UK and France draft no-fly zone resolution, WFP assistance enters Libya, UN marks International Women’s Day and more from UN Direct

Libya: Britain and France are currently drafting a UN resolution in an effort to implement a no-fly zone over Libya, which “would probably ban military flights by government forces through Libyan airspace. Any aircraft violating the exclusion zone would risk being shot down by international forces.” This resolution will be debated by NATO defense ministers on Thursday, and is being backed by the OIC. U.S. officials are concerned that China and Russia will veto the resolution at the Security Council. This morning, USG for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe briefed the Security Council on North Africa. The no-fly zone was one of the issues discussed but Pascoe said that that issue should be discussed by the Council. On the humanitarian front, according to UNHCR, more than 210,000 people have fled the violence.  UNHCR is alarmed by increasing accounts of violence and discrimination in the country against sub-Saharan Africans, and has urged all parties to recognize the vulnerability of both refugees and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and work to ensure their protection. Yesterday, a UNHCR team at the Egypt border found out that armed Libyans were going door to door, forcing sub-Saharan Africans to leave, and in one instance, a 12-year-old Sudanese girl was reportedly raped. Today, a WFP convoy is set to arrive in the eastern Libyan port city of Benghazi, which marks the first delivery of food aid from WFP entering the country. Also, a shipment of more than 1,100 metric tons of wheat flour, which was turned back from the port last week due to security concerns, is bound for Libya as well.  In regards to the conversation that the SG had with the FM of Libya on Sunday, Nesirky explained that Valerie Amos followed up with Libyan authorities to discuss the details of the humanitarian team’s access. At this point, the humanitarian team is ready to deploy but the UN is awaiting follow-up with the Libyan Foreign Ministry.

International Women’s Day: Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, which has been recognized in various remarks by the SG, Michelle Bachelet, and Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The SG noted that this year’s observance focuses on equal access to education, training, and science and technology. He also stated that another area that the UN urgently needs to address is women’s and children’s health, noting progress since the MDG Summit where States and the philanthropic community pledged strong support for his Global Gtrategy. For her part, Bachelet stated, “It is not just women who pay the price for this discrimination. We all suffer for failing to make the most of half the world’s talent and potential. We undermine the quality of our democracy, the strength of our economies, the health of our societies and the sustainability of peace.” To mark this occasion, Pillay shed spotlight on the women of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as women all over the world who take great risks to stand up and fight for dignity, justice, and human rights for themselves and their compatriots. She also explained, “Only when women participate fully in policy-making and institution-building will their perspective be truly integrated. The concept of democracy is only truly realized when political decision-making is shared by women and men, and women’s fully participation in institutional re-building is guaranteed.” Secretary Clinton launched an initiative called the “100 Women Initiative” to bring women leaders together who represent government, civil society, business, media and academia, to share insights with their U.S. counterparts and with each other.

Côte d’Ivoire: UNHCR has reported that 200-300,000 were displaced in Abidjan as of yesterday. The Refugee Agency has called for opposing groups to support humanitarian efforts, as humanitarian and protection needs are growing fast. In western Côte d’Ivoire, thousands of displaced people are entirely without help and roughly 70,000 Ivorians are fleeing into the eastern part of the country. OCHA announced today that the CERF has allocated $6 million to help those who have fled to Liberia from Côte d’Ivoire.

Sudan: Roughly 20,000 people have fled Abyei over the past few days, according to OCHA, amd displaced people account for half the town’s residents. Aid workers stand ready to provide humanitarian relief. Meanwhile, the humanitarian appeal for the country remains vastly underfunded, with a mere 24% of the required $1.7 billion made available to date.

Senior UN Staff Travel: USG for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos arrived in the DRC today for a three-day visit. She plans to go to North Kivu and other areas that are most affected by the armed violence. Amos will meet with authorities, MONUSCO, and humanitarian agencies while she’s there.

CMP: today the Fifth Committee considered the 8th CMP progress report, which provides updates on project status, including timeline, procurement, safety, sustainability and expenses.  The report concluded that the project is remains “within reach of completion on time and on budget”, while admitting that both may not be “fully achieved”, but projecting that the work will be completed within no more than 10% of the approved budget and within several months of the original completion date.