SG urges Nigerian governors to prioritize polio eradication, High Commissioner condemns Abyei violence, World Health Assembly concludes with adoption of 28 resolutions, and more from UN Direct

SG: The SG arrived in Ethiopia today, where he will visit a health center, clinic, and a hospital to see examples of the country’s efforts to provide health services at different levels of delivery, as well as how the levels of care are connected.  Earlier today, before leaving for Ethiopia, the SG spoke to Nigerian governors on the recent elections, which marked a step forward in the backdrop of roughly 20 African nations due to hold elections.  He also made an appeal on polio, which has seen a 95% decrease in cases over the past year in Nigeria, emphasizing that eradication must be a priority.  Nigeria is one of the four remaining polio-endemic countries (India, Pakistan and Afghanistan being the other three).

Sudan: Today High Commissioner Pillay issued  statement urging both sides of the conflict in Abyei to stop hostilities and condemning the recent clashes.    In regards to the attack on a UN convoy in Abyei on May 19th, Nesirky noted that reports and eyewitness accounts suggest that the attackers were members of the South Sudan police or military forces. The UN has asked the government of South Sudan to launch an investigation immediately and hold the perpetrators accountable, as attacks on UN peacekeepers constitute as war crimes under international law. The first airlift of 125 peacekeepers from a force reserve company arrived in Abyei this morning, and the move of the reserve company will be completed tonight.

Côte d’Ivoire: OCHA explained that while the security situation is improving in the country, clashes continue near Abidjan and in the western part of the country. Tensions also persist in the southwest, which has prevented people from receiving much-needed assistance, according to UNICEF.

Global Health: The 64th WHA session concluded today with the adoption of 28 resolutions and three decisions, touching on malaria, NCDs, HIV (adopting a new Global Health Sector Strategy for 2011-2015), cholera, immunization and maternal health, among other issues (including a nearly $4 billion 2012-2013 WHO budget).  DG Chan noted that this year’s session was especially productive and effective.  In her closing remarks, Chan said she will work closely with the Executive Board to flesh out a detailed package of reforms, engaging Member States, and a report will be presented to the January 2012 Executive Board for consideration.

Valerie Amos: Today, Amos, USG for Humanitarian Affairs and ERC, briefed the press on her recent four-day trip to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. She met with Palestinian and Israeli officials, humanitarian organizations, as well as affected Israelis and Palestinians. She also held discussions with Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, as well as with families evicted from their homes. She witnessed first-hand the impact of the barrier on Palestinians, and placed emphasis on the Palestinians’ struggle in the West Bank and Gaza for basic services such as access to healthcare, facilities, and education. 1.1 million people, or 70% of the population, depend on humanitarian aid in Gaza. Amos stated, “It’s clear that Palestinians are suffering from the occupation.” Thus, she reiterated her call to lift the blockade in Gaza. Amos also underscored Israeli citizens’ right to live without fear of attacks from the Palestinians. She urged for the stop to such indiscriminate violence and said, ultimately, at the core, Palestinians and Israelis want the same thing: they want to live normal lives. The hope is that the ongoing discussions on the political process will successfully deliver for all parties.

Upcoming Briefings: AT 11 AM tomorrow, a report on the world economic situation will be launched.