Israel/Gaza; Syria; M23; UNAIDS; UNICEF

Israel/Gaza: The SG met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning in Jerusalem and will head to Ramallah tomorrow to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas. The SG wa encouraged by the leadership he saw in Cairo, and urges both Israel and Gaza to agree to a cessation of hostilities immediately. Mr. Ban remains strongly against any Israeli ground operations, his priority the safety and protection of civilians on both sides of the conflict. The United States released a statement this morning, suggesting that the SC could release a draft resolution supporting a cessation of hostilities.

Syria: Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi traveled from the UAE to Kuwait today, where he met with the Head of State, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Brahimi will be in New York next week to brief the SG, SC, and the GA.

M23: The M23 rebel group has entered Goma, the capital of North Kivu in the DRC, the violence in and around the city reaching a “critical stage,” according to the Deputy Spokesperson. Despite the demands of the Security Council, the SG, the AU and others, including countries in the region, M23 military advances have continued. 1,500 MONUSCO troops remain active in the city and are currently in control of Goma’s airport. Navi Pillay has expressed her “deep concern” over human rights violations against civilians and the SG “strongly condemns” the violence, which has thus far uprooted some 60,000 civilians.

UNAIDS: UNAIDS announced today that an unprecedented acceleration in the AIDS response worldwide is producing tangible results. A new World AIDS Day report shows a more than 50% drop in new HIV infections across 25 countries as countries approach the 1,000-day deadline to achieve global AIDS targets. UNAIDS also appointed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as a Global Advocate for Zero Discrimination.

UNICEF: In honor of Universal Children’s Day today, UNICEF released its latest report, Generation 2025 and beyond: The critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st century. The study forecasts just a four per cent increase in the global population of children by 2025, but that child population-growth will shift significantly to countries in the South. One in every three births will be African, UNICEF reports, compared to only one in ten in 1950.