DSG; Youth Envoy; Sahel; Mali; Syria; Next week at the UN

DSG: DSG Jan Eliasson will travel to Asia from February 20- March 2, where he will visit China, the Republic of Korea and Japan. During his visit, he will hold bilateral meetings with senior Government officials, will make visits outside of the capitals, and will meet with the UN staff in each country.

Youth Envoy: The SG has appointed 29-year-old Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan as his Envoy on Youth. The SG described Mr. Alhendawi as a very distinguished young leader, one who will bring new and fresh and creative ideas and visions for youth. At Mr. Alhendawi’s swearing-in ceremony this morning, the SG emphasized that “what we do for youth will be very important for our sustainable development, helping to provide equal opportunities and decent jobs.”

Sahel: The SG’s Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, and SR for West Africa, Said Djinnit, are in Niger today, their last day in the sub-region. The two Envoys met with the President of Niger to discuss progress being made in the Sahel, participated in an international seminar on security and development in Sahel-Sahara, and met with Nigerian civil society this afternoon.

Mali: OHCHR announced today that it is deploying human rights experts in Mali to monitor the situation on the ground. There will be a two-week fact-finding mission to investigate alleged human rights abuses in the country, including reports of retaliatory violence. Three experts have already arrived in Bamako and a four-person team will be deployed to Mali on Sunday. FAO also stressed the urgent need to help displaced Malian farmers return to their lands before growing season starts in May, noting that the country cannot afford to miss the upcoming season and its outputs.

Syria: WFP is scaling up food assistance inside Syria to reach 2.5 million people, the agency announced today, resulting in the need for nearly $160 million to cover the cost of its Syria operation up to June this year. On Wednesday of this week, WFP delivered an additional 62 tons of food – enough for 10,000 people – to Al-Hassakeh city and Al-Shaddadi district in northeast Syria.

Next week at the UN:

Monday, February 18: Official UN holiday; The 10th session of the Advisory Committee of the HRC will begin, ending on February 22; there will also be a press conference by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic to present its findings on its latest report in Geneva.

Tuesday, February 19: The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations will hold the opening meeting of its 2013 substantive session at 10 AM.

Thursday, February 21: The SC will hold consultations on Sudan and South Sudan and on the 1718 Committee (sanctions on DPRK). Troop-contributing countries will also hold a meeting on MONUSCO.