Israel/Gaza; Internal Review Panel; Global Fund; UNRWA

Israel/Gaza: The SG had separate telephone calls yesterday with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he discussed the violence in southern Israel and Gaza and the need to prevent any further deterioration. The SG expressed his strong support for Egypt’s efforts to restore calm in the region, while he reiterated to Netanyahu his “strong condemnation” of the rocket fire from Israel.

Internal Review Panel: The author of the Internal Review Panel on UN Action in Sri Lanka report, Charles Petrie, and Chef de Cabinet Susana Malcorra briefed the press today. The officials stressed that the UN is committed to using the internal review – noting that the “events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the UN to adequately respond to early warnings and to the evolving situation during the final stages of the conflict and its aftermath” – to improve how the UN works and to better serve those in need.

Global Fund: In place of an annual “rounds-based” system in which countries submit proposals during a set funding period, the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced today that additional money will now be invested in health programs that are “poised to achieve the quickest impact.” The new investment structure will allow more flexible timing for grant applications and will give special considerations to underfunded countries. Ambassador Mark R. Dybul, a former United States Global AIDS Coordinator, was also appointed Executive Director of the Global Fund.

UNRWA: After one of its teachers was killed today in an airstrike in Northern Gaza, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) voiced its deep concern over the escalation of violence, noting that the recent tension puts civilians there and in Israel at risk. The agency supports the SG’s call for “an immediate de-escalation of tensions” and urges both sides to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians.