SG on Sandy; GA Program; Syria; DSG; The SC; Next week at the UN

SG on Sandy: The SG briefed the GA today on how the UN handled Hurricane Sandy, noting such emergency situations help to identify where the UN “may have been operating on flawed assumptions.” Although the UN did continue its work despite the disruption, there are great lessons to be learned regarding the UNHQ’s disaster preparedness and communications strategy. Extreme weather is the “new normal” with climate change, Mr. Ban noted, a truth that “we ignore at our peril.”

GA Program: Director of the GA, Ion Botnaru, briefed the press today on the GA’s activities this month. There will be upcoming HRC Elections on Monday, followed by consideration of the HRC’s Report by the GA on Wednesday. Cooperation between the UN and regional organizations, the situation in Afghanistan, and the question of Palestine’s UN status will all be discussed in the latter half of the month. He also noted that ECOSOC elections took place yesterday.

Syria: The Fifth Syria Humanitarian Forum took place in Geneva this morning, co-chaired by John Ging, Director of Operations for OCHA, Claus Sorensen, the DG of the EU’s aid arm, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Mr. Ging highlighted the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, announcing that the number of people in need could rise from 2.5 million to 4 million by early next year. The number of refugees in neighboring countries could reach 700,000 people by early next year, as well.

DSG: The DSG will travel to Dubai this weekend to deliver keynote remarks at the World Economic Forum’s Summit on the Global Agenda 2012. He will then travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to co-chair the 13th Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism of UN Agencies and Organizations Working in Africa in support of the AU. While in the UAE and Ethiopia, the DSG will hold bilateral meetings with senior government officials and meet with AU Commission leadership. He will be back in New York late next week.

The SC: The SC held consultations on Lebanon this afternoon, receiving a briefing on the implementation of resolution 1559. The Council, after its recent resolution on Mali, has requested recommendations from the SC on the matter.

Next week at the UN:

Monday, November 12: The Human Rights Council will hold elections.

Wednesday, November 14: The 2012 United Nations Pledging Conference for Development Activities and the 2012 FAO Pledging Conference for WFP will be held.

Friday, November 16: Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, will be the guest at the Noon Briefing.