Sustainable Development & other topics – Daily Briefing (14 July 2020)

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


– Sustainable Development
– Rise For All
– Colombia
– Mandela Lecture
– Armenia/Azerbaijan
– Mali
– Central African Republic
– Darfur
– Syria
– COVID-19/Trinidad And Tobago
– COVID-19/Response And Recovery Programme

This morning, the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, spoke at the Ministerial Segment of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. He said that, at a time when we desperately need to leap ahead, COVID-19 could set us back years and even decades, leaving countries with massive fiscal and growth challenges.
The COVID-19 crisis is having devastating impacts because of our past and present failures and because we have yet to take the Sustainable Development Goals seriously, the Secretary-General said. He added that we can still turn this around and he has been encouraged by the tremendous response to the crisis since it hit – from governments, international partners, and the entire UN development system, as well as from heroes in the health system and communities around the world. The Secretary-General called on countries to recognize that the world cannot go back to the previous so-called normal, and to renew their determination to enact a multilateral response that gears recovery efforts towards the SDGs.
Also, this morning, the High-Level Political Forum heard from two representatives of youth organizations who called for inclusion of the voices of youth in actions toward a strong recovery from the pandemic and a more sustainable future. And Finland, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, the Russian Federation, Burundi, and Gambia delivered their presentations on their Voluntary National Reviews.
In the afternoon, the President of the UN Environment Assembly and Minister of Environment and Climate of Norway, Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn, will convey the main messages of the UN Environment Assembly and present the contributions of the Assembly to the debates of the Forum. This will be followed by presentations by Brunei Darussalam and Micronesia.

Very early this morning, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, convened the Rise for All special event, which brought together women across different sectors in recognition of front-line leadership to build back better. The Deputy Secretary-General said that, over the past months in which the world has been dealing with the pandemic, “people around the world have come to see what many of us already knew: women’s leadership makes a profound difference.”
She said that evidence has shown, in country after country, how governments led by women are more effective in flattening the curve and positioning for economic recovery, and added that the UN wants to amplify the voices of those women who are realizing the values of the UN in the work they do every day. The Deputy Secretary-General added that, even in the midst of this devastating crisis, we have an opportunity to transform and recover better but that will only be possible when we recognize the value of women front and centre, together leading the way and rising for all.

A short while ago, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, briefed the Security Council members. While he spoke by videoconference, members were holding their first in-person meeting at UN Headquarters, and that is the first they have had since March.
The Special Representative commended the work by the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces, the FARC, in carrying out peacebuilding efforts in spite of difficulties caused by the pandemic.
Mr. Ruiz Massieu also said he is concerned about the increased reports of gender-based violence in the context of the pandemic.  He encouraged all parties to redouble measures to improve protection and security for women, including women former combatants, social leaders and human rights defenders.
He also warned that many communities still face insecurity and violence, making this the biggest threat to peacebuilding in the country. However, he was encouraged by recent arrests made by authorities of individuals believed to be responsible for some of the killings, saying this is an example of the results of the mechanisms in the Peace Agreement can deliver.

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