Middle East; Lebanon; Saudi Arabia

Middle East: The SG briefed the SC this morning on the situation in the Middle East. He condemned the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel as well as Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza and warned of an all-out escalation if both sides fail to exercise restraint.

Lebanon: The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon visited the north-eastern region today to examine the conditions of the 376,000 displaced Syrians. The Humanitarian Coordinator commended the generosity of Lebanon and reiterated that the UN will continue to encourage the international community to assist the country and share Lebanon’s burden.

Saudi Arabia: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Pillay expressed concern for the treatment of peaceful human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. She urged authorities to release those held in connection with peaceful advocacy of human rights.

Japan: OCHA reported that a landslide yesterday killed a 12 year old boy ahead of Typhoon Neoguri which is expected to reach Japan tomorrow.

New Syrian Envoy: Ambassador Samantha Powers welcomed the SG’s appointment of Mr. Staffan de Mistura to replace Lakhdar Brahimi as the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Syria.

Urbanization: UN DESA released the 2014 revision of the World Urbanization Prospects report stating that the current 54% of the world’s population that inhabits urban areas today will jump to 66% by 2050. The report highlights the need for successful urban planning in order to meet the needs of growing urbanization.