SG condemns attacks on Korean Peninsula, announces travel to Kazakhstan for OSCE Summit, and more from UN Direct

Growing Tension on Korean Peninsula: The SG is deeply concerned by the tension caused by today’s artillery stack by the DPRK on Yeonpyeong Island in the Korean peninsula, which is considered one of the gravest incidents since the end of the Korean War. He condemns the attacks, calling for immediate restraint, as he regrets the loss of life and expresses sympathy to the victims and their families.

SG Plans to Go to Kazakhstan: This weekend, the SG will address the opening of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. He plans to hold bilateral meetings as well as address the media in the Kazakh capital.

On Continuing Mideast Peace Talks: This morning, B. Lynn Pascoe, the USG for Political Affairs, briefed the Security Council on the Middle East. He stated that a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is in question, as the continued diplomatic impasse is worrying, despite the belief that a return to talks is extremely important. It supports a freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

SCR. Passed to Fight Piracy in Somalia: Today, the Security Council passed a resolution, which renews twelve months its authorizations for States to cooperate with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia in order to combat piracy.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: Today, the SG highlighted the importance of business leaders to contribute to the fight against gender-based violence, welcoming the energies and ideas of corporate partners, and calling for proposals which would feed into the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.  In addition, he called on UN Country Teams, as well as governmental and non-governmental organization to apply for grants to get support for projects that will help eliminate violence against women.

UNAIDS Report Just Released: Today, UNAIDS released a new report, which states that new HIV infections have dropped by nearly 20% in the last decade, while AIDS-related deaths, in the past five years, have also dropped by 20%. Additionally, the report illustrates that this is all contributing to the stabilization of the total number of people living with HIV worldwide, which is in large part due to increases in access to ARVs. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, explained that “investments in the AIDS response are paying off, but gains are fragile. The challenge now is how we can all work to accelerate progress.” The report illustrates that several countries are under-investing and need to increase their domestic financial commitments to sustain and scale up the AIDS response.