Syria; Israel/Gaza; Doha; Bangladesh; International Day for Persons with Disabilities

Syria: The Department of Safety and Security confirmed today that the UN is pulling out all “non-essential personnel” from Syria with “immediate effect” and is temporarily suspending all of its movements within the country due to the worsening security situation. OCHA announced today that it is reassessing its contingency plans in the country and that civilians are paying the ultimate price in the conflict. According to Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, Syria could devolve into a “failed state” if a political solution, spearheaded by the SC, is not found.

Israel/Gaza: The SG met Israel’s plans to build 3,000 new settlement units in East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank with “grave concern and disappointment” this weekend. If constructed, the settlements would reportedly divide the West Bank in two, rendering a contiguous Palestinian State impossible to achieve. The Spokesperson noted
that “settlements are illegal under international law” and that they would represent “an almost fatal blow” to the remaining chances of securing a two-State solution.

Doha: The SG is in Doha today to open the High-Level portion of the UN Climate Change Conference. The Conference – attended by government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations, research institutions, and the media – aims to build on and implement previously agreed decisions to curb global carbon emissions by the year 2020. The High-Level part of the meeting will be attended by more than 100 Ministers and ends on December 7.

Bangladesh: OCHA Chief Valerie Amos was in Bangladesh today, on her first visit to the country during her tenure as UN Humanitarian chief. During her visit, Amos discussed the challenges in humanitarian access in the country, as well as how to build resilience in local communities and households. She said that Bangladesh has trained 50,000 community volunteers to be the first line of response after a storm or flood and that other countries can learn from such efforts.

International Day for Persons with Disabilities: In his message marking International Day for Persons with Disabilities, the SG called for a new global push aimed at “creating societies that value diversity and inclusion.” Today’s International Day marks the official launch of preparations for the High-Level Meeting on disability and development, which will take place in September 2013 at UN HQ in New York.