing on an embargoed virtual press briefing
on the launch of physical activity estimates.
And you should have also received embargoed material for this one before.
uh, so that also doesn't work always very well. But in this case, it worked. So
three o'clock, A press briefing today on physical activities and
the launch
has been
Thank you.
Thank you very much. Christian and Christian.
Both statements are noted.
And thanks so much, Dr
Lewis, for this update on
very useful.
I thank the colleagues from
and turn to my
We have Thomas Row
Knight for un
Who has to announce you, I guess a press conference in a forum.
That's right. Thank you, Alexandra. Good morning.
So tomorrow,
as you know, there is a press conference on
autonomous vehicles international developments
in regulating autonomous vehicles.
So this is an important area of work
under the World Forum of Harmonisation Vehicle Regulations,
the UN
body which gathers this week.
This is the only global platform for harmonisation in this area
the only dedicated U body
in particular.
We will be explaining to you with the help of our experts
the updates in the current state of play and next
steps from the work of the Working Party on autonomous,
automated, autonomous and connected vehicles,
which was established in
2018 and continues to advance its regulatory work in this complex area.
There are already regulations on cyber security and
on certain automated driving functionalities in force.
And they will update you on what's coming next
just for your background. So this working party known as
for Short.
It brings together all countries that are willing
to work together on this complex area,
the USA, Canada, the EU,
Japan, Republic of Korea, India, China
and G7. Transport ministers, as a reminder, are calling
consistently for regulatory work in this area to be conducted
under the auspices of this working party,
including the last occasion just this spring.
So that will be with the Secretary of the Working Party Francois Guichard
and the chair of the working Party
Dam of Germany,
together with our Deputy Executive Secretary Dmitri Marien.
Now on the second note, there is this week in Limassol,
the UN
Forum on Education for Sustainable Development. That's the 27th and 28th of June.
And that's with a focus on empowering youth for sustainable futures,
entrepreneurship, education and youth empowerment.
This is held in response to the recognition that to address
many interconnected sustainable development challenges, we're facing
that education is key there now by prioritising entrepreneurship,
employment and innovation as key policy directions. The aim
is to bridge education for sustainable development with
economic and social issues and tackling the business,
financial and policy landscapes in these areas.
Now, this will be the occasion to launch to update and to initiate a
three year project aimed at promoting the implementation of this priority area.
Now the forum will shape the development
of a comprehensive guiding framework for 21st
century competencies tailored to foster innovation and
entrepreneurship in the pursuit of sustainable development.
So this is part of the 2030 framework of Implementation
education for sustainable Development,
which is developed under a steering committee
here at UC.
This is a region wide body encompassing the 56 countries of North America,
the entire European continent, Central Asia and the Caucasus,
supported also by a dedicated youth platform
that's organised by the government of Cyprus with
in partnership with the Swiss government,
and other partners. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Thomas,
Questions in the room.
I don't see any hand up or on the platform,
so thank you very much.
And good luck. Tomorrow will be
my seats for the press conference
and the last speaker today is Susanna Park on behalf of it,
since you don't know
Susanna very well,
we've prepared a name plate for her and she has two announcements.
Susanna, go ahead, please.
Yes. Can everyone hear?
Ok, thank you very much. Alessandra,
um, I'm here to share with you two things that are coming up for this week.
this Thursday on the 27th of June is UN Micro Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Day,
or M SME Day.
And this is also the day that we at
the International Trade Centre will celebrate our 60th anniversary.
Um, first on the reason why we celebrate this day.
Small businesses make up 90% of all companies and two thirds of jobs worldwide.
They form the backbone of many economies, especially of developing countries.
And as our executive director has said,
you can't have sustainable development without trade,
and you can't have trade without small businesses.
So as we mark our 60th anniversary, we're hosting a celebratory session
on M SME Day this Thursday.
It'll be a fast moving event marking how we've
been investing in core services like our trade,
and technical assistance for developing countries.
While also looking at how we've been
innovating to make trade more digitally connected,
sustainable and inclusive of women and young people.
So some highlights that may be of interest.
the UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed will be coming
to Geneva from New York to deliver the keynote.
We have the A U Trade Commissioner Albert
Mhana, who will come to talk about how,
uh, they're working to make one trade Africa a reality.
We'll have Helene Bolier,
who's the state secretary of Econo Economy of Switzerland, to
talk about our long standing partnership with Switzerland as our host country.
And we'll have some entrepreneurs, of course.
Uh, since we're talking about small businesses,
uh, for example,
we have a Moroccan CEO who produces reusable sanitary products for women.
And we also have a representative of a cocoa
Co-operative representing 10% of all cocoa producers in Ghana
who will come to speak. And that may be of interest because recently we've seen,
um, record high cocoa prices,
which also has an impact eventually on chocolate purchasing.
And we also have a Ghanaian
company owner who's a woman in case that's of interest for an interview.
our session will wrap with an Afro
Carribbean reception on the WTO terrace
with food, music and dancing. So
please join.
The only stipulation here is I think you have to be registered
with the WTO for the Global Review of Aid for Trade this week
in order to access the premises to come to the
to the session and the reception.
Um, so that session is again this Thursday from 4 to 8
in the CR room at the WTO. And the reception starts
immediately afterwards. But even if you can't come to the reception,
you can watch online. I can share the link with Alessandra and her team.
And if you'd like more information or to interview our executive director or any
entrepreneurs, please feel free to reach out.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Susan and I just remember that we have sent you
the message of the Secretary General on the micro,
small and medium sized enterprise there.
Um and I won't read it because you have it in your email boxes,
but I'll open the floor to questions.
If you have any on this event,
I don't see any. So it seems very clear to everyone. Hopefully, they will be there.
Thank you very much.
Just one announcement on behalf of Jennifer who was here
until a few minutes ago. But it is always available for you if you have questions.
She has asked me to inform you that the deputy special envoy for Syria, Mrs Najat
will be the Security Council at 3 p.m. New York time.
So that's nine o'clock here in Geneva. 9 p.m.
Her briefing will be distributed when she concludes, as usual
just maybe a save the date because this is at the end of the month.
But it's not that far away.
The Preparatory
The second meeting of the Preparatory Committee
for the 2026 Review Conference of the Parties
to the Treaty of Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons will be held at the Paladin
Room 19 from 22nd of July to the second of August,
and the chair designate of the second session is Ambassador
Akan Rme
of Kazakhstan. You should have received
We will soon receive a media advisory,
but I wanted to just note that the members of the
media are invited for a press briefing with the chair designate
on Monday. 22nd of July at 1:15 p.m.
Those of you who want to cover the conference
should apply for accreditation in advance through the UN
Inco platform of course. If you are a journalist accredited,
you don't need to do that. It will be.
There will be a media gallery in the room. You will be able to follow the proceedings.
That is what I had for you.
If there are no other questions, we only have about one hour to grab something to eat.
And I'll see you again here at one o'clock with Philippe
Lazzarini. Thank you.