Syrian Ceasefire; UN Finances; Mali; Food Crisis; This week at the UN

Syrian Ceasefire: In a joint statement this morning, the Secretaries-General of the UN and of the League of Arab States appealed to all warring parties in Syria to heed the call of the Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi for a ceasefire and a cessation of all violence during the period of Eid Al Adha next week. While in Iowa, the SG said that the international community had a “moral responsibility, a political duty and a humanitarian obligation to stop the bloodbath” and find peace for the people of Syria. He called on the SC and parties to the conflict to “live up to their expectations.”

UN Finances: The USG for Management, Yukio Takasu, briefed the press this afternoon on the UN’s current financial situation. On the four areas Mr. Takasu focused on – regular budget, peacekeeping, the UN’s dues to individual Member States, and the Capital Master Plan – he expressed his overall content with the way the budget is looking so far and thanked Member States for their contributions. The regular budget, however, is the most pressing, with $855 million still outstanding, the United States still owing $733 million of that amount to be paid by the end of the year.

Mali: The DSG spoke at the meeting of the Support and Follow-up Group on Mali in Bamako today, saying that, for many reasons, the situation in that country is “unacceptable.” He said that some 4.6 million people are at risk of food insecurity, while 560,000 children below the age of five are threatened with grave malnutrition. The DSG also noted that we must ensure that military action does not exacerbate tensions or worsen an already fragile humanitarian situation.

Food Crisis: The Deputy Humanitarian Chief, Catherine Bragg, concluded her five-day visit to southern Africa today, announcing that Southern Africa is facing a “silent food insecurity emergency.” Food insecurity continues to be a chronic problem in southern Africa – particularly in Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe – with more than 5.5 million people in eight countries face food shortages due to the impact of recurrent natural disasters such as droughts and floods, and rising food prices.

This week at the UN:

Monday, October 22: DPKO Chief Herve Ladsous will brief the press; the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group will begin in Geneva, to end on November 15.

Wednesday, October 24: The SC will hold closed consultations on Côte d’Ivoire sanctions and will hear a briefing on UNAMID; press conference by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran.

Thursday, October 25: DSG Jan Eliasson will brief the press on major political and development-related issues in Geneva.