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un-building-350-230The United Nations is the one organization with the vision and reach to address the world’s most pressing challenges. When disaster strikes, the world turns to one organization for hope, help, leadership, and coordi­nation: the United Nations. When there is peace to keep between warring factions, the world asks the UN to mobilize peacekeepers, oversee elections, and create stability. In the face of challenges such as climate change, disease or poverty, the United Nations provides the platform for international cooperation.

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UN Updates: November 23, 2015

Somalia New Head of Mission: Earlier today, the SG announced the appointment of Michael Keating as the new Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), succeeding Nicholas Kay, who has served in this role for two and half years. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Keating simultaneously served as Associate Director of Chatham House and Senior Advisor to the SG’s Special Envoy to Syria. From 2010 until 2012, Keating served as Deputy Special Representative of the SG and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan.

Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN): Yesterday, at the seventh  ASEAN-UN summit, the SG congratulated leaders on signing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, which he said should be carried out in tandem with the SDGs. Stressing that sustainable development cannot be achieved without climate action, the SG called on ASEAN leaders to play a major role in support of climate action and contribute to the effort to keep the inevitable rise in global temperature below two degrees. He also encouraged ASEAN countries to engage in preparations and participate at the highest level during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. At the ASEAN East Asia Summit, the SG welcomed the recent Trilateral Summit that brought together China, Japan and the Republic of Korea and expressed support for initiatives to build peace and security in Northeast Asia.

Mali: UN Police (UNPOL) are providing the UN Mission in Mali with support and technical expertise in an investigation of Friday’s terrorist attack on the Radisson hotel in Bamako, which killed 22 individuals.

Sudanese Refugees: Recent reports reveal that five Sudanese refugees have been killed and six others have been wounded on the Egyptian-Israeli border, one week after reports that 15 Sudanese refugees were killed and 8 injured by Egyptian security forces in the Sinai. The SG urged Egyptian authorities to launch a full investigation to ensure accountability and prevent a recurrence of these events.

Republic of Korea: The SG expressed his condolences to the people of the Republic of Korea after learning of the passing of former President, Kim Young-sam yesterday, paying tribute to President Kim’s major contribution to the Republic of Korea’s peaceful transition to democracy.

Middle East: At an event today marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson said that security and hope in Gaza and the occupied West Bank remain at a low point. He added that a lack of political horizon for a two-State solution increases the risk that current escalated tensions may spiral out of control. The DSG condemned the recent stabbings, shootings and other attacks that have caused immense suffering among Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Deputy Secretary-General: DSG Jan Eliasson will travel to Berne, Switzerland today where he will participate in the Annual Democracy Forum, meet with the Swiss Refugee Council and hold bilateral meetings with government officials. He will then travel to Vaduz, Liechtenstein to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the country’s UN membership.

Libya: Over the weekend, Martin Kobler, the SG’s Special Representative for Libya, met with the Foreign Minister, Second Vice President, and members of the House of Representatives in Tobruk and Tripoli where he stressed the urgent need to move forward on a vote to consider a Government of National Accord.

Nepal: The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced last week that the 100,000th Bhutanese refugee, since the launch of a program in 2007, has been relocated. Refugees have moved from camps in eastern Nepal to Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. Many refugees have spent nearly 20 years in the camps.

Haiti: The SG’s Special-Representative for Haiti, Sandra Honore, condemned the recent violence in Haiti and called on all to guarantee that the right to demonstrate peacefully and freedom of opinion are protected.

Central African Republic: The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reported that two people were killed in clashes between anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka movements in the capital’s 3rd and 5th districts yesterday. Yesterday, in three separate incidents, mission-escorted convoys were also attacked in the Boali area. Pope Francis is scheduled to visit CAR next week; it will be the first time he will step into an active war zone. He will also visit Kenya and Uganda.

South Sudan: The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, strongly condemned the armed robbery of the Nile Hope NGO compound in Juba on Friday, where aid workers were held at gunpoint and significant assets were taken. The Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the humanitarian situation in South Sudan continues to deteriorate. In October alone, humanitarian partners reported 32 cases of attempted or successful robbery, burglary and looting incidents.

Climate Change: A new UN report issued by the Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) shows that, in the past 20 years, 90% of major disasters have been caused by nearly 6,500 recorded floods, storms, heatwaves, droughts and other weather-related events. Since 1995, more than 600,000 people have died as a result of weather-related disasters. The United States, China, India, Philippines and Indonesia are the five countries that have been hit by the highest number of disasters.

Refugees and Migrants: Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a high-level meeting in Rome that brought together European health ministers to discuss how to improve healthcare for refugees and migrants, considering issues ranging from vaccination against measles and polio to preventing childbirth complications. In a joint statement, the WHO, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stressed the need to strengthen national health systems in Europe given the unprecedented influx of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants. 
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