Climate Change; Syria; Human Rights Day; Sahel; Philippines

Climate Change: The SG welcomed the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha on Saturday, saying it paves the way to a comprehensive, legally binding agreement by 2015. The Spokesperson noted that, with no binding outcome agreed to during the Conference, the SG “believes that far more needs to be done and he calls on governments, along with businesses, civil society and citizens, to accelerate action on the ground so that the global temperature rise can be limited to 2 degrees Celsius.”

Syria: Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakdhar Brahimi, held talks over the weekend in Geneva, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to discuss the crisis in Syria. The meeting was a follow-up to the meeting in Dublin last week among Brahimi, Secretary Clinton, and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. The meeting explored ways to make progress towards a peaceful process and mobilize greater international action in favor of a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

Human Rights Day: To mark Human Rights Day today, UN officials declared that everyone has the right to be heard and to shape the decisions that affect their lives and communities. This year’s theme for the Day, observed annually on December 10 to commemorate the GA’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is ‘Inclusion and the Right to Participate in Public Life.’ The SG noted that there has been “undeniable” progress over the past century towards inclusion, yet far too many groups and individuals – including women, indigenous peoples, religious and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities or those with a different sexual orientation or political opinion –  still face obstacles.

Sahel: The SG and the Special Envoy for the Sahel addressed the Security Council today on the situation in the region. “The warning lights for the Sahel region continue to flash,” the SG said, noting that we cannot expect to address the issues in Mali effectively unless we confront the challenges affecting the broader region. Special Envoy Romano Prodi emphasized the need to organize a worldwide platform aimed at putting in action an efficient network of humanitarian aid and a common strategy for the development of the region.

Philippines: OCHA today appealed to the international community for $65 million to provide immediate lifesaving aid and support in recovery to the millions affected by Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines. The Action Plan for Recovery will deliver food, water and emergency shelter, and other urgent assistance to 480,000 seriously affected people in the worst hit areas over a period of six months.