Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Yemen aid programmes closing, Guterres Idlib concern, Somalia insecurity, honouring terror victims

21 August 2019

Today’s stories: aid money promised for Yemen fails to materialize, prospects of new Idlib conflict put millions at risk, new Sudanese transitional government welcomed by UN chief, insecurity threatens Somalia progress.

Lack of funds forces UN to close Yemen aid programmes

The UN announced on Wednesday that it is being forced to close several humanitarian programmes in Yemen, because money committed by Member States has “failed to materialise”.

The announcement was made by Lise Grandi, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, who said that “when money doesn’t come, people die.”

At a pledging event for Yemen held in February, $2.6 billion was promised to meet the urgent needs of some 20 million Yemenis. To date, less than half of that amount has been received.

Of the 34 major UN humanitarian programmes in Yemen, only three are funded for the entire year. Several have closed in recent weeks, and many large-scale projects designed to help destitute, hungry families, are on hold.

Another 22 life-saving programmes will close in the next two months unless funding is received.

Find out more here.

UN chief expresses concern at ‘new wave of human suffering’ in last Syrian rebel-held city

The prospect of a fresh offensive in Idlib, Syria, the last opposition-held stronghold in the country, could unleash a “new wave of human suffering”, UN chief António Guterres declared on Wednesday.

The Secretary-General said in a statement that he is “deeply troubled’ by the continued escalation in northwest Syria, which could impact up to three million civilians.

Mr. Guterres strongly condemned ongoing attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including healthcare and educational facilities, and urged all parties to respect  international humanitarian law.

The heightened threat of conflict in Idlib follows the collapse of a truce between warring parties earlier this month.

UN ‘warmly welcomes’ swearing-in of new Sudanese Sovereign Council

The UN warmly-welcomed the nominations on Wednesday by Sudan’s Transitional Military Council and main opposition group, the Forces for Freedom and Change, for the new Sovereign Council as well as its subsequent formation and swearing in.

Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists that “we take note of the inclusion of two women in the Sovereign Council and strongly further encourage the inclusion of women in all transitional bodies in Sudan, including in, but not limited to the Transitional Legislative Assembly.”

He noted that Prime Minister designate, Abdalla Hamdok, was set to arrive in Khartoum to be sworn in, and wished him “all the best in leading the new transitional government” while hoping that cabinet members would also be appointed speedily.

“As the Secretary-General said in his statement after the signing ceremony this weekend, the UN looks forward to engaging with and supporting the transitional governing institutions. We also reiterate our commitment to assisting the transition process as it seeks to achieve the long-standing aspiration of the people of Sudan for democracy and peace”, Mr. Dujarric said.

Somalia security remains a concern, head of UN Mission warns Security Council

Despite “encouraging” developments, insecurity across Somalia remains a serious concern, James Swan, head of the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), warned the Security Council, in his first briefing to the world body since taking office.

Mr. Swan noted the effectiveness of the collaboration between the UN and international partners, and the Somali Security Forces working with the African Union Mission in Somalia, which has seen areas near the capital Mogadishu taken back from terror group al-Shabab, and stabilized.

However, he noted that terrorism remains a threat to progress, citing the deadly al-Shabab attack on the offices of the mayor of Mogadishu in July, which killed and injured several Government officials. Looking ahead to the crucial 2020 election cycle, Mr. Swan called for the empowerment of women to be a central feature of the political process and encouraged the Federal Government to establish a task force, to ensure election security.

Read the full story here.

Scars of terrorism ‘run deep’, UN chief says, paying tribute to victims

The scars of terrorism “run deep”, and while they may fade with time, “they never disappear”, the United Nations chief said on Wednesday, in his message for the second International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism.

“Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a global challenge”, according to Secretary-General António Guterres. “It causes lasting damage to individuals, families and communities”.

The General Assembly established 21 August as the International Day to honour and support the victims and survivors of terrorism and to promote and protect human rights and the rule of law to prevent and combat terrorism.

Victims and survivors throughout the world show “great resilience, courage and spirit”, forging global alliances, addressing and countering false narratives spread by terrorists, and raising their voices against “the threat of terrorism and the absence of justice”, Mr. Guterres maintained. 

Find out more here.

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 21 August on Soundcloud:

 

 

♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.