GA Opens; Sahel Crisis; DRC; Sierra Leone

GA Opens: The 67th Session of the UN General Assembly opened today. The SG issued remarks on the closing of the 66th Session last night, as well as made remarks this morning on the start of this session, noting “that we need religious leaders in all parts of the world to help lead the way in promoting tolerance, seeking forgiveness, healing divisions and building mutual understanding and mutual respect.” The US State Department also issued a statement on its approach to the UN GA this year, which includes helping “to strengthen the UN’s contributions to U.S. national security, to global security writ large, to the advancement of universal rights and values, and to fighting global poverty.”

Sahel Crisis: Yesterday, USG for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, called on the Security Council to take greater action on the region that has been called the “ultimate crisis” currently afflicting the African continent. In his briefing, he laid out the progress made in developing an integrated response strategy for the Sahel, as requested of the SG in July. The strategy encompassed security, governance, development, human rights and humanitarian dimensions.

DRC: UNHCR appealed today for just under $40 million to cover the needs of 400,000 IDPs in the North Kivu, South Kivu and Orientale provinces of the DRC and 75,000 refugees – 25,000 in Rwanda and 50,000 in Uganda. An estimated 390,000 people have been internally displaced in eastern DRC and more than 60,000 Congolese have fled to neighboring Rwanda and Uganda since fighting erupted in the North Kivu province in April between Government forces and the M23 rebel group.

Sierra Leone: WHO reported today that efforts to respond to the ongoing cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone are being ramped up as fatalities from the water and food-borne disease continue to increase. The agency confirmed that the total number of reported cases had reached 18,508, including 271 deaths, since the beginning of 2012.