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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.

The UN is an international organization, not a government.  As a result, its effectiveness depends on the participation of 193 sovereign member states and the backing of citizens around the world. The United Nations Association of the United States, a program of the United Nations Foundation, works day in and day out to support the mission of the UN by connecting Americans to the work of the UN and advocating for strong US leadership within the UN. 

 

UN Updates: December 17, 2014

*Keywords: SG=Secretary-General, DSG=Deputy Secretary-General

SG: Today, the SG delivered his End-of-the-Year remarks. He discussed climate change and worldwide crises, and called for global action in 2015. The SG said he was pleased that in Lima, Governments built on the success of the Climate Summit, which he convened in September this year, and put in place the “building blocks” for a meaningful, universal climate change agreement in Paris next year. He added that as indicated in his Synthesis Report, “the stars are aligned for the world to take historic action to transform lives and protect the planet.” He also said that peace operations, diplomacy and humanitarian capacities have been pushed to the limit.  More than 100 million people need assistance and more than 50 million people have been driven from their homes – the most since the Second World War. He further informed the press of his travels starting today to Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Ghana to see the UN Ebola response for himself, and to urge even greater global action.  Finally, he stressed that 2015 must be a time for global action on four fronts: sustainable development and climate change; ending the Syrian conflict; countering extremism and the rise of far-right political parties that target minorities; and adapting the UN itself to a new global landscape.

Ebola: The number of people facing food insecurity due to the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone could top one million by March 2015 unless access to food is drastically improved and measures are put in place to safeguard crop and livestock production, according to three country reports published today by the FAO and the WFP. In December 2014, half a million people are estimated to be severely food insecure in the three worst hit Western African countries.

CERF: The SG opened the high-level UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) pledging conference today – which received $418.6 million in pledges for 2015 – calling on donors to “dig deep and contribute generously” to the lifesaving fund. He said that the depth and severity of humanitarian crises is rising, due to the effects of climate change, urbanization, population growth and competition for resources. He added that when CERF started in 2006, some 30 million people needed aid but today that number has risen to 100 million. USG for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, added that humanitarian needs this year have reached unprecedented levels and that she has allocated 39% of CERF alone to South Sudan and CAR, two countries that are still severely affected by conflict and humanitarian crises. OCHA has approved more than $450 million dollars for CERF-funded operations so far this year to deliver aid in 44 countries. Of this, 62% was for rapid response. Since its inception in 2006, partners have provided $3.7 billion to the CERF.

Libya: UNSMIL has reported that Libyan political parties have agreed to take part in a UN-convened political dialogue, showing commitment to find a peaceful solution to the current political and military crisis. While encouraged by this development, UNSMIL remains deeply alarmed by fighting at the Oil Crescent area, which it says undermines the ongoing efforts to convene the dialogue. The Mission has called on all forces on the ground to immediately disengage and pull back from the area to avert worsening an already disastrous situation across the country. UNSMIL continues to hold consultations with the parties over the coming days to finalize preparations for the dialogue, including details of the venue and timing.

Ukraine: USG for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met last night with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. This morning, he met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and with Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, head of the OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission, to learn of its activities. In all of his meetings, Mr. Feltman underscored the SG’s “unwavering commitment” to help the people and Government of Ukraine address the country's political, humanitarian, security, and development challenges. 

 
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