G20 & other topics – Daily Briefing (26 March 2020)

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Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Highlights:
– Secretary-General/G20
– Syria
– Libya
– DRC
– India
– South Sudan
– Burkina Faso
– Philippines
– Sudan
– Cameroon
– NPT
– UNESCO
– UNICEF
– Afghanistan
– Biological Weapons
– Financial Contribution

SECRETARY-GENERAL
The Secretary-General addressed the G-20’s virtual summit on the COVID-19 pandemic this morning.
He told G-20 leaders that we are at war with a virus – and not winning it.
With an exponential growth in cases, the Secretary-General said the world needs a war-time plan to fight the pandemic.
For this, he stressed that solidarity is essential among the G-20 and with the developing world, including countries in conflict, which is why he issued a call earlier this week for a global ceasefire.
The Secretary-General called for three critical areas for concerted action by the G-20.
First, he underscored that COVID transmission must be suppressed as quickly as possible, which requires a coordinated G-20 response mechanism guided by the World Health Organization (WHO).
He also appealed for the waiving of sanctions that can undermine country’s capacity to respond to this pandemic.
Second, the he said we must work together to minimize the social and economic impact. What we face today, he said, is not a banking crisis like the one in 2008 – it is a human crisis.
Third, the Secretary-General emphasized that we must work together now to set the stage for a recovery that builds a more sustainable, inclusive and equitable economy, guided by our shared promise — the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

SYRIA
The U.N. is deeply concerned about the potential impact of the virus on millions of people across Syria, and particularly the over 900,000 people who remain displaced due to hostilities since December 1st in the country’s north-west.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the displaced live in conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to respiratory infections. Besides overcrowding, they also face physical and mental stress and deprivation due to a lack of housing, food and clean water. There are currently over six million internally displaced people throughout the country.
WHO is responding across Syria. It is prioritizing prevention, preparedness and risk communication by supporting health responders to detect, diagnose and prevent spread, surveillance of entry-points, provision of protective equipment and training of health workers.
Across the country, efforts are being accelerated to prepare laboratories and isolation wards and to inform the public.
Health facilities and selected intensive care units are being prepared and communities most at risk have been identified. A particular focus has been given to the northwest of the country, where WHO is shipping in additional ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to better cope with the strain on health care.

Full Highlights: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/noon-briefing-highlight?date%5Bvalue%5D%5Bdate%5D=26%20March%202020

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