Pakistan; Syria; Haiti; The SC; World Economy

Pakistan: The SG, WHO, and UNICEF have condemned the killing of six polio vaccination workers in Pakistan yesterday. The six – reportedly five Pakistani women and one man – were shot dead in the city of Karachi in Sindh province and in the city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. In a joint statement issued this morning, the agencies emphasized that “such attacks deprive Pakistan’s most vulnerable populations – especially children – of basic life-saving health interventions.”

Syria: UNRWA reported today that more than 150,000 Palestinian refugees residing in a suburb of Damascus have experienced particularly intense armed engagements in recent days, involving the use of heavy weapons and aircraft. The SG has expressed his “grave concern and condemnation” over the escalation in violence. OCHA Chief Valerie Amos briefed the SC yesterday on her concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Syria and its impact on neighboring countries, particularly Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Ms. Amos asked the Syrian Government to allow the UN to import fuel and to consider whether a number of additional INGOs can work in the country so that humanitarian activities can be increased significantly.

Haiti: UN agencies and humanitarian partners appealed for $144 million this morning to respond to crises – including food insecurity, cholera and displacement – in Haiti next year. About two million Haitians are facing food insecurity, more than 350,000 people are still living in camps and depend on humanitarian aid, and aid organizations are concerned that the resurgence of cholera in remote areas could affect more than 100,000 people next year. This appeal would assist more than one million people in the country.

The SC: The SC held consultations this morning on Sudan and South Sudan and on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, to consider the SG’s recent reports on each situation. In his report on Sudan and South Sudan, the SG congratulated the two countries’ Presidents on their leadership in reaching their September agreement and noted that they will play a decisive role in guiding the cooperation and development of the two countries going forward. In his report on Iraq and Kuwait, the SG mentioned his recent visit to both countries and the willingness of both parties to move forward and address outstanding issues.

World Economy: DESA released the first chapter of its World Economic Situation and Prospects 2013 report today, stating that over the next two years world economic growth will continue to remain weak. The chapter states that the global economy is expected to grow at 2.4 per cent in 2013 and 3.2 per cent in 2014 – a significant downgrade from the UN’s forecast of half a year ago – and that such growth is “far from sufficient” to overcome the jobs crisis plaguing many countries worldwide.