Middle East; Syria; The SC; Second Committee; Food Security; Rural Women

Middle East: Jeffrey Feltman, the USG for DPA, briefed the SC on the Middle East this morning, expressing that the conflict in Syria, now entering its 20th month, has reached “new and appalling heights of brutality and violence.” On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Feltman stated that intentions to adhere to a two-state solution are not translating into meaningful steps to renewed dialogue on the core issues. The US issued a statement following the briefing, reaffirming its support for a two-state solution and Brahimi’s efforts in ending the Syrian conflict.

Syria: Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi is seeking Turkish and Iranian assistance in pressuring Syria to agree to a ceasefire. On Monday, Brahimi issued a statement calling for Iran’s help in securing a ceasefire during the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. In Turkey, Brahimi met with the Turkish President and Foreign Minister on the urgent need to find a way to stop the bloodshed and alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.

The SC: On Friday, the SC extended the mandate of the Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, for another year. That afternoon, the Council also posed the possibility of endorsing, within the next 45 days, an international military force to restore the unity of Mali. In a unanimously adopted resolution, the SC called on the SG to provide military and security planners to ECOWAS, the AU, and other partners immediately to help frame a response to a request by Mali’s transitional authorities for such a force, to report back within 45 days.

Second Committee: The DSG briefed the GA’s Second Committee (economic and financial) today, calling for the need to re-energize the UN’s development activities to adapt to changing realities, including sustainable development and new partnerships. The DSG spoke at the start of the UN’s quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR), which addresses funding for the UN’s operational activities for development, as well as ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the UN’s development work.  Implementing the QCPR is binding for 11 UN Funds and Programs.  The Second Committee will consider a report by the SG that outlines six main areas to strengthen in the UN’s development system.

Food Security: Targets for reducing the proportion of hungry people around the world by half can still be reached if countries step up their efforts to reduce hunger, announced the DG of FAO  this morning at the Committee on World Food Security in Rome this morning. He declared that “important progress” had been made in cutting the number of hungry people by 132 million since 1990, the proportion of those hungry in the developing world falling from 23.2 per cent to 14.9 per cent over the same period.

Rural Women: In honor of the International Day for Rural Women, held today, the SG noted that eliminating discrimination that prevents rural women from realizing their full potential is crucial to ending global hunger and poverty. He emphasized the UN’s efforts through the September launch of Accelerating Progress Toward the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women – implemented by UN Women, FAO, IFAD, and WFP – which seeks to empowerment through economic integration and food security initiatives.